The Unwanted Sound of Everything We Want

The Unwanted Sound of Everything We Want : A Book About Noise

3.46 (119 ratings by Goodreads)
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Noise is usually defined as unwanted sound: loud music from a neighbor, the honk of a taxicab, the roar of a supersonic jet. But as Garret Keizer illustrates in this probing examination, noise is as much about what we want as about what we seek to avoid. It has been a byproduct of human striving since ancient times even as it has become a significant cause of disease in our own. At heart, noise provides a key for understanding some of our most pressing issues, from social inequality to climate change. In a journey that leads us from the Tanzanian veldt to the streets of New York, Keizer deftly explores the political ramifications of noise, Americas central role in a loud world, and the environmental sustainability of a quieter one. The result is a deeply satisfying bookone guaranteed to change how we hear the world, and how we measure our own personal volume within it.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 400 pages
  • 165.1 x 238.76 x 38.1mm | 612.35g
  • PublicAffairs,U.S.
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 1586485520
  • 9781586485528
  • 769,943

About Garret Keizer

Garret Keizer is a free lance writer, a contributing editor to Harper's Magazine, and a recent Guggenheim Fellow. He is the author of six books, including the critically acclaimed Help and The Enigma of Anger. His essays and poems have appeared in The Los Angeles Times, Mother Jones, The New Yorker, The Best American Essays, and The Best American Poetry. He lives with his wife in northeastern Vermont.
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Review quote

Nature, May 2010 "Keizer is an energetic researcher and an omnivorous writer.... [He] comes across not as a dour partisan for silence but as someone who sees the right to quiet as one of many competing rights. It is a virtue of his ruminative study that it conveys the charm of a hushed library and the appeal of the ruckus outside." Cleveland Plain Dealer, May 10, 2010 "Keizer zaps our assumptions at a merry frequency in his remarkable, thought-provoking new work, The Unwanted Sound of Everything We Want. It is pointed, often exhilarating, and as tightly written as the skin on a drum.... Viewed through Keizer's political lens, it is no accident that prisons are relentlessly noisy, that the poor live in the most degraded soundscapes, that the disabled, the very young and the very old are disproportionately vulnerable to noise.... Keizer writes incisively about 'the magnificent custom bikes' assembled yearly in Sturgis, S.D., for the 'World's Largest Motorcycle Rally' and, a few pages later, the prayer gathering by Lakota trying to protect Mato Paha, or Bear Butte, S.D., from the encroaching biker rally. Keizer lets us hear the grinding of power, yes, but also the poetry of humans seeking to be heard, including our need for quiet."
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Rating details

119 ratings
3.46 out of 5 stars
5 17% (20)
4 31% (37)
3 38% (45)
2 10% (12)
1 4% (5)
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