1 of 52: The Terror Dream by Susan Faludi

Cover of "The Terror Dream: Myth and Miso...

Cover via Amazon

The first book I’ve finished this year is Susan Faludi‘s The Terror Dream: Fear and Fantasy in Post 9-11 America. To be honest, I didn’t love it. Here is the book description:

‘Susan Faludi shines a light on the country’s psychological response to the attacks on that terrible day. Turning her acute observational powers on the media, popular culture, and political life, Faludi unearths a barely acknowledged but bedrock societal drama shot through with baffling contradictions. Why, she asks, did our culture respond to an assault against American global dominance with a frenzied summons to restore “traditional” manhood, marriage, and maternity? Why did we react as if the hijackers had targeted not a commercial and military edifice but the family home and nursery? Why did an attack fueled by hatred of Western emancipation lead us to a regressive fixation on Doris Day womanhood and John Wayne masculinity, with trembling “security moms,” swaggering presidential gunslingers, and the “rescue” of a female soldier cast as a “helpless little girl”?

‘The answer, Faludi finds, lies in a historical anomaly unique to the American experience: the nation that in recent memory has been least vulnerable to domestic attack was forged in traumatizing assaults by nonwhite “barbarians” on town and village. That humiliation lies concealed under a myth of cowboy bluster and feminine frailty, which is reanimated whenever threat and shame looms.’

I believe I bought the book after reading a few good quotes from the book. It’s admittedly taken me a while to read it, mostly because I  found it to be very monotonous. I bought it not realising it was going to be a good solely about gender relations. Obviously it’s very interesting that 9-11 may have sparked a fight to reel back gender roles to earlier, stricter settings. It’s very informative and I’ve learned a lot from it. However, I felt the chapters were too long and to be honest, quite boring. Most of the points she tried to make, which were initially quite interesting, succumbed to overkill.

Of course I just found out that some editions have ‘Myth and Misogyny in an Insecure America’ as the add-in. At least then I would have understood where it was going. Obviously I generally love feminist literature. But I just wasn’t truly expecting it, even though I knew she wrote Backlash (which is on my list to read, hopefully it’ll be better).

Oh well. I started this year off pretty badly. Hopefully I’ll have better news next time 🙂


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