Printer Friendly

Generation at the Crossroads: Apathy and Action on the American Campus.

Whether they're called "Generation X," the "Ostrich Generation," or "people shaped by tewelve years of Ronald Reagan and George Bush," twenty-somethings are said to have no political consciousness. But Paul Rogat Loeb, after seven years of conversations with and observation of campus activists, takes a different view. Loeb has written a thorough, nuanced description of the political attitudes and actions of this generation. He profiles individual students who decided to work for social change, and he discusses obstacles that prevent others from participating--including a difficult job market, a conservative political climate, and annoying comparisons to the 1960s. Particularly troubling, he finds, is a prevailing attitude that only those with expertise can or should get involved. One activist, a founding member of Greeks for Peace, a group of progressive members of fraternities and sororities at the University of Michigan, is fighting against this culture of experts. "You don't need a lot of information to know that killing people is wrong and should be stopped," she says.

The Persian Gulf war was a lesson in the power of information. Not only did it teach the importance of alternatives to mainstream news media, but it also, Loeb writes, "accelerated a media climate of hostility toward dissenters. ... As students have begun to question, they've also challenged deeply rooted institutions of power.... Their opponents have denied their right to speak out about the world they will inherit and sought to drive them back to passive silence."

Still, Loeb is optimistic. "I believe these attacks will ultimately fail," he writes. "The crises in American life are too grave, the shifts in the student population too profound, the growing commitments of a significant minority too strong."
COPYRIGHT 1994 The Progressive, Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1994, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Author:Cramer, Katherine
Publication:The Progressive
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Oct 1, 1994
Words:279
Previous Article:The Responsibility of Intellectuals: Selected Essays on Marxist Traditions in Cultural Commitment.
Next Article:W.E.B. Du Bois: Biography of a Race.
Topics:


Related Articles
A new entrant in the war.
A Nation of Immigrants: Women, Workers, and Communities in Canadian History, l840s-1960s.
The Hip Hop generation; young blacks and the crisis in African-American culture. (Current Topics).
How To Self-Destruct.

Terms of use | Privacy policy | Copyright © 2019 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters