Abundance for What? by David Riesman Book Summary:
This classic collection of essays by David Riesman discusses the implications of affluence in America. Riesman maintains that the question that should be raised by wealth has shifted over time from how to obtain wealth to how to make use of it. Another key theme concerns issues relevant to higher education, such as academic freedom. Abundance for What? examines the notion that America is not as open a society as it may appear to be; it then shows how social science may be used to explain why this is so. And now in a brilliant, lengthy reevaluation Riesman both clarifies and revises that earlier assessment with unusual luster and candor., The volume begins with a group of essays that describe the impact of the Cold War. After warning against depending on a war economy, Riesman shifts the focus of discussion to a central characteristic of the Cold War epoch: the uses and abuses of abundance in expanding leisure time. Several essays deal with suburbs as the locale of abundance, while others study the place of the automobile in American life. Riesman describes the impact of American abundance on other nations. Among the many other subjects discussed in Abundance for What? are the education of women, generational shifts in attitudes, and a study of the national character., In his major new 100-page introduction, Riesman also relates the experiences that originally inspired him to write these essays. He then talks about the social and historical changes that have occurred since their publication. His synthesis of old Ideas with contemporary ones makes this a compelling volume. Abundance for What? continues to hold a significant place in the social and cultural critiques of contemporary America and will be of interest to historians, psychologists, educators, and urban policymakers alike.