PositiveThe New York Times Book Review... clever and stimulating ... The title will mislead some potential readers into expecting a tired right-wing screed tracing all our sufferings back to a single cause, whether the Big Bang of the ’60s or the modern liberalism that allegedly threatens civilization. Douthat is too curious about the world and its contradictions to settle into that mode ... Inexplicably, the book has no endnotes, so it’s virtually impossible to double-check [Douthat\'s] claims ... Douthat’s chapters on stagnating innovation and institutional sclerosis as elements of our decadence are more conventional, though informative and well balanced. The least persuasive pages are devoted to pop culture, which he rightly sees as dull and repetitive, but whose significance he vastly overestimates ... Douthat is writing for Americans, which means that rather than simply stimulating readers to think harder about the present — which he excels at — he feels obliged to search for a redemptive happy ending.
Robin Lane Fox
PositiveThe New York Times“At points I had the sense of being in an American restaurant where each portion is large enough to feed an entire family. But Fox is such a good writer that interest never flags.”