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Dark age ahead : caution

by Jacobs, Jane, 1916-2006.

Format: Print Book 2004
Availability: Available at 2 Libraries 2 of 3 copies
Available (2)
Location Collection Call #
Monroeville Public Library Non-fiction 901 J
Location  Monroeville Public Library
Collection  Non-fiction
Call Number  901 J
Mt. Lebanon Public Library Non-Fiction 901 J31
Location  Mt. Lebanon Public Library
Collection  Non-Fiction
Call Number  901 J31
Unavailable (1)
Location Collection Status
CLP - Main Library Mezzanine - Non-fiction CHECKED OUT
Location  CLP - Main Library
Collection  Mezzanine - Non-fiction
A dark age is a culture's dead end. In North America, for example, we live in a virtual graveyard of lost and destroyed aboriginal cultures. In this powerful and provocative book, renowned author Jane Jacobs argues convincingly that we face the coming of our own dark age. Throughout history, there have been many more dark ages than the one that occurred between the fall of the Roman Empire and the dawn of the Renaissance. Ten thousand years ago, our ancestors went from hunter-gatherers to farmers and, along the way, lost almost all memory of what existed before. Now we stand at another monumental crossroads, as agrarianism gives way to a technology-based future. How do we make this shift without losing the culture we hold dear--and without falling behind other nations that successfully master the transition? First we must concede that things are awry. Jacobs identifies five central pillars of our society that show serious signs of decay: community and family; higher education; science and technology; governmental representation; and self-regulation of the learned professions. These are the elements we depend on to stand firm--but Jacobs maintains that they are in the process of becoming irrelevant. If that happens, we will no longer recognize ourselves. The good news is that the downward movement can be reversed. Japan avoided cultural defeat by retaining a strong hold on history and preservation during war, besiegement, and occupation. Ireland nearly lost all native language during the devastations of famine and colonialism, but managed to renew its culture through the steadfast determination of its citizens. Jacobs assures us that the same can happen here--if only we recognize the signs of decline in time. Dark Age Ahead is not only the crowning achievement of Jane Jacobs's career, but one of the most important works of our time. It is a warning that, if heeded, could save our very way of life.
Published Reviews
Booklist Review: "The end of the world as we know it has inspired a lot of writing lately. With this selection, eminent architectural and city-planning scholar Jacobs ( The Death and Life of Great American Cities0 ) argues that Western civilization in general and North American society in particular are headed for a period of reconfiguration, chaos, and--perhaps most frightening--lost cultural memory: a Dark Ages for the new millennium. Jacobs examines five key load-bearing pillars of Western civilization (community and family, higher education, scientific advancement, taxation, and self-policing by learned professions) and compares their dry rot to the crumbling of earlier cultures. Getting beyond well-worn parallels between America and Rome, she also considers the respective Dark Ages of Native America and, with the help of Karen Armstrong's work on post-agrarian cultures, the Middle East. Changes in agriculture and transportation, as it turns out, are particularly important to her argument and reveal Jacobs' sound urban-studies foundation, a solid analysis of demographics that keeps this book's alarming thesis from being simply alarmist. --Brendan Driscoll Copyright 2004 Booklist"
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Publisher's Weekly Review: "Jacobs's The Death and Life of Great American Cities forever transformed the discipline of urban planning by concentrating on what actually helped cities work. Unencumbered by generations of fatuous theorizing, Jacobs proposed a model of action that has left a positive mark in neighborhoods all over the world. Her latest salvo, Dark Age Ahead, is, despite the pessimism of many of its conclusions, also positive, less a jeremiad than a firm but helpful reminder of just how much is at stake. Jacobs sees "ominous signs of decay" in five "pillars" of our culture: family, community, higher education, science and "self policing by the learned professions." Each is given a detailed treatment, with sympathetic but hard-headed real-world assessments that are often surprising and always provocative and well-expressed. Her chapter on the decline of the nuclear family completely avoids the moral hand-wringing of the kindergarten Cassandras to place the blame on an economy that has made the affordable home either an unattainable dream or a crippling debt. Her discussion of the havoc wrought by the lack of accountability seems ripped from any number of headlines, but her analysis of the larger effects sets it apart. A lifetime of unwasted experience in a number of fields has gone into this short but pungent book, and to ignore its sober warnings would be foolish indeed. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved"
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Additional Information
Subjects Regression (Civilization)
Civilization -- Philosophy.
Publisher New York :Random House,2004
Edition 1st ed.
Language English
Notes Includes index.
Description 241 pages ; 22 cm
Bibliography Notes Includes bibliographical references and index.
ISBN 1400062322
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