➪ Something for Nothing: Luck in America Read ➲ Author Jackson Lears – Buyprobolan50.co.uk

Something for Nothing: Luck in America Jackson Lears Has Won Accolades For His Skill In Identifying The Rich And Unexpected Layers Of Meaning Beneath The Familiar And Mundane In Our Lives Now, He Challenges The Conventional Wisdom That The Protestant Ethic Of Perseverance, Industry, And Disciplined Achievement Is What Made America Great Turning To The Deep, Seldom Acknowledged Reverence For Luck That Runs Through Our Entire History From Colonial Times To The Early Twenty First Century, Lears Traces How Luck, Chance, And Gambling Have Shaped And, At Times, Defined Our National Character.


10 thoughts on “Something for Nothing: Luck in America

  1. says:

    Jackson Lears Something for Nothing is an interesting and thought provoking work written in the vein of social and cultural history, much like his No Place of Grace, now some thirty years old It looks at a wide swath of subjects from gambling, the rise of the market, and various Native American and slave folk traditions related to chance and luck.According to Lears, two contradictory forces have always been at the heart of American experience that of the speculative confidence man who has Jackson Lears Something for Nothing is an interesting and thought provoking work written in the vein of social and cultural history, much like his No Place of Grace, now some thirty years old It looks at a wide swath of subjects from gambling, the rise of the market, and various Native American and slave folk traditions related to chance and luck.According to Lears, two contradictory forces have always been at the heart of American experience that of the speculative confidence man who has his eye on main chance rather than moral imperative and the other which exalts a disciplined self made man whose success comes through the careful cultivation of Protestant values p 3 He calls these two instincts the culture of chance and culture of control respectively Even though the growth of Protestantism and especially Puritanism damaged a vernacular culture of luck by trying to impose a Providential reason and rationality upon it, instead of allowing for the free flow of play embodied by Fortuna , the split between the elite idea that Providence was superior and thepopular, demotic idea of divination persisted throughout the culture Lears looks at the cultural importations of African slaves and Indians that created complex social relations with whites As John Greenleaf Whittier asked rhetorically in 1847 Is it not strange that the desire to lift the great veil of the mystery before us should overcome, in some degree, our peculiar and most republican prejudice against color, and reconcile us to the necessity of looking at Futurity through a black medium By the late eighteenth century, luck had become less providential andsecularized, and the idea that misfortune fell upon the worthy as on the licentious becamewidespread This is related to the American idea of secular reinvention, or as Martin Buber put it, the grace of beginning again and ever again But as chance was secularized, it was simultaneously driven into the underbelly of society There were gentlemen who took pride in their flirtation with luck for luck s sake, while sharpers that is, swindlers, gamblers, and confidence men would cheat the game for a dollar The bourgeois ethic of what Lears calls evangelical rationality demonized gambling, thereby giving rise to the masculinity of moderation and the domestication of gambling The last couple of chapters cover the increasing trends in Taylorism and bureaucratic rationality that Lears claims were always at odds with the cultural idioms of chance and fortune still another covers how various thinkers, artists, and musicians used these ideas during the rise of Modernism While Lears clearly roots on the side of chance for the entire book, he is intellectually honest enough to admit that neither side has definitely won a victory In fact, our age, much like any other, might be ruled by the uneasy co rule of both luck and control.Lears is a superb historian and a professor at Rutgers who has gained considerable mastery over his sources the body of scholarship that he draws from is impressive However, the one major complaint I have about the book is that some of it is very repetitive it seems like the idea of luck versus control pops up over and over again, sometimes with so little variation that it doesn t really need recapitulation This makes the first two thirds of the book move very slowly, even though the last third picks up, though this may just have been because of the shift toward cultural toward anarrow kind of intellectual history.A note on my rating for someone only passingly interested in this kind of history, I would only give it three stars for someone with a less casual interest, I think it deserves another star Most people will probably not enjoy this as beach reading it s not a popular history that the cover might have you think it is However, if you re interested in the topic, Lears handles it with a scholarly, thorough care that he has fostered throughout his career


  2. says:

    competent and straightforward humanities work, as Professor Lears draws upon literature and culture studies to discuss chance hazard luck in American life identity not quite as dynamic, strong, or spell binding as the best humanities writing out there, but at least competent and intelligent, and draws upon a rich vein of reading and understanding will review again, but for now 3 5


  3. says:

    Decent look at the ways that a pursuit of gambling, luck, and chance has contrasted with a pursuit of control or determinism Lears notes that people might subscribe to both schools e.g., going to church on Sunday and engaging in divination, magic, gambling, or get rich quick schemes on the side My problems with the book are mainly methodological Lears treats luck, chance, etc., as basically synonymous He tends to reduce different cultures magical objects and conceptions of chance to the s Decent look at the ways that a pursuit of gambling, luck, and chance has contrasted with a pursuit of control or determinism Lears notes that people might subscribe to both schools e.g., going to church on Sunday and engaging in divination, magic, gambling, or get rich quick schemes on the side My problems with the book are mainly methodological Lears treats luck, chance, etc., as basically synonymous He tends to reduce different cultures magical objects and conceptions of chance to the same meanings This descriptive reductionism is not something I care for It s better to call things by their own names and recognize how distinct systems work The book s message to make peace with the messiness of life is a welcome one, though


  4. says:

    Dense Agitating Stimulating Particularly illuminating if you distrust both religion and gambling.


  5. says:

    not that informative and dreadfully boring sounded like a cool multi disciplinary work of pop scholarship, but it turned out to be poorly executed, in my estimation.