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Money, Murder, and the American Dream: Wilding from Wall Street to Main Street

Derber, Charles

5 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 057112917X / ISBN 13: 9780571129171
Published by Faber & Faber
Condition: Like New Hardcover
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Hardcover w / dustjacket. Like new; no internal markings; has only lost its Brand New shine. No pricing stickers. No remainder mark. DJ is like new. Stored in sealed plastic protection. In the event of a problem we guarantee full refund. 1992. Hardcover w / dustjacket. Bookseller Inventory # 302429

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Money, Murder, and the American Dream: ...

Publisher: Faber & Faber

Binding: Hardcover

Book Condition:Like New

Dust Jacket Condition: Dust Jacket Included

About this title


In April 1989 a gang of teenagers attacked and raped a jogger in New York City's Central Park. This horrific crime was dubbed "wilding" by the press. Charles Derber maintains that the chilling antisocial mentality behind this offense is far more widespread than we would like to believe, a symptom of a growing "wilding epidemic." Through examples such as Charles Stuart, who allegedly murdered his wife for insurance money, Derber asserts that it is those most devoted to realizing the American Dream who are often the most ruthless. Wilding is becoming one way to make it in America today.
Derber broadens the term "wilding" to mean any relentless pursuit of gratification or self-interest at the expense of others. He shows that its less extreme forms, neither violent nor criminal, have become commonplace and are even considered necessary to get ahead. He identifies startling links between economic wilding on Wall Street, political wilding in Washington, emotional wilding in families, and criminal wilding on the street.
Wilding starts at the top. Derber analyzes recent Wall Street scams such as the S & L scandal and the current banking crisis. He focuses on Washington, too--to examine the motives behind America's role in the Gulf War and to discover how recent government policy has fueled the wilding ethic. As wilding spreads in businesses, schools, and families, Derber shows, it creates a domestic crisis that could culminate in the unraveling of America's social fabric.
Derber's far-reaching and passionate final chapter demonstrates how American citizens hold the power to rethink the American Dream and reconstruct a more compassionate and caring society.
Money, Murder and the American Dream is a boldly provocative book with an urgent message for our time.

From Kirkus Reviews:

Here, Derber (Sociology/Boston College; coauthor, Power in the Highest Degree, 1990) blames America's ethical, social, and economic collapse on ``wilding''--the same term used for the brutal 1989 attack by a gang of youths on a Central Park jogger. ``Wilding'' is an epidemic, Derber argues, ``seeping into America mainly from the top.'' Why use the term ``wilding''? ``Wilding includes a vast spectrum of self-centered and self- aggrandizing behavior that harms others.'' Its cause? A corruption of the American Dream. So, to Derber, ``wilders'' include not only Charles Stuart, who murdered his pregnant wife for the insurance, but ``billionaire king of junk'' Michael Milken; Ronald Reagan, who deregulated the S&Ls; and George Bush, who laid waste to Iraq in what the author calls the ``global wilding'' of the Gulf War. At the start, Derber describes the starvation-engendered ``wilding culture'' of Uganda's Ik tribes, whose ``self-preservation'' without limits meant even the killing of children. He then sounds the alarm for today's ``advanced wilding crisis,'' which has arisen in ``the new age of limits and polarization.'' His solution? ``Americans in the 1990's will have to rediscover and refashion a version of the moral dream that can temper the current fever of individualistic materialism and resurrect civil society.'' Derber looks to the team spirit of Michael Jordan and, in a few paragraphs, to ``Confucian'' Japan and to Germany, which prosper while seeming to fulfill basic social obligations of food, housing, and education. Few will argue that America isn't in crisis--but is it really caught up in a ``wilding'' frenzy? Derber uses the term so indiscriminately--to label and link crimes, social problems, political agendas, and causes and effects--that he squanders its meaning and sensationalizes, oversimplifies, or muddies issues that cry out for deep and finely tuned thinking. Every quote from Tocqueville makes you wish that he were still here to speak for himself. -- Copyright ©1992, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

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