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Publisher's Summary

After the staggering slaughter of back-to-back world wars, the West embraced the ideal of the "open society". The promise: By liberating ourselves from the old attachments to nation, clan, and religion that had fueled centuries of violence, we could build a prosperous world without borders, freed from dogmas and managed by experts.  

But the populism and nationalism that are upending politics in America and Europe are a sign that after three generations, the postwar consensus is breaking down. With compelling insight, R. R. Reno argues that we are witnessing the return of the "strong gods" - the powerful loyalties that bind men to their homeland and to one another.  

Reacting to the calamitous first half of the 20th century, our political, cultural, and financial elites promoted open borders, open markets, and open minds. But this never-ending project of openness has hardened into a set of anti-dogmatic dogmas that destroy the social solidarity rooted in family, faith, and nation. While they worry about the return of fascism, our societies are dissolving.

©2019 R. R. Reno (P)2020 Tantor

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  • Joshua K. Jones
  • 27-06-2020

Mandatory reading for disenchanted souls

Written for those who see the world seemingly falling apart around them and are wondering, "how did we get here?" A well documented dive into the history of modern liberalism, the rejection of beauty, order, and tradition, and replacing them with ever greater openness, diversity, and fluidity, where and how it went wrong, and what we can expect in the future.

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  • B. B.
  • 08-06-2020

Good book

Excellent overview of what's wrong with the western mindset labeled as the post war consensus. There's a good education within for non-traditional "free market" obsessed capitalist conservatives and libertarians as well as liberal progressives to be educated on the obscene overlap between their ideological failings. Traditionalists will not find much new information here but as far as having everything laid out nicely in one relatively short audiobook it's well worth your support and a listen.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 21-12-2020

Mandatory reading

A refreshing take on the current political structure and how America/civilization got to where it is.

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  • Mfm Pretorius
  • 11-12-2020

Introducing the destructive post-WWII consensus.

Even though it is more academic than expected it made a very clear argument about the forces working in on us.

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  • good time johnny
  • 27-09-2020

Great framework for understanding our current predicament

I’m surprised I haven’t heard more about this book. It’s description of the “open society” consensus that formed after the turbulent years of WWI through WWII was something I hadn’t heard of or considered before. However it seems accurate and explains a lot about what has happened since then, and the troubled times we live in now. It also provides some hope in the idea of returning to “the strong gods” that the open society proponents tried to do away with.

The people that have been pushing the open society are basically globalists, but the term “globalist” is such a loaded term now that I don’t like to use it. This book gave me less loaded language to discuss the issue

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  • Joel Foreman
  • 08-07-2020

Strong critical review with weak conclusion

The author does a fine job reviewing and making accessible his select intellectual history of the postwar “open” mind movement. This is the book’s strength. When Reno pivots to his prescriptive response he leaves his scholarly self behind and depends on unsubstantiated and unpersuasive biases. The book is well worth reading for it’s critical review which will lead readers like me to conclude. Contrary to Reno, that openness is desirable for the advanced civilization we all hope America will become.

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  • David Landau
  • 18-01-2021

Essential for saving the west

This book shows how individualism of the modern era erases the beauty from this world. In my opinion it should be mandatory in political science degrees in universitys.

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