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Book reviews for "Riesman,_David" sorted by average review score:

The Lonely Crowd, Revised edition: A Study of the Changing American Character
Published in Paperback by Yale Univ Pr (01 March, 2001)
Authors: David Riesman, Nathan Glazer, Reuel Denney, and Todd Gitlin
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Hard to Read? You Gotta Be Kidding.
I'm surprised the reader who said Riesman's book was hard to read had the basic skills even to write a review. The Lonely Crowd is not only easy to read, it's extremely easy to read. Hegel and Heidegger are hard to read. Quine's Word and Object and Carnap's Philosophy and Logical Syntax are hard to read. In terms of sociology, I guess Parsons had his moments. But Reisman? Come on. That reviewer must have had a steady diet of Harry Potter books to think that The Lonely Crowd is difficult to get through.

How We Got Here
A classic of American sociology, Riesman's book still rings true to a great extent in its preternatural sense of the (then) coming break between the modern and post-modern era. These days Reisman's characterological framework of social personality types -- tradition oriented, inner-directed, other-directed -- seems too pat, too simplistic, too culturally bound. Nevertheless, whether one believes in it or not, the framework remains so compelling that the reader begins to group all one's friends and acquaintances in one or another of the categories. It's the power of imaginative writing that holds our attention in spite of the too neat framework, proving once again that fiction is always more compelling than sociology. Crisp and evocative metaphors work every time! Two memorable metaphors -- the inner-directed person has a "gryoscope" implanted in him by his parents and his society, while the later other-directed personality is equipped with radar to seek out social cues, are deservedly famous. So are his distinctions between the way these different cultures control their members through negative self-assesment: tradition-oriented = shame; inner-directed = guilt; other-directed = anxiety.

To his credit, Riesman bends over backwards to say that people can belong to all categories at once through various manifestations of their characters. Nevertheless, the categories are so simple, and feel so descriptively true, that the tendency to believe in the categories and Riesman's historical sketch of how each comes about almost our overwhelms skepticism. Almost. But as Todd Gitlin points out in the foreward, Riesman's theories are tied to a population theory (other-directed societies could supposedly be distinguished by their lower birth rates in combination with economic prosperity) that was almost immediately overturned by the baby boom in the years immediately following the publication of the book. Riesman himself in the reprint of his introduction from a previous edition points out the flaw in the population projection, recanting this part of his theory. And although the flaw is minor in the sense of the meat of the book -- psychologizing various populations at certain stages in their economic development, it does began after awhile to discredit even the psychologizing. For so tightly does he link the other-directed to a phenomenon which is almost immediately proved wrong, that it calls into question everything else he contends. Remember the book "The Population Bomb" which predicted in the 60s that world would soon be overrun with humanity? It didn't take into consideration famine, disease, war -- the usual plagues of humanity. There is nothing so humbling as building a theory on bad demographic predictions.

Whether or not the theories about social character are true, they were extraordinarily influential at the time, shaping ideas about the American character and American society that persist fifty years later. There are parts of this book -- most of it in fact -- that feels vital and true to this day. The question is, however, is this because the ideas contained herein have become so dissolved into the cultural discourse that they have become true in the retelling, or are they literally true for their time and so remain?

That's part of the fun of reading this old chestnut -- deciding for yourself!

Indispensable guide to the modern American character
This is a superb book, a masterpiece of American sociology. Riesman's eye for detail and his capacity for historical sweep are prodigious. This is not a dry book, though it is probably more academic than your average customer can stomach; but Lonely Crowd stands with the work of Dwight MacDonald, C. Wright Mills, Daniel Bell as a vade mecum to the character of our country. Don't be fooled by this other review --Riesman added to the language with his descriptors "inner" and "outer" directed; if you are raising children, fending off Disney and Time Warner, these are critical weapons in your arsenal.

Serbia's Secret War: Propaganda and the Deceit of History (Eastern European Studies , No 2)
Published in Paperback by Texas A&M University Press (February, 1997)
Authors: Philip J. Cohen and David Riesman
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Interesting facts, not always completely objective
The author conducted a great deal of meticulous research to shed light on an under-researched area: Serbian anti-Semitism and Nazi collaboration. As such, "Serbia's Secret War" provides a wealth of information both to the general reader and more serious students of the former Yugoslavia. However, just the fact that this book appeared in the 1990s in the wake of the wars in Croatia and Bosnia makes it seem like a contribution to the propaganda war among the Serbs, Croats and Bosnians and their various sympathizers abroad. Often this propaganda has involved diatribes about the various atrocities committed by members of one or more of these nations during World War II, which is then projected onto the current situation. To his credit, Cohen does try to avoid such polemics, but his very treatment of the interwar and W.W.II period in Yugoslavia sometimes falls prey to a certain bias. Thus, there are some sections of the book which seem to take a very heavy-handed view of Serbian complicity for crimes against Jews and others during the Second World War, while downplaying (but by no means denying) those committed by the Croats. Even so, this book is worth reading, and particular attention should be paid to the writer's sources, because the most revealing and essential aspect of Cohen's text is the fact that far from being free of anti-Semitism (which Serbian propagandists often claim), Serbia was just as susceptible to this form of racism as any other Central and Southeast European people.

serbia's SECRET WAR
Serbia was not "occupied" by the Nazis in contrary they fully
cooperated with them throughout the WW2.
They even created their Serbian Gestapo.They even killed and massacred their own people
throughout Serbia and elsewhere.
They even wore Nazis uniforms and pretended that they don't speak serbian...

The 1-st chapter:
"In 1937 a political advisor to the Royal yugoslav GOVN,Vasa Cubrilovic draws a plan (memo) called : "The expulsions
of the Albanians".
He is believed to be the conspirator in the 1914 assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo.
The event that gave wings to the World War 1.
Cubrilovic wrote that memo in the hope of "greater serbia" the serbs were to create". Chapter 1 = more scary than any fictionous horror movie I have ever seen.

Chapter 2
"Tripartite pact gets signed in Vienna by two yu GOVN representatives and soon after AXIS forces invade yugoslavia.
serbian officials such Milan Nedic(serb president which is shown in the photo with "fuhrer" hitler),D.Ljotic,Mihailovic
(the head leader of chetnicks) and a lot more start collaborating with Germans more than ever.
It all seems their day has come - and it has indeed.It is important to add that during this time serb president finally manages to meet with Hitler so he could get some bargains, in the return of serb collaboration with Nazis. Nedic believed that this was the most essential time for the creation of "greater serbia" but hitler didn't feel like it and left that proposal for further consideration until..."

...and so many interesting moments that took place during the
nazi times.

A cook, in order to make the food needs ingredients.
A car, needs petrol in order to get going.
And the writer needs researching before he gets to publish a book. Those who write without researching - even if they manage to publish is the same as if they didn't publish it at all because not so many people would read it.Philip J. Cohen has made a restless research and study on serbia's history and he came up with a Great book, that the world had awaited for ages.If only this book was written a bit earlier,and if only this book was read as soon as it got out by prominent figures in the international governments - I am more than convinced that they would have looked at serbia's genocide with different eyes.
Perhaps a lot of my friends and people I knew (all civilians)
would be alive today - spared of serb terror, specifically in
the 1998-1999 war.

Sets the record straight
During the wars of 1991-95 in the former Yugoslavia the military aggression of Milosevic's Serbia involved also a campaign of historical revisionism. Serbian nationalists falsified Yugoslav history, claiming that during World War II it was only the Serbs who had resisted the Nazis while the Croats, Muslims and Albanians had all been collaborators. In presenting to the world this dishonest picture of events, the Serbian nationalists sought to demonise their fellow Yugoslavs so as to justify their own war of conquest.

Dr Cohen's excellent book sets the record straight. As a Jew who is disgusted by the way Serbian nationalists exploited the history of the Holocaust for their own genocidal purposes, Cohen sets out to expose their historical revisionism and does so convincingly. He proves on the one hand that Serbian nationalists collaborated extensively with the Nazis; wartime Serbia's quisling leader Milan Nedic was one of Hitler's most loyal allies while the Chetniks of Draza Mihailovic joined with the Axis forces in attacking the Partisans and even handed over Jews to the Nazis. On the other hand, Cohen demonstrates the massive participation of Croats, Slovenes and other Yugoslavs in the Partisan resistance.

It would be wrong to conclude from this book that the Serbs as a people are somehow inherently pro-Nazi or prone to violence and aggression. The Serbs, like the Croats and Muslims, had their share of fascists and war-criminals; but like the Croats and Muslims they also had their share of anti-fascists and resisters. The xenophobic propaganda of Milosevic and his supporters in the West has done much to obscure the history of extensive COOPERATION between Serbs, Croats and Muslims that took place during World War II. In countering this propaganda, Cohen has helped to restore a more balanced picture of events.

Faces in the Crowd: Individual Studies in Character and Politics,
Published in Textbook Binding by Yale Univ Pr (January, 1964)
Author: David, Riesman
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Interesting study which was poorly designed & executed.
A sociological study. Premise is that individual "Faces
in the Crowd" can be characterized in a spectrum along two dimensions.

Historical based-(tradition-directed, inner-directed, &


Non-historical based-(adjusted,anomic(quasi-non-adjusted),
& autonomous).

In this context, by spectrum, means that no-one is purely
polarized(discretely typed) in either of these dimensions,
but has an affinity closest towards one of the discreet
types in a spectrum along each dimension.

Given this characterization, the author asks, what can we
predict about an individual's socio-political attributes -
ie.) political apathy, political activism, political dogmas
or lack thereof, sense of personal success socially and
politically or lack thereof among others.

The author documents 21 individual cases. The author provides
NO summary NOR conclusions based on these 21 individual cases
to answer his thesis concerning what can we predict about the
dependent variables given independent variables classification
of an individual.

From my reading of these cases, there appears NO discernable pattern
between the independent and dependent variables, which
is the declared intent of this author's study to discover. I
would expect some kind of statistical control group along with
a multi-regressional cross sectional analysis to determine statistical
correlation between the variables, but this author's
treatment is purely verbal and anecdotally based with NO grounding
in statistics or math.

Finally, if you are looking for reading material in this domain
that is stylistically direct, concise, coherent, and clear - look

Abundance for What?
Published in Paperback by Transaction Pub (October, 1993)
Author: David Riesman
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Abundance for what? And other essays
Published in Unknown Binding by ()
Author: David Riesman
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The Academic Revolution
Published in Paperback by Transaction Pub (February, 2002)
Authors: Chris Jenks, Christopher Jencks, and David Riesman
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Academic Values and Mass Education#(McGraw-Hill Paperbacks)
Published in Paperback by McGraw-Hill (May, 1975)
Author: David Riesman
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Conflict, Retrenchment, and Reappraisal: The Administration of Higher Education
Published in Hardcover by University of Illinois Press (December, 1979)
Authors: Clark Kerr, David Riesman, and Harlan Cleveland
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Constraint and Variety in American Education
Published in Textbook Binding by Univ of Nebraska Pr (November, 1977)
Author: David Riesman
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Conversations in Japan Modernization, Politics, and Culture
Published in Paperback by University of Chicago Press (Trd) (June, 1967)
Authors: David Riesman and Evelyn T. Riesman
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