A Bee in the Mouth
Anger in America Now
By Peter Wood
Published by Encounter Books. Cloth Edition: 1594030537; 304 pages; $25.95
About the Book:
In A Bee in the Mouth, Peter Wood charts the rise in American life of "new anger"--the replacement of an older ethic of self-control with a new sense that public and private displays of anger are empowering and a legitimate way to pursue one's goals. This new anger conspicuous in our politics, across the spectrum of ideology, but it is also a force in nearly every other domain of our lives: the family, the workplace, sports, entertainment, popular music, the Internet, and even fashion.
The book, which was published in 2007, was ahead of its time. Wood predicted that the norms governing how we relate to one another as citizens, neighbors, friends, and family members were trending toward even further verbal escalation and erosion of self-control. He reminds us that we have a choice about these matters, and proposes that we re-examine whether we really want to make the cult of angry "authenticity" a guiding principle of American culture.
About the Author:
Peter Wood is president of the National Association of Scholars, based in Princeton, New Jersey. He is a former professor of anthropology and also served as provost of The King's College in New York City, and as the president's chief of staff and associate provost at Boston University. His previous book, Diversity: The Invention of a Concept, won the Caldwell Book Award for contributions to higher education. He writes a twice-weekly column for The Chronicle of Higher Education.
What They Are Saying:
"Peter Wood's study of anger and self-righteousness deals with a topic that is central to American public life today. Nothing better explains the acrimonious divisions between Democrats and Republicans when they get to Washington (at home they are more civil). Nothing explains better angry music and the cage combat of Spike TV. Finally, nothing will be a more reliable corrective to the current divisions in our society, which we will have to resolve over the next decade. Wood's book concludes with a call for 'Cooling off,' long overdue. Get it. Read it. You will be a better person for it, and America will be a happier place if more of us take Wood's message seriously."
--Wight Martindale, former managing director, Guggenheim Capital Markets and author, Inside the Cage: A Season at West 4th Street's Legendary Tournament