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Publisher's Summary

An award-winning historian untangles the roots of America's culture of fear, and argues that it imperils our democracy
For the last 60 years, fear has seeped into every area of American life: Americans own more guns than citizens of any other country, sequester themselves in gated communities, and retreat from public spaces. And yet, crime rates have plummeted, making life in America safer than ever. Why, then, are Americans so afraid - and where does this fear lead to?
In this remarkable work of social history, Elaine Tyler May demonstrates how our obsession with security has made citizens fear each other and distrust the government, making America less safe and less democratic. Fortress America charts the rise of a muscular national culture, undercutting the common good. Instead of a thriving democracy of engaged citizens, we have become a paranoid, bunkered, militarized, and divided vigilante nation.
©2017 Elaine Tyler May (P)2018 Hachette Audio
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Critic Reviews

"America founded itself on the principles of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, but for much of the last century, it has been increasingly seized by fear, suspicion, and anxiety. Elaine Tyler May has provided a lucid, accessible, and sweeping account of this national nervous breakdown. With acute intelligence and supple prose, she separates distortion from reality, fever dream from waking truth." (Samuel Freedman, professor, Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism)
"In making a solid case for our country's overinvestment in personal and national security, May asks a germane question: are we focusing on the right threats?" ( Kirkus Reviews)
"Few historians have probed the hidden undercurrents of the Cold War as perceptively and brilliantly as Elaine Tyler May. In Homeward Bound, she explained how containment abroad seeped into America's homes, and now, in her equally penetrating Fortress America, she reveals the fears and insecurities in those homes that emerged to elect our 45th President. A major contribution and a must-read to understand the origins of the Age of Trump." (Martin J. Sherwin, University Professor at George Mason University, Pulitzer Prize [with co-author Kai Bird] winner for American Prometheus)
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