“Unravel[s] the national psyche that brought our politics to this moment.” — Evan Osnos, The New Yorker
A landmark book, from “one of the world’s most prominent psychiatrists” (The Atlantic): Allen Frances analyzes the nation, viewing the rise of Donald J. Trump as darkly symptomatic of a deeper societal distress that must be understood if we are to move forward. Equally challenging and profound, Twilight of American Sanity “joins a small shelf of essential titles—Arlie Hochschild’s Strangers in Their Own Land is another—that help explain why and how the Trump presidency happened” (Kirkus).
It is comforting to see President Donald Trump as a crazy man, a one-off, an exception—not a reflection on us or our democracy. But in ways I never anticipated, his rise was absolutely predictable and a mirror on our soul. … What does it say about us, that we elected someone so manifestly unfit and unprepared to determine mankind’s future? Trump is a symptom of a world in distress, not its sole cause. Blaming him for all our troubles misses the deeper, underlying societal sickness that made possible his unlikely ascent. Calling Trump crazy allows us to avoid confronting the craziness in our society—if we want to get sane, we must first gain insight about ourselves. Simply put: Trump isn’t crazy, but our society is. —from TWILIGHT OF AMERICAN SANITY
More than three years in the making: the world's leading expert on psychiatric diagnosis, past leader of the American Psychiatric Association’s DSM (“the bible of psychology”), and author of the influential international bestseller on the medicalization of ordinary life, Saving Normal, draws upon his vast experience to deliver a powerful critique of modern American society’s collective slide away from sanity and offers an urgently needed prescription for reclaiming our bearings. Widely cited in recent months as the man who quite literally wrote the diagnostic criteria for narcissism, Allen Frances, M.D., has been at the center of the debate surrounding President Trump’s mental state—quoted in Evan Osnos’s May 2017 New Yorker article (“How Trump Could Get Fired”) and publishing a much-shared opinion letter in the New York Times (“An Eminent Psychiatrist Demurs on Trump’s Mental State”). Frances argues that Trump is "bad, not mad"and that the real question to wrestle with is how we as a country could have chosen him as our leader. Twilight of American Sanity is an essential work for understanding our national crisis.
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About the Author
Allen Frances, MD, is professor emeritus and former chair of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science at Duke University School of Medicine. Dr. Frances was the chairman of the DSM-IV Task Force and a member of the leadership group for DSM-III and DSM-III-R. He is the author of the award-winning international bestseller Saving Normal and the reference work Essentials of Psychiatric Diagnosis. He lives in San Diego, California.
Table of Contents
Prologue Trump Isn't Crazy. We Are 1
Chapter 1 Confronting the Facts of Life 9
Chapter 2 Why We Make Such Bad Decisions 53
Chapter 3 American Exceptionalism 79
Chapter 4 How Could a Trump Triumph? 113
Chapter 5 Trump, Tribalism, and the Attack on Democracy 154
Chapter 6 Defending Democracy: The Path Forward 177
Chapter 7 Sustaining Our Brave New World 215
Chapter 8 The Pursuit of Happiness 234
Chapter 9 Team Earth 268
Epilogue Whither Mankind? 295