Jumping at Shadows
Why is an unarmed young black woman who knocks on a stranger's front door to ask for help after her car breaks down perceived to be so threatening that he shoots her dead? Why do we fear infrequent acts of terrorism more far more common acts of violence? Why does a disease like Ebola, which killed only a handful of Americans, provoke panic, whereas the flu--which kills tens of thousands each year--is dismissed with a yawn?Jumping at Shadows is Sasha Abramsky's searing account of America's most dangerous epidemic: irrational fear. Taking readers on a dramatic journey through a divided nation, where everything from immigration to disease, gun control to health care has become fodder for fearmongers and conspiracists, he delivers an eye-popping analysis of our misconceptions about risk and threats. What emerges is a shocking portrait of a political and cultural landscape that is, increasingly, defined by our worst fears and rampant anxieties.Ultimately, Abramsky shows that how we calculate risk and deal with fear can teach us a great deal about ourselves, exposing deeply ingrained strains of racism, classism, and xenophobia within our culture, as well as our growing susceptibility to the toxic messages of demagogues.

Jumping at Shadows Details

TitleJumping at Shadows
Author
ReleaseSep 5th, 2017
PublisherNation Books
ISBN-139781568585192
Rating
GenreNonfiction, Politics, Sociology

Jumping at Shadows Review

  • Jennifer
    January 1, 1970
    Although this supposedly looks at how we incorrectly calculate relative risk in our daily lives, the first chapter was a condemnation of Donald Trump as a demagogue and of his supporters as overly reactive to America's current cultural and political situation. The author then moved on to how the media prompts us to be psychologically predisposed to fear "the other." While he makes many valid points over the course of the book, especially, in my opinion, about parenting in modern America, I felt Although this supposedly looks at how we incorrectly calculate relative risk in our daily lives, the first chapter was a condemnation of Donald Trump as a demagogue and of his supporters as overly reactive to America's current cultural and political situation. The author then moved on to how the media prompts us to be psychologically predisposed to fear "the other." While he makes many valid points over the course of the book, especially, in my opinion, about parenting in modern America, I felt the volume as a whole to be too much a liberal condemnation of blue collar America, with too little discussion of why that group has come to their views. While the author does indicate that a great deal of our misplaced risk assessment comes from the mainstream media's "if it bleeds it leads" philosophy of news, the only media outlet he specifically calls out is Fox News. Further, there is no call for responsible journalism instead of the sensationalism that pervaids the media of all genres and networks. I'm increasingly frustrated by authors or speakers decrying what they view as racism and xenophobia without addressing WHY people feel this way and making some concrete suggestions for how we could all come together, idealistic as that may seem.
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  • Robert S
    January 1, 1970
    Jumping at Shadows tackles the important topic of fear in the American psyche and its impact on our everyday lives.Abramsky tries to dive into why Americans fear terrorism or plane crashes more than car crashes even though the latter kills far more in any given year among other topics.The author has some really good points in this book but I would have appreciated some more analytics and less personal opinions. I also think the book would have benefitted more with conversations from average ever Jumping at Shadows tackles the important topic of fear in the American psyche and its impact on our everyday lives.Abramsky tries to dive into why Americans fear terrorism or plane crashes more than car crashes even though the latter kills far more in any given year among other topics.The author has some really good points in this book but I would have appreciated some more analytics and less personal opinions. I also think the book would have benefitted more with conversations from average everyday people who feel this way.
    more
  • Ralph Cooper
    January 1, 1970
    Quick read with plenty of thought provoking take-away "conversation starters."
  • Venessa
    January 1, 1970
    Watch for my review in an upcoming issue of Library Journal.
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