Cultural Amnesia

Ever since investing in a Kindle, I can’t seem to stop reading. I just wrapped up Cultural Amnesia by Australian expat author, entertainer, critic, TV personality, thinker, and general all-round intellectual Renaissance man, Clive James. The Kindle is relevant here, because the man’s vocabulary is so astronomically epic that I had to resort to referencing the built-in Oxford English Dictionary about fifteen times per page. Weighing in at 900+ pages, I’d probably shy away from attempting to pick up the paperback version anyway, for fear of pulling a muscle. Whereas the novels of his I’ve read were hilarious and entertaining, this collection of essays is much more serious and somewhat heavy going. It largely deals with the most important thinkers of the 20th Century (including a couple of earlier historical figures who had a large influence on the 20th Century). As the title strongly hints, it reinforces some of the most important lessons that the time-period had to teach us, especially political and philosophical lessons about Communism, Nazism and Fascism that perhaps have the potential to fade all too quickly.

clive james cultural amnesia

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