14,765 book reviews and counting...

Books in the Media Update

This website is no longer being updated; theBookseller.com is the home of all books related-content and will continue to be updated with regular articles about books featured in the media. Thank you for using this website, and we hope you join us on theBookseller.com.

The Decadent Society Reviews

The Decadent Society by Ross Douthat

The Decadent Society

How We Became the Victims of Our Own Success

Ross Douthat

Score pending

2 reviews

Imprint: Simon & Schuster
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication date: 14 May 2020
ISBN: 9781476785240

A powerful portrait of how our age in human history, so superficially turbulent, is actually defined by stagnation, repetition, deadlocks, and decay.

3 stars out of 5
Martin Ivens
22 May 2020

"This isn’t the usual right-wing rant"

So far, perhaps so familiar, although huge advances in biomedicine and green energy recently have made Cowen, for one, revise his arguments. Douthat, a soft-hearted Catholic traditionalist, is more interested in giving materialist arguments a spiritual dimension. He quotes the historian Jacques Barzun to the effect that decadence also refers to “institutional decay and cultural and intellectual exhaustion at a high level of material prosperity and technological development”. Our culture has become a cracked record.


4 stars out of 5
Rana Foroohar
20 May 2020

"Ross Douthat’s conservative critique suggests that rich, powerful nations have stalled culturally"

Douthat, a card-carrying Catholic, is one of a small crop of conservative intellectuals in America (including Bret Stephens and David Brooks) that I admire not because I agree with everything they say, but because they are trying to stake out new ground. This sits somewhere between the scorched earth of the right’s failed trickle-down economics and the self-defeating identity politics of the left. As Douthat concludes, even the end of history will end, though he’s wisely not betting on a new Chinese-led world order or some larger clash of cultures between Islam and the west. The cultural visions that he posits might spring up in response to decadence — from a new Eurafrica to a renewal of our aspirations for space exploration — may seem implausible. But at least they are fresh.