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Cultural Amnesia: Necessary Memories From History and the Arts by Clive James
Cultural Amnesia is an accumulation of a lifetime of Clive James' essays, arranged alphabetically by title. He examines many of the greatest thinkers, humanists, musicians, artists, and philosophers of the twentieth century, often using them just as a starting point for his own musings about philosophy, art, history, literature, culture, and modern life. It's a collection whose sum total is James' claim that we need a universal humanism and his ideas how that might be achieved. Cultural Amnesia has received mostly positive reviews with the Boston Globe saying, "Cultural Amnesia, with its encyclopedic length and organization and the intense jostle of its ideas, is not to be read at a sitting. It is to be dipped into over weeks and months. If the dipper occasionally brings up exasperation, it brings up astonished delight far more often; and, best of all, exasperated astonished delight."