The critics are divided on Susan Faludi's new polemic The Terror Dream, in which she argues that 9/11 caused a societal return to stereotypical gender roles. On one hand, Pulitzer Prize winning badass Michiko Kakutani calls the Terror Dream, "the sort of tendentious, self-important, sloppily reasoned book that gives feminism a bad name." On the other, Michi's fellow New York Times critic John Leonard says that Dream is a "splendid provocation of a book, levitating to keep company with Hunter Thompson's fear and loathing, Leslie Fielder's love and death and Edmund Wilson's patriotic gore." Oooh, abattle royale at the Sulzberger's house! Since we haven't yet read the book, and we assume most of you haven't either, we've put together an array of assessments from the rest of the peanut gallery, (including an inquiry into what Faludi has been smoking), after the jump.
New York Times: Kakutani
Errors of logic are typical of this ill-conceived and poorly executed book — a book that stands as one of the more nonsensical volumes yet published about the aftermath of 9/11.
New York Times: Leonard
Feminism, like a trampoline, has made possible this splendid provocation of a book, levitating to keep company with Hunter Thompson's fear and loathing, Leslie Fielder's love and death and Edmund Wilson's patriotic gore.
Los Angeles Times
Throughout the book, Faludi provides stunning and depressing evidence of a concerted effort to silence women and roll back women's rights in the wake of 9/11 and to transform the attack on a U.S. financial symbol where men and women worked side by side into an assault on family and hearth.
San Jose Mercury News
Anyone who blames the weird, conflicted state of contemporary womanhood on the cultural fallout of Sept. 11, 2001, isn't just burning her bras but smoking them.
Her thesis may arouse skepticism, but she marshals provocative evidence, documenting such phenomena as a decline of women's bylines in national newspapers and a forty-per-cent drop in federal sex-discrimination prosecutions.
[The Terror Dream] does not mention Joseph Campbell and his "The Hero With a Thousand Faces," or Robert Bly and his "Iron John," or Carl Jung and his theories, but hers is a work of cultural interpretation on the order of theirs.
Winnipeg Free Press
Faludi proposes that post-9/11 myth making owes its provenance to the frontier narratives emerging from the Indian wars of the 17th and 18th centuries, especially those concerning abductions...It's an original and audacious thesis, but an oddly unsatisfying and problematic one. Her cultural critique is undermined by a lack of comparability.