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Jean Baudrillard was born in Rheims in 1929 and now lives in Paris. From 1966 to 1987 he taught sociology at the University of Nanterre. Among his works translated into English are In the Shadow of the Silent Majorities, Simulations and Simulacra and (forthcoming from Verso) Cool Memories.
Like de Tocqueville before him, Baudrillard, a French social scientist, is in search of the American ethos. His little essay, however, lacks the substance, perspicacity, and originality of a Democracy in America . Rather, Baudrillard's analysis tends to be grandiloquent and sometimes hackneyed, as when he observes ``Americans believe in facts, but not in facticity , '' and ``The cinema and TV are America's reality!'' In addition, the book is overpriced. Not recommended. Kenneth F. Kister, Poynter Inst. for Media Studies, St. Petersburg, Fla.
'Since de Toqueville, French thinkers have been fascinated with America. But when it comes to mysterious paradoxes and lyrical complexity no French intellectual matches Jean Baudrillard in contemplating the New World... [He] has become a sharp-shooting Lone Ranger of the post-Marxist left." -- New York Times "The collection of wild, often hilarious postcards from his trip to America contains some of the year's most orignal and beautiful writing." -- New Statesman and Society " ... occasionally provocative and almost always infuriating ... America is filled with perceptive, almost poetic observations." -- Rolling Stone "A mixture of crazy notions and dead-on insights, America is a valuable (and voluable) picture of what Mr. Baudrillard calls 'the only remaining primitive society' -- ours." -- New York Times Book Review