Overrated Book

Baudrillard, Jean, America (1986).

Most over-rated book? Baudrillard's America. Every generation the French send over someone to figure out what America is all about, and they always see the same thing: no history, nature instead of civilization, people made goofy by material abundance, and the wine and cheese are inferior. Among the jargon and the silliness are occasional insights -- but the price one pays for them is exhorbitant. But then, I prefer California wines, so what do I know.

By Richard Slotkin, Professor, Wesleyan University

Olin Professor of English and American Studies Richard Slotkin has established a reputation as one of the preeminent cultural critics of our times. His award-winning trilogy on the myth of the frontier in America, which includes Regeneration Through Violence, The Fatal Environment, and Gunfighter Nation offers an original and highly provocative interpretation of our national experience. He has also published three historical novels: The Crater: A Novel of the Civil War; The Return of Henry Starr; and Abe: A Novel of the Young Lincoln. In his more than 25 years at Wesleyan, he has helped to establish both the American Studies and the Film Studies Programs. He offers interdisciplinary courses in American literature, history and film. In 1995 he received the Mary C Turpie Award of the American Studies Association for his contributions to teaching and program-building.