The Man without Qualities

George Haskel, a retired professor of German literature, decides to found an institute to promote dullness, as a counterpoint to the hustling celebrity culture of contemporary America. The venture soon attracts a number of brilliant misfits, who transform the project into a political movement, the Authentic Party, that ultimately swells to 8 million members. Events begin to overtake George and his merry band, as luminaries such as Bill Maher, Woody Allen, and Jerry Brown get on board. The final showdown with the White House threatens a coup d’état: Will America undertake a radical shift in the direction of authenticity, or will it remain committed to business as usual?

Writes James Howard Kunstler, author of The Long Emergency and The World Made by Hand, “Morris Berman has a marvelous comic sense of America’s intersecting neuroses and the scary place that they are taking us. He’s a Voltaire for our shaky time and this is his Candide.

And  writer and cultural analyst Curtis White (author of We, Robots, The Science Delusion, The Middle Mind, and Memories of My Father Watching Television) adds, “As much a work of philosophy as a novel, Morris Berman’s The Man Without Qualities offers a new political orientation—None of the above. In the aftermath of politics as usual, partisans of Berman’s Dullness Institute can at last give a hearty Neitzschean laugh and say, “Workers of the World—Relax!”

About Morris Berman

Morris Berman is a poet, novelist, essayist, social critic, and cultural historian. He has written thirteen books and more than 150 articles, and has taught at a number of universities in Europe, North America, and Mexico. He won the Governor's Writer's Award for Washington State in 1990 and was the first recipient of the annual Rollo May Center Grant for Humanistic Studies in 1992. In 2000, The Twilight of American Culture was named a "Notable Book" by the New York Times Book Review, and in 2013 Berman received the Neil Postman Award for Career Achievement in Public Intellectual Activity from the Media Ecology Association. Berman is widely known for his trilogy on human consciousness, consisting of The Reenchantment of the World (1981), Coming to Our Senses (1989), and Wandering God: A Study in Nomadic Spirituality (2000). He is equally or even more widely renowned for his later trilogy, on the subject of the American empire, consisting of The Twilight of American Culture (2000), Dark Ages America: The Final Phase of Empire (2006), and Why America Failed (2011). Dr. Berman lives in Mexico.