Fantasyland: How America Went Haywire: A 500-Year History

Fantasyland: How America Went Haywire: A 500-Year History

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • “The single most important explanation, and the fullest explanation, of how Donald Trump became president of the United States . . . nothing less than the most important book that I have read this year.”—Lawrence O’Donnell

How did we get here?

In this sweeping, eloquent history of America, Kurt Andersen shows that what’s happening in our country today—this post-factual, “fake news” moment we’re all living through—is not something new, but rather the ultimate expression of our national character. America was founded by wishful dreamers, magical thinkers, and true believers, by hucksters and their suckers. Fantasy is deeply embedded in our DNA.

Over the course of five centuries—from the Salem witch trials to Scientology to the Satanic Panic of the 1980s, from P. T. Barnum to Hollywood and the anything-goes, wild-and-crazy sixties, from conspiracy theories to our fetish for guns and obsession with extraterrestrials—our love of the fantastic has made America exceptional in a way that we've never fully acknowledged. From the start, our ultra-individualism was attached to epic dreams and epic fantasies—every citizen was free to believe absolutely anything, or to pretend to be absolutely anybody. With the gleeful erudition and tell-it-like-it-is ferocity of a Christopher Hitchens, Andersen explores whether the great American experiment in liberty has gone off the rails.

Fantasyland could not appear at a more perfect moment. If you want to understand Donald Trump and the culture of twenty-first-century America, if you want to know how the lines between reality and illusion have become dangerously blurred, you must read this book.


“This is a blockbuster of a book. Take a deep breath and dive in.”—Tom Brokaw

“[An] absorbing, must-read polemic . . . a provocative new study of America’s cultural history.”Newsday

“Compelling and totally unnerving.”The Village Voice

“A frighteningly convincing and sometimes uproarious picture of a country in steep, perhaps terminal decline that would have the founding fathers weeping into their beards.”The Guardian

“This is an important book—the indispensable book—for understanding America in the age of Trump.”—Walter Isaacson, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Leonardo da Vinci

Title:Fantasyland: How America Went Haywire: A 500-Year History
Edition Language:English
Format Type:

    Fantasyland: How America Went Haywire: A 500-Year History Reviews

  • Diane S ?

    It seems like a great many of American citizens are living in a Fantasyland, a land where we can fool ourselves that those like minded people, people who share our beliefs, are n fact correct, truth t...

  • BlackOxford

    On Faithful TruthinessUmberto Eco spotted it first in the 1980’s: The United States exists in a condition of hyperreality, within which the authentic cannot be distinguished easily from the fake (ht...

  • David Rush

    Whooo! That was 442 pages of one angry guy venting. The first half has some pretty cool history anecdotes and when he makes value judgments I almost always agree with him at least in the beginning. Bu...

  • Stephanie *Extremely Stable Genius*

    I was born in the mid sixties, and I don’t recall anyone being overly religious. I don’t remember any of my classmates talking about Jesus, unless it was in reference to baby Jesus and we were doi...

  • Peter Mcloughlin

    This book is a witty and diverting romp through the horror of our current delusional culture and broken system. It is fun and apocalyptic at the same time. The author is funny and hits you with zinger...

  • Mehrsa

    It's been a long time since I've tried to purposely read a book more slowly than I otherwise would because I just did not want it to end. This book was so riveting and interesting that I made myself s...

  • Laurie

    This is a very interesting, and, I think, valuable book to have come out at this time and place. Surveys he cites show that one fifth of Americans think the 9/11 attacks were an inside job by American...

  • Gary  Beauregard Bottomley

    I am in the minority regarding this book. I found it tedious, shallow and worst of all familiar. The author is out of his depth in his overall story that he’s trying to tell when he connects all of ...

  • Lauren

    Remember when 'viral' was a bad thing, referring only to the spread of disease? Same goes for what you read and watch and believe. Andersen traces 500 years of cultural history that lead us to this m...

  • Chelsey

    I first became suspicious when I saw this book does not contain a bibliography of any kind.If you're writing a book about our current era of "fake news" and "alternative facts," and how we became a so...