A new book by Professor of Philosophy and Humanities Carlin Romano, America the Philosophical (Alfred A. Knopf), was reviewed in The Philadelphia Inquirer May 20. Reviewer Jonathan Ree wrote that Romano pays tribute to “range of outside thinkers” who have “challeneged the ‘great white men’ who used to treat the philosophical world as their own excluve fiedom.”
An adapted introduction from the book is the centerfold of the Chronicle of Higher Education ‘s The Chronicle Review in it’s May 15 issue.
Romano spoke at the Free Library of Philadelphia May 21 to launch America the Philosophical, a first stop on an 18-event national tour that includes stops in New York, Boston, Washington, Princeton, Chicago, San Francisco, Berkeley, Los Angeles, and San Diego.
“Genuinely exciting and provocative,” writes philosopher and novelist Umberto Eco on the back of the print edition. “If Romano wanted to discombobulate the traditional landscape of American philosophy, he achieved his goal.”
Two leading pre-publication reviews have lauded the book. Kirkus, in a starred review, wrote that “Romano’s grip on his subject is fierce,” calling the book “a tour de force—encyclopedic, entertaining and enlightening.” Publishers Weekly, which also gave it a starred review, credited Romano with “illuminating anecdotes and an addictive prose style,” adding, “Romano renders complex ideas lucid without sacrificing depth of
understanding or his splendid sense of humor. His breathtaking intellectual range and passion will make every reader want to be a philosopher.”
The book rejects the myth that America is “unphilosophical,” arguing that America today towers as the most philosophical culture in the history of the world, an unprecedented marketplace of truth and argument that far surpasses ancient Greece or anyplace else. Romano takes on the widely held belief that ours is an anti–intellectual society, arguing that ordinary Americans see through phony philosophical justifications faster than anyone else, and that the best of our thinkers abandon artificial academic debates for fresh intellectual enterprises such as cyberphilosophy.
Romano is Critic-at-Large of The Chronicle of Higher Education and served as literary critic of The Philadelphia Inquirer for 25 years. His criticism has appeared in The Nation, The New Yorker, The New York Times, The Village Voice, Harper’s, The American Scholar, The Times Literary Supplement and many other publications. A former president of the National Book Critics Circle, he was a finalist for the 2006 Pulitzer Prize in Criticism, cited for “bringing new vitality to the classic essay across a formidable array of topics.” He lives in Philadelphia.