Summary and book reviews of Jumping at Shadows by Sasha Abramsky

Jumping at Shadows

The Triumph of Fear and the End of the American Dream

by Sasha Abramsky

Jumping at Shadows by Sasha Abramsky X
Jumping at Shadows by Sasha Abramsky
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • Published:
    Sep 2017, 336 pages

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
Cynthia C. Scott

Buy This Book

About this Book

Book Summary

A thoughtful and insightful exploration of America's culture of fear.

Why does a disease that killed only a handful of Americans like ebola provoke panic, but the flu - which kills tens of thousands each year - is dismissed with a yawn? Why is an unarmed young black woman who knocks on a stranger's front door to ask for help after her car breaks down perceived to be so threatening that the stranger shoots her dead? In Jumping at Shadows, Sasha Abramsky sets his sights on America's most dangerous epidemic: irrational fear.

In this meditation on the paralyzing terror Americans feel when confronted with something they don't understand - from foreigners to tropical viruses to universal health care - Abramsky delivers an eye-opening analysis of our misconceptions about risk and threats, and how our brains interpret them, both at a neurological level and at a conscious one. What emerges is a journey through a political and cultural landscape that is defined by our fears, which are often misplaced. Ultimately, Abramsky shows that our fears can teach us a great deal about our society, exposing our deeply ingrained racism, classism, xenophobia, and susceptibility to the toxic messages of demagogues.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Reviews

BookBrowse Review

BookBrowse

And therein lies the beating heart of Abramsky's powerful argument. He writes with an urgency, a strong sense of purpose, and honesty about how easily a fear-driven culture—one that even the author readily admits to falling victim to—can abandon its democratic ideals. His research is impeccable, though it is often too impeccable. Jumping at Shadows effectively cuts through the white noise of contemporary America, and is for anyone wondering how we have arrived at this collective crisis point.   (Reviewed by Cynthia C. Scott).

Full Review Members Only (662 words).

Media Reviews

Kirkus Reviews

Abramsky presents a clearly written synthesis of science and sociology. A thoughtful progressive feint against the vulgar fearmongering of the moment.

Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. It takes a strong stomach to handle all the stressors Abramsky investigates - the stories range from Kafkaesque absurdity to nauseating cruelty - but his mild tone and deep compassion ultimately guide the reader to the only rational response: resist inflammatory rhetoric and recover a 'healthier way of living, a calmer, less vengeful notion of community'.

Library Journal

Readers interested in groupthink, sociology, or seeking insight into the current state of American politics will devour this book.

Reader Reviews

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Beyond the Book

The Tucson Samaritans

"I feel sorrow. Anger. And sometimes a little desperation," says Maria Ochoa, one of the people Sasha Abramsky interviews in his book, Jumping at Shadows. As a member of the Tucson Samaritans, a humanitarian group which aids migrants who cross the borders through the Arizona desert, she has reason to be. For more than a decade, she has provided water, food, and medical assistance to border crossers and recovered the bodies of those who didn't make it. Working with the remains of a woman who died in the desert was particularly emotional for her. "We went out to have a service for her, two weeks after they'd picked up her body. And the spot where she'd laid, the outline of her body was still there..."

Yet Ochoa, who is one of many ...

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Readalikes

Readalikes Full readalike results are for members only

If you liked Jumping at Shadows, try these:

Non-members are limited to two results. Become a member
Search Readalikes again
How we choose readalikes
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member and discover books that entertain, engage & enlighten!

Join Today!

Award Winners

  • Book Jacket: Killers of the Flower Moon
    Killers of the Flower Moon
    by David Grann
    Voted 2017 Best Nonfiction by BookBrowse's Subscribers

    The long, sorrowful list of injustices done ...
  • Book Jacket: The Dry
    The Dry
    by Jane Harper
    Voted 2017 Best Debut Novel by BookBrowse's Subscribers

    After receiving a letter from his childhood...
  • Book Jacket: Little Fires Everywhere
    Little Fires Everywhere
    by Celeste Ng
    Voted 2017 Best Fiction by BookBrowse's Subscribers

    Small towns, big drama. Acclaimed author ...
  • Book Jacket: La Belle Sauvage
    La Belle Sauvage
    by Philip Pullman
    Voted 2017 Best Young Adult Novel by BookBrowse's Subscribers

    I wasn't quite sure what to expect ...

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
The Second Mrs. Hockaday by Susan Rivers

At once a love story, a history lesson and a beautifully written tale of forgiveness.

About the book
Join the discussion!

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    The Story of Arthur Truluv
    by Elizabeth Berg

    An emotionally powerful novel from New York Times bestselling author Elizabeth Berg.
    Reader Reviews

Win this book!
Win Autumn

Autumn by Ali Smith

One of the New York Times 10 Best Books of the Year, and a Man Booker Prize Finalist

Enter

Word Play

The Big Holiday Wordplay: $400+ in Prizes

Enter Now

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.