We Need New Stories: The Myths That Subvert Freedom

Norton. May 2021. 224p. ISBN 9781324007296. $23.95. POL SCI
Guardian columnist Malik invites readers to analyze the media environment and political and cultural landscape of the early 21st century, with a keen, critical eye. The book’s chapters each focus on a different myth that is prevalent in Western discourse, including the ideas that free speech is under unprecedented attack, that political correctness and identity politics are out of control, and that movements for gender equality have “gone too far.” The author is excellent at revealing the oversimplification and outright falsehoods used by the myths’ greatest advocates and explaining how opportunists have successfully used these myths to promote harmful politicians and policies. There are detailed sections about the Me Too movement and the use of male power to subordinate women, along with a history of how myths can consume their believers. This volume is worth reading and rereading; dense with information and arguments, it has so much to unpack and demands active engagement from its readers.
VERDICT Readers seeking a high-level analysis of political discourse will most appreciate Malik’s work, and it would make an excellent addition to college syllabi and library shelves.
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