'Lazere's [book] is heaven-sent and will provide a crucial link in the chain of understanding how conflicts are structured and, most importantly, how they can be rationally addressed - a healthy antidote to the scepticism that has become so pervasive in academic life.' Alan Hausman, Hunter College This innovative book addresses the need for college students to develop critical reading, writing, and thinking skills for self-defence in the contentious arena of American civic rhetoric. In a groundbreaking reconception of composition theory, it presents a comprehensive critical perspective on American public discourse and practical methods for its analysis. Exercises following the text sections and readings help students understand the ideological positions and rhetorical patterns that underlie opposing viewpoints in current controversies - such as the growing inequality of wealth in America and its impact on the finances of college students - as expressed in paired sets of readings from the political left and right. Widely debated issues of whether objectivity is possible and whether there is a liberal or conservative bias in news and entertainment media, as well as in education itself, are foregrounded as topics for rhetorical analysis.
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