By looking closely at what "words do and perform," Jay makes us aware of the extent to which the language we use mediates and shapes our experience. By helping to distance us from much that we now take for granted, he makes it difficult for us to remain comfortably certain about what we think we know.
Elegantly written and richly insightful, this is a work of cultural criticism and intellectual analysis of the first order.
"In this book we are confronted with Jay's consistently high level of conceptual clarity, his forceful refusal to bend to current trends, and a remarkable generosity toward his intellectual opponents. . . . His ability to connect journalistic controversies with more serious academic concerns is especially evident throughout."—Anson Rabinbach, Princeton University