Babbitt - cover

Babbitt

By Sinclair Lewis

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This book has 1 recommendation

Ryan Holiday (Founder/Brass Check)

I don’t think there was anyone in the 1920s who would have believed that this book would be completely forgotten. By all accounts, it was destined to be a classic critical novel of the American Dream. You can’t read anything about the ’20s and ’30s that doesn’t comment on Babbitt (sold 130,000 copies its first year, HL Mencken loved it, it won Lewis a Nobel Prize). Calling someone a “Babbitt” was considered an insult and the phrase became a constant topic of conversation in the media and literature.

Yet, here we are 80-90 years later: you’ve probably never heard of the term or the book. Perhaps it’s because the biting satire of American suburban middle class life cuts deeper now than it did then. It doesn’t matter if the book is old, it’s still very funny and at its core, a critique of conformity and what Thoreau called the “life of quiet desperation.

Amazon description

Lewis’ scathing satire of middle-class America, Babbitt explores the social pressures of conformity and materialism. It tells the story of George Babbitt, a middle-aged family man who becomes disillusioned with both conformity and his belated attempts at rebellion. Set in the fictional Midwestern town of Zenith, Babbitt offers a powerful critique of the American Dream and all it entails.

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