American Fear: The Causes and Consequences of High Anxiety, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

American Fear

The Causes and Consequences of High Anxiety, 1st Edition

By Peter N. Stearns


244 pages

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Americans have become excessively fearful, and manipulation through fear has become a significant problem in American society, with real impact on policy. By using data from 9/11, this book makes a distinctive contribution to the exploration of recent fear, but also by developing a historical perspective, the book shows how and why distinctive American fears have emerged over the past several decades.


Peter N. Stearns, the pioneering historian of emotions, has written a timely book that historicizes the 9/11 climate of fear in the United States. In American Fear, Stearns argues taht "we have come, as a nation, to fear excessively," and he seeks to explain why this is so.

The Journal of American History

Table of Contents

Part 1: Establishing the Cause for Fear Excess 1. Introducing Fear 2. The Distinctiveness of American Fear Part 2: Causes and Contexts 3. Searching for Causes 4. The Roots of American Fear: Traditions 5. From Science Fiction to Real Death: New Contexts for Fear Part 3: The Decisive Changes: Redefining Fear and Risk in Life and in Media 6. Fearing Fear: A New Socialization 7. New Approaches to Risk: Lawyers and Bicycle Helmets 8. Self-Scaring and Advertising: The Commerce Factor Part 4: The Exhaustion of War 9. At Your Own Risk 10. A Deluge of Crises: Foreign Fears in the Past Century Part 5: Consequences and Remedies 11. Conclusion: The Lessons of American Fear

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HISTORY / General
HISTORY / United States / General