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Synopsis

There are sons who grow up unhappily believing that no matter what they do, they cannot please their fathers. These are the loser sons, a group of historical men as varied as President George W. Bush, Osama bin Laden, and Mohammed Atta. Their names quickly illustrate that not only are their problems serious, but they also make serious problems for others, expanding to whole nations. When God is conceived and inculcated as an angry and impossible-to-please father, the problems can last for generations. In Loser Sons, Avital Ronell draws on current philosophy, literary history, and political events to confront the grim fact that divested boys become terrifying men. Looking beyond our current moment, she interrogates the problems of authority, paternal fantasy, and childhood as they have been explored and exemplified by Franz Kafka, Goethe's Faust, Benjamin Franklin, Jean-Francois Lyotard, Hannah Arendt, Alexandre Kojeve, and Immanuel Kant. Shockingly honest, Ronell addresses the implications of her insights directly to her readers, challenging them to think through their own notions of authority and their responses to it.

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