Political Science, Department of


Date of this Version



Published in Political Psychology 30:4 (2009), pp. 665-667; doi: 10.1111/j.1467-9221.2009.00720.x Copyright © 2009 International Society of Political Psychology; published by John Wiley. Used by permission.


American Dreamers is intended for a popular audience. Therefore it is unfair to criticize it for not being something it was never meant to be. Still, readers should know that it is written in a breezy style. It presents pleasant, rambling, impressionistic accounts of selected individual dreams rather than crisp, systematic analyses of broadly meaningful patterns. Thankfully, we are spared the discredited Freudian interpretations that easily could suffuse such a book. Unfortunately, in their place we find a set of cloying, new-age interpretations that frequently seem forced. For example, one journalist’s dream of being a drop of water is seen as indicative of the fact “that each of us is composed of matter that was once part of a lake, a star, everything” (p. 96). Maybe; maybe not.