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Publisher's Summary

What is the Internet doing to us? What is college for? What are the myths and metaphors we live by? What is the purpose of art, and what can we learn from the past?

These are the questions that William Deresiewicz has been pursuing over the course of his award-winning career. In "The Disadvantages of an Elite Education," his viral piece from 2008, he sounded the alarm about the Ivy League admissions frenzy and the kind of student it produces. In "Solitude and Leadership," his 2009 address at West Point, he issued an early warning about the threats from social media to our inner lives. In "On Political Correctness," from 2017, he dissected the culture of ideological intolerance that has spread, since then, from campus to society at large.

The End of Solitude brings together these and more than forty other essays from such publications as Harper's and the Atlantic and introduces four that are published here for the first time. Drawing on the past, they ask how we got where we are. Scrutinizing the present, they seek to understand how we can live more mindfully, more meaningfully, more freely. Behind their questions lies a fundamental one: What does it mean to be an individual, and how can we sustain our individuality in an age of networks and groups?

©2022 William Deresiewicz (P)2022 Tantor

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