When she was diagnosed with cancer, Barbara Ehrenreich entered a
world ruled by "the tyranny of positive thinking," where illness - like
unemployment, lack of health care, loneliness or any other societal
problem - was to be viewed as a sort of gift, and anger as
an act of treason. In an excerpt from a new book, she explores the cost
of an ideological force in American culture that encourages us to deny
real misfortune and blame ourselves for our fate.
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"Despite all the helpful information, the more fellow victims I
discovered and read, the greater my sense of isolation grew. No one...seemed to share my sense of outrage
over the disease and the available treatments. What causes it and why is it so common, especially in industrialized societies?"