"Jacoby, not surprisingly, is unable to see the contradictions in her own deeply held convictions. Here is an elitist who envisions an egalitarian society. She longs for a more democratic, Jacksonian nation, but she also expects it to be peopled not by the rednecks who voted for [Andrew] Jackson, but the enlightened litterateurs who voted for John Quincy Adams (and lost).
Like all liberal snobs, Jacoby dutifully admires the poor and the working man, but cannot abide their colossal ignorance, their petty superstitions, their techno-savvy, their bigotry, and worse, their anti-intellectualism. Ultimately, one leaves this book with the suspicion that the only "folks" -- to use a word the author rails against ad nauseum -- the author can stomach are folks like herself, e.g., Upper Middle Class Overly Educated Atheists.
Jacoby claims she started out to write part two of Hofstadter's 'Anti-Intellectualism in American Life'. Instead of a scholarly study of American culture she produced this bitter 356-page rant."