There's no denying that I wouldn't have been attracted to any book on this particular subject-matter had it not been for the events leading to and following the recent US election; like many people, I guess, I'm trying to make sense of that phenomenon. That said...
What I liked: It's a wonderful book. Well-written. Entertaining. Coherent. At times, vicious...the author doesn't hold back at all. The guy is obviously well-qualified and is the "real deal", so to speak. I read it in more-or-less one go.
His attack on universities - and I think "attack" is the right word - was particularly pertinent. Put simply, what he's saying is that the "circus" that is the modern university experience leaves students feeling educated when they're really not (as a teacher myself, I can attest to this).
The conclusion is gloomy. But necessarily so. The battle (between laymen and experts) is already lost - the gulf has become too wide to ever close. That's just how it is and I agree with the author.
What I didn't like:..
The author - if I've understood him correctly and if I'm not putting words in his mouth - suggests that a republic such as the USA necessarily requires that the general population (laymen) be sufficiently knowledgeable to instruct their representatives on what they want (the representatives, in turn, then create policies to act out those wishes) and blames laymen (i.e, the voters) for not being up to the task. That is, he sees the republic as a partnership between the public and lawmakers - and feels the public are at fault for not holding up their end of the bargain. My view is that this is not in any way realistic.
I loved this book. For a while now I have observed the world becoming more stupid , trying to work out why and how we got here. This book explains in erudite detail why we are where we are. It will ring true to many who like myself are observers of the world around us and who wake up daily and feel despair at the level of intellectual debate in the political and social arenas. Or listening to the endless drivel of stupid that falls out of people's mouths on TV. I for one would pay good money for a TV channel that had real experts giving their educated well informed opinions rather than have to listen to the mind numbing opinions of those who spent 5 mins looking up Wikipedia and thinking they are experts or believing their opinions are worth listening to.