In Magical Thinking and the Decline of America, Richard L. Rapson, a leading cultural historian, engages in a unique dialogue. Twenty years ago he wrote American Yearnings: Love, Money, and Endless Possibility. This book looked at large issues of the day from a historical perspective: show business, warlike behavior, love of money, science and religion, marital and sexual behavior, foreign policy, and more. He found everywhere in American life an exaggerated optimism that often led to serious miscalculations, both in public policy and private lives. Now he re-engages that work to see how his original arguments have fared. Have the tumultuous last two decades re-enforced or weakened his analysis? Though this book is a conversation, 20 years apart, between the author and his earlier self, the reader will find it easy, stimulating, and provocative to join in.