Listen free for 30 days

  • The Identity Trap

  • A Story of Ideas and Power in Our Time
  • Written by: Yascha Mounk
  • Narrated by: JD Jackson
  • Length: 11 hrs and 1 min
  • 4.8 out of 5 stars (16 ratings)

Pick 1 audiobook a month from our unmatched collection.
Listen all you want to thousands of included audiobooks, Originals, and podcasts.
Access exclusive sales and deals.
Premium Plus auto-renews for $14.95/mo + applicable taxes after 30 days. Cancel anytime.
The Identity Trap cover art

The Identity Trap

Written by: Yascha Mounk
Narrated by: JD Jackson
Try for $0.00

$14.95 a month after 30 days. Cancel anytime.

Buy Now for $39.48

Buy Now for $39.48

Pay using card ending in
By confirming your purchase, you agree to Audible's Conditions of Use and Amazon's Privacy Notice. Tax where applicable.

Publisher's Summary

“The most comprehensive and reasonable story of this shift that has yet been attempted . . . Mounk has told the story of the Great Awokening better than any other writer who has attempted to make sense of it.”—The Washington Post

"An intellectual tour de force about the origins of identity politics and the threat it presents to genuine, honest, old-fashioned liberalism.”Bret Stephens, The New York Times

“Among the most insightful and important books written in the last decade on American democracy and its current torments, because it also shows us a way out of the trap.”—Jonathan Haidt, author of The Righteous Mind, and coauthor of The Coddling of the American Mind

"Outstanding."David Brooks, The New York Times

One of our leading public intellectuals traces the origin of a set of ideas about identity and social justice that is rapidly transforming America—and explains why it will fail to accomplish its noble goals.

For much of history, societies have violently oppressed ethnic, religious, and sexual minorities. It is no surprise that many who passionately believe in social justice came to believe that members of marginalized groups need to take pride in their identity to resist injustice.

But over the past decades, a healthy appreciation for the culture and heritage of minority groups has transformed into a counterproductive obsession with group identity in all its forms. A new ideology aiming to place each person’s matrix of identities at the center of social, cultural, and political life has quickly become highly influential. It stifles discourse, vilifies mutual influence as cultural appropriation, denies that members of different groups can truly understand one another, and insists that the way governments treat their citizens should depend on the color of their skin.

This, Yascha Mounk argues, is the identity trap. Though those who battle for these ideas are full of good intentions, they will ultimately make it harder to achieve progress toward the genuine equality we desperately need. Mounk has built his acclaimed scholarly career on being one of the first to warn of the risks right-wing populists pose to American democracy. But, he shows, those on the left and center who are stuck in the identity trap are now inadvertent allies to the MAGA movement.

In The Identity Trap, Mounk provides the most ambitious and comprehensive account to date of the origins, consequences, and limitations of so-called “wokeness.” He is the first to show how postmodernism, postcolonialism, and critical race theory forged the “identity synthesis” that conquered many college campuses by 2010. He lays out how a relatively marginal set of ideas came to gain tremendous influence in business, media, and government by 2020. He makes a nuanced philosophical case for why the application of these ideas to areas from education to public policy is proving to be so deeply counterproductive—and why universal, humanist values can best serve the vital goal of true equality. In explaining the huge political and cultural transformations of the past decade, The Identity Trap provides truth and clarity where they are needed most.

©2023 Yascha Mounk (P)2023 Penguin Audio

What the critics say

Named a Best Book of the Year by The Economist, Financial Times, Inc., Prospect Magazine, and The Conversation

“America’s academic, cultural, and political institutions went insane beginning around 2014, and I’ve been trying to figure out why ever since. In The Identity Trap, Yascha Mounk explains how a few powerfully bad ideas, propelled through institutions by people with good intentions, are causing systemic dysfunction and dangerous polarization. This is among the most insightful and important books written in the last decade on American democracy and its current torments, because it also shows us a way out of the trap.”—Jonathan Haidt, author of The Righteous Mind, and coauthor of The Coddling of the American Mind

“Illiberalism seems to be flourishing on both the left and the right . . . At such a moment, it is prudent to be open to new alliances with anyone, on the right or left, who genuinely values freedom and democracy. The Atlantic’s Yascha Mounk clearly qualifies under that description, as he proves in his latest book, The Identity Trap. It’s the kind of work that might lead thoughtful conservatives to reflect on the potential rewards of a cross-spectrum ‘liberal alliance.’”—National Review

“A fascinating account of the intellectual origins of identity politics. Mounk . . . a historian of ideas . . . gives a careful account of the work of thinkers such as Derrick Bell, Michel Foucault and Kimberlé Crenshaw, revealing the theory that underpins influential ideas such as critical race theory and intersectionality.”Financial Times Best Books of the Year

What listeners say about The Identity Trap

Average Customer Ratings
Overall
  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    13
  • 4 Stars
    3
  • 3 Stars
    0
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0
Performance
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    9
  • 4 Stars
    3
  • 3 Stars
    0
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    1
Story
  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    11
  • 4 Stars
    2
  • 3 Stars
    0
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Absolutely On The Button

The best, most thorough, most unbiased, erudite overview of the meaning of identity synthesis- colloquially now referred to as simply- Woke. Its origins, it’s ideology, the for’s and the against’s, the flawed hope that identity politics will eradicate racism from our Western Culture, and a balanced speculation as to what history will say about this time in history that the Woke cultish dogma took over the minds of the Western Cultures. 🤔

Something went wrong. Please try again in a few minutes.

You voted on this review!

You reported this review!

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Excellent primer on wokeness and its failures

It's an excellent essay on the roots, causes, and outcomes of wokeness (identity synthesis) and why we should not reject all of its tools/lens for viewing the world.

But argues that we should instead recommit ourselves to the superior moral precepts of liberalism and guide our culture away from the difficult and dark future identitarianism will lead us to.

Make this book required reading for 1st year post secondary students before they're infected with wokeism.

Something went wrong. Please try again in a few minutes.

You voted on this review!

You reported this review!

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Amazingly insightful

Mounk is as generous to the perspective he is critiquing as to those he agrees with. A wonderfully moderate, balanced, insightful, and powerful book.

Something went wrong. Please try again in a few minutes.

You voted on this review!

You reported this review!