From The Publisher: Feb. 3, 1992

Readers of TIME have long been familiar with Robert Hughes' provocative, elegantly expressed art reviews. But the art world has never been enough to hold Hughes; he is one of the magazine's true Renaissance men. In 1987 he published The Fatal Shore, a best-selling, critically acclaimed history of the settling of his native Australia. Next month Knopf will bring out Barcelona, his account of the social and cultural history of the Spanish city. In the pages of TIME, Hughes has had his say on everything from motorcycling to gun control.

Hughes' essay this week, The Fraying of America, is adapted from...

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