Deborah Tannen

You Were Always
Mom's Favorite!:
Sisters in Conversation Throughout Their Lives

You're Wearing THAT?:
Understanding Mothers and Daughters in Conversation

I Only Say This Because
I Love You:
Talking to Your Parents, Partner, Sibs, and Kids When You're All Adults

The Argument Culture:
Stopping America's War of Words

Talking from 9 to 5:
Women and Men at Work.

You Just Don't Understand!:
Women and Men in Conversation

That's Not What I Meant!:
How Conversational Style Makes or Breaks Relationships


The Argument Culture:
Stopping America's War of Words

Winner of the Common Ground Book Award

Unique among Tannen's books, The Argument Culture focuses on public discourse - in the press, politics, the law, and education.

Our society has become overwhelmingly adversarial, with consequences not only in our ability to solve problems but also in our personal relationships.  The war on drugs, the battle of the sexes, politicians' turf battles—war metaphors pervade our talk and shape our thinking, urging us to approach anything we need to accomplish as a fight between two opposing sides.

Tannen traces this tendency to the history of our educational system, and shows its roots among boys at play.  Exploring how other cultures approach opposition, and discussing the influence of electronic communication in ratcheting up the level of aggression, Tannen shows how we can move toward more constructive dialogue in our public as well our private lives.  This book will change forever how you see forces that powerfully shape our lives, and suggests new ways of reaching our goals.
To read a brief article by Deborah Tannen about this book, click here.


“[Tannen] makes such a convincing case that after reading her book I could not stop seeing this argument culture everywhere.” San Francisco Chronicle

 “Tannen's book is a wake-up call to Americans that words can and do hurt us and that we need to understand this and do something about it.”
Common Boundary

“With the empathy of a therapist and the authority of a linguistics professor, Tannen stretches her scholarship further onward.... In her trademark clear, well-organized style, and generously using examples from her own life, Tannen moves from arena to arena, backing her thesis with plenty of research.”
Entertainment Weekly

“Her chapter tracing styles of argument across cultural lines is a well-reasoned examination not only of differences between societies but of ethnic differences within our own society.”
The Washington Post Book World

“[An] insightful and unique book.” Audiophile


Deborah Tannen - The Argument Culture: Stopping America's War of Words


Buy The Book:
Barnes & Noble
Find an Independent Bookseller Near You
Random House

Also Available:
Abridged audio version read by the author.

Foreign Editions
Bulgaria, LIK
Germany, Goldmann
Israel, Matar
Netherlands, Bert Bakker
Poland, Zysk
Spain, Paidos
Sweden, Wahlstrom & Widstrom
United Kingdom, Little, Brown

© 2009 Deborah Tannen