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Chomsky on Anarchism Paperback – May 1, 2005


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: AK Press (May 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1904859208
  • ISBN-13: 978-1904859208
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #382,800 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Noam Chomsky is one of the world's leading intellectuals, father of modern linguistics, outspoken media and foreign policy critic and tireless activist. Barry Pateman is the curator of the Emma Goldman Archive at the University of California Berkeley and wrote the introduction to AK Press' Chomsky on Anarchism.

More About the Author

Noam Chomsky is Institute Professor in the Department of Linguistics and Philosophy at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Boston. A member of the American Academy of Science, he has published widely in both linguistics and current affairs. His books include At War with Asia, Towards a New Cold War, Fateful Triangle: The U. S., Israel and the Palestinians, Necessary Illusions, Hegemony or Survival, Deterring Democracy, Failed States: The Abuse of Power and the Assault on Democracy and Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media.

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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See all 24 customer reviews
There is one constant refrain throughout this book.
Richard E. Noble
His belief that anarcho syndicalism is the highest ideological form of government we should be working toward is explained in this book.
Char M-C
This book is a great introduction to both Noam Chomsky and anarchism, both in terms of its readability and its broad scope.
J. Cook

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

104 of 112 people found the following review helpful By Malvin VINE VOICE on July 13, 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
"Chomsky on Anarchism" is a collection of writings and interviews with Noam Chomsky that addresses the topic of anarchism. Arranged in chronological order and spanning over five decades, the essays provide an unique perspective on Mr. Chomsky's intellectual development into one of today's most influential and prominent critics of capitalism. The book demonstrates that anarchist theory has significantly influenced Mr. Chomsky's thought, revealing a side of Mr. Chomsky that is often implied but infrequently made explicit in his writings.

Among the eleven works, I found "Objectivity and Liberal Scholarship" (1969) to be a particularly appealing critique and discussion of the Vietnam War and the anarchist society that emerged briefly in Spain during its Civil War in the 1930s. Here, Mr. Chomsky displays at a relatively early point in his career the qualities for which he would become famous; his biting satire and devastating deconstruction of the powerful, in this case directed at the false justifications for the war in Vietnam and the West's non-support for Spanish democracy, provides many thought-provoking and timeless truisms.

"Containing the Threat of Democracy" (1990) is another noteworthy piece in that it exemplifies a mature writer who has a masterful command of history, social theory and criticism. Mr. Chomsky brilliantly draws on Enlightenment thought to critique how the powerful have used the force of law to enable the rule of the few over the many, with a wide-ranging discussion of how Western elitism has resulted in genocide, war and repression under the guise of civilization.
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26 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Book Boy on October 17, 2005
Format: Paperback
I'm not sure what some of the reviewers are talking about. Unlike much of the Chomsky material published these days, there is a significant amount of new material in this book. "New" at least in the sense that it's never been published before, or has never been published in English (there's one essay that was published in Ljubljana in 1986 and an amazing Brazilian interview from 1996). I'm a huge fan of Chomsky. I read his work wherever I can find it, but I haven't seen at least five of the chapters in this book...and several of the others aren't all that common.

But the real point is that, taken together, these essays and interviews provide a truly fascinating and seldom seen side of a social critic who, admittedly, sometimes seems to be making the same point (however important) over and over. This book is Noam Chomsky at his most exciting: thinking about the possibilities for alternative social forms, rather than simply critiquing the one we've got.

Highly recommended!
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62 of 74 people found the following review helpful By P.K. Ryan on March 13, 2006
Format: Paperback
I bought this book because I was interested in learning about anarchism as well as Noam Chomsky. Before this book, I had only heard snippets of Chomsky's critical views of the US and capitalist society in general. I was unaware of what type of society he did support. I also had recently heard several people talk about anarchism, which I had previously (and ignorantly) thought of as nothing more than chaos. This book was a good introduction to both the topic and the author. I learned what Mr. Chomsky stands for, rather than just what he stands against. He discusses anarchism and "libertarian socialism" as the ideal form of government to insure freedom and liberty, while being critical of capitalism and totalitarian socialism. He has certainly sparked my interest in anarchism and compelled me to investigate further. My only complaint is that the first half of the book seems more like an apologist essay for the communist North Vietnamese than anarchism. Nevertheless, the second half of the book was worth the purchase price.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By J. Cook on May 23, 2007
Format: Paperback
This book is a great introduction to both Noam Chomsky and anarchism, both in terms of its readability and its broad scope. Here one gets a taste of both anarchist theory and practice(alas, though, only a taste), as well as an examination of the celebrated peak of anarchism's influence on world history during the Spanish Civil War. This book is best in the hands of two types of readers: 1)the person already familiar with Chomsky who is interested in knowing what Chomsky stands for, and what has influenced his thinking; 2) the curious person who wants a lucid, brief introduction to the ideas of anarchism and not an esoteric, theoretical analysis.

I will say this though, for the person with a large apetite this book will not satiate it. Most of the book is transcripts of lectures or interviews Noam Chomsky has had over the years, and for me these for the most part left me disappointed with their lack of content, and rigor. However, the two major esays which are included "Objectivity and Liberal Scholarship" and "Containing the Threat of Democracy" are absolute gems, and in my view justify the purchase of this book alone. In conclusion I'll just say to not expect this book to suffice as your sole resource, neither for anarchism nor for Noam Chomsky.
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24 of 31 people found the following review helpful By wildflowerboy on March 23, 2006
Format: Paperback
"Chomsky on Anarchism" is a wonderful introduction to Chomsky's anarchist ideals. Like all of Chomsky's writings, this collection of interviews and essays is insightful and deep, a clear anaylsis of the real, underlying problems in our world today, like US imperialism, corporate globalization, domestic repression and state propaganda. I especialy enjoyed his interview with Barry Pateman, associate editor of UC Berkeley's Emma Goldman Papers. Knowledge is power. So, put down The New York Times and delve into the prolific writings of the most important punk rocker around, Noam Chomsky!
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