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Contrary Notions: The Michael Parenti Reader

13 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0872864825
ISBN-10: 0872864820
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Editorial Reviews


"Parenti communicates his message in an accessible, provocative, and historically informed style that is unrivaled among fellow progressive activists." -- Aurora Online

"Radical in the true sense of the word, [Parenti] digs at the roots which...sustain our public consciousness." -- Los Angeles Times Book Review

[Parenti] takes on the corporate media, intellectual repression in academia, the stolen presidential elections... racism, sexism, homophobia...and many other topics. -- Book News, Inc.

About the Author

Michael Parenti, PhD Yale, is an internationally known author and lecturer. He is one of the nation's leadiing progressive political analysts. He is the author of over 250 published articles and seventeen books. His writings are published in popular periodicals, scholarly journals, and his op-ed pieces have been in leading newspapers such as the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times. His informative and entertaining books and talks have reached a wide range of audiences in North America and abroad.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: City Lights Publishers (August 1, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0872864820
  • ISBN-13: 978-0872864825
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.9 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #455,438 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Michael Parenti (Berkeley, CA) is the acclaimed author of more than twenty books, including, most recently, Contrary Notions: The Michael Parenti Reader; The Assassination of Julius Caesar; and The Culture Struggle. The New York Times Book Review, the Washington Post, the New York Review of Books, Harper's, The Nation, and Antioch Review, are among the countless publications that have praised Parenti's work. For further information, visit his Web site:

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

50 of 54 people found the following review helpful By Susan Douglas on August 17, 2007
Format: Paperback
This book is a wonderful addition to Parenti's body of work. I sat down and started reading and found myself reading every article. Touching on many of the areas Parenti has examined for years, it brings together his usual sharp, readable critique and an extraordinary amassing of interesting facts and accounts. With such an array of topics and ideas and representing such a wide scope of learning and reflection it's an education all its own. And it's so beautifully written (as Parenti's books always are). It's so nice to know that there are people who can write this way, with such economy of prose -- so elegant in style yet saying so much.
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37 of 39 people found the following review helpful By yankee2 on April 20, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Maybe the first thing I noticed was that whenever I heard the word "democracy" used, and considered its context and meaning, that what was really meant was "capitalism." A typical example might be "we must defend democracy..." where what was really meant is "we must defend capitalism..." Anyone who disagrees should consider all the democratically elected leftist governments the United States has deposed (esp. South and Central America) through secret (i.e. illegal) economic and military attacks, to be replaced by violent, right-wing dictatorships, sympathetic to capitalist business interests.

I noticed that most news stories of importance to the government or big business are obviously one-sided. I noticed that one rarely hears both sides of many stories, and when one does, it is usually one short, page 14 contrarian bit, against many more front page articles supporting the big business or State Department view.

I began noticing that the language used in these stories is always biased, e.g. when there is a dispute between a company and labor, it is always reported as "labor trouble," or "a strike by labor, causing..." all kinds of problems. It is never "Management refuses to pay fair wages and eliminate hazardous working conditions, forcing labor to strike."

I began noticing other loaded language, like calling every potential enemy (of the state) a "terrorist." Of course American troops bombing private homes, killing innocent (usually foreign) civilians are not terrorists! NO! They are "peace keepers." No doubt about it, Double Speak is now official American policy, and far too many people buy it (lock, stock and Tomahawk missile).

I noticed George Bush spewing propaganda during the early days of his war in Iraq.
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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Rene Bilodeau on April 15, 2008
Format: Paperback
I've been reading progressive books for 40 years, so I've read plenty. When reading this book by Dr. Michael Parenti it struck me that if there was only one book I could recommend everyone should read, it would have to be this one. It touches just enough, on everything that one should be aware of, to make sense of why the world is as it is and why it is time to question the capitalist economic paradigm that we live in. Dr. Parenti shows his ability to take complex class-based analysis of the world order and our personal lives within it and state the arguments for how we can create a better world in a way that should be understandable to every reader. At least those readers who are prepared to remove the blinders imposed on us all by capitalist indoctrination. This is indeed a "reader" that instills a working class consciousness in simple terms and equips one with a clear understanding of our class enemy and the need to build a real people's alternative. Buy it, read it and share it. You won't be sorry! I'm going to approach my local library and get them to purchase it as well.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Angel Wings on August 9, 2011
Format: Paperback
First of all, let me say that Contrary Notions is full of information that is challenging to the conventional views. A thoughtful and observant reader, however, will not only recognize the veracity of Dr. Parenti's collection of material here, but feel grateful to the author for opening his or her eyes. In fact, this book is so well written that I have it on my recommended reading list for my students in the classes I teach in college.
This review, however, is a response to the "review" posted here by J Bartlett "Joss".
J. Bartlett, "Joss"--as an instructor of college level composition, I must say that if you had submitted this for a class, your "review" would be returned with a failed grade and comment reading:
1. READ the work you are critiquing. Dr. Parenti is an academic writer of the highest caliber, consequently used by many college writing instructors as an example of superlative academic writing.
2. STICK TO THE TOPIC. Are you reviewing Contrary Notions, or History as Mystery? If this is a critique of Contrary Notions, then speak directly to that topic. Do not throw in another work.
3. Your criticism of History as Mystery is invalid. You obviously did not read the entire book or else your reading is inexcusably sloppy. Each chapter is thoroughly documented and annotated. Altogether every chapter included, the author has nearly 50 pages in notes alone, including hundreds of notes all told, again, each and every note includes full, detailed bibliographical information. It is evident from your comment that you only perused the last chapter to look for the notes there and presumed it was the complete list. The 71 authors used for chapter seven are certainly sufficient sources for one chapter!
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