Essays are enjoying renewed popularity, from the personal essays of Lewis Thomas, to the intellectual treats of Marguerite Yourcenar, to the political and social commentary of Michael Parenti in this superb collection. Parenti covers the myth of the liberal media, terrorist hype, John F. Kennedy assassination conspiracy phobia, and an insider's view of ethnic struggle, among many other topical subjects. The essays are eye-openers, expressed in straightforward, smooth prose that entertains as it informs. If you enjoy a fresh perspective on contemporary issues, or if you want information on issues that may have been hidden or glossed over by the media, pick up Parenti!
From Publishers Weekly
Writing from a left-wing perspective that's been pretty quiet since the end of the Cold War, Parenti consistently overwhelms his occasional valid points with hyperbole more likely to alienate his readers than to inspire them to join the revolution. It's tremendously difficult to take seriously anyone who peppers his political essays with references to "the reformist governments... of Libya, Panama, and Iraq." And in a way, this is too bad. Parenti is a genuinely interesting guy, and when he writes about his own experiences, he's extremely effective. It's impossible not to sympathize with a man being blacklisted from academia because of his political beliefs, or with the kid who has to watch his dad's bakery forced out of business by the big chains. The points that Parenti raises in his essays are almost unfailingly thought-provoking. Unfortunately, these positives are more than balanced by the fact that his political writing is a chore to slog through. Parenti begins his collection with seven consecutive pages of statistics about poverty, disease and criminal behavior. While disturbing, the value of these numbers as a rhetorical flourish leaves something to be desired. He too often provides only numbers and/or cold factual accounts when something more is necessary. There is no doubt that Parenti is an able writer who is passionate about his beliefs. But the essays in this collection will not resonate with a wider audience.
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