Start reading Empire of Illusion on the free Kindle Reading App or on your Kindle in under a minute. Don't have a Kindle? Get your Kindle here.
Start reading this book in under 60 seconds
Read anywhere, on any device

Deliver to your Kindle or other device

Enter a promotion code
or gift card
 
 
 

Try it free

Sample the beginning of this book for free

Deliver to your Kindle or other device

Sorry, this item is not available in
Image not available for
Color:
Image not available

To view this video download Flash Player

 

Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle [Kindle Edition]

Chris Hedges
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (226 customer reviews)

Digital List Price: $14.95 What's this?
Print List Price: $14.95
Kindle Price: $9.99
You Save: $4.96 (33%)

Free Kindle Reading App Anybody can read Kindle books—even without a Kindle device—with the FREE Kindle app for smartphones, tablets and computers.

To get the free app, enter your email address or mobile phone number.

Formats

Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle Edition $9.99  
Hardcover, Bookmark Calendar --  
Paperback $11.71  
Save up to 85% Off Kindle Books
Choose from more than 400 Kindle books up to 85% off from popular genres including mystery & thriller, romance, science fiction & fantasy, non-fiction, children's & teens, and more. This deal is only available through October 5, 2014. Shop now

Book Description

We now live in two Americas. One—now the minority—functions in a print-based, literate world that can cope with complexity and can separate illusion from truth. The other—the majority—is retreating from a reality-based world into one of false certainty and magic. To this majority—which crosses social class lines, though the poor are overwhelmingly affected—presidential debate and political rhetoric is pitched at a sixth-grade reading level. In this “other America,” serious film and theater, as well as newspapers and books, are being pushed to the margins of society.

In the tradition of Christopher Lasch’s The Culture of Narcissism and Neil Postman’s Amusing Ourselves to Death, Pulitzer Prize-winner Chris Hedges navigates this culture—attending WWF contests, the Adult Video News Awards in Las Vegas, and Ivy League graduation ceremonies—to expose an age of terrifying decline and heightened self-delusion.



Editorial Reviews

Review

"Remarkable, bracing and highly moral, Empire of Illusion is Hedges' lament for his nation."
Maclean's

"Each chapter of Empire of Illusion makes a strong case for how different illusions — of literacy, love, wisdom, happiness — taken together are destroying the American mind, culture and the nation itself."
National Post

"Each chapter torches one of our cultural illusions."
The Globe and Mail

"Hedges is a fan of big ideas, and in Empire of Illusion, he draws upon the culture of professional wrestling and pornography, the elite university, positive psychology and the financial crisis to fashion a social theory of everything."
Winnipeg Free Press

About the Author

Chris Hedges is currently a senior fellow at The Nation Institute and a Lecturer in the Council of the Humanities and the Anschutz Distinguished Fellow at Princeton University. He has reported from more than 50 countries, and worked for The New York Times, where he spent fifteen years. He currently writes for numerous US publications including Foreign Affairs, Harper's magazine, The New York Review of Books, Granta and Mother Jones.

Product Details

  • File Size: 456 KB
  • Print Length: 242 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0307398471
  • Publisher: Nation Books; First Trade Paper Edition edition (July 14, 2009)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B002HUU0G0
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #102,910 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
  •  Would you like to give feedback on images?.


Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
677 of 696 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An anguished, angry cry of outraged reason July 16, 2009
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Chris Hedges' newest book may be a screed, but it's an uncomfortably accurate one, delving into the addictive, corrupting hold of comforting & distracting illusion over too many Americans. From the even vaster wasteland of TV, brought to us by endless channels, to the drug of sensation at its lowest common denominator from the porn industry, to the "think happy thoughts" snake oil of both New Age & fundamentalist belief systems --

But you have to stop & catch your breath, or else be swept away by the torrent of mediocrity & cheerfully willful ignorance that passes for contemporary culture & thought. Once you're aware of how thoroughly blanderized & infantilized our culture has become, it's all too easy to succumb to despair or cynicism. And with good cause!

Hedges wisely selects just a few specific examples as indicators of something far more pervasive & widespread. Particularly disturbing is the chapter on the so-called "adult" entertainment industry, which is anything but adult. The graphic description of the ways in which women are used & discarded as commodities is sickening, yet we're clearly just getting the tip of a very slimy iceberg.

And Hedges connects this aspect of dehumanization to the horrors of Abu Ghraib, showing how sexuality & torture intertwine. Most disturbing of all is how accepted & mainstream this sort of "entertainment" has become -- we're not talking about erotica or old-fashioned porn, which at least portrayed sex as mutually enjoyable for men & women; what we see now is humiliation, suffering, pain, almost all of it inflicted on women for the pleasure of emotionally stunted men.
Read more ›
Was this review helpful to you?
304 of 315 people found the following review helpful
By Chris
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Hedges describes how corporate entertainment encourages people to desire to be rich and famous, devote themselves to material things, reckless self-gratification and reckless consumer spending. It encourages people to care much more about news relating to celebrities than genuinely important news. Hedges analyzes episodes of WWE wrestling, Survivor, The Swan and Jerry Springer to back up his arguments about pop culture.

Chapter 2 is about porn. Porn actresses are portrayed by porn mediums as nothing more than wild beasts whose only desire is to satisfy the sadistic fantasies of men. Most porn actresses are heavy drinkers and drug addicts as a result of the mental pain and serious physical damage to their private areas, front and back, caused by their line of work. Most of them appear to work in escort services on the side. Hedges give an account of one porn movie featuring an actress who engages in the very unhealthy activity of engaging in sex acts with 65 different men over the six hour shoot of the film. Porn is one of the biggest industries in this nation; a great many of our male citizens appear to take pleasure in the degrading and brutal version of sex found in modern porn.

The last chapter is a sort of general overview of the dismal state of this country. Hedges writes that our financial crisis is rooted in the destruction of American manufacturing since the 1970's. An example of the decline of American manufacturing ability, he observes, occurred when the city of New York in 2003 offered a several billion dollar contract for a company to build subway cars. No American company took the offer, which was eventually given to Canadian and Japanese companies.
Read more ›
Was this review helpful to you?
214 of 224 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Entertainment is a Force That Gives Us Meaning July 3, 2009
Format:Hardcover
Chris Hedges, the Pulitzer-Prize winning author of "War is a Force That Gives Us Meaning" and "I Don't Believe in Atheists", is back with another diatribe about our morally-bankrupt society. Whether you agree with all of his assertions or not, "Empire of Illusion" is a necessary, thought-provoking work on the role of entertainment in American culture.

Particularly fascinating is Hedges's take on professional wrestling. Whenever an academic brings up wrestling, it is usually as an example of low-brow culture. Hedges doesn't snub his nose, however: He merely observes and reports.

His thesis that wrestling storylines have "evolved to fit the new era...by focusing on the family dysfunction that comes with social breakdown" is on the money: Gone are the simple bouts of good vs. evil. "Morality is irrelevant," he writes. "Wrestlers can be good one week and evil the next. All that matters is their own advancement." The "illusion" here isn't that wrestling is fake. The "illusion" is that the wrestlers are idealized versions of what we want to become. He asserts that this mirrors a fundamental change in society.

Hedges traces this change through other American institutions (reality television, celebrity culture, the adult industry, universities, psychologists), arguing that we are "unable to distinguish between illusion and reality". We forgo morals for an elusive and unattainable happiness. He states that we "will either wake from our state of induced childishness...or continue our headlong retreat into fantasy".

The subtitle--"The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle"--is somewhat of a misnomer. Even with the alarming illiteracy rate in this country, it's a stretch to say that literacy has literally come to an end.
Read more ›
Was this review helpful to you?
Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Chris Hedges knocks it out of the park with a ...
Chris Hedges knocks it out of the park with a raw,brutal,look at our sick and depraved country. Is there Hope ? Who knows. Read more
Published 4 days ago by Michael O Malloy
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Hedges at his best. Everyone should read this.
Published 18 days ago by M.G. Bradley
4.0 out of 5 stars Well written and researched
A well written and researched critical view on society.
Published 19 days ago by Simon McKenzie-Nickson
5.0 out of 5 stars MUST READ
Chris is THE intellectual of our times. Crisp, clean logic and delivery, just like his lectures. Thanks, Chris!
Published 24 days ago by Vishnu
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
A book that will open many eyes.
Published 1 month ago by ana pimenta
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Thank You!
Published 1 month ago by nk
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
The American psyche..........dissected with a razor........
Published 1 month ago by Vaughn Wehr
4.0 out of 5 stars It's not old age quirkyness; the world is amusing itself into a post...
This book mortars the concepts that debasing entertainment, absence of moral clarity, and self-absorption are eroding this nation, and indeed the world.
Published 1 month ago by Francis Ranwez
5.0 out of 5 stars Prepare to be made extremely uncomfortable. A truth-teller pushing ...
Prepare to be made extremely uncomfortable. A truth-teller pushing us to re-examine our assumptions and re-think the superficial myths of our culture, Hedges will piss you off. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Athletic Anchovy
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book
Thought provoking, well written, and scary. Worth rereading.
Published 2 months ago by Ralph
Search Customer Reviews
Search these reviews only

More About the Author

Chris Hedges is a cultural critic and author who was a foreign correspondent for nearly two decades for The New York Times, The Dallas Morning News, The Christian Science Monitor and National Public Radio. He reported from Latin American, the Middle East, Africa and the Balkans. He was a member of the team that won the 2002 Pulitzer Prize for Explanatory Reporting for The New York Times coverage of global terrorism, and he received the 2002 Amnesty International Global Award for Human Rights Journalism. Hedges, who holds a Master of Divinity from Harvard Divinity School, is the author of the bestsellers American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America, Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle and was a National Book Critics Circle finalist for his book War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning. He is a Senior Fellow at The Nation Institute and writes an online column for the web site Truthdig. He has taught at Columbia University, New York University, Princeton University and the University of Toronto.

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?


Forums

There are no discussions about this product yet.
Be the first to discuss this product with the community.
Start a new discussion
Topic:
First post:
Prompts for sign-in
 


Look for Similar Items by Category