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What Uncle Sam Really Wants (The Real Story Series) [Paperback]

by Noam Chomsky
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)

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Book Description

July 1, 2002 1878825011 978-1878825018 1

A brilliant distillation of the real motivations behind U.S. foreign policy, compiled from talks and interviews completed between 1986 and 1991, with particular attention to Central America.

Editorial Reviews


"Highly recommended." -- Booklist

About the Author

Noam Chomsky is Institute Professor of Linguistics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and is the author of many books on U.S. foreign policy.

Product Details

  • Series: The Real Story Series
  • Paperback: 112 pages
  • Publisher: Odonian Press; 1 edition (July 1, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1878825011
  • ISBN-13: 978-1878825018
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 4.2 x 0.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #763,094 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
25 of 29 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Chomsky Primer May 27, 2004
A Chomsky Primer
As other reviewers have noted, this is a good introduction to Chomsky. The topics and themes of this summary are fully expanded in other works. While his critics can be numerous and often vicious, he is nevertheless a necessary voice in the dialog of democracy.
Chomsky's assertion that corporations drive American policy is one of the most common threads running throughout his works. Aided by their favorite tool, the media, corporations guide domestic and foreign policy deftly through the three branches of government. Another war critic, the late USMC Major General Smedley Butler, reflecting on his long military career said:
"I wouldn't go to war again as I have done to protect some lousy investment of the bankers. There are only two things we should fight for. One is the defense of our homes and the other is the Bill of Rights. War for any other reason is simply a racket." - from "War is a Racket" (1935)
Chomsky makes a compelling case that indeed we have used our military to gain hegemony throughout the world in order to maintain our economic system. Consider that we have over a hundred military bases around the world for starters. Why would a democratic, peace-loving nation need such a presence? I think it would be more appropriate, however painful some might find this, to call the U.S. an empire.
In Latin America, the CIA and our military have repeatedly strong-armed progressive governments that want to restore assets to the lower classes. Whether it is sugar, fruit, oil, or banking interests, progressive governments are undermined and a more U.S.-friendly, conservative power is installed - often in the form of a dictatorship. When that government starts straying from the script, as in the case of Noriega in Panama, the U.S.
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33 of 43 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Introduces Chomsky's critique of foreign affairs September 26, 2000
By Chris
This little book, published in 1992, is one hundred and one pages and is of small dimensions, phamphlet like, and is of the type that can be read pretty quickly, and intends to introduce the critique of foreign affairs (and society in general) of the leading dissident left wing intellectual Noam Chomsky. Taken from excerpts from Chomsky's writings and speeches, Chomsky presents his analysis, more or less of the cold war, how U.S. planners during and after World War Two basically decided that the United States owned the world, and that the economic and political system of the world should cater to the needs of American capitalism. The Soviet Union gobbled up East Europe, the original third world, long exploited by the West, one of main reasons of the cold war, which had nothing to do with Stalinist totalitarianism. One of the original goals of the cold war was also to carry over the massive government involvement in the economy from World War two, that is massive government subsidy to private corporations, especially through the Pentagon system, and later NASA, the energy department,commerce department etc. a system which is mainly responsible today for the success of the computer industry and the internet(not Bill Gates), electronics, pharmaceuticals, and just about every other viable sector of the economy. The taxpayers fund the research and development, corporations reap the profit if there is any to be made.
Chomsky says that the primary concern of U.S. elites in their policy towards the third world was not really economic, such as securing cheap access to raw materials and labor, or at least it was not their primary concern.
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32 of 42 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An extremely powerful case against America January 10, 2000
By A Customer
There is no question that if Noam Chomsky was a Russian writing about Russia in this way he'd spend his life in the Gulag. Few countries would allow him to continue lecturing and publishing.
Chomsky is no crackpot. He's a brilliant intellectual and a passionately ethical human being. If he is complaining about something, we'd better listen.
I'll give you a little taste of this book. These are some of the lies that we are told by our media:
1. That America wants to support democracy and human rights around the world. 2. That America opposes terrorism. 3. That America opposes international drug trafficking. 4. That Noriega was ousted from Panama because of drugs. 5. That the Vietnam War was fought to halt the spread of communism. 6. That America was ever afraid of Soviet military power.
If you are willing to re-evaluate every single thing you have come to believe about your country, pick up this little book. It gets right to the point and is extremely readable.
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36 of 51 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "War Is Peace"...? all US citizens should read this August 24, 2001
It can be daunting to try to understand the big picture. Chomsky has done a lot of work to get us started on the road toward being informed citizens, gathering an astounding body of evidence indicting 'state capitalism', as practiced predominantly by the United States. His presentation is concise and down-to-earth. Being a distillation of his other books, this booklet borrows their formidable scholarship, which draws largely upon publicly available references (e.g., those released under the Freedom of Information Act). The basic premise is that the US government has engaged since WWII in a coldly calculated campaign of maintaining its position as the preeminent economic power in the world. To do so, it has supported murderous, repressive regimes and/or actively encouraged chaos in order to destroy any successful examples of socialism in the Third World. Examples in the book include Chile, Indonesia, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Panama, Grenada, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, among many others. It then describes propaganda campaigns waged to keep US citizens uninformed and accepting. It is a classic political maneuver to invoke a foreign threat to consolidate power at home and deflect attention from the real issues. According to the book, the government did this in invoking the "Evil Empire" and declaring a "War on Drugs". The bitter irony, of course, is that our own empire-building has been at least as evil (in terms of violence against citizens and repression of human rights) as the Soviet Union's, and that we are the world's largest exporter of addictive drugs (our tobacco has killed tens of millions worldwide), while abetting known drug dealers as long as they help us maintain regional control. Read more ›
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars The Hobo Philosopher
What Uncle Sam Really Wants

By Noam Chomsky

Book Review

By Richard Edward Noble

"I think legally speaking there is a very solid case for... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Richard E. Noble
5.0 out of 5 stars Through a Glass Clearly
The publishing date is 1992, but the material hasn't dated at all. Fifteen intervening years have merely augmented Chomsky's thesis. Read more
Published on April 24, 2009 by Douglas Doepke
5.0 out of 5 stars The Perfect Chomsky Introduction
Noam Chomsky is a beast on the Left. However, his books are notoriously hard to read, which, unfortunately, causes many activists to bypass a great scholarly resource. Read more
Published on July 12, 2008 by Alexander Kemestrios Ben
1.0 out of 5 stars Conspiracy - too much for me
I bought this book along with "Hegemony or Survival" after Venezuela's Hugo Chavez held it up in the UN. I had not even heard of Chomsky before then. Read more
Published on January 3, 2007 by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars open eyes
another essential, informative book in the great series of the chomskey books. everything he says is so enlightning and eye-opening. Read more
Published on May 2, 2006 by ryan nadeau
3.0 out of 5 stars Hope this helps
If you are looking for a book that addresses issues such as American foreign policy, the idea of democracy and government corruption, "What Uncle Sam Really Wants" by Noam Chomsky... Read more
Published on April 20, 2005 by Miszmocha
1.0 out of 5 stars Another piece of work from the loony high priest of the left
America is Nazi Germany

The former Soviet Union was democratic

America is a totalitarian regime

There was no Cold War

There were no... Read more
Published on October 28, 2004 by Karl Engels
5.0 out of 5 stars A good place to start
"What Uncle Sam Really Wants" condenses about 10 Noam Chomsky books into 100 pages. Looking at the footnotes of this book, you'll find references to entire chapters in Deterring... Read more
Published on February 17, 2004 by SPM
5.0 out of 5 stars the new world order for dummies
a truly indispensible book, chomsky's "what uncle sam really wants" is easy to read and understand. it's a must have for people who are tired of arguing their position with... Read more
Published on November 15, 2003 by christina
4.0 out of 5 stars Good short intro to Chomsky
In 100 short pages, you get a high speed review of Chomsky's politics--focusing on the US use of power, spanning the period from immediately after WWII to the first Gulf War. Read more
Published on August 30, 2003 by Alan Mills
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