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What We Say Goes: Conversations on U.S. Power in a Changing World (American Empire Project) Paperback – October 2, 2007

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What We Say Goes: Conversations on U.S. Power in a Changing World (American Empire Project) + Hegemony or Survival: America's Quest for Global Dominance (American Empire Project) + Understanding Power: The Indispensible Chomsky
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Product Details

  • Series: American Empire Project
  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Metropolitan Books; 1st edition (October 2, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0805086714
  • ISBN-13: 978-0805086713
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.3 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #791,477 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"Chomsky criticizes those journalists and public intellectuals who, in reporting and commenting on events, do not question the assumptions under which the country acts and have framed the debate so that only the details are fodder for discussion. Chomsky's points are challenging."—Library Journal

About the Author

Noam Chomsky is the author of numerous bestselling political works, including Hegemony or Survival, Failed States, Imperial Ambitions and What We Say Goes. A professor of linguistics and philosophy at MIT, he is widely credited with having revolutionized modern linguistics. He lives outside Boston, Massachusetts.

David Barsamian, director of the award-winning and widely syndicated Alternative Radio, is the winner of the Lannan Foundation’s 2006 Cultural Freedom Fellowship and the ACLU’s Upton Sinclair Award for independent journalism. Barsamian lives in Boulder, Colorado.

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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See all 33 customer reviews
Chomsky's arguments are well reasoned.
Amazon Customer
Anyone suffering from the government's lies and propaganda over the last eight years will want to read this book.
J. Davis
This book is quite easy to read and very informative.
Stephen Pellerine

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Edit of 15 Jun 09 to correct factual error in original review (nuclear deal with Iran under Gerald Ford, not Ronald Reagan, in 1974).

Chomsky is actually starting to win over the balanced middle with his common sense. I have long respected him, but it took Dick Cheney and his merry band of nakedly amoral and obliviously delusional henchmen to really bring home to America how much his straight talk and logical thinking can help us.

There is virtually no repetition from past works. This series of interviews took place in 2006 and early 2007, and I found a great deal here worth noting.

* In 70 New York Times editorials on Iraq, not once did they mention international law or the United Nations Charter. He uses this and several other examples to show how pallid, how myopic, how unprofessional our mainstream media has become.

* A wonderful section talks about how civil *obedience* of immoral and illegal orders is our biggest challenge in this era, and I agree. The "failure of generalship" in the Pentagon resulted from a well-meaning but profoundly misdirected confusion of loyalty to the civilian chain of command, however lunatic, with the integrity that each of our senior swore to the Constitution and to We the People in their Oath of Office.

* His knowledge of Lebanon, a country I have come to love as representative of all that is good in the Middle East, is most helpful. His many remarks, all documented, make it clear that Israel has been abducting people for decades, and that the Lebanese have quite properly come to equate US "freedom" with the "kiss of death.
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25 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Preston C. Enright on October 8, 2007
Format: Paperback
In the past, people have often assumed that Noam Chomsky was "too radical" for the general public of the United States; but as his recent best-selling book sales have revealed, "regular" citizens are hungry for this sort of analysis. Despite the best efforts of clownish servants of power like David Horowitz and Peter Collier The Anti-Chomsky Reader, Chomsky's work is reaching an ever broader audience.
In addition to his dozens of books and countless articles in magazines like Z Magazine, Chomsky is being heard on C-SPAN and through grassroots media efforts like Justice Vision, Alternative Tentacles, Radio Free Maine and David Barsamian's "Alternative Radio" (which airs on over 100 community, public and college radio stations in the U.S., Canada and beyond).

Some tools of the right-wing will charge Chomsky with being "anti-American," but Chomsky is actually carrying on the proud radical tradition of this country that was earlier exemplified by people like Henry David Thoreau, Jane Addams, Mark Twain, Frederick Douglass, Mother Jones, Malcolm X and many others. Moreover, much of Chomsky's criticisms are directed not at the U.S., but at transnational corporations which have no regard to this country, its workers, or its environment. In fact, Thomas Jefferson sounded an early alarm regarding corporate power when he wrote, "I hope we shall crush in its birth the aristocracy of our monied corporations which dare already to challenge our government to a trial of strength, and bid defiance to the laws of our country.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Thomas W. Sulcer on February 4, 2009
Format: Paperback
Americans are rarely exposed to serious criticism, particularly from left-leaning thinkers like Mr. Chomsky, and I found this book to be strangely refreshing because it's different. It is a tough critique of American foreign policy from a thinker inside America. A giant bubble of non-thought seems to envelop the United States, a fog hindering serious debate. Serious critics like Mr. Chomsky are labeled as radical, stripped of credibility, outcast as cranks, and kicked out of the stadium of public opinion by an intolerant majority hell bent on enjoying a deluge of commercials with a constant theme of how great America is. And we all suffer as a result because we don't get to have our ideas challenged in the rigor of public debate. We don't get to think. We're dull knives, we Americans, and Mr. Chomsky is an underused wetstone.

Tocqueville wrote how in American democracy the majority is king. It controls the legislature, major offices, media, business. And if it doesn't want to hear something critical, it has the power to not listen. There is no regular forum where the majority can be exposed to serious criticism. And Noam Chomsky is trying to point out that "the majority has no clothes". So when he criticizes the media for excluding serious left-wing criticism of foreign policy, I can understand how his voice is drowned out in the dull roar of the stadium.

I don't agree with many of Mr. Chomsky's views. I'm non-partisan. But what I found striking was that there were points where Mr. Chomsky and I agree. He's a fervent advocate of democracy. So am I. I think American democracy is in a sad, sorry state of dysfunction. He does too. Mr. Chomsky writes "... our electoral system, our political system, has been driven to such a low level that issues are completely marginalized".
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