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Why Do People Hate America? Paperback – March 1, 2003

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Editorial Reviews


"If one truly wants to understand why anti-Americanism grows like a virus across the world, this is an essential beginning." -- @KC (Kansas City), April 17-May 14, 2003

"Original and thought provoking." -- New Statesman

"Packed with tightly argued points." -- Times Higher Education Supplement

"Required reading." -- The Independent

"Should be in your hands" -- Memphis Flyer, April 17, 2003

"[A] sophisticated and grimly amusing analysis of the principal source of many Americans' ideas about our government and international relations." -- Houston Chronicle, 28 February 2003

"[A] useful challenge to the common American assumption that foreigners who dislike us are ill-informed, envious or "evil." -- Baltimore Sun, February 9, 2003

From the Publisher

In their important new book, Ziauddin Sardar and Merryl Wyn Davies dissect this question and get to the root of the all too complicated answer. An answer that is not a straightforward counterblast to the hatred expressed for America but rather a look at the consequences of interaction in a world in which gross disparities of power, wealth, freedom, and opportunity must be factored into each and every situation.

Already an international bestseller, "Why Do People Hate America?" doesn’t stop there but rather examines, discusses and debates many topics, including:

• The indiscriminate use of the term ‘America’ to cover many different aspects of U.S. influence and operation around the world and how it is a reflection of the ‘hamburger syndrome’.

• The way in which the brand called ‘America’ has been sold to the rest of the world and the consequences of the globalization of American culture on developing countries are examined via analysis of: American foreign and economic policies; U.S. treatment of the rest of the world at the United Nations; American control of global institutions such as the International Monetary Fund and World Trade Organization; and U.S. relationship with developing countries over the last five decades.

• Why are presumptions of innocence and self-righteousness so central to American self-image? The authors examine America’s image of itself in its historic narratives and founding myths. They argue that definitions are relational terms, in that everyone’s image of self includes, and in part depends on, their view of other people.

• How the power of the American media works to keep Americans closed to experiences and ideas from the rest of the world and thereby increases the insularity, self-absorption and ignorance that are the overriding problems the rest of the world has with America.

• How the foreign policy of the U.S. government, backed by its military strength, has unprecedented global influence now that the United States is the world’s only superpower – its first ‘hyperpower’.

• The problem of ‘knowledgeable ignorance’: defined as knowing people, ideas, civilizations, religions, histories as something they are not - and could not possibly be - and maintaining these ideas even when the means exist to know differently.

• The American construction of the ‘axis of evil’ is a form of grand absolutism reflecting America as a hostile, inimical perversion, endemic and operating within other nations all around the globe.

The authors of "Why Do People Hate America?" know that the one of the hardest things for people to do is examine oneself and admit one’s own problems. The same holds true for the U.S., as a nation, creating much frustration within the country and infuriation, antipathy, hostility and even hatred beyond the bounds of America. If America refuses to reflect upon its history, its uses and abuses of power and wealth at home and abroad, the consequences of its lifestyle and abundance, the relations between quality of life and values, the relation between ideals and practical application of those ideals to all of its people, then what chance has the rest of the world of engaging America in reasoned discussion?

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Disinformation Books (March 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0971394253
  • ISBN-13: 978-0971394254
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.5 x 7.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (63 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #308,216 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
The heart of this book is not why people hate America, but rather on how Americans have lost touch with reality.
This book joins three others books I have reviewed and recommend separately, as the "quartet for revolution" in how Americans must demand access to reliable information about the real world. They are Bill McKibben on "The Age of Missing Information" (a day in the woods contrasted with a year reviewing a day's worth of non-information on broadcast television); Anne Branscomb's "Who Owns Information" (not the citizen); and Roger Shattuck, "Forbidden Knowledge." These are the higher level books--there are many others, both on the disgrace of the media and the abuse of secrecy by government, as well as on such excellent topics as "Who Will Tell the People: The Betrayal of American Democracy" by William Greider, and "The Closing of the American Mind" by Allan Bloom.
Here are a few points made by this book that every American needs to understand if we are to restore true democracy, true freedom of the press, and true American values to our foreign policy, which has been hijacked by neo-conservative corporate interests:
1) "Patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel." Dr. Samuel Johnson said this in 1775, on the eve of US revolution from British tyranny. When patriotism is used to suppress dissent, to demand blind obedience, and to commit war crimes "in our name," then patriotism has lost its meaning.
2) According to the authors, Robert Kaplan and Thomas Friedman are flat out *wrong* when they suggest that "they" hate us for our freedoms, the success of our economy, for our rich cultural heritage.
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43 of 51 people found the following review helpful By LarryE on July 19, 2003
Format: Paperback
I wish I could give this book more stars, I really do. The question is vital to our future relations with the rest of the world and there is a lot of "good stuff" in here. Unfortunately, there's a lot of other stuff as well.
Before I get into that, a quick response to some other reviewers. First, yes, the book is "unbalanced" but the title question itself is unbalanced. Thus, as the authors say in the introduction "This is not a book about the positive sides of the United States." People don't hate you for what they truly like about you. So of course the ground covered is going to be negative. Second, it avowedly "is not a book about 9-11; nor is it about the action stemming from it. It is a book prompted by that awful event and concerned to understand the overriding question that emerged from the devastation."
It is, in short, a book about why people hate the US. And indeed, it's at its strongest when it focuses directly on that question in the spirit of Robert Burns' famous lines (modernized):
"Oh would some Power the gift give us/To see ourselves as others see us./It would from many a blunder free us/And foolish notion.
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24 of 30 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 16, 2003
Format: Paperback
It is true that much of what the authors write about is thought-provoking and ought to be widely read. In particular, the analyses of US foreign policy (something poorly understood by most Americans) and US media policies are thorough. And it is true, there is much to decry and abhor about these policies--perhaps this book will help to mobilize Americans to demand change from their government and media.
However, when the authors' obvious prejudices intrude into the subject matter, the analysis is much less analytical, and comes off as a whine (one can't really call it a rant) against the overseas success of American businesses. In particular, the authors' claim that America is hated because of the ubiquity of McDonalds is belied by their own admission that American products are popular overseas.
Nowhere do they address how American businesses were able to establish themselves in foreign countries, apart from complaining about the companies' wealth. Nowhere will you find anything regarding how those companies came to acquire land, for example--obviously, someone local had to sell it to them. Nowhere will you find a description of why non-Americans patronize these businesses, or why the products are in demand. Instead, media and advertising are blamed--causing the authors to treat the "other" people that are the subject of the book with the same condescending paternalism that they claim America uses against them. Obviously, the "other" people are regarded as sheep who eat what media and advertising tells them to eat. Equally obviously, the authors wish that "other" people would turn their backs on American products.
The last I heard, McDonalds does not force anyone to consume its products.
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