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Democracy for the Few 6th Edition

3.7 out of 5 stars 25 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0312052331
ISBN-10: 0312052332
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Michael Parenti has taught political and social science at a number of colleges and universities and now devotes himself full time to writing and lecturing. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 354 pages
  • Publisher: Bedford/St Martins; 6th edition (January 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312052332
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312052331
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,268,184 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
In response to the two reviewers below...
The fact that Spiro Agnew resigned in exchange for the dropping of charges of bribery, extortion and income tax evasion is not discredited by evasive angles. The fact that such facts are not discussed in most school textbooks is very much a political issue.
In regard to "credible sources," the first chapter alone of 'Democracy for the Few' refers to mainstream publications such as the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and the Washington Post 36 times and judiciously utilizes 14 references from alternative publications such as Multinational Monitor and The Nation whose bias is merely the undoing of the blatant anti-labor, pro-plutocracy bias of the mainstream corporate owned media. This same ratio applies relatively throughout the remaining chapters.
One of the central facts discussed in the book comes right out of the IRS Statistics of Income Bulletin, 1999-2000:
"Who Owns America?
The top 10 percent of American households own 98 percent of the tax-exempt state and local bonds, 94 percent of business assets, and 95 percent of the value of all trusts. The richest 1 percent own 60 percent of all corporate stock and all business assets. True, some 40 percent of families own some stocks or bonds, but almost all of these have total holdings of less than $2,000. Taking into account their debts and mortgages, 90 percent of American families have little or no net assets." (page 9)
Parenti then goes into how our political system is very much run by and for this tiny owning class and how the rest of us are affected by it.
The book is refreshingly clear, well written, entirely scholarly yet very engaging. None of the partial complaints "Timothy Kidd" cites below apply whatsoever.
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Format: Paperback
(I give this book 4-1/2 stars)
It's important to be factual here. My copy of this extraordinarily well researched book is the 5th edition, published in 1988. I see a lot of nonsense being put out against this book and would like to touch on 4 of them:
1. Texan Kevin K Gorman (Nov 12, 2002) says in his review that "McCarthyism is a commi word." Nonsense, unless Kevin is from another planet or has stepped from being a humble patriot to being a nationalist, McCarthy is a recognized shameful smudge on this great country. Nothing to do with Commie anything and the word is known the world over to be synonymus with arrogance and repression of individuals. And then "Plutocracy" is not a "commie word" either, it is an acceptable term in Political Science, used for when money controls a society. Comes from Greek ploutos which means wealth, so to explain: Rather than one vote, one man, a Plutocracy would be one dollar, one vote, one thousand dollars one thousand votes. Nothing commi[e] here either but has to do with explaining corruption in a Democracy. Also I checked in my copy on page 82 and see nothing about "electromagnetic mind control from satalites [sic] (p. 82)!". So some people shouldn't write reviews if they are unable to comprehend the meaning in the books they are reading or unable to understand basic facts. Sticking to facts is important.
2. Then Michael Gordon claims that Parenti doesn't want Americans to have cars. Come on! That is ridiculous. That is not a book review. Sticking to facts is important.
3. Matt Nuenke says it is just filled with venom and hate. Very superficial critique of Matt and inability to accept that all countries have some shortcomings to work out, starting by talking about the issues.
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8 Comments 134 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Paperback
Parenti's work, including this one, are indeed controversial...but that's exactly what I love about Parenti...his work provokes critical thinking on the reader's part...he offers an different view in viewing our political, societal system and history...and no, it's not poorly researched like some of these reviewers has claimed(please look at the history events and news from not just CNN)...and yes, it's opinionated, just as often times different history books all written in their own little biased views...therefore I encourage every reader to read this book, because of the angel that it offers...I think it's a great book that can shatter some people's realty in America, and creat many new critical thinkers of our time!
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I am using this book for my political science class and Michael Parenti's viewpoints are concise and accurate. He does an excellent job of using endnotes at the end of each chapter to allow for further research into some of the subjects he touches on. This book is definately an alternative viewpoint to what "the liberal media" deems fit to tell us.
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Format: Paperback
Parenti tells it like it is, and his well-documented book may shock the majority of us spoon-fed propaganda by the mainstream media. He addresses issues that the powers-that-be are afraid to, like the maldistribution of wealth, the regressive nature of the tax system, the enormous subsidies granted to the rich using our tax dollars, the anti-poor and racist nature of our criminal justice system, the class motivations underlying the US government's myriad interventions overseas, and the conservative media bias. He writes very well, and his logic is compelling and impeccable. While Dr. Parenti is very critical of the current "politico-economic system," that does not make him a communist, though that is what many embarassed elites will call him. He is a progressive, a compassionate man thoroughly concerned with the well-being of working people, and this is apparent from his writing. Writing with such conviction about the ugly realities of American life will never get him on one of those sunday-afternoon political talk shows, because the elites that run the media are frankly terrified of him telling the ordinary people the facts about class and political power in America. I have read many books on politics and economics in my life, and of many excellent ones, this is probably the best and most comprehensive. This is a phenomenal and eye-opening book. I am currently reading anothr one of his books, Blackshirts and Reds, and that one appears to be just as good as Democracy for the Few.
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