Freeing the World to Death: Essays on the American Empire 0th Edition
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About the Author
- Paperback : 336 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1567513069
- Item Weight : 12.3 ounces
- ISBN-13 : 978-1567513066
- Dimensions : 5 x 0.7 x 7.6 inches
- Publisher : Common Courage Press; 0 edition (September 1, 2004)
- Language: : English
- Best Sellers Rank: #1,599,535 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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The author, much like a 14 year old, has a deep seated obsession with 'neocons', not realizing that his beloved 'progressives' are the same thing. Left and right, politically speaking, are meaningless terms, as american foreign policy is identical regardless of which 'side' the leadership is on. Fun fact: while the left/right political axis is meaningless, the true axis is total freedom, represented by anarchy on one side, and total government on the other. People who are unaware of the true political landscape are to my mind uneducated idiots.
This author is simply an apologist for the far left, which I have no time for. He even tried to claim that the USSR didn't actually kill anyone, despite there being official documents from the Soviet Union proving that they did. He also tried to claim that the only reason socialism never worked is because the US ruined everything. While I can certainly believe that the CIA hijacked some 'socialist' revolutions, to say that this is true in all cases is ludicrous.
I have never burned a book but in this case I think I might. It was that bad.
"We can say the United States runs the world like the Taliban ran Afghanistan. Cuba is dealth with like a woman caught outside not wearing her burkha. Horrific sanctions are imposed on Iraq in the manner of banning music, dancing and kite-flying in Kabul. Jean-Bertrand Aristide is banished from Haiti like religious police whipping a man whose beard is not the right length."
The rest of the introduction explains that what the Bush admin does in the world has been done to death by virtually every president for a long time (100yrs+), but it's only now that people want to do something about it. After that the book is split into four parts: one containing the Anti-Empire Reports from the author's website, [...] the second is about US interventions, the third is about the Cold War & the last is about US domestic policy. I would say the highlights from the US interventions part is the transcript of a speech he gave on why terrorists keep picking on the United States (it's not because they "hate freedom") and the author's presentation & commentary on a debate on US foreign policy at Trinity College, Dublin. Part III (the Cold War) starts with commentary on anti-Communism with samples of American anti-Communst propaganda (which sound hilarious now). The highlight would have to be the chapter on the US bombing of Hiroshima & Nagasaki. It has been said that the bombing of those two cities wasn't the final shot of WWII, but the first shot of the Cold War. (see the book for more details ;) ) The last part is about "the Empire at Home" including email correspondence with some of his critics, Cuban political prisoners (in the US), John Kerry, & some articles of the author's in London's Ecologist, including a review of Greg Palast's The Best Democracy Money Can Buy. This book isn't as heavily footnoted as Killing Hope or Rogue State, partly because some chapters are transcripts of talks he has given, or they are newspaper/magazine articles. If you're a fan of Blum (like me), I think this book is a good buy, but if not, I would say that his other two books would be better for non-fans since they have more of a focus and it's easier to find out where Blum found something out.
Blum's small volume won't furnish a definitive answer, but it will point the reader in the right direction. A collection of scatter-shot essays from one of empire's chief critics, the chapters are simply too brief and casual to have scholarly impact. I'm sure that critics, lacking better arguments, will dismiss the book as anti-American. Although the 26 chapters may be wide-ranging and impossible to organize, they add up to a damning glimpse at several of Washington's most cherished pieties-- 1) Our government respects democracy, 2) We're fighting terrorism everywhere, and 3) Our interventions are humanitarian. Washington expects us to swallow these truisms since everyone in authority keeps repeating them. Besides, "unAmerican" ideas like the author's aren't taught in school, read in newspapers, and are never, never seen on tv. No wonder, as Blum points out, 27% of adult Americans believe the sun revolves around the earth! For a culture that appears to equate critical thinking with a lack of patriotism, Blum's caustic aspersions on our popular mind-set seem a reasonable response.
Despite the book's mediocre quality, the author remains one of the most clear-eyed observers of America's far-flung and aggressive empire-- the 800 lb. gorilla no one wants to admit is in the room. Readers made curious by this loose collection should pick up Blum's master-work, Killing Hope, for a definitive look at how the empire operates. My one real complaint-- Why does the book conclude with a self indulgent cheap-shot at reality-challenged Angelenos? Mr. Blum should know that I, for one, live in Los Angeles and can assure him that I do not consult my astrological chart or any other psychic source for daily advice. No sir-ee, my wife does it for me.