- File Size: 508 KB
- Print Length: 92 pages
- Publisher: Institute for Economic Democracy (September 27, 2012)
- Publication Date: September 27, 2012
- Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
- Language: English
- ASIN: B009IDGQSA
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Not Enabled
- Lending: Enabled
Amazon Best Sellers Rank:
#2,683,616 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
- #1365 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Nonfiction > Politics & Social Sciences > Politics & Government > Specific Topics > Civics
- #2081 in Kindle Store > Kindle Short Reads > Two hours or more (65-100 pages) > Politics & Social Sciences
- #2717 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Nonfiction > Politics & Social Sciences > Politics & Government > Elections & Political Process > Practical Politics
|Print List Price:||$12.95|
Save $8.96 (69%)
The Good American: A Situation Report for Citizens Kindle Edition
|New from||Used from|
See the Best Books of the Month
Want to know our Editors' picks for the best books of the month? Browse Best Books of the Month, featuring our favorite new books in more than a dozen categories.
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Would you like to tell us about a lower price?
Top customer reviews
Nevertheless, that good American is still a good patriot, still confident in the democratic principles which helped form this nation, and motivated to fix these unprecedented problems by renewed activism in the political process, especially at the ballot box.
Mr. Smith has written a slender (50 pages of text) volume which fair-mindedly describes the sorry state of American society in a plainspoken manner without the rageful vituperation which the subject matter seems to justify from any self-respecting lower-class (non-elite) American.
The author is a mathematics professor, an admirer of the Green Party, and is involved with the Institute for Economic Democracy, a publisher committed to educating the public about alternatives to liberal capitalism.
He has been motivated to write about the economic and political crises he sees happening now in America because he is a firm believer in the virtues of democracy, is worried about the consequences of an eventual environmental collapse, and believes that the American "people" have enough of a sense of civic responsibility to take back society from the elite which has for so long dominated the economy, the political system, and the media and cultural spheres for its own self-interests, the public, the character of the nation, the environment, and the future be damned.
The book has a short introduction and six chapters devoted to specific subject issues-the contradiction between the America of great principles of democracy and morality and the country which is the most militaristic, imperialist, and hubristic in the world; elite propaganda principles and techniques; elite domination; environmental decline; and the perversion of the electoral process. The last chapter is his call to citizens to try to rectify these problems by thinking clearly, voting, and making better choices while voting.
The best chapter is on environmental categories and summarizes very well how the environment is in danger and why. It explains why we are in an "overshoot" status of unavoidable decline.
The book, despite its size, is loaded with facts and statistics amply supporting Mr. Smith's characterization of these issues. There is a 21 page section of notes and references at the end of the book. (How many people realize that the United States has been at war or involved in foreign military engagements nearly continuously since 1789, or that it has engaged in at least 16 wars of imperialism?)
Despite this detail, the book reads easily as Mr. Smith has a gentle voice and is skillful in articulating complex material in a straightforward, easy to comprehend matter. The book probably would be good course material for a college Pol. Sci. 201 class as it points out many of the major political issues of our current society and provokes thought and even controversy. Not everyone, for example, would accept his characterization of elite dominance or the seriousness of environmental degradation, although there is plenty of of exceptionally strong evidence for both, whether the general public knows it or not. Some people will say that the elite dominance is a good thing, and even natural.
While the book sets out its indictment of American society clearly and succinctly, Mr. Smith doesn't add anything new to this type of political economic analysis and the book is no definitive argument for the points he wishes to make about the elite and the rest of American. It is a nice summary of the major issues that fair-minded, intelligent people ought to be addressing now, especially how far the nation has moved away from its original idealistic principles of democracy, opportunity, and morality.
Despite all of its virtues, the book drops off the cliff, so to speak, when it comes to discussion about what can be done about these problems. The "solutions" discussions are mere six pages long. Mr. Smith exhorts average citizens to see their nation's problems clearly but doesn't explain how a thoroughly brainwashed public can overcome the propaganda and delusions he discusses in chapter 2. He wants Americans to forget American "exceptionalism" and develop some national humility but doesn't explain how this can happen. He hopes for a balancing of capitalism and socialist ideals but offers few details and no practical program.
Mostly, he wants people to rise up and wake up and be smarter at the ballot box, despite all of the perversions of democracy described in chapter 5. He believes that if people paid more attention at the ballot box they would be effective in obtaining real change.
This evaluation of his solutions is not meant as any criticism of the author as he is only one of very many people, especially in recent years--intellectuals, journalists, writers, public citizens--who have analyzed (correctly) the elite dominance of America and all of its negative consequences, have the right heart and motivations, but have no real practical proposals for change.
And, that's too bad.
(FTC disclosure (16 CFR Part 255)): The reviewer has accepted a reviewer's copy of this book which is his to keep. He intends to provide an honest, independent, and fair evaluation of the book in all circumstances.)
I highly recommend this book to anyone who feels frustrated by America and can't quite understand what is going on with our country. -- Roger Kotila, Ph.D.[Psychologist, & editor Earth Federation News & Views]
I have only two relatively minor nits to pick with Smith's approach. The first is that this would have been better if there was no sign of partisanship. In the introduction, Smith summarizes some current political issues, including the 2012 US Presidential race, and gives an even-handed argument that concludes neither major party candidate is a good choice. That cries out for an alternative, and he suggests one. I'm afraid that going partisan may cause some readers with strong party affiliation to abandon the book for that reason. However, if he was going to do this the way he did, doing it in the beginning and then staying away from any obviously partisan political statements for the remainder of the book, was the right choice.
My other nit is that, at least to me, the language used to describe certain situations often felt like the same kind of verbiage used by conspiracy theorists. Yet what was being described didn't feel like an organized conspiracy (something requiring multiple people to coordinate), but instead something more informal. He also does a much better job of sourcing his contentions than the typical conspiracy theorist rather than requiring we take it on faith. Possibly his political slant is closer to my own political beliefs, making me more willing to see things as he describes them, but much of what he described seemed self-evident.
Regardless of your politics, regardless of who you're going to vote for in the next election, The Good American is something everyone in the US should read and decide for themselves.
**Originally written for "Books and Pals" book blog. May have received a free review copy. **
Set up an Amazon Giveaway
Look for similar items by category
- Books > Politics & Social Sciences > Politics & Government > Elections & Political Process > General
- Books > Politics & Social Sciences > Politics & Government > Specific Topics > Civics & Citizenship
- Kindle Store > Kindle Short Reads > Two hours or more (65-100 pages) > Politics & Social Sciences
- Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Politics & Social Sciences > Politics & Government > Elections & Political Process > Practical Politics
- Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Politics & Social Sciences > Politics & Government > Specific Topics > Civics