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Imperial Ambitions: Conversations on the Post-9/11 World (American Empire Project) Paperback – September 15, 2005
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From Publishers Weekly
The infuriating, indispensable dean of American dissidents returns with this new collection of interviews with long-time amanuensis Barsamian. In these wide-ranging conversations, linguist and philosopher Chomsky, author of Hegemony or Survival, applies his usual left-wing critique of U.S. foreign policy to recent developments in Iraq, but also revisits American infamies stretching back to the Kosovo conflict, the Vietnam War and even the Mexican War while weighing in on domestic issues like Social Security privatization, health insurance and the rise of the Religious Right. His caustic denunciations of American "war crimes" -comparisons to Nazi Germany are never far from hand-serve up plenty of red meat for his legions of fans on the disaffected left, but the discursive, unsystematic format is not the best introduction for readers unfamiliar with his nonconformist views. One wishes Chomsky would find a more challenging interlocutor than the always-reverent Barsamian to sharpen up his thinking. His estimate of the coherence and vigor of the American imperial project seems overwrought. His analysis of the role of oil politics in the Iraq war is murky. And his portrait of the media as a quasi-Orwellian "propaganda" system brainwashing the population on behalf of the ruling elite smacks of naïve populism. Still, it's hard to dismiss Chomsky's indictment of the damage done by U.S. policies abroad, his scornful dissection of the lies and hypocrisies of those who defend them, his insistence that wealth and class interests dominate American politics, or his uncompromising attack on the thoughtless presumption of America's right to impose its will by force on other countries. A sardonic, meticulous and always bracing critic of the powers that be, Chomsky remains a must-read for any thoughtful citizen.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Chomsky occasionally takes flak from both fans and critics for preferring interviews, editorials, and speeches to academic prose in articulating his political analyses of current events. Probably the consequence of articulating arguments disquieting enough to precipitate ad hominem attacks, such shots will not end with this book, which consists of nine loosely thematic conversations on familiar Chomskian themes: hegemony, propaganda, activism, peace. Barsamian (Chomsky's most dedicated interviewer) lobs more than he probes, but his questions sometimes surprise with their directness: asking the "rebel without a pause" if he feels like Sisyphus, for example. Although sold as exploring topics never before discussed, Chomsky's comments on the 2004 presidential campaign, the dismantling of Social Security, and global warming perhaps predictably return to familiar insights. But several passages prove illuminating in other, perhaps less-intentional ways, exploring Chomsky's complicated relationship with elitism and eliciting some candid connections between his intellectual politics and his upbringing. With Chomsky as accessible and compelling as always, this book is also slated to be released as an audio CD. Brendan Driscoll
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Top Customer Reviews
I've been called so right wing I can't make a left turn, but lately, like many, I've been disillusioned. I'm also not a goose-steppin' follower - I have my own thoughts. While being 'conservative' in this country is becoming difficult, especially as the definition changes, I still consider myself conservative. I'm not a neo-con, however. The point of this is how I came to read Chomsky.
I feel that there's much we 'conservatives' have had to swallow in the past few years. Thinly vieled lies - and outright ones! - make it hard to just go along with our leaders. I started to read some of the material that the other side puts out - and a lot made sense. This book became my first foray into Chomsky's stuff. I now have a half dozen of his books.
I don't always agree with him and sometimes I wonder if he says/writes things just to prove he can be as ridiculous as the right, but I can't deny his intellect. As well, linguistics is a field that fascinates me. (If you don't know, that's what Chomsky is at MIT, a linguist.)
Look, whether you're left or right, he's good reading. And if you're able look at both sides - this is a good start.
-imperial ambitions of the US power-elite
-how language is used and abused in the service of power
-what "regime change" is all about along with wars of aggression
-history and memory and the complete absence of the latter despite the former being long and present for all willing to see
-the myth that US power is benevolent but sometimes just makes honest mistakes in her quest to bring democracy and prosperity to all
Chomsky states his goal here, as always, is to help YOU defend yourself intellectually.
You don't get that from the education system.
Noam Chomsky does believe that as horrible as things are "another world is possible", but a more just and sane world is only possible if all of us work together to make it a reality. In other words, get active.
We in Latin America, in almost every country, suffered long and cruel dictatorships ( a lot of them sponsored by USA Govts') ...so we HAVE REAL reasons to be afraid of...the USA.. We do not live in the constant fear that Mr. Chomsky describes in his book... well, we do not live in constant fear , but we are afraid of what the future will bring for our children with the kind of fundamentalism that rules today the only superpower in the world....rulers that look down on us as if we were sub-humans or just "naughty children"...
Chomsky...always a good read. Maybe he is not 100% true..but he is close.
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