- Paperback: 128 pages
- Publisher: Monthly Review Press (April 1, 2010)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1583672125
- ISBN-13: 978-1583672129
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.4 x 8.3 inches
- Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,194,214 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Politics of Genocide
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About the Author
Edward S. Herman is professor emeritus of finance at the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania and has written extensively on economics, political economy, and the media. Among his books are Corporate Control, Corporate Power; The Real Terror Network; The Political Economy of Human Rights (with Noam Chomsky); and Manufacturing Consent (with Noam Chomsky).
David Peterson is an independent journalist and researcher based in Chicago.
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Top Customer Reviews
The book repeatedly demonstrates that the US media is a propaganda machine perpetrating a particular myth, which not by coincidence is the very myth that Walter Lippmann set forth in the early 1920s in his masterpiece, "Public Opinion." Lippmann argued that such matters as foreign policy are far beyond the range of interest and cognitive capacities of the average person who, he contended, was generally capable of grasping only primitive stereotypes arranged into enjoyably simple narratives. Examples of such are that when the US kills it is noble and brave and its victims unworthy of concern, whereas when the US is attacked it is cowardly and base, and their victims deserve our deepest consideration. Our genocides are good and constructive, theirs evil and monstrous. Our allies are good and true, our enemies evil and dishonest, etc. They do a fine and convincing job of laying out identical atrocities side by side and noting that each is clothed in a different narrative depending upon whether it is friend or foe or U.S. The explanation for the success of such patent lies is to be found in Lippmann's lesser known but equally deep book, his 1929 "A Preface to Morals." Tragically, the ruling class understands the masses so much better than those wishing to mitigate their suffering. The writing of H&P, alas, remains dry as dirt almost throughout, abstract and unmoving, unable to make one's blood boil or heart race, and certainly little able to move its readers to action.
Almost the entire political careers of Herman, Chomsky, and now Peterson are devoted to "debunking" the content of the particular myths thus told, and by implication affirming the truth of what Lippmann said about the range of human interest, motivation and capacity. The professional Sin Eaters like H-C-P are atypical, and sadly suffer from a false picture of human nature. They keep bringing facts and reason to the table of a glutton addicted to sensation and spectacle that gratifies baser instincts even while one of them -- Chomsky -- keeps paying homage to the high moral purpose of the average American. I have more than a bit of the Sin Eater in my make-up, but a more accurate picture of the audience to which I would like to present the truth; its lack of interest and ability never ceases to astound.
America who has never endured occupation or a land war against its population since Revolutionary times has distanced
Itself from any culpability from grievous errors of judgement.
It serves more as an introduction to further reading, but I don't think it is a topic suited to quick intro's.
Certainly good value for money, though.
Herman and Peterson make the point that the terms genocide, massacre, and ethnic cleansing are applied with zeal towards official US or European enemies, and that they are almost entirely absent in descriptions of genocides, cleansings, and massacres carried out by the US or it's favored states. Parallel to this are the mainstream scholars in Genocide Studies and in various human rights organizations, who tend to accept the prevailing standards of what constitutes genocide (or not) uncritically, or outright collude in the propagation of such biased standards.
I've been wondering for some time whether to subscribe to Monthly Review magazine, which comes with a discount on books they publish. This book has definitely convinced me to do so.