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The Secret Knowledge: On the Dismantling of American Culture Paperback – August 28, 2012
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"A Manichean analysis from a strident new voice from the Right---for liberals, something intended to ignite antagonism; for the like-minded, a buttress against the opposition." ---Kirkus --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
About the Author
David Mamet 's Glengarry Glen Ross won the Pulitzer Prize for drama in 1984. He is also the author of Writing in Restaurants and On Directing Film, both available from Penguin.
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The book is well written, but the reader should be advised that its prose is not always linear. In fact, it's often circular like poetry, no doubt because Mamet is a playwright who works with the spoken word.
The only negative about the book is that Mamet was, at least when he wrote the book, extremely disparaging about his past beliefs as is often the case with recent "converts." I understand having been one myself.
He is 63 and has been married 20 years. He was previously married with two children so he has four in all. Perhaps the responsibilities of married life and children began to affect his thinking. He hates taxes as only an entrepreneur who employs himself can do. I don't know if he has become more devout in his religion in recent years but both factors tend to turn people toward conservative ideas.
I was struck by hearing, in two different radio interviews about the book, comments about Neville Shute, a favorite author of mine. He has several sections in the book where he quotes Shute and it seems he has been influenced by reading at least Shute's autobiography, Slide Rule. Shute was a successful aeronautical engineer and writer whose books make excellent reading for engineers and conservatives.
This is an interesting book, especially for his description of those who have influenced him. He does wander a bit in describing his life and his religious feelings but this is all of a piece with the theme. Why does a man with a background that would incline him to a leftist political philosophy change his mind as he gets older ? This is a nice account of how that happens and might just influence another to do the same.
Mamet provides ample proof that government is harmful, and bigger government is deadly. Conservatism/Capitalism works; Liberalism/Socialism does not. Government harms those it pretends to help in the name of social justice or fairness. No serious person can look at the evidence and believe the government is better at allocating resources than the free market. Yet this is what liberals believe.
David Mamet is brilliant. No one writes like him. His words in screenplays, stage plays, and prose are aggressive. They grab you by the throat and growl: "Listen to this, dumbass. It's important."
Winston Churchill said, and I'm paraphrasing, if you are twenty and are not liberal, you don't have a heart. If you are forty and are not conservative, you don't have a brain. David Mamet's THE SECRET KNOWLEDGE confirms this, in spades.
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I've always admired David Mamet's style, from his early Pinteresque dialogue to his brilliant...Read more