- Series: Nation Books
- Paperback: 211 pages
- Publisher: Nation Books (October 22, 2003)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1560255129
- ISBN-13: 978-1560255123
- Product Dimensions: 7.7 x 4.9 x 0.6 inches
- Shipping Weight: 8 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 12 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #546,707 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Superpower Syndrome: America's Apocalyptic Confrontation with the World (Nation Books)
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From Publishers Weekly
Lifton brings his unique psychiatric and psychohistorical perspective to the heated issues of the war on terror and America in a unipolar world. Lifton defines superpower syndrome as an aberrant "national mind-set... that takes on a sense of omnipotence, of unique standing in the world that grants it the right to hold sway over all other nations." He examines parallels with other instances of apocalyptic nations, which he has explored in groundbreaking works about Hiroshima (Death in Life), the Holocaust (The Nazi Doctors), the Vietnam War (Home from the War) and global terrorism (Destroying the World to Save It). Bush's war on terror can be seen as apocalyptic, Lifton says, because of its call for an amorphous battle unlimited in time or space and encompassing the absolute eradication of evil. The perceived threat of group annihilation leads apocalyptics to "merge with God in the claim to ownership of death," asserting the right to "murderous purification" and to decide who lives and who dies. The U.S. response to Nazi violence was similarly apocalyptic, in Lifton's analysis, a battle "for global salvation through the flames of destruction," such as the bombings of Dresden and Hiroshima. The latter in turn fed into the Aum Shinrikyo doomsday cult in Japan in the 1990s. Similarly, the Bush response is "part of an ongoing dynamic in which the American apocalyptic interacts, almost to the point of collusion, with the Islamic apocalyptic"-an escalation that, Lifton believes, "has in it the potential seeds of world destruction." Yet escalation isn't inevitable, and with guarded hope, Lifton provides a complex yet clearly articulated roadmap to national self-reflection rather than international destruction.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
"As with all of Mr. Lifton's reflections on politics and psychology, this one [Destroying the World to Save It] has many powerful and compelling insights." --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top customer reviews
"There has been some dispute about how significantly Arab fighters, as opposed to native Afghan warriors, contributed to the Soviet debacle, but there is no doubt that the victory was an intoxicating one for Islamists. Their miraculous success against a superpower---followed by the collapse of that superpower---could only mean that God had made them invincible. The considerable quantities of military equipment and financial support made available by the United states were dismissed in the exultant claim of (in Faraj's words) "jihad for the cause of god." More than any event, victory in Afghanistan contributed to an apocalyptic confidence on the part of Islamists: the existing world could be overturned and pure Islamist rule established."page 80
Remember this book was written and published in 2003. We are now in 2010, and the collapse of a second Super Power is perhaps imminent. If the United States continues its collapse which it will, it will set up the Psychic in America similar to the Psychic of Germany after World War I, and the Islamic People will feel even more invincible and that God is on their side. They will then begin their conquest and then as in a chess game the west will capture their king.
The author explores the mind that believes that might makes right is king and describes in frightening detail historic events which help the reader understand such a mind.
It reads like a super-thriller novel...evil-filled and gripping and all so actual.
Some of the most interesting parts come when Lifton talks about the ideas of "controlling history" and therefore controlling life and death. This explains the apocalyptic mindset of those who don't hold religions as the catalyst. This book is a very interesting, and I think accurate, frame through which to view current events. Criticism of the Bush administration is often dismissed as liberal, Democrat slander. This book was not written from any certain political perspective; it was written from a very humane, psychological perspective. The final diagnosis is less of a critique and more of a warning about the imminent threat posed by the current political status quo.
I was telling my sister about this book, and what I thought of it, and she said: "Isn't there a part of you that doesn't want to know these things?" It's an odd question, but understandable. This book is frightening. It forces the reader to consider that we may be in the grips of an apocalyptic cult which, beneath the public-friendly rhetoric about peace and freedom, is motivated by a need to destroy all evil, and all of the world, if necessary.
Most recent customer reviews
He came across as a very polished speaker with a...Read more