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Showing 1-10 of 123 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 292 reviews
on October 14, 2007
This is a very frightening book. Frightening because it connects the current events of today with the events that led up to that mid-20th century horror of fascism, WWII, and the aftermath.

Drawing on history, from both European and other authoratarian risings, the author paints a grim picture of what could happen here. Ms. Wolf shows ten steps that all tyranical governments seem to enact in some order and shows the parallels between history and today. I became more and more chilled as I progressed down the chapters: Invoke a Internal & External Threat, Establish Secret Prisons, Develop a Paramilitary Force, Surveil Ordinary Citizens, Infiltrate Citizens' Groups, Arbitrarily Detain and Release Citizens, Target Key Individuals, Restrict The Press, Cast Criticism As "Espionage" And Dissent As "Treason", and Subvert The Rule Of Law. Sound like the headlines?

At times the author comes of as strident, but 14 pages of endnotes and 4 pages of bibliography make for a convincing case, as does her plain language and multiple examples.

I recommend this book for anyone who wants a view into what could happen or who just wants to avoid the worst case scenario that seems to be approaching if no one stands up to it. I have already ordered ten copies as Christmas presents.
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on January 12, 2008
You will need a strong stomach to read this book. It makes me want to carry around a copy of our Constitution! I highly recommend it to every American who wants to defend our country from destruction from within.
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on September 11, 2007
One of the classic findings of contemporary Psychology is the `hopelessness/helplessness' syndrome. The idea is that once a person has become conditioned to believe that no matter what they do, the outcome will be the same, they become overwhelmed with feelings of confusion, hopelessness, helplessness and apathy. Living in North America in the twenty first century is a study of this phenomenon. I experience this sense of helpless dread and its accompanying apathy every time I turn on the TV, listen to the radio or read the newspaper to hear yet again about our continuing loss of liberties and the tragedies that ensue as a result.

It was thus all the more refreshing to read Wolf's book "The End of America" and feel, much to my pleasant surprise, a rare sense of optimism at its conclusion. Using the same accessible and passionate voice that has made "The Beauty Myth" and "Misconceptions" bestsellers, Wolf eloquently argues that Americans are rapidly losing their liberties under the Bush regime and that the political tactics being used to implant these policies have historical parallels in other fascist dictatorships including Nazi Germany and Stalinist Russia. Using example after example spanning from personal accounts of young jailed bloggers and peace activists to the very public crackdowns on dissidents like the Dixie chicks, to curtailing academic freedom in universities across the country, Wolf illustrates how our open, democratic society is being systemically shut down by the Bush administration.

The beauty of this book, however, lies not so much in its thoroughly researched and clearly articulated thesis, but in its ability to offer an optimistic alternative to the apathy that is plaguing the young patriots that this book addresses. Reading "The End of America", although seemingly depressing at first, is enlightening in its ability to offer its own thesis as an antidote to the trajectory America is on. It is only awareness of our own history and a clear sense of what is currently happening around us that can dismantle the governmental authority that is so threatening to us now. As Wolf writes, "..the founders did not mean for powerful men and women far away from the citizens or people with their own agendas or for a class of professionals to perform the patriots' tasks, or to protect freedom. They meant for us to do it: you, me, the American who delivers your mail, the one who teaches your kids" (p.5).

Wolf could not be more accurate in her statement. Psychology has taught us that the only way out of the helplessness/hopelessness cycle is by asserting control and recognizing that we have the power to change and shape our environment. In an era where nihilism and despair predominate, "The End of America" is a refreshing, accessible, passionate, timely and engaging guidebook to help us on our way.
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on March 24, 2008
Naomi Wolf starts off this book in incredibly strong fashion, making the often forgotten point that liberty is not a self-sustaining state of nature for human beings; once freedom has been established, it needs to be nurtured and watched over if it is going to survive. That point alone makes this book worth reading. It is something that can't be said enough, yet is almost never said. Kudos to Wolf for bringing it up.

Wolf then goes into specifics about why she believes America's freedom is in jeopardy. She points out how many ways and on how many fronts the Bush administration has played very fast and loose with the Constitution of the United States. She makes a lot of good points and focuses in on what might be the most important criticism of the Bush Administration despite the fact that it isn't something we hear about much in the media. Again, kudos to Wolf.

But she quickly starts to undermine her own good thinking and hard work. She makes liberal use of analogies between the actions of the Bush Administration and the actions taken by the regimes of Hitler, Mussolini and Stalin. Some of them are actually well drawn and highly unsettling, but as the book goes on, she starts to stretch too frequently and it leads the reader to question her judgment on her first analogies which seemed solid on first reading.

Ultimately, a thoughtful reader will notice that every threat Wolf sees to America's freedom comes from Republicans and specifically the Bush Administration. You start to understand that Wolf seems truly concerned only about specific limitations on our freedoms from specific types of people. One point Wolf makes is that Bush has made appointments to education posts aimed at institutionalizing conservatism in American education and punishing liberal thought. As a college student of the 90s who skews more conservative, I had to smile. I was curious as to whether Wolf had been up in arms about the problems I'd experienced for voicing conservative economic views at an American university. I kind of doubt it.

Nowhere in this book does Wolf mention any of the threats to American liberty that come from the left. The founders of this country were terribly concerned about the tyranny of the majority and feared a pure democracy because it wouldn't protect the rights of the minority against the will of the majority. That's why they set up a republic. Wolf disturbingly uses the words "democracy" and "freedom" almost interchangeably. They are certainly not synonymous. Democrats in the United States regularly extend the umbrella of the Federal Government to cover things the founders never intended or plainly prohibited. This expansion of government authority is conveniently funded through taxes extracted with the threat of physical imprisonment at gunpoint and creates a huge base of power for politicians (like Bush) to abuse.

Protecting our freedom is one of the most important things to which an American voter can dedicate themselves. It is disheartening how infrequently we hear the media talk about the constant encroachments on our freedom by the federal government. Ultimately, this book reads as the writings of a Bush-hater who adopted freedom as her angle of attack rather than as a lover of freedom who worries about all threats to our liberty. That causes this book to fall well short of the important work it could have and should have been.
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VINE VOICEon March 12, 2008
...will kill us all. At least that is what Naomi Wolf claims in this concise and powerful message about the end of America.

It was the Founding Fathers, she explains, who knew that democracy was "high maintenance" and would always be tested by those who would turn it into a tyranny. Having come from repressive societies, and well versed in the power grabs by despots and tyrants throughout history, they feared that an American President might be tempted to seize power unless checked by a vigilant legislature, judiciary, press, and society at large.

Moreover, she claims that it is relatively easy to seize power especially in a democracy because it is fragile in structure, and because we believe it could never happen to us. It begins with: "All dictators: invoke an external threat and [internal] threat; develop a paramilitary force, create a secret prison system, arbitrarily detain and release them; harass citizens' groups; target writers, entertainers, and other key individuals for dissenting; intimidate the press; recast dissent as 'treason' and criticism as 'espionage'; and eventually subvert the rule of law."

These techniques are not exclusive to right wing regimes, she contends. She illustrates how Stalin, Hitler, Communist China, Mussolini, and Pinochet, people with differing political philosophies all had two things in common. They wanted power, and they wanted to replace democracy with tyranny. No matter what part of the political spectrum they are from, she insists any president with increased power would be reluctant to give it up for the restoration of liberty.

Wolf convincingly shows how this administration has employed every tactic of a dictator. Indeed, they have created and nurtured a climate of fear after 9/11, allowed a paramilitary force such as "Blackwater" to operate with near impunity in Iraq and New Orleans. They have seized foreign nationals in our airports and rendered them to Syria, Egypt and other governments notorious for their "interrogations," as well as imprisoning American citizens without charge, or counsel, and tortured them. We are now being wiretapped and our emails read illegally. Entertainers and celebrities such as Bill Maher and the Dixie Chicks have been targeted. Maher had his show cancelled simply because he said the 9/11 terrorists were brave. Donahue had his top-rated show cancelled because he did not support the war, and many stations refused to air the songs of the Dixie Chicks for anti-Bush pronouncements. The message is clear to others who would criticize. This administration has already threatened the NY Times with a lawsuit for having published supposedly secret information. Any unfavorable press is denied the story or the seat up front. The Bush and Cheney team has also taken the charges of treason and raised it to an art form. Anyone who does not support the president is labeled as helping the terrorists, and as being more concerned about their rights than those of Americans. (This can be seen all over Amazon). But one of the most worrisome is the president's signing statements to bills. These statements were once only made for clarification. Now, Bush is using them to say what parts of the law he will recognize and what parts he will ignore. (He has done this over 750 times). Essentially he is saying that an equal branch of government may operate only in an advisory role to him.

With the exception of a few annoying lack of edits, Naomi Wolf uses the powerful lesson of history to show us how tyranny can happen in the one place that we think is immune to it, and she gives us all the parallels one could ask for.

The end of America will surely come. It may come from an external threat, but Wolf shows how easily it can come from within. All Americans have to do is give up liberty for the promise of security, and it will definitely arrive even sooner from apathy and ignorance.

Also recommended:

Gore, Al, "The Assault on Reason."

Goldsmith, Jack L., "The Terror Presidency: Law and Judgment Inside the Bush Administration."

Greenwald, Glenn, "How Would a President Act: Defending American Values from a President Run Amok."

Mann, Thomas E. & Ornstein, Norman, "The Broken Branch: How Congress is Failing America and How to Get it Back on Track (Institutions of American Democracy)"

Dean, John W., "Conservatives Without Conscience."

Thomas, Helen, "Watchdogs of Democracy? The Waning Washington Press Corps and How It Has Failed the Public."

Boehlert, Eric, "How the Press Rolled Over for Bush."
1313 comments| 43 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on December 18, 2016
Loved it
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on October 26, 2007
No one likes to think this could happen here. We cannot imagine it, but I'm sure when it happened in other countries they could not imagine it either. And when all the pieces finally do fall into place, it could be too late. It is not unthinkable folks, as long as we do not know our history, our constitution, and as long as we deny the possibility we are at risk. It has been very stressful to look at the ugliness that is taking over our country, but it will be much more stressful if they succeed in changing us from a democracy to one run of, by and for the corporation. We have to be vigilant.

By the way, do not pay any mind to the one or two idiots who write a negative review just to try and bring the star count down. If you look into them these are the only reviews they do. They have not read the book. Even when they have a look, they usually have their minds made up. We won't get them to listen, so don't bother.
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on January 4, 2008
Naomi Wolf is a very brave person. She has stepped up to write a book that should have been written by other public servants years ago. She has clearly outlined parallels and trends between Nazi Germany and other facist regimes with current trends in the United States.

Since reading the book I have read some of the laws she has dicussed - the Military Commissions Act of 2006, for example. It's frightening to me how much power is being accumulated by the executive branch of our government. It's even more frightening that most people don't even seem to care or know about some of the laws she discusses. A related book to take a look at would be: [[ASIN:0743260457 Against All Enemies: Inside America's War on Terror]

In this age of conformity, she dares to think different, at the risk of being labeled an 'unlawful enemy combatant' that she describes in the book. I myself was also stopped at an airport by security about this book, that I was carrying.

If you are a patriot, this is a book you must read. It's an easy read-doesn't require a great knowledge of history-just a little common sense. [
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on October 27, 2007
For those of us who have long thought that America would "go down" from within its borders rather than from without, Naomi Wolf has hit the nail on the head when it comes to just that. Her short but important book, "The End of America", chronicles the years of the Bush administration as she cites Hitler, Mussolini and Stalin as examples of what can happen to an unsuspecting people as their rights and freedoms dissolve. The author comments that we may feel content regarding everyday life at the moment but the erosion of the Constitution and the possibilities that exist for governmental subversion because of it are indeed alarming.

Wolf reveals "ten steps that are taken in order to close down a democracy" and while we can recognize all ten there are three that seem most important to me..."invoke an external and internal threat", "restrict the press" and "subvert the rule of law". These seem to be the most blatant and closest threats to our democracy and while the author is justifiably hard on the current White House and the aggregation of control concerning what Bush/Cheney believe in the inherent power of the executive, Wolf suggests this could be a blueprint for abuse from future presidencies...Democrat or Republican. And now that the president believes he has accumulated authority to do what he so pleases, it's not what he WILL do to us but what he CAN do to us. This point is underscored in the book.

"The End of America" is a realistic look at what has happened to this country over the past few years and the frightening possibilities that lie ahead. I highly recommend it for its message, content and thought.
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on January 20, 2008
What Naomi Wolf sees in the current state of affairs in America is a "fascist shift" - a subtle (and not so subtle) erosion of our Constitutional Democracy in the post 9/11 reality of perpetual global war. It is worth noting that according to Mussolini, fascism rejects pacifism. And, as he proclaimed in a 1932 Italian Encyclopedia article, "fascism believes neither in the possibility nor the utility of perpetual peace..." (What is Fascism)

Wolf has studied both historians and political scientists who have identified 10 salient characterists of fascist states. Wolf examines how these have played out throughout the course of modern history and then draws striking parallels with what is happening right here at home under our very noses. And it ain't a pretty picture.

But this slender tome is not merely a delineation of the abuses of power endemic to the current administration; it is, indeed, as the subtitle has it, a "warning" to all Americans to resist this downward spiral into an American version of fascism that will come draped in the flag.

As the Executive Branch has programatically consolidated power in this Age of Terror, it is worth noting, once again, Mussolini's belief that "Fascism denies that the majority, by the simple fact that it is a majority, can direct human society..." Thus, the abrogation of our participation in Federal government to the Executive Branch, corporate lobbyists and special interests is perfectly in line with his philosophy and does not bode well for We the People. Given the prerogative of presidential 'signing statements', the Congress, notes Wolf, has become little more than an advisory body with little real power.

We are, apparently, too much concerned with celebrities and feel-good pharmacuticals to take an active role in preserving our liberties in the face of "the global war on terror." But as Benjamin Franklin warned, "They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." (Contributions to the Conference on February 17 (III) Fri, Feb 17, 1775)

That the cover and chapter heads of this slender volume evoke Thomas Paine is no accident. Paine's voice echoes throughout this "Letter...To A Young Patriot". And as General Washington insisted that his rag-tag militamen read Paine, so each citizen who would resist the tide of creeping fascism ought to read Wolf and prepare to do battle with forces foreign and domestic that would strip us of our liberties.

The Founding Fathers knew what it was to live under a tyrannical government. Their wisdom and their vision insured that we, their posterity, would inherit a government responsive to the will of the People. It is that very legacy that is in danger of being co-opted by forces that assume they can shape our history.

Read this book. Resist the powers that be.
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