For the past 30 years, David Mamet has been a controversial and defining force in theater and film, championing the most cherished liberal values along the way. In some of the great movies and plays of our time, his characters have explored the ethics of the business world, embodied the struggles of the oppressed, and faced the flaws of the capitalist system. But in recent years Mamet has had a change of heart. He realized that the so-called mainstream media outlets he relied on were irredeemably biased, peddling a hypocritical and deeply flawed worldview. In 2008 he wrote a hugely controversial op-ed for the Village Voice, "Why I Am No Longer a 'Brain-Dead Liberal,'" in which he methodically eviscerated liberal beliefs. Now he goes much deeper, employing his trademark intellectual force and vigor to take on all the key political and cultural issues of our times, from religion to political correctness to global warming. Mamet pulls no punches in his art or in his politics. And as a former liberal who woke up, he will win over an entirely new audience of others who have grown irate over America's current direction.
Noted playwright David Mamet brings the zeal of a recent convert to his book, The Secret Knowledge: On the Dismantling of American Culture read by Johnny Heller. Mamet attacks modern liberalism by taking on frequent conservative targets, for example, global warming, feminism, and liberal arts education; he tackles modern politics with the crisp, unbridled venom that is a hallmark of his dramatic work. This work is prose, not dialogue, yet Johnny Heller grabs onto the words and infuses them with biting emotional energy. Mamet's writing is award-winning and that talent is clearly apparent in The Secret Knowledge. Heller makes listening to the book a visceral experience as he sneers and spits some of Mamet's choicest criticisms of the left, frequently causing the listener to flinch at many of the author's statements. Through Heller's highly charged delivery, the author mounts scathing attacks on the loss of critical thinking skills, critical questioning skills, and higher education's complicity in that endeavor.
David Mamet's body of work, from riveting plays like Glengarry Glen Ross and American Buffalo to films such as Wag the Wog, as well as essays too numerous to mention, have given sharply critical, frequently ironic, and unquestionably brilliant comments on American life and whatever is referred to as The American Dream. In The Secret Knowledge, Mamet goes for the jugular of the liberal movement and its thrall in American politics, seeing no need to leave survivors. It is at the very least provocative. No doubt it will encourage many to welcome the respected American playwright and screenwriter to the conservative fold, while bringing forth outbursts reminiscent of Mamet's colorful dialogue from the liberal side. Carole Chouinard
"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)
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