The Secret Knowledge

  • by David Mamet
  • Narrated by Johnny Heller
  • 6 hrs and 46 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

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.

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Audible Editor Reviews

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

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What the Critics Say

"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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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Mamet's Rubicon

I think as we can see in the previous reviews here, which consist of criticism at the "Mamet sucks" level of intellectual inspection, this book is shaking the left to its core. Mamet's criticism (or Secret Knowledge) has the ring of authenticity. Mamet ranges fearlessly through closely held left-wing tenets such as big-government central control, wealth redistribution, the left's imagined ownership of intellectualism, the fallacy of do-goodism, the evolution of liberalism from its legitimate roots to the ugliness it has become, and many, many more.
The authenticity comes from Mamet's immersion in the heart of darkness itself, namely left-wing Hollywood. Mamet is a true Hollywood insider; however, his criticism is based on solid theory that springs from the headwaters of modern conservative theory in works by authors such as Friedrich A. Hayek. His life experience in Hollywood gives his work a fresh approach that is a delight to consider.
What is interesting is that Mamet states that much like the emperor with no clothes story, liberals know that their worldview is not exactly kosher, but part of being a liberal is not to admit to it. Any liberal who "calls out" the inconsistencies and outright lies on which liberalism is based will be "rejected from the herd," which is exactly what is happening to Mamet. Ironic.
Anyway, this book is more than worth the credit and the time - a really excellent book with a wealth of intriguing ideas. I wish I could have done it more justice here. Do yourself a favor and listen to it. It may be a life changer.

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- Kirk

Catchy Title No Worthwhile Content

A really bad book. Just the childish ravings of a mixed up, bitter and frustrated man. Absolutely devoid of any value, literary, philosophical or otherwise.
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- Howard

Book Details

  • Release Date: 08-08-2011
  • Publisher: Tantor Audio