A major new collection from "arguably the most important intellectual alive" (The New York Times). Noam Chomsky is universally accepted as one of the preeminent public intellectuals of the modern era. Over the past thirty years, broadly diverse audiences have gathered to attend his sold-out lectures. Now, in Understanding Power, Peter Mitchell and John Schoeffel have assembled the best of Chomsky's recent talks on the past, present, and future of the politics of power.
In a series of enlightening and wide-ranging discussions, all published here for the first time, Chomsky radically reinterprets the events of the past three decades, covering topics from foreign policy during Vietnam to the decline of welfare under the Clinton administration. And as he elucidates the connection between America's imperialistic foreign policy and the decline of domestic social services, Chomsky also discerns the necessary steps to take toward social change. With an eye to political activism and the media's role in popular struggle, as well as U.S. foreign and domestic policy, Understanding Power offers a sweeping critique of the world around us and is definitive Chomsky. Characterized by Chomsky's accessible and informative style, this is the ideal book for those new to his work as well as for those who have been listening for years.
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Excellent Standalone or as a Supplement
Yes.Noam Chomsky's writings and lectures are filled with an overwhelming number of facts, numbers, and statements. So many, in fact, most of it will never reach your long term memory after just a listen or two. I read the hard copy first. While I don't mind plucking through the pages for a part I want to revisit, this was a much less daunting review that allowed for a cover-to-cover experience.
Every single aside and footnote could be traced to a real world reality. If he said a corporation wrote a letter asking for something from the government, even if the request seems insane, that letter exists and is available to the public. That is not to say there isn't opinion in here, there is very strong opinion. The facts are immaculate, however.
Robin Bloodworth performed Chomsky's work throughout. One thing that immediately jumped out to me, having seen or heard some of the lectures, was the difference between inflection and emphasis. I only mention this because I am aware that most who would call themselves Chomsky fans have heard a lot of audio and seen many lectures. I found that Bloodworth's performance evened out Chomsky' and provided consistency to a collection written over such a long period (at 85, he sounds healthy, but obviously different than in his youth) and including diverse formats.
"And the end result is in fact quite similar: what are called opinions "on the left" and "on the right" in the media represent only a limited spectrum of debate which reflects the range of needs of private power-but there's essentially nothing beyond those "acceptable" positions."
- E. Ard "man, what"