This book was geniously written. While it was a little "heavy" (I had to relisten to portions a number of times), it revealed history that I was vaguely aware of, but didn't know the extent of its implications. The book is both terrifying in its reality, but also encouraging in the fact that American exceptionalism can overcome the tendencies of the leftist Progressives. This book proved what I have always felt. History does not really repeat itself. Instead, there are forces that are ever present and rear their heads when opportunity presents itself. While not the "feel good" book of the summer, I would recommend this book to all Americans who are concerned for their nation and want to really understand our history.
After reading this book, the only thing I can say is WOW! All the things that I knew were wrong, but didnt know why, became clear. The mask came off the lie of liberalism and progressivism and how really evil it all is, you know...based on "compassion" and "giving to the unfortunate." GREAT BOOK!! This should be the starter book for all to read who want to know what is going on right now in our government in 2010.
This book is, perhaps, the most important book I've read (with the exception of the Bible). Goldberg does an excellent job of describing the political landscape. He is quite forceful in his conclusions regarding fascism and the current political scene.
Audio: This narration by Johnny Heller is TERRIBLE. I knew in the first 2 minutes I didn't think I would like it, and 6+ intermittent hours later (of a 16 hour book) I have finally given up. The voice is raspy and hoarse, like he has a cold or a throat condition. He speaks sentences in groups of words and phrases, as though he has to catch his breath every 4 or 5 words. They are not pauses for commas or puncuation, just grouped word recitation that totally disrupts the flow of a sentence. He does that continously. How would you... like listening to someone... who spoke like that... all the time.
Then he will go into low-voice, furtive whisper mode as though he must be reading within a parentheses or footnote, but he will go on wayyyy longer than any parenthetical context should be. Speaking of voice shift, he will be reading at a certain tone level, then switch to a totally different level and stay that way, like he went on a bathroom break or a vacation and came back later. How annoying and distracting. I've listened to 7, 10, and 52 hours books that all have consistent delivery throughout. (See my other reviews.) Heller's delivery is HUGELY disappointing. He is supposedly a somewhat renown narrator, but his work on this book is a bust. Memo to self: NEVER buy an audiobook WITHOUT LISTENING to a SAMPLE!!! My bad. I got in a hurry during the "annual sale". What a waste of money, even at a discounted-price.
I do recommend narrators Christopher Hurt, James Adams, and C.M. Hebert. They are outstanding. Brian Emerson was very good also.
Content: It wouldn't be fair to comment, having only done 1/3 of the book. The histories of Mussolini, Hitler, Woodrow Wilson, and early F.D.R. were interesting though. And H.G. Wells sounds like a bad boy! But I'll have to continue with hard copy sometime, if I haven't been soured on it.
Who is accomplished enough to claim a critic's eye? Who is as masterful as those who have written for the rest of us to read? When I was a young man, I believed I knew what was better than something else. Now, I am in awe of everything. Now I realize that the older I get, the less I know.
This books means to provoke. And provoke, it does. Jonah Goldberg's rant against "liberalism", a.k.a. "progressivism" is a veritable assault on conventional, political wisdom. Mr. Goldberg creates exhaustive accounts of how today's liberals are the heirs of old Socialist models. Fascism, he contends, in a stridently defiant rationale, was not and is not the domain of the "right" or conservatives. Rather, it is the stomping ground of the "left" who would only too willingly throw individual liberties under the bus to advance their social agenda. Mr. Goldberg is a true contrarian, who revels in creating disturbing associations between unlikely bedfellows. His account of Mussolini as the darling of American progressives in the 1920s is meant to shock. So is his characterization of Woodrow Wilson as America's first "fascist dictator". All of this is disturbing enough for me to recommend this book only to other "bomb throwers" who relish turning perceptions upside down. Whether or not Mr. Goldberg's facts are accurate or not is secondary to this reader's feeling of being attacked by his anger. He rages against those who have ever had any association with social reform. This anger is so forceful that it is a virtual assault on any possible dispassionate reflection of the content of his arguments. In listening to this, I found myself being reminded over and over again of Mr. Goldberg's lack of tolerance for diversity and compassion. Mr. Goldberg comes off as being hard-edged and intolerant, a thoroughly unlikeable know-it-all. This is his and his book's major failing. He created in me a sense of revulsion for his views and his motivations. Whatever happened to civility, Mr. Goldberg? I'll credit him with being smart and clever. It's just that those attributes do not trump harsh and self-righteous.
Johnny Heller's performance is impressive. His voice sounds like a combination of the effects of whiskey and tobacco, giving a perfect intonation to the narrative. This performance was a triumph over tedium and pedantry. He convinced me that he and Mr. Goldberg were a formidable, tag-team duo.
This tract provides an interesting, and somewhat frightening insight into the language of conservative paranoia. By mixing fact, innuendo, and righteous indignation, the author attempts to both rehabilitate the political concept of fascism by divorcing it from the Holocaust and the early 20th century totalitarian dictatorships that adopted it, and wield the unrehabilitated connotation of it as a bludgeon, pairing it with the term "liberal" every sentence or two. The narrator does a great job with his voice by imparting a feeling of disdain and loathing for both terms. If you are looking for an intellectually honest treatment of the evolution of contemporary progressivism and liberalism from its revolutionary and reactionary roots in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, this is not the read for you, although there is a great deal in it that is factually correct. If you are looking for a diatribe worthy of Glenn Beck or Rush Limbaugh, then hook up your headphones and listen away! The admixture of fact, supposition, innuendo, and outright fabulous claims provides the nascent "liberal hater" with just enough intellectual cover to support the position, but not so much as to induce an inconveniently thoughtful consideration.
Professional librarian type, amateur historian.
There were at times, though I sympathized with the author, the narration seemed to wander into the tone of paranoid. But for the most part the books was informative and thought provoking. However, having studied the early to mid 20th Century Europe in grad school I found myself thinking. "yes, but..." when the author brought up various aspects of pre-war German society.
I am 1/2 way through this book and look forward to the next time I can listen. The author has names, and dates to paint a picture that reveals truths that I was not aware of.
If just 10% of this information is true, then any patriotic American should prepare to engage for the preservation of the Republic against the hollow and corrupt religion of Liberalism.
This is especially relevant today because of the current Obama administration, the Tea Party Movements, and the political losses in NJ, VA, and MA.
Disclaimer: I believed (either consciously or subconsciously) most of the things this books puts forward.
This book provides the "rest of the story" for many of the fairy tales presented as facts by the liberal propaganda machine. From the hijacking of our political system by those deemed the "smartest people in the room" to the FDR and JFK myths. One thing is clear, there are plenty of Americans who believe exactly what they want to hear regardless of the facts. A utopia is just around the corner if you are willing to give away just a little more liberty (and money). Everyone deserves equal result no matter their effort.
But what do we do now? While we may not be a dictatorship from a political organizational perspective, I see very little to balance the liberal thought mantra that pounds us on a daily basis. At what point does the resistance collapse under the shear weight of the liberal machine?