This book is absolutely essential listening. Having said that, one must understand that it presents a remarkably pessimistic picture of where we (the U.S.) is right now and how we came to be there. It is a picture I find myself increasingly sharing (although I wish I didn't), but one that a lot of readers (and listeners) will find just TOO bleakly devastating. This is not, in and of itself, a bad thing, since Hedges's points are very well made, and if you disagree, you'll find that having to argue against those points will probably make you smarter. Since one of Hedges's points is that one of the main problems with our "culture" is massive--and quite deliberately engendered--historical ignorance and intellectual vapidity, this can't be bad.
If you happen to be one of the enemy (and Hedges has no problem at all utilizing categories like "enemy," for sound reasons he makes very clear), you will be just too f-cking stupid to be able to get through the first twenty minutes.....
Sheldon Wolin's recent work provides an absolutely essential theoretical underpinning for anyone who finds himself (or herself) suspecting that what's going on with the U.S. is really, really uncool. Unlike the well-known media fascisti, it welcomes some real historical knowledge (NOT the bullsh-t platitudes that pass for such) and provides a nuanced, balanced account (Wolin spent many years teaching political philosophy at some major universities) of how real power functions today. If you find writers like Chris Hedges compelling, Wolin is the next logical place to go.
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