While Bob Altemayer's personal political stance is occasionally discernable from his analysis of data, and his investigation of the subject is quite America-centric, Altemayer provides us with a paradigm of surprising explanatory and even predictive power.
If you are interested in politics or psychology, I highly recommend this book. If you wind up taking offense at its presentation of scientific data, perhaps you need this book more than anyone. Authoritarianism is a potential danger to all of us, even on the individual level, and if you find you dislike hearing about it, it's a sure sign you need to listen more closely.
This author should seriously consider restricting himself to writing fiction, which he does have some aptitude for.
If you have the mental fortitude to read or listen to non-fiction, this book is unlikely to teach you anything you haven't thought of yourself. That, or you'll think it has a liberal bias. Like the Bible or, you know, reality.
I shan't take it upon myself to literally disagree with Susan Jacoby on any substantive issue she brings up, but I have serious problems with her style.
While the more fundamentalistic or conservative Americans might dislike the book because it occasionally has a good point about their particular world views, this is by far the least of the criticism that should be levied against this book.
In short, it teaches you nothing. If Susan Jacoby has some kind of scholarly field, it does not appear to coincide with the topics discussed in the book. I was disappointed to discover that Susan Jacoby doesn't make all that many arguments or bring up much evidence in favour of her positions.
Between taking well-deserved stabs against those who are proud of being ignorant and copying the Wikipedia pages of historical figures, Susan Jacoby regales us with purposeless rants against anything and everything she doesn't personally appreciate. No evidence needed.
If you are buying this book for any reason other than to improve upon the personal wealth of Susan Jacoby, I suggest you turn your attention to an author who actually has a point. Or listen to any of a variety of podcasts that cover similar subjects much more effectively, and usually in a more entertaining fashion.
Some people might have been easily offended by the notion of an oppressive government encouraging a minority to become colonists, but that's really quite silly. This story goes on well into the future and doesn't mention any particulars of our current circumstances. It could have gone on in any region of the world - the only reason it starts in America is because the writer is American, it isn't a commentary on any present situation. We can all relate to the concept of standing up to oppression.
Oppression and colonization is at the heart of American history. If anything, patriotic Americans should appreciate the storyline because it mirrors - and alludes to - the earliest history of the United States.
I propose any conservatives who feel offended by this book's theme - though it doesn't even appear to mention conservatism - should wonder why they assume their ideology is the oppressing one and why they assume the liberal ideology is the intellectual one.
Really, this is a realistic, hardly threatening, all-American story.
As for how the book is read, I find it well read, largely. The female narrator should have played a more prominent role from the start, but both narrators do a good job in my opinion. They are eloquent, use emphasis properly, and they use easily distinguishable tones of voice for the different characters, which greatly minimizes confusion.
And for fans of the whole "near-future science fiction, space colonization" genre, the storyline is quite enjoyable and exciting.
Report Inappropriate Content