From Ancient Rome to the British Empire, Phillips demonstrates that every world-dominating power has been brought down by a related set of causes: a lethal combination of global over-reach, militant religion, resource problems, and ballooning debt. It is this same axis of ills that has come to define America's political and economic identity in the past decade. Military miscalculations in the Middle East, the surge of fundamentalist religion, the staggering national debt, the costs of U.S. oil dependence, together these factors are undermining our nation's security, solvency, and standing in the world. If left unchecked, the same forces will bring a debt-bloated, preachy, energy-starved America to its knees. With an eye on the past and a searing vision of the future, Phillips has written a book that no American can afford to ignore.
©2006 Kevin Phillips; (P)2006 Penguin Audio, a division of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.
"Will strike chords among those troubled by our current political moment." (Publishers Weekly)
This is perhaps the most frightening book I have ever read -- oops, I mean "listened to".
With only a few minor slips, the author provides an incredibly well-documented review of the confluence of three disturbing factors in the current United States: (1) a growing dependence on foreign oil that may hit peak production very soon; (2) the convergence of the "religious right" with the Republican party and the associated moves to legislate "traditional morality"; and (3) the skyrocketing levels of personal and government debt, increasingly held by the central banks of countries that may not have the USA's best interests in mind.
The style is mostly matter-of-fact and academic, with a correspondingly high number of references to both history and commentary. In a few places the author lets slip some unfounded assertions that reveal his emotional involvement in the material, but given the importance of the topic, a bit of emotional involvement is not necessarily a bad thing.
Of course one can never tell how objective another person is being with the data that they have access to, but this book comes across as an honest, sober and sobering comparison of the current political/economic/religious path of the US in comparison with the declining periods of several previous global economic and military hegemonies.
This book is fascinating, compelling, and frightening -- and also one of the few non-fiction books I found it hard to turn off when my commute was done. A lot of the material you've probably read or heard before, nonetheless, by assembling it all together and connecting everything to broader historical shifts, the author makes a persuasive case and a really eye-opening book.
Also, I think the narrator did a good job reading a book that doesn't naturally lend itself to an audio format.
This book is an excellent review of the impact of oil, religion and the national debt on the future of America. Historical insights together with an analysis of curret political trends in our country shuld make the reader more wary of current political trends. A must read for those interseted in the future of America.
The book starts out from a very historical perspective, making the reader wonder where the author is headed, but it comes together in a very thought-provoking and sometimes startling way. The book is obviously well researched. While it sometimes appears to be biased, there is sufficient factual information to back up the seemingly biased statements. A must read to understand the underpinnings of modern society, the book addresses many issues that make the news daily.
For any one interested in understanding the currents that have shaped the US in the past 25 years this is a must read book. Well written, well researched, and presents a coherent view of a number of strong currents shaping the US: It elaborated and dissects the social and structural foundations of the ascendancy of the religious right and its control of US policy with its detrimental sense of the special divine mission and its exclusionist messianic Armageddon intellectual currents. The second forceful current is the thrust away from industry and manufacturing as the economic foundations towards financially based rent market mode where value is derived my manipulating and often inflating existing assets. The book details the commensurate sinking in debt that endangers the very foundations of the US economy and related trends assaulting the foundation of democracy in the US republic. The book boldly draws meaningful comparisons with the rise and fall of Spain, Dutch, and British empires.
The title, premise and arguements are intentionally provocative and predictably offend many listeners. However, he does make some good points, although they are sometimes buried in historical detail and statistics that not even Scott Brick can make interesting. I listened to the book in June 2009 by which time the political landscaped of America has had so many changes that it makes many of the book's contentions obsolete. However, the book does predict that previous policies would risk the financial and economic difficulties that have come to pass. It's a sobering analysis.
This is probably one of the best works of Kevin Philips since "The Emerging Republican Majority." Philips displays his extensive knowledge of history, politics, public opinion and political science. Much of what he talks about, such as radical Evangelism and a gas hog culture, most Americans can see every day. His book is not abstract, and he makes arguments that the listener can confirm just by reading the news. I found myself listening to parts of his book several times, because it so well written. The narrator also adds to the book, and makes it a very enjoyable experience.
It seems to be that the Iraq War is very much about the oil after all. Kevin Phillips makes a convincing case and backs his viewpoints with historical perspective, research and analysis. Many of his ideas on important issues like debt, religion, taxation, trade and war will be unpopular but nevertheless compelling. Phillips is one of our bleakest political commentators and one of the best.
The reader was just satisfactory. What a disappointment the Kevin Phillips has chosen not to read his own audiobook. Those who have heard him talk on the radio or tv know that he has a unique and powerful speaking style.
Essential reading for anyone who is afraid of the intrusion of religion into our political system, or the use of unilateral force to commit illegal wars, or the fact that we are becoming a debtor nation, etc. I could go on, but Phillips does a much more convincing job. A must read for anyone who believes Bush is destroying our nation!
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