Revolutions come in waves and cycles. We are again riding the crest of a revolutionary epic, much like 1848 or 1917, from the Arab Spring to movements against austerity in Greece to the Occupy movement. In Wages of Rebellion, Chris Hedges - who has chronicled the malaise and sickness of a society in terminal moral decline in his books Empire of Illusion and Death of the Liberal Class - investigates what social and psychological factors cause revolution, rebellion, and resistance. Drawing on an ambitious overview of prominent philosophers, historians, and literary figures he shows not only the harbingers of a coming crisis but also the nascent seeds of rebellion. Hedges' message is clear: popular uprisings in the United States and around the world are inevitable in the face of environmental destruction and wealth polarization.
Focusing on the stories of rebels from around the world and throughout history, Hedges investigates what it takes to be a rebel in modern times. Utilizing the work of Reinhold Niebuhr, Hedges describes the motivation that guides the actions of rebels as "sublime madness" - the state of passion that causes the rebel to engage in an unavailing fight against overwhelmingly powerful and oppressive forces. For Hedges, resistance is carried out not for its success, but as a moral imperative that affirms life. Those who rise up against the odds will be those endowed with this "sublime madness."
From South African activists who dedicated their lives to ending apartheid, to contemporary anti-fracking protests in Alberta, Canada, to whistleblowers in pursuit of transparency, Wages of Rebellion shows the cost of a life committed to speaking the truth and demanding justice. Hedges has penned an indispensable guide to rebellion.
©2015 Chris Hedges (P)2015 Brilliance Audio, all rights reserved
I liked this book very much. I had heard Chris Hedges in fairly long interviews but had not realized the breadth of his scholarship. Shakespeare, Melville, Plato, Faulkner, and others are all invoked to weave a rich tapestry of what it means to be a rebel, what makes some people become rebels, and how certain social or cultural contexts call for rebellion. Much of the book also consists in an exposition of how economic, cultural and institutional arrangements in the United States in particular, call for (non-violent) resistance/revolt/rebellion. In Hedges' telling, the United States is not a democracy at all: corporations in effect run the government. Through the government and also through private firms sometimes (often?) hired by corporations, Americans are being spied upon and vigorously brought into line if they take serious actions (eg Wikipeaks, Snowden) to threaten the corporate agenda. Hedges also describes how the U.S. has been a violent society from its inception and how this violence is still strongly directed towards blacks (viz the corporate prison system) at home. While the need for revolt is clearly documented for the U.S., it is clear that to some degree it extends as well to other countries, such as my own, Canada. Hedges is very clear at the same time that only non-violent action is ever likely to bear fruit for good in the long term.
Finally the reading is clear and engaging.
This is a must read book, there are so many things I never knew brought to light by Chris hedges, I love how hebrought us information that is very current and information from history and quotes from many different authors to prove his point. Very very well that
This book, using dozens of current, recent, and historical rebellions as text, is must reading for those seeking to confront the entrenched forces of evil today.
Ever have the sickening feeling that things are not what they appear to be? Rejoice! You are not alone.
Mr. Hedges tells it like it is.
Yes there is an elephant in the living room and yes indeed the emperor is nude and yes we're not in Kansas anymore.
So close your tv. Open your eyes, ears and mind and remember to keep your principles above the personalities. You are not alone. "the only thing we have to fear is fear itself".
the future this nation has to face are going to be tough near impossible with climate change. Add the cyclical revolutions countries face and impunity of our govt that ignore or hides truth. Our day of reckoning well be painful to many. The truth is tough
Machinist, student of history, philosopher, Star Wars fanatic, hobbyist costumer, and all around Renaissance man.
I can't say that I agree with the author on all points, but certainly in the central message. It really just scratches the surface of historical examples of revolution and rebellion. What this book offers, you won't hear about on the 6 O'clock News. I would recommend this book to anyone who desires a greater understanding of government corruption, especially in North America.
While clearly well researched and passionately written, the book as a whole lacks a cohesive narrative. Though it covers specific examples about inequality in the U.S judicial system, capitalism, and emphasizes the evils of our corporate state, there are little to no solutions given. one is left with the feelings that this book is comprised of the bitter venting of a beautiful and brilliant writer. You can sum up this book in one sentence:
The world is shitty and doomed because of general complacency and there's nothing you can do about it unless you suffer from sublime madness.
The second half of the book is nothing but conjecture disguised as fact. While I do not disagree with the conclusions, the "facts" used as evidence are skewed to fit the author's pre determined narrative. The historical inaccuracies were just too much to handle. This is a shame as I thoroughly enjoyed most of the book.
So sad & without hope. This book is a waste of time and money. I kept waiting for a here is what we can do message.
Well written, intelligent and thought provoking. I highly recommend reading it.
The only negative is that the reading is quite dry.
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