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The Assault on Reason | [Al Gore]

The Assault on Reason

Here is a visionary analysis of how the politics of fear, secrecy, cronyism, and blind faith have combined with the public sphere's degradation to create an environment dangerously hostile to reason. Never has there been a worse time for us to lose the capacity to face the reality of our long-term challenges, from national security to the economy, from issues of health and social welfare to the environment. As The Assault on Reason explains, we have precious little time to waste.
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Publisher's Summary

Here is a visionary analysis of how the politics of fear, secrecy, cronyism, and blind faith have combined with the degradation of the public sphere to create an environment dangerously hostile to reason.

At the time George W. Bush ordered American forces to invade Iraq, 70 percent of Americans believed Saddam Hussein was linked to 9/11. Voters in Ohio, when asked by pollsters to list what stuck in their minds about the recent campaign, most frequently named two Bush television ads that played to fears of terrorism.

We live in an age when the 30-second television spot is the most powerful force shaping the electorate's thinking, and America is in the hands of an administration less interested than any previous administration in sharing the truth with the citizenry. Related to this and of even greater concern is this administration's disinterest in the process by which the truth is ascertained, the tenets of fact-based reasoning - first among them an embrace of open inquiry in which unexpected and inconvenient facts can lead to unexpected conclusions.

How did we get here? How much damage has been done to the functioning of our democracy and its role as steward of our security? Never has there been a worse time for us to lose the capacity to face the reality of our long-term challenges, from national security to the economy, from issues of health and social welfare to the environment. As The Assault on Reason explains, we have precious little time to waste.

Drawing on a life's work in politics, as well as on the work of experts across a broad range of disciplines, Al Gore has written a farsighted and powerful manifesto for clear thinking.

Listen to more by Gore.

©2007 Al Gore; (P)2007 Penguin Audio, a member of Penguin Group (USA), Inc.

What the Critics Say

"Soon the political world will be buzzing about Gore's new book...about the assault on reason. It will be a call to action against the politics of radical ideology, fear and greed that have led America into an unwise war and Washington into an era of scandal that has only begun to unfold." (The Hill)

What Members Say

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  •  
    Walter San Diego, CA, USA 10-08-07
    Walter San Diego, CA, USA 10-08-07
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Partisan but Valuable"

    I mostly agree with Al Gore's criticism of the Bush administration (and I am not a registered Democrat). That said, the book is distinctly partisan. Never do the Democrats come in for any meaningful criticism in the book, notwithstanding that there is much to critisize. They were not the innocent, uninformed bystanders they claimed to be on the Iraq war. The voted for the war because they thought it was politically expedient to do so. At one point Gore criticizes a Republican Congress for holding up Clinton's judicial nominees, but neglected to mention that the Democrats did the same thing to Bush. So, if neutral analysis is what you want, this may not be your book. But if you want to read (or listen to) a book that raises a number of fair concerns about the Bush administration, then I think you will find it worthwhile.

    16 of 17 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tom G Montreal, Canada 05-11-08
    Tom G Montreal, Canada 05-11-08

    Oscar

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Fantastic but for the narrator."

    It's too bad Al Gore himself didn't read it. He's a much more credible speaker when the material is intellectual in nature. The narrator sounded like a actor from a wise-guy film or a detective from a pulp fiction novel. He also had that annoying tendency to prounounce Iraq with the "I" raq sound instead of the correct "E"raq enunciation.

    The arguement itself was very well developed, with Gore taking us through the founding of the nation and educates the listener on the principles behind which the US was founded. His version could use a few clarifications, such as the fact that the US constitution borrowed so much from the French, but that can be forgiven. His ending message returns to the environment, but it is not necessary for a listener to be an environmental activist to be interested in this book. An interest in the new developments in terms of political power in the US is sufficient. Overall, a remarkable achievement for a politician.

    9 of 10 people found this review helpful
  •  
    George Bryan, OH, USA 05-30-07
    George Bryan, OH, USA 05-30-07 Member Since 2004
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    "A Must-Read for every thinkiing American"

    Gore pulls no punches. He outlines why our society is faced with the curent loss of civil liberties and prestige in the world. He presents a solid case for the lack of citizen involvement and lays out suggestions and ideas that we all need to consider to take control of our democracy back from the power-money elite that are stripping our nation of its prestige, wealth, civil liberties and democracy. Well read and highly recommended.

    14 of 16 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Stewart Gooderman San Francisco, CA 06-06-07
    Stewart Gooderman San Francisco, CA 06-06-07 Member Since 2005

    DrG

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    "Required reading for everyone"

    An extraordinary book. Part research text, part civics lesson, part critique, Vice-President Gore goes back to the views of our founding fathers when they drafted our constitution and applied modern social science research in today's era to show how our government has become what it now is, or more accurately, how we as a people let our government become what it is today.

    Gore doesn't spare feelings. Like your therapist, he points out the good and bad in crystal clear language backed up with the research of today. Some of the research Gore alludes to may toughen the read for some, but it's built carefully to drive home the points he so clearly makes:

    1) Modern communication has lost it's two-sidedness and in doing so, prevented the debate of our issues in order to come to the best solutions to our problems.

    2) Unscrupulous individuals, gaining power, have exploited this situation to put in place their own agendas for their and their friends own benefit.

    3) How to fix? Reestablish this two-way communication (he suggests internet communication) and go back to our founding fathers' premise that we are a nation of laws, not of individuals, and no one from you and me up to the President himself is above the law.

    Regarding the recording, the reader is a bit sloppy at times in his phrasing, the music at the end is a bit much, and the chapter breaks don't always match the actual breaks. But overall, it is a good presentation.

    This should be required reading for everyone.

    11 of 13 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jacques Ray Torrance, CA USA 06-03-07
    Jacques Ray Torrance, CA USA 06-03-07 Member Since 2003

    Cybermind

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    "Required Reading"

    Although Gore sits on the opposite side of the political spectrum, he has approached this critique from an objective and academic perspective. Both conservative and liberal will gain from pondering the points made here. Excellent use of the written/spoken word to awaken the populace from its slumber.

    15 of 18 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Gloria Lynchburg, VA, USA 06-04-07
    Gloria Lynchburg, VA, USA 06-04-07 Member Since 2006
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    "A man who should be president"

    Al Gore has done a remarkable job at helping me to understand in laymans terms just how awful this administration is and has been since its inception. The American people trusted this man because of what they thought he was, not what he truly was. It angers me so much that here we are almost 8 years since the Lewinsky debaucle and it seems so petty compared to the disaster this country has truly become not only to its own people but to those who live outside this country. We have to get back to the way it was. But without a leader whose interest is truly the American people as Clinton and Gore were, even HW Bush was a better man, we will never recover. In this book Gore gives us hope, but the American people have towake up and smell the coffee. I enjoyed this book and would recommend it to those who always believed that Gore would have made a much better President and even those who thought he wouldn't, intelligent he is not egotistical.

    27 of 37 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kryton2725 Fort Wayne, IN USA 02-21-08
    Kryton2725 Fort Wayne, IN USA 02-21-08 Member Since 2007

    Kryton

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    "Worth A Listen"

    I have always been a conservative republican. But, the older I get, the more I realize that the opinions I have are not my own. They have been instilled in me by others, especially my parents. At this point in my life I prefer to listen to as many diverse opinions as possible before considering if I should form my own... In most cases I now find it pointlessly stupid to even bother with an opinion... They are not who I am... But excuse me please... the book... It's not half bad... Quite a bit of Bush bashing..as expected..but overall I would still recomend it. Gore touches on many unexpected issues and Will Patton is a good narrator...

    9 of 12 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Andy Westport, CT, United States 06-10-07
    Andy Westport, CT, United States 06-10-07 Member Since 2002
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "inside his head"

    This book was a great way to get into Gore's head....and to better understand not only where he is on the key issues, but what his guiding philosophies are.
    Although he has an ax to grind, it's a pretty clear and straight on treatise on where his head is at versus Dubya.
    My only disappointment was that Gore did not narrate the book.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Julian Silver Spring, MD, USA 06-09-07
    Julian Silver Spring, MD, USA 06-09-07
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Run Al Run"

    While he does toot his own horn Gore makes a case for electing an intellegent person to the White House. Bush and his people have has hurt this country in many ways. Government by fear, lies and fake religion is not Democracy. Gore seems to be the only candidate or potential candidate that can bring the US back to being the country it used to be.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kathy Ketchum, ID, USA 12-20-07
    Kathy Ketchum, ID, USA 12-20-07 Member Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "America's Missing Saviour"

    This is the civics lesson that could save America. If all the voting adults who were not sufficiently educated by our failing system were to read this book it would transform politics and probably lead, in the short time we have left, to the nomination of Al Gore to lead our nation out of this mess. The former VP's towering intellect and hope-filled heart are just what we don't have. His communication skills - the care with which he selects his words - are what it takes to fix clearly in our minds what a tragic mistake it was to elect George Bush, and how urgent it is, with still more than a year of such "leadership" ahead, to sweep the wrongheaded "values" away and restore our ideals. Will Cather is the ideal reader, too; you can hear Gore's sincerity, pain and passion. It's a masterpiece, but of course that's why those who need to hear it would never bother. What a shame!

    11 of 15 people found this review helpful
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