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Publisher's Summary

In this urgent new book, Noam Chomsky examines the dangers and prospects of our early 21st century. Exploring challenges such as the growing gap between North and South, American exceptionalism (including under President Obama), the fiascos of Iraq and Afghanistan, the U.S.-Israeli assault on Gaza, and the recent recent financial bailouts, he also sees hope for the future. Chomsky surveys the democratic wave in Latin America and the growing global solidarity movements that suggest “progress toward freedom and justice”.

Hopes and Prospects is essential listening for anyone who is concerned about the primary challenges still facing the human race.

©2010 Noam Chomsky (P)2010 Haymarket Books

Critic Reviews

“This is a classic Chomsky work: a bonfire of myths and lies, sophistries and delusions. Noam Chomsky is an enduring inspiration all over the world for the simple reason that he is a truth-teller on an epic scale. I salute him.” (John Pilger, journalist and documentary filmmaker)

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An Intellectual Wind Tunnel

Business Week once said "reading Chomsky is like standing in a wind tunnel." And they may well have been talking about Hopes and Prospects. With unimpeachable evidence and ruthless logic, Chomsky quickly batters down popular notions about the American political system. Unlike many other books by highly intellectual professors, however, the author opts to write in an accessible, easily understandable style instead of showing off his vocabulary.

Instead of accepting the idea that members of the government as representatives of the popular will and servants of the public good, Chomsky approaches power cynicism. Power, he argues, has little concern for the average person. Instead, it ruthlessly serves the interests of the elite. Drawing on official documents, mainstream scholarship, and candid remarks by officials, he demolishes every notion about our government that we hear from the media, learn in school, and are told by our leaders.

Although Hopes and Prospects utilizes sources which are in the public record, the issues discussed are not part of the public consciousness. The stories, salvaged from dusty archives and little read policy journals, are as shocking as they are unheard of. The Iraq war was launched in the expectation it would increase the risk of terrorism. Woodrow Wilson, far from the idealist he is portrayed as, sent marines to install brutal pro-American dictatorship across Latin America. The second Bush administration kidnapped Haiti's first elected President and installed a bloody dictatorship.

Hopes and Prospects is a compilation of hundreds of such anecdotes, drawn from official records, but erased from official memory. The reader is left as shocked at the book's revelations as they are that they had never heard of them before. Agree with Chomsky or not, no one's political education is complete without reading at least one of his books. Not many books can radically reshape your worldview in a few hours.

31 of 32 people found this review helpful

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solid analysis, strong evidence and great range

if you like chomsky, get this. if you're not familiar with his work, then this is a good place to start. the analyzing he does transcends party politics, you begin to grasp international affairs from a realistic set of human goggles, rather than emotionally hanging from rhetorical words spoken by people in power.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Matt
  • BRISTOW, VA, United States
  • 10-02-12

What's with this guy?

What would have made Hopes and Prospects better?

This guy is so subversive and delusional it goes beyond reason. Sure, America and Europe have faults, but he forgets the sacrifices and charity of so many in that set. That half Europe and America fought and many died to defeat the Nazi's and Imperial Japanese . That 4/5ths of Americans (not counting slaves) fought to end slavery. He ignores atrocities of many 3rd world civilizations or just conveniently blames those behaviours on European influence. This guy is so off-base it makes your head spin. His arguments are heuristic , rife with omission and described in only contexts favorable to his opinions.

What was most disappointing about Noam Chomsky’s story?

The realization that he spreads his ill will around the globe and that he has an audience as delusional and/or agenda-driven as he is. Chomsky clearly has an audience that keeps his subversion machine rolling.

What didn’t you like about Brian Jones’s performance?

Bland, like the book.

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

Disappointment. He condemns the wicked European culture and praises all other cultures. He condemns hatred, except when it applies to the wicked European culture and its descendants. He has plenty of venom for them.

Any additional comments?

This book is misleading and frankly it sucks.

1 of 31 people found this review helpful

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  • Lianne
  • 12-23-12

Heavy going but highly salient!

I've not got through it all yet, but feel I can make a few useful comments. It's a really fascinating and pertinent narrative of how the minority world has progressed to the detriment of the majority world. It contains facts and details I believe we should all take on board and use to try to redress the inequalities that exist. However, it is heavy going and the flow is a little slow due to its very academic style. Definitely worth a listen I would say. Good to take in in small doses.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Catherine
  • 06-01-12

Narrator half-asleep

The content of the book itself deserves five stars, however the narrator is so utterly boring, he does not even sound interested in what he is reading, and cannot even pronounce words properly, in Spanish nor in his American English. I would not recommend this as an audio book at all.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Welsh Mafia
  • 07-09-11

Wholly Shift

This is the definitive guide to the real world as it was in 2010. The Arab Spring, natural and man-made disasters in Japan and the swift and complete economic destabilisation of Europe tell a new story which will require another chapter in the Chomsky commentary.
Where Hopes and Prospects falls short is that it is patently a collection of shorter, self-contained pieces rather than a unified whole. The focus, first on South American, then on the Caribbean, shifts time and again to Palestine. Deservedly so, undoubtedly, the gaze on Gaza sheds important continued light on the misdeeds perpetrated by previous administrations. There is a dipping back to the 1960s and 1970s and the criticism of Obama seems to be based entirely on the premise that he had not yet conclusively shown that he is anything other than more of the same tied up with a Hope and Change ribbon.
Contrast that with the detailed, fully referenced pin point critique of so many sacred cows and there is just some much energy and zing in this collection of thoughts, it is hard to turn away when Noam Chomsky is in full flow.

Brilliant as ever - I can’t wait for the next instalment.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Flopadoo
  • 07-12-13


I really enjoyed this. As usual with Chomsky, it is very detailed and is enlightening. It is well narrated and overall is well worth a listen. It's another one I'll be going back to multiple times.