Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Warning: This book could change your life

I read a few books by Noam Chomsky over the last several years, but there is one in particular that I really thought had the potential to be a life changer for others, which is the one shown to the right.  For me it wasn't because I had already read enough from Chomsky and others that the material contained in this book wasn't all a total shock to me.  Much of it still was, but if you take a typical person, unaware of the efforts at thought control that have been going on in the US over the last century, and exposed them to this they'd probably have a hard time not coming away profoundly changed.

I should say it's not actually written by him.  It's just excerpts from lectures he's given, but modified a bit to give them the feel of a Q&A, which makes it very enjoyable.  And it's arranged topically.  Really great for if you just want to read a couple of pages at a time but you want to really learn something.  It's actually quite long, and the material here is really only half the story, because there are no footnotes in the book.  What the authors have done, which is a real service, is they provide a source online for the footnotes and it's about just as much material as is in the book. It's just incredible going over it as you consider the astonishing breadth of Chomsky's knowledge.  I understand he read voraciously, like 8 hours per day, in addition to writing letters and email replies to everyone that writes him.  Also of course his extremely intense speaking schedule.

One such person that apparently did encounter this book as a fairly unaware youth was Aaron Swarts.  I've already written about how he recently took is life, which I discussed here. I recently learned that he had read "Understanding Power" and he wrote about how it affected him here.  It resonated very much for me because I experienced some of the same depressed feelings he did when I first learned a lot of these things.

If you'd like to try some for yourself it is available on line.  Right here.  This book really pulls back the veil, and it's not pretty or necessarily easy to face.  But I think knowing this information is our best hope.


Examinator said...

Thanks Jon,
I'll add this to my Chomsky library.
Sadly old mate Those who need to read it won't because they have the standard conviction that they and 'mericans come first and besides all we need is more faith less godless socialism and science (sic)
As I've said many times you can lead a horse(elephant) to water(facts) but you can't make them drink (learn).

Jon said...

Remember, the people that need to read it are not the right wingers. They're probably too far gone. There are a lot of others, generally apathetic. With good reason I suppose. Maybe someone like Aron Swartz. Chomsky always directs his words not to the right wing, but to the reachable.

Jonathan said...


Weren't you a right winger at one point? Interesting...