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Essential Chomsky

4.14 of 5 stars 4.14  ·  rating details  ·  538 ratings  ·  32 reviews
For the past forty years Noam ChomskyOCOs writings on politics and language have established him as a preeminent public intellectual and as one of the most original and wide-ranging political and social critics of our time. Among the seminal figures in linguistic theory over the past century, since the 1960s Chomsky has also secured a place as perhaps the leading dissident ...more
ebook, 529 pages
Published February 12th 2008 by New Press (first published 2008)
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“Language, in its essential properties and the manner of its use, provides the basic criterion for determining that another organism is a being with human mind and the human capacity for free thought and self-expression, and with the essential human need for freedom from the external constrains of repressive authority.”

A comprehensive jamboree of Chomsky’s political, social and psychological critiques under an intellectually challenging umbrella encompassing fundamentals of ‘language and freedo
Noam Chomsky is known for two things - his studies in linguistics and his stand on the workings of political power, specifically that of the United States in world affairs, but also in domestic affairs.

This book is a collection of his writings in both capacities over the years, starting in 1959 and ending in 2006.

Whatever the topic, he writes well. I was pleasantly surprised to find I could follow all but one of the articles on language. He proposes that humans have a mental organ for language.
Riku Sayuj

Noam Chomsky—Infuriating and Necessary:

"Regardless of how one wrestles with Chomsky, one does always wrestle, leaving the bout much smarter and stronger."

I refuse to debate geo-politics with people who have not had this wrestle with Noam Chomsky.
-- Such a bout ends in an entirely different manner.

Yasiru (reviews will soon be removed and linked to blog)
"The general population doesn't know what's happening, and it doesn't even know that it doesn't know."

- Noam Chomsky

Perhaps governments are more competent than we might believe. Especially in the first world, governments do their utmost to maintain for the nation state they are responsible for a position of dominance and advantage that in turn allows its citizenry the comforts and securities that they enjoy. But where morally abhorrent actions are required to this end, part of the government's d
“The Essential Noam Chomsky” is a 413-page powerhouse of a book, a gripping, consciousness-raising tour of the landscape of the mind of Chomsky, Institute Professor of linguistics at MIT, whose most publicly well-known works expose the hegemonic thrust of United States foreign and domestic policy and all its attendant infrastructure of propaganda and unchallenged assumptions constructed by government and corporate officials, media personnel and so-called experts in academia.
To read this book is
I opted for this collection of Chomsky's writings over Understanding Power, also published by The New Press, for two reasons: firstly, because it is more recent, and secondly, because it includes some of Chomsky's writings on linguistics in addition to his political commentaries. I worried at first that this might have been a brash decision on my part, not having studied linguistics in any capacity and hoping to understand articles on the topic by a man considered by many to be the preeminent vo ...more
“The Essential Chomsky” is a collection of 25 pieces of writing from Noam Chomsky from the first piece, a critical review of “Verbal Behavior” by B. F. Skinner published in 1959 in the journal “Language” to Chomsky’s afterword from “Failed States: The Abuse of Power and the Assault on Democracy” from 2006. Chomsky is best known in two areas, one being his career as a linguist, and the other for his outspoken liberal views in which he holds the United States and the West to the same standard whic ...more
Simon Wood

"The Essential Chomsky" is not the first anthology of Chomskys writings, but certainly is an excellent selection from his 40 odd years of writing primarily on American Foreign Policy. Included are his seminal early essay "The Responsibility of Intellectuals" which is a crucial piece of writing in which Chomsky essentially lays out the rational for his own political writings as well as implicitly chastising those who enjoy a privileged life in Academia and either turn their ba
Very interesting to read this immediately after The Pale King and its elevator conversation (section 19 perhaps?). Chomsky's vitriol at the government for our Vietnam involvement was almost surely appropriate, but did criticism like Chomsky's mark our society's abandonment of the greater good, as DFW's character suggests while trapped in the elevator? Did the disgust triggered by Vietnam lead us to concern ourselves only with the self? Was it the first step towards our behavioral takeover by cor ...more
I always have a high regard for his position on sensitive subject matters like religion and socio-political issues but when I started tackling on this upset man's published collection of thoughts although without fail, he hits the nail on the head on highlighting the malfunctions of the society and the material was very articulate and well-thought, there was a struggle in his engaged command of writing with the reader. I found it a bore of a read and the material was not approachable. I vehement ...more
Essay selection and presentation could've been improved by organizing by subject matter.

As for content, Chomsky has interesting ideas that are worth articulating; but, he could of used more academic rigor and simpler phrasing. (The latter point improves as he gets older.) However, in most cases, his writings could have been distilled to half their wording.

All this aside, hooray for intellectual snobbery!
I was wondering who, besides the late William F. Buckley, Jr.,would be able to hold my attention in well thought, nuanced, yet decisive essays. Taking the cue from Bill Hick's line "I'm like Noam Chomsky with dick jokes". Being a fan of the late Bill Hicks, I had to see if my local small town library in little redneck, reactionary Mchenry had Noam Chomsky books. Slow going, but meaty and well cited.
Zach Cohen
This is a collection of some of Chomsky's most influential essays and articles, covering a wide range of topics from the role of intellectuals in the US, US foreign policy, Israel/Palestine, Anarchism, social movements, and a sampling of his linguistics work. Chomsky is one of the most profound and insightful social critics of our time, and this is a decent overview of his work.
I...give up. It's not that it's so hard. It's that I was going mad from boredom, from the endless repetition. I feel like Noam Chomsky actually has one opinion, which he repeats 100s of times in different forms and contexts. I got so far, but I just had to stop. I can only hear the same thing so often before I start to get a headache.
For a noted linguist, the guy sure has some terrible sentences. But, to be fair, this is only true of his essays on language, which were probably written primarily for language scholars. The political essays are the some of the most amazing leftist critiques of US policy and big business ever committed to print.
Audrey Bee
A great book for understanding the worldview of a classic american intellectual.
Jess Tait
Am glad I read this as I feel I have developed real insight into world events that I didn't have before. It was hard at times, due to seething anger at US foreign policy with the turning of each page, but I'll definitely be reading more Chomsky.
Duncan O'neill
Pretty much unreadable. I gave up. His style is so ... convoluted, huge dense sentences with sub-clauses all over the place. He may have interesting things to say, but he's not a very good or clear writer. Compare this stuff with Orwell.
it was a little dense for my pre-espresso morning tub reading. or maybe i was a little dense? after the espresso kicked in, though...
An awesome collection of thought-provoking essays. The events mentioned are dated, and yet the lessons are eerily current.
At the very least, read "Imperial Grand Strategy" (excerpted here from Hegemony or Survival) if you haven't done so.
Chomsky is always thought provoking but this is not an easy book to read and it is filled with digressions.
Brilliant thinker. He has become famous for his radical politics and his groundbreaking work in linguistics.
Yonis Gure
Stunning! I now see why he is regarded as one of the great moral figures of the last half century.
Kyle Brennan
An excellent compilation of some of Chomsky's best pieces.
John Wojewoda
An excellent understanding of the modern world.
We need more "Noam Chomsky"s of the world!
If you haven't read this, you're missing out.
last two chapters are fire
At MRX, essays of Chomsky.
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Avram Noam Chomsky is an American linguist, philosopher, political activist, author, and lecturer. He is an Institute Professor and professor emeritus of linguistics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Chomsky is credited with the creation of the theory of generative grammar, considered to be one of the most significant contributions to the field of linguistics made in the 20th century. H
More about Noam Chomsky...
Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media Hegemony or Survival: America's Quest for Global Dominance Understanding Power: The Indispensable Chomsky Failed States: The Abuse of Power and the Assault on Democracy Profit Over People: Neoliberalism and Global Order

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“The only debatable issue, it seems to me, is whether it is more ridiculous to turn to experts in social theory for general well-confirmed propositions, or to the specialists in the great religions and philosophical systems for insights into fundamental human values.” 9 likes
“To speak truth to power is not a particularly honorable vocation.” 0 likes
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