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Noam Chomsky: A Life of Dissent

3.75  ·  Rating Details ·  68 Ratings  ·  8 Reviews
For over thirty years Noam Chomsky has been a pathbreaking linguist and a controversial critic of American policies and politics. Indeed, the world seems to divide between those who revere and those who revile Chomsky. Both groups would find valuable Robert F. Barsky's appreciative biography; he recounts (the known and the little known) facts of Chomsky's life, evaluates ...more
Paperback, 256 pages
Published July 31st 1998 by Mit Press (first published 1996)
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Apr 13, 2009 Marshall rated it liked it
This is the story of Noam Chomsky's intellectual life. Chomsky is a remarkable thinker and advocate. The most remarkable thing about his story is its beginning. He was an intellectual straight out of the womb, raised by Jewish intellectuals whose idea of a fun time was hanging out talking about philosophy and progressive politics. He was schooled in a Dewey-inspired school, which believed in giving students the freedom to explore their own passions. This school provided him so much intellectual ...more
Apr 18, 2011 Dylan rated it really liked it
This is a biography of an academic by an academic, so it's not quite like anything else I've ever read in that sense. Barsky attempts to explain how Chomsky's extremely influential linguistic/cognitive theories and his equally marginalized political work both fit into his thinking as a whole. As I already knew, Chomsky considers himself a strict rationalist. His politics belongs to the (original--that is, left-)libertarian tradition that comes straight from the Enlightenment, and his linguistic ...more
Shane Groff
Nov 02, 2012 Shane Groff rated it it was amazing
I love Noam Chomsky, although it creates a certain kind of cognitive dissonance at times to read someone who is clearly so intelligent, and compassionate about helping people create a better world when what he writes about the world is so at odds with the commonly portrayed description and interpretation of events in the world.
But then that's often his point, that the mainstream presentation of the world really is at odds with the simple truth.

This book helps by giving some context for Noam's id
Jun 01, 2008 John rated it it was amazing
I read this the year it came out. Its well worth reading. A very balanced account of a smart guy. After reading books and hearing lectures I've found to be stimulating, it was interesting to get some insights into his formative years and the way the Vietnam war and his conscience led to his becoming a leading activist.
Jun 22, 2012 Brian rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Informative. Bonus: since the author is pro-Chomsky, it's fun to watch the contortions he goes through trying to justify Derrida in the face of Chomsky's (accurate) dismissal of Derrida's writing as meritless obscurantism.
Rashad Raoufi
its inspiring and comprehensive catalogue of him through the decades, well worth a read and tells alot about the man.
Mar 03, 2015 Timothy rated it liked it
Some interesting content. A lot of not so interesting content. Writing was not impressive. I'm sure there are better Chomsky biographies out there, but probably a handful of worse ones too.
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