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The World As It Is: Dispatches on the Myth of Human Progress

4.07  ·  Rating Details ·  590 Ratings  ·  52 Reviews
Drawing on two decades of experience as a war correspondent and based on his numerous columns for Truthdig, Chris Hedges presents The World As It Is, a panorama of the American empire at home and abroad, from the coarsening effect of America's War on Terror to the front lines in the Middle East and South Asia and the continuing Israeli-Palestinian conflict.Underlying his r ...more
Hardcover, 368 pages
Published April 12th 2011 by Nation Books (first published January 1st 2011)
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Eddie
May 12, 2011 Eddie rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
To date, I don't think I've read a more powerful book than this one. I have read some really good books too, but again, nothing like this. I now have this info gained from this book and honestly, I don't know what to do with it, I don't know how to process it all. Maybe it's like the quote from Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, “Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Willing is not enough; we must do.” As I finish the last words of this magnificent book, I close the book wishing I could do something go ...more
Sarah
Jul 31, 2011 Sarah rated it it was amazing
In a brilliant compilation of essays written over the last decade, journalist and war correspondent Chris Hedges highlights a horrifying vision of America that has long been hidden; masked by inane rhetoric and propaganda. Even as the nation crumbles; plagued by financial insolvency, political corruption, and an overwhelming trend toward neofeudalism; we blatantly ignore the destruction caused by our greedy corporations and the utter devastation witnessed beyond the barrels of our guns. Decades ...more
Matt
Oct 08, 2012 Matt rated it really liked it
This book collects a slew of columns written by Chris Hedges. I believe most of the essays in the book are available on truthdig.com.

Still, the book is worthwhile. The author might shock the audience with radical views but if you are anything like me, you fill find it hard to disagree, no matter how outlandish the claim.

Clearly, sometimes the author goes into ventilation mode and it is harder to see the point amongst the venom. But on the whole, the book is a challenging and honest work.

Here are
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Martin
Jul 24, 2012 Martin rated it did not like it
Gave this one a shot after reading some Chomsky, and while a lot of the points Chris Hedges makes are valid, I find that the problem here is his delivery .

(1) Whereas Chomsky lays it out methodically and argues his points logically, winning the reader over by the strength of his arguments, Hedges basically just says "THAT's how it is, it's despicable, rah-rah-rah..." Kind of makes me feel like he's a preacher standing at his pulpit and he's beating me down with a mallet.

(2) Hedges harps (and h
...more
Adam
Nov 10, 2012 Adam rated it liked it
I read this book because I saw a conservative friend of mine wonder, post-election, why Barack Obama voters say nothing about the broad discretion the president has to arrrest or kill Americans because of national security concerns. His thought made me think that the Left and Right in the United States have more in common than they think they do, for I have friends from the Left who level exactly the same indictment.

Facts don't follow a partisan bias. The world as it is, rather than as it appear
...more
Zachariah
Jul 08, 2012 Zachariah rated it it was amazing
I honestly didn't think anyone could be more depressing than Noam Chomsky but I was wrong. Now that doesn't mean I didn't love this book. I did. It's pretty much the best book I've read this year. But man is Hedges a downer. Still I love an author/journalist/commentator, whatever, who is willing to criticize just about anybody and everybody not based on an agenda but based on the morality of their actions. If you are into toeing the line of your respective political party, be it Red or Blue, you ...more
Denese
Sep 19, 2011 Denese rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction, 2011
A very difficult book. Not a quick or easy read at all, difficult in the sense that it really challenges you to get out of your comfort zone and see the world as it is. It is a collection of writings over the past few years so you can compare what was written to what has and is happening.
A quote that stopped me for quite a while is, "If we see the the end of this country, it will come from the right and our failure to provide people with the basic necessities of life."
Do we live in a democracy?
...more
Luaba
Nov 24, 2011 Luaba rated it it was amazing
Shelves: society
Chris Hedges is uncompromising in his indictment of our current economic and political system in the West, which he considers morally and ethically bankrupt. He points out that we live in times during which we have lost our cultural memory, and as a result we become ever more vulnerable to the forces of totalitarianism. As well, he laments the violence and greed that characterize American society, and the ease with which war and militarism have seeped into the nation's psyche, serving as a refle ...more
Byrd Alyssa
Wow. After listening to Chris Hedges read excerpts from this book today, I was immediately prompted to add this to my short list. He takes on all the hard topics of our contemporary age, and speaks truth to power in every sense of those words. Word up Mr. Hedges, may your voice travel far and wide with good speed.
Jeff
Sep 24, 2012 Jeff rated it liked it
Everyone should probably read one book by Chris Hedges. You don't even have to read the entire thing. It gets redundant, but what he has to say absolutely needs to be heard. Now, to take action . . .
Jonathan
Jan 03, 2012 Jonathan is currently reading it
This book is a compilation of astounding homilies that rage against the present order of the U. S. government and prophesy the moral and economic doom of America. Hedges’ heroes are Ralph Nader and Noam Chomsky, and he draws heavily from Albert Camus. His foes are those on the political right. He demonizes George W. Bush, and spites Obama as being little more than the product of an excellent commercial branding campaign.

Reading this book has made me very uncomfortable, since he traces the trajec
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Peter
Chris Hedges is one of the most articulate and perceptive essayist around. This book is a collection of his columns from Truthdig. It is bracing deeply provocative and necessary. Hedges, a former seminarian, former war correspondent, is a thinker who needs and demands clarity and a true sense of reality. These essays are about the death of an empire and the power of men to do evil. They are important, worth reading and a necessary tonic to the daily stream of inanity that flows from the mass med ...more
Naum
May 17, 2011 Naum rated it it was amazing
This is not new material from Chris Hedges, but a rehash -- a collection of his weekly columns and/or essays from the past few years, bundled into chapter by subject.

Was initially disappointed when I discovered this after purchasing on my Kindle app, but not over the money spent -- for all that I've devoured of Hedges' writing in the vein of a modern day prophet, I gladly part with a few dollars. The dispiritedness was more due to being led to believe I was obtaining some fresh Chris Hedges writ
...more
Adam Czarnecki
Jun 25, 2014 Adam Czarnecki rated it it was amazing
Sitting here trying to come up with a review for this one is pointless. "I just can't..." with this book.

It's really just a collection of previously published articles. They're depressing, but enlightening. Our American empire is an illusion. He also gave me a reason to be optimistic throughout, reminding me of the many other times throughout history in which people were systematically oppressed but persevered.
Alex Kennard
Apr 14, 2014 Alex Kennard rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I came out of this book entirely fired up. So much passion, so much righteous anger. While I don't completely agree with Chris Hedges, I'm immensely glad that that he & his public voice for those of us more left than left of centre exists.

My main criticism of this book is it's structure. It is collected by topic, but Hedges uses a number of repeated rhetorical devices that would have been better smoothed by making this entirely chronological.

But regardless, an excellent book.
Chet Holly
I think that reading Chris Hedges has opened up my mind to a direction of analysis that I thought I had but in fact really didn't. Anarchist are not in vogue these days as our society seems to be modulating towards the acceptance of the status quo which is unfortunate considering the level of governance and media participation this status quo represents.
Virginia Bryant
Jul 25, 2011 Virginia Bryant rated it it was amazing
This guy is the moral conscience of the nation.
Written by a former divinity student and war correspondent, most of what this guy writes is spot on and should be required reading for those claiming full citizenship in a truly civilized society.
Wes Hazard
Feb 02, 2014 Wes Hazard rated it really liked it
Sobering.
I highly recommend this.
It's not "impartial" in the least. It's angry, it despairs, its view is grim (though not without some small hope). You won't feel good after reading it.
But I highly recommend this.

Simon
Jan 12, 2017 Simon rated it it was amazing
It can be repetitive in its subject matter and condemnations, and while Hedge's acknowledges that he does not seek to be "objective," many of his essays would benefit from an enhanced emphasis on citation. However, I give it a rating of 5 stars for its sheer raw power. It is impossible to read this work without being deeply moved. Hedges is the deliverer of a message that desperately needs to be heard.
Joel Arnold
Jan 09, 2012 Joel Arnold rated it it was ok
The best word for this book: extreme. Second best word: shrill.

Hedges is the most liberal author I have ever read. He predicts total cataclysm. The US is on our way out (can't disagree here), total financial and social upheaval is around the corner, and within a few decades human civilization as we know it will end. We'll leave the world as barely habitable for human beings.

His reason for this condition is that corporations control the government, the US is addicted to war-mongering, and profite
...more
Zack Schmidt
May 24, 2014 Zack Schmidt rated it really liked it
Before reading this, I had what I thought was a pretty good hold of the political world and how our country is run, although after reading this I can say that this book has completely reversed some of my opinions and informed me of many different insights about how our country is run. This book is perfect for those aspiring to learn more about politics and the inside information and the flaws in policy with America's political parties, and it is also good for the person who already has a grip on ...more
Jason
Apr 22, 2011 Jason rated it liked it
I'm more conflicted about this one than I'd like, or than I expected, to be. Hedges is a hero of mine, and I think there is much of great significance and value in this collection of his columns. I read it over a period of two or three years, checking it out from the library once every six months or so and reading it in snatches. But I read the last two sections over a period of two weeks, and it just wore me down too much. It wasn't the relentless dourness so much as the degree to which he'd re ...more
VJ
Jun 30, 2011 VJ rated it it was amazing
Chris Hedges speaks a truth that is sorely in short supply. Where do I begin in recommending this set of essays? Of course, there are abundant resources for further reading and an index that makes for quick location of topics and individuals you'll want to review. The essays cover the years 2001-2010 and have appeared in various publications. If you've read other of Hedges' work, you will recognize some of his words. They bear repeating and rereading, I assure you.

I learn and am exposed to mater
...more
Florence Millo
Apr 21, 2012 Florence Millo rated it really liked it
The World as It Is: Dispatches on the Myth of Human Progress by Chris Hedges

This book of essay is dedicated:
"For my children, Thomas, Noelle, Konrad, and Marina, whose joy and laughter save me from despair and for whom I must alway hope"

I was very glad to read this dedication because the book is very bleak. It's good that he does have some hope and relief from despair.

I found myself alternately avidly shaking my head in agreement and slamming the book shut determining that he's just too negative
...more
Stephen
Nov 27, 2011 Stephen rated it really liked it
Not sure why I read this book; most of them were posted to Truthdig and I read that blog religiously. Chris is a "Debbie Downer!" These essays portray human progress is a myth. We think we are doing wonderful things that are making the world a better place to live - well, we are, as long as you ae a stockholder in a corporation. We, AmeriKa are truly a voracious terrorist set loose on the world to subjugate all to our belief in free markets, neo-libralism and(as in his other prescient and distur ...more
Synthia
Jul 06, 2013 Synthia rated it liked it
Shelves: politics
Chris Hedges spent nearly 2 decades as a foreign correspondent in Central America, the Middle East, Africa and the Balkans, with 15 years at the NYTimes.

The book is divided into 4 sections: Politics, Israel and Palestine, The Middle East, and The Decay of Empire. The book is a compilation of essays written mostly between 2009-2010 with the exception of a few before 2009. Therefore, this is all before the re-election of President Obama.

So much has happened between 2011 and the present that it's
...more
Kasandra
Feb 25, 2013 Kasandra rated it really liked it
A lot of these essays are reproduced word for word in Empire of Illusion, so if you've read that, some of this can be skipped -- but there's a lot of meat still here. Hedges is tremendously depressing, but that doesn't mean he isn't right. If our country can't dramatically cut military spending, pull out of foreign occupations called "wars on terrorism", and focus on the economy at home, as well as the erosion of the middle class and the growing anger inside the U.S. about economic inequality... ...more
Derek Westra-luney
May 29, 2013 Derek Westra-luney rated it really liked it
Hedges' experiences are what makes this book so utterly fascinating. Most notably, his experiences in Sarajevo. The collection of his essays on Israel were also very vivid, describing a struggle that's not widely covered in mainstream media; the building of the "wall" and the creation of Palestinian ghettos. War has never had such an ugly face as well.

The only weak points of this collection of essays came with the domestic US policy section. While I agree with nearly all of the points made, man
...more
Kevin Summers
Aug 18, 2015 Kevin Summers rated it really liked it
Shelves: adult
Throughout this book, Hedges writes on the topic of war.

Sample quote: "War is the pornography of violence. It has a dark beauty, filled with the monstrous and the grotesque. The Bible calls it 'the lust of the eye' and warns believers against it. War allows us to engage in primal impulses we keep hidden in the deepest, most private interiors of our fantasy lives. It allows us to destroy not only things but also human beings. In that moment of wholesale destruction, we wield the power of the divi
...more
Tom Webb
Nov 07, 2011 Tom Webb rated it really liked it


Hedges debunks myths of progress based on his years as a correspondent and writer. Human nature of itself does not change in and of itself. Promptings and the mysterious promptings of the dynamics of transcendence are in order. Bot where, where in a world of unfettered capitalism, crude consumerism and often violent conflicts fought over preciously dwindling resources not to mention false theologies and spiritualities promoting "affluence and prosperity" as the will of the divine shall we turn?
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Christopher Lynn Hedges is an American journalist, author, and war correspondent, specializing in American and Middle Eastern politics and societies.
Hedges is known as the best-selling author of War is a Force That Gives Us Meaning (2002), which was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award for Nonfiction.
Chris Hedges is currently a senior fellow at The Nation Institute in New York Ci
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