Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Chomsky Reader” as Want to Read:
The Chomsky Reader
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Chomsky Reader

3.96  ·  Rating details ·  1,560 Ratings  ·  40 Reviews
At the centre of pratically every major debate over America?s role in the world, one finds Noam Chomsky?s ideas - sometimes attacked, sometimes studiously ignored, but always a powerful presence. Drawing from his published and unpublished work, The Chomsky Reader reveals the awesome range of this ever-critical mind - from global questions of war and peace to the most intri ...more
Paperback, 492 pages
Published June 1st 1988 by Serpent's Tail (first published September 12th 1987)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Chomsky Reader, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Chomsky Reader

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
Rating details
Sort: Default
Mar 30, 2007 rated it liked it
Everything about Chomsky is so cool and interesting except actually reading him. I mean its ok but I have a hard time getting into the mid 80's political lanscape of Nicaragua right now. So I tried his linguistics stuff, oh brother...
Whatever, he's still a fucking genius.
Jan 24, 2016 rated it really liked it
In all the reviews I've read of Chomsky's work I have yet to see a valid rebuttal of any of his points, which corroborates all of the fury, outrage and shame I always feel upon reading him. There's simply no refuting the facts he lays bare through his tireless research and exhaustive articles/books.

"Vital" is the word that most comes to mind to describe the man and his work. It is absolutely vital to us as U.S. citizens firstly, and secondarily to the rest of the world's inhabitants. The man is
Karen Mead
I've seen Chomsky's name come up in all kinds of discussions, so I figured it was time to actually find out why everyone loves to namedrop him. After reading this book, I understand why.

This book is basically The Emperor's New Clothes for adults, blowing away your illusions about American Foreign Policy, academia, the press, and so on. It does get a bit repetitive at times (since Chomsky applies the same basic logic to most of the situations presented in the book), but still; once you've read it
Oct 23, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: political junkies of all stripes
Shelves: political, radical
An interesting fellow. Some topics I'll have to study more (I have a page of titles lifted from the notes section, and a bookmark in the notes section that just says "everything on this chapter.")

Very interesting examination of twentieth century events, particularly involving U.S. wars and indigenous economic improvement. Also a couple chapters on mind and language.

If you're not firmly welded to the idea that your own country has to be seen as the great Goodguy by all, it's quite illuminating. R
Dec 20, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: everybody
I'm finding it very difficult to read any contemporary, non-fiction works. Despite the potential subject matter being so ripe, most of what I've read can only be described as variations on howling, regardless of socio-political persuasion. Am I sounding cynical?

Therefore, I've re-embarked on the wonderful (though disturbing) journey of "The Chomsky Reader." I cannot adequately expresss how refreshing (though disturbing) it is to read works that are so well thought out and articulate. For the tim
Oct 18, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: lefty
You know, I hate to say it, but Chomsky's a bore of a read. Sure, it's hard to argue with his tirelessly researched positions, but he doesn't command engagement from the reader, either. I feel like Chomsky's theses are rehashed in response to each new current event, compiled in each new book. I might like to read a book by another author discussing his positions, just to read his ideas from a different voice, you know what I mean?
"If men were angels there would be no need of laws." Americans never claimed to be angels and he is just another person disappointed in the reality separating ideology from its makers and exposing them as just more erring human beings.
I think Chomsky knows how to think, speak, and analyze brillliantly and incisively - though if he doesn't I'm not finishing this thing - but if all he does is publicly nag on the US and people, standing apart and judging, then of course he is able to remain "relen
Devon  Start
Jul 18, 2008 rated it it was ok
seriously not a fan of this guy. i think i like his politics, but i am not sure. but he is also like mike moore and abit sensational and to get that he plays fast and loose with the facts.
he qoutes the bayonet as the number one killer in ww1. the bayonets effect is largely phsycological, you run before you stand around to get speared in the gut with it. anyway his facts are verifiably wrong on this, and if these facts are off, well everyting else is now suspect.
Apr 28, 2011 is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
So far about 60% through this book which is very good at explaining the political thinking behind eg the Vietnam War. It is really changing my perception! In some ways it would be more comfortable not to think about these issues, but he really helps explain the complex modern world of aggressive capitalism.
Apr 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing
An incredibly lucid and well-documented analysis of state systems and their complete blindness to their own bias, propaganda and hypocrisy.

People often label Chomsky as a lefty, but his books are a must for anyone interested in critical thinking, skepticism and honesty.
Sep 09, 2008 added it
This is one of those that I keep returning to time and time again. "The Responsibility of the Intellectuals" is just as important now as when it was originally written.
Dec 10, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: chomsky
This has an awesome essay about the Spanish revolution and liberals who don't really believe in democracy.
Feb 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This heavily footnoted book contains excerpts from Chomsky's writings on various issues, especially American foreign affairs. He focuses on Southeast Asia, Central America and the Middle East, particularly Israel and the adjacent Arab nations. His arguments, which were very persuasive, is that American foreign policy is founded almost exclusively on its insistence that underdeveloped countries be open to American economic exploitation of their people, markets and resources. The primary source of ...more
Apr 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A friend wrote in the first page of their diary "Stay critical. Stay radical." I would replace the second with "Stay balanced". Chomsky manages to do all three. Would love to see a good critique/response to his foreign policy arguments.
D.B. Buzzkill
Feb 01, 2017 rated it it was ok
It's Chomsky, so you roughly know what to expect. This book -- or rather, this collection of essays -- is chewy and hasn't aged well. Chomsky is mostly arguing against mainstream positions at the time of writing, without really explaining what these mainstream views are. So this book consists mostly of rebuttals, but there is no clear explanation of what exactly the views are that need rebutting. You're apparently supposed to know that, and I don't.

Chomsky also refers to many minor political fig
Ben Matney
Contains such influential essays as "The Responsibility of Intellectuals" (1967) and "The Manufacture of Consent" (1984), the latter being the most essential. Concerning the insidious nature of what he labels "democratic systems of thought control," Chomsky writes: "...this system... was not perceived by Orwell, and is never understood by dictators who fail to comprehend the utility for indoctrination of permitting a class of critics who denounce the errors and failings of the leadership while t ...more
Jun 02, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: people who need a dose of cynicism about US foreign policy
Chomsky is an understandably upset man. Universal grammar is lame, but worse yet the Western academics, American Press, and the American government practice significant amounts of disinformation among themselves and the American people. This book is a collection of essays that does a pretty good job of hitting highlights of U.S. support for human rights abusing regimes and pointing out some likely points of hypocrisy on the part of the U.S. and mainstream academics. The cynicism clouds believabi ...more
Apr 22, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: theology-esque
One of about five books I've really taken a lot of pride in reading, but not fully appreciating. Lots and lots of information, lots and lots of accusations and some evidence. difficult to read only because it flies in the face of everything you already know, accept and think of as American foreign least that's how it went for me. Read in conjunction with What's the Matter with Kansas?
Julian Munds
Chomsky's perspectives seek to destroy establishment historical thinking. This collection contains a brilliant essay on intellectualism, a good interview, some neat contemporary stuff about cold war thinking and other issues. At times concerned more with minutiae then macrocosm, the reader can get bogged down in analyses. But there is some real pearls amongst the complex dirt.
Aug 23, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: politics, history
This book is exrtremely eye-opening, but not very readable. Chomsky is brilliant and this book is filled with information about the world. Since it is a collection of older articles, a lot of the material is out-of-date but interesting in a historical perspective. However, I think his newer writings are much more approachable than the older stuff.
May 31, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: philosophy
This is a great introduction to Chomsky's early(ish) political commentary. That is, it's mostly his commentary on U.S. use of political and military power in the 60's. Though the specific subject matter is dated, it's still a worthy contribution.
Feb 21, 2010 rated it liked it
In iddle times, it quits from the usual point of view. Of course, Noam likes those savages points of views.
But at the end, it lays a lot of layers of data, misconceptions, beliefs and truths that is overwhelming.
Feb 21, 2008 added it
There's a lot of information and history here. If I do my homework, I'll understand it a little more.
Jun 18, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This is perhaps the most depressing book ever written.
Jun 12, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sociology

Great stuff. Though most of the content is available online (see
Ruby Pham
Mar 07, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Always rereading this book... and I reread it when I recommend it to somebody.
Nov 17, 2007 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-ages-ago
almost a necessity for any of us who work in and study Mass Communications.
Aug 09, 2007 marked it as to-read
Jul 17, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: politics, anarchism
This is incredibly valuable work.
Dec 17, 2007 added it
Buku yang wajib dibaca bagi siapa yang ingin mengenal Chomsky. Buku membahas beberapa pokok-pokok pikiran Chomsky mengenai linguistik, politik internasional, dan media.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • The Zinn Reader: Writings on Disobedience and Democracy
  • Future Primitive: And Other Essays
  • Rich Media, Poor Democracy: Communication Politics in Dubious Times
  • The Turner Diaries
  • The Next American Metropolis: Ecology, Community, and the American Dream
  • Known and Unknown: A Memoir
  • One Market Under God: Extreme Capitalism, Market Populism, and the End of Economic Democracy
  • War by Other Means: An Insider's Account of the War on Terror
  • Chomsky for Beginners
  • Manufacturing Consent: Noam Chomsky and the Media
  • Plan of Attack
  • Anarcho-Syndicalism: Theory and Practice
  • A Practical Guide to Racism
  • ألبير كامو
  • Endgame, Vol. 1: The Problem of Civilization
  • The Ralph Nader Reader
  • Vaclav Havel: Or Living in Truth
  • Total Chaos: The Art and Aesthetics of Hip-Hop
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

Nonfiction Deals

  • Masters of the Air: America's Bomber Boys Who Fought the Air War Against Nazi Germany
    $15.99 $3.99
  • The Monster of Florence
    $10.99 $2.99
  • The Westies: Inside New York's Irish Mob
    $9.99 $1.99
  • April 1865 (P.S.)
    $11.74 $1.99
  • Jesus Is ______: Find a New Way to Be Human
    $7.99 $0.99
  • Scent of the Missing: Love and Partnership with a Search-and-Rescue Dog
    $17.99 $1.99
  • Lab 257
    $8.74 $1.99
  • How Not to Hate Your Husband After Kids
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Girl in the Woods: A Memoir
    $11.99 $1.99
  • The Power of When: Discover Your Chronotype--and the Best Time to Eat Lunch, Ask for a Raise, Have Sex, Write a Novel, Take Your Meds, and More
    $14.99 $2.99
  • The Last Lecture
    $10.99 $2.99
  • Love Wins: A Book About Heaven, Hell, and the Fate of Every Person Who Ever Lived
    $12.74 $1.99
  • Not Tonight, Honey: Wait 'Til I'm A Size 6
    $10.99 $1.99
  • Dog Years
    $13.74 $1.99
  • The Defining Decade: Why Your Twenties Matter--And How to Make the Most of Them Now
    $11.99 $2.99
  • Heroes, Gods and Monsters of the Greek Myths
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Ladies of Liberty: The Women Who Shaped Our Nation
    $5.99 $1.99
  • The Ends of the World: Volcanic Apocalypses, Lethal Oceans, and Our Quest to Understand Earth's Past Mass Extinctions
    $12.99 $1.99
  • Feast: True Love in and out of the Kitchen
    $4.99 $1.99
  • The Last of the Doughboys: The Forgotten Generation and Their Forgotten World War
    $15.99 $1.99
  • Vaccinated: One Man's Quest to Defeat the World's Deadliest Diseases
    $10.99 $1.99
  • Troublemaker: Surviving Hollywood and Scientology
    $12.99 $2.99
  • An Appetite For Wonder: The Making Of A Scientist
    $7.99 $1.99
  • Letters of Note: An Eclectic Collection of Correspondence Deserving of a Wider Audience
    $27.99 $2.99
  • Waiter Rant: Thanks for the Tip-Confessions of a Cynical Waiter
    $8.74 $1.99
  • Sex Object
    $9.74 $2.99
  • Dakota: A Spiritual Geography (Dakotas)
    $13.99 $1.99
  • Restless: Because You Were Made for More
    $7.49 $1.99
  • Fifth Avenue, 5 A.M.: Audrey Hepburn, Breakfast at Tiffany's, and The Dawn of the Modern Woman
    $10.24 $1.99
  • The Song of the Dodo: Island Biogeography in an Age of Extinctions
    $16.99 $2.99
  • Happiness: The Crooked Little Road to Semi-Ever After
    $13.99 $3.99
  • Man-Eater: The Life and Legend of an American Cannibal
    $5.99 $2.99
  • Pukka: The Pup After Merle
    $17.99 $1.99
  • The Purpose Driven Life: What on Earth Am I Here For?
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Arctic Dreams
    $17.99 $1.99
  • Alive: The Story of the Andes Survivors
    $19.99 $1.99
  • Boundaries: When to Say Yes, How to Say No to Take Control of Your Life
    $10.99 $2.99
  • Buddhist Boot Camp
    $11.99 $1.99
  • Flour: A Baker's Collection of Spectacular Recipes
    $21.99 $3.99
  • The Longest Day: The Classic Epic of D-Day
    $12.99 $3.99
  • The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change
    $5.99 $1.99
  • Lost in the Cosmos: The Last Self-Help Book
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Moving Beyond Words: Essays on Age, Rage, Sex, Power, Money, Muscles: Breaking the Boundaries of Gender
    $17.99 $1.99
  • Six Degrees: Our Future on a Hotter Planet
    $5.99 $1.99
  • Do the Work
    $4.99 $1.49
  • The Lost Tribe of Coney Island: Headhunters, Luna Park, and the Man Who Pulled Off the Spectacle of the Century
    $4.99 $1.99
  • I Suck at Girls
    $10.74 $1.99
  • The Beauty Myth: How Images of Beauty Are Used Against Women
    $14.99 $2.99
  • A Mind of Your Own: The Truth About Depression and How Women Can Heal Their Bodies to Reclaim Their Lives
    $18.99 $1.99
  • Band of Brothers: E Company, 506th Regiment, 101st Airborne from Normandy to Hitler's Eagle's Nest
    $12.99 $3.99
  • Peace Is Every Breath: A Practice for Our Busy Lives
    $9.49 $1.99
  • Savage Harvest: A Tale of Cannibals, Colonialism, and Michael Rockefeller's Tragic Quest for Primitive Art
    $14.99 $1.99
  • Londoners: The Days and Nights of London Now--As Told by Those Who Love It, Hate It, Live It, Left It, and Long for It
    $7.24 $1.99
  • The World's Last Night: And Other Essays
    $7.99 $1.99
  • Tracks: One Woman's Journey Across 1,700 Miles of Australian Outback
    $17.99 $1.99
  • Daring to Drive: A Saudi Woman's Awakening
    $13.99 $1.99
  • Hell's Princess: The Mystery of Belle Gunness, Butcher of Men
    $5.99 $2.99
  • Life
    $11.99 $2.99
  • Seeing Further: The Story of Science and the Royal Society
    $13.24 $2.99
  • Grace, Not Perfection (with Bonus Content): Celebrating Simplicity, Embracing Joy
    $8.99 $1.99
  • The Promise and the Dream: The Untold Story of Martin Luther King, Jr. And Robert F. Kennedy
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Through the Eyes of a Lion: Facing Impossible Pain, Finding Incredible Power
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Why We Run: A Natural History
    $9.49 $1.99
  • Edgar Allan Poe: The Fever Called Living
    $5.99 $2.99
  • The Road to Jonestown: Jim Jones and Peoples Temple
    $12.99 $2.99
“One of the functions that things like professional sports play, in our society and others, is to offer an area to deflect people's attention from things that matter, so that the people in power can do what matters without public interference.” 3 likes
More quotes…