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America: The Farewell Tour

4.24  ·  Rating details ·  1,380 ratings  ·  271 reviews
Chris Hedges’s profound and provocative examination of America in crisis is “an exceedingly…provocative book, certain to arouse controversy, but offering a point of view that needs to be heard” (Booklist), about how bitter hopelessness and malaise have resulted in a culture of sadism and hate.

America, says Pulitzer Prize­–winning reporter Chris Hedges, is convulsed by an a
Hardcover, 400 pages
Published August 21st 2018 by Simon Schuster
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Oliver Brackenbury I'd skip to the final chapter, FREEDOM, unless you feel under-educated on any of the assorted miseries covered in the preceding chapters.

But even so, …more
I'd skip to the final chapter, FREEDOM, unless you feel under-educated on any of the assorted miseries covered in the preceding chapters.

But even so, skip the friggin' SADISM chapter. Sheesh...(less)
Judith Yes. We need solutions and hope, lest more of us give up.

Hedges is insightful, incisive, a good thinker and good writer. But this is the bleakest book…more
Yes. We need solutions and hope, lest more of us give up.

Hedges is insightful, incisive, a good thinker and good writer. But this is the bleakest book I've ever tried to read. I'm reading it for a library book discussion group, but I'm not sure how far I'll get, given my impressions so far from only the first and last chapters.(less)

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Sam Quixote
Dec 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
It’s Christmastime which means most people will turn to re-read old favourites or pick up something feel-good, escapist and/or seasonal. And then there are people like me who couldn’t care less about the holidays and just want to read something gripping and brilliant yet so bleak that by the end you’ll be playing Russian roulette while your family breaks out the Monopoly. That’s right, Chris Hedges is back with a new book to tell everyone once again that WE’RE ALL FUCKED in America: The Farewell ...more
Apr 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
If you're looking for a nice, easy, feel-good read, this is not the book you want. If, however, you want a book that will deliver the cold, hard facts about the state of America today and its likely future, this is the book for you.

Chris Hedges paints the landscape of America in all its brutality and bleakness. He does not mince words, he does not try to make us think "things are not quite as bad as they seem". It is depressing and it is frightening. But it is reality. It is a book I think all
David Wineberg
Jun 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
History Catches Up To America and It’s Not Pretty

America: The Farewell Tour is a book, but also a symphony. The opening movement, Decay, has every instrument blasting, overwhelming the reader with a multitude of themes: accusations, facts, and historical proofs about the true state of the union. The middle movements are much more narrowly focused and deep. They are in many ways quieter, and somber. They detail the decline and fall of typical Americans thanks to the policies outlined in the first
Aug 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I was first introduced to Chris Hedges work through his sobering “War is a Force That Gives us Meaning”, released not long after the 2nd gulf war. Having spent significant time in the Balkans and other war zones, he began to recognize how hopelessness and fear can easily be manipulated by governments to create cults of personality and fragmented communities filled with distrust of each other. From there, it’s a small step toward violence and even genocide.
Hedges is not saying that the America
W.D. Clarke
Mar 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
I could only take this in very small bites. Each chapter takes more out of you than its predecessor, it seems, as the open sores on the sordid underbelly of the nation are exposed via heartbreaking interviews with Americans whose lives have been ruined by opioid addiction, gambling, unemployment, the porn/human traffic 'industry', etc. Essential stuff, for sure, but tough on the stomach.
May 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
the american empire is coming to an end. the nation has lost the power and respect needed to induce allies in europe, latin america, asia, and africa to do its bidding. add the mounting destruction caused by climate change and you have a recipe for an emerging dystopia. overseeing this descent at the highest levels of the federal and state governments is a motley collection of imbeciles, con artists, thieves, opportunists, and warmongering generals. and to be clear, i include democrats.
Peter (Pete) Mcloughlin
I am pessimistic about the present moment in the US. Chris Hedges is way more pessimistic than me about the present moment in the US. Maybe he knows better. I will say we are pessimistic about largely the same things. The crisis of capitalism, the rise of Authoritarianism aka fascism, Opioids, hollowing out of the middle class, the desperation of ordinary people, racial hatreds festering, apocalyptic yearnings and sadistic impulses in the populace, rampant sexism and targetting of the weak. Hed ...more
Maru Kun
Oct 08, 2018 marked it as to-read
Shelves: investment-made
Good interview with Chris Hedges on this work: Radio Open Source - Farewell Tour. Pretty much everything Chris Hedges says is woefully depressing. I just can't help agreeing with ninety percent of it. ...more
Gary Moreau
Sep 05, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Throughout history, all great civilizations have ultimately decayed. And America will not be an exception, according to former journalist and war correspondent, Chris Hedges. And while Hedges doesn’t offer a date, he maintains we are in the final throes of implosion—and it won’t be pretty.

The book is thoroughly researched and the author knows his history. And despite some of the reviews it is not so much a political treatise as it is an exploration of the American underbelly—drugs, suicide, sadi
Chris Chester
I read Chris Hedges' War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning in high school, right in the middle of the invasion of Iraq. At the time I remember being angry that more people weren't telling the truth about what the war meant, even as I gave my own tacit support, implicitly believing the untruths about weapons of mass destruction.

That was more than 15 years ago now and I've read a lot more and my skepticism about the American project is now grounded in both first-hand observation as well as the clas
As other reviewers have mentioned, this is not a happy, feel-good read. I can't even say that it is an entirely enlightening read, at least to folks who have been half paying attention to the demise of political discourse and civil society in the United States.

Hedges pulls no punches but carefully makes the case that the America that inspired much of the good in the 20th Century--helping free Europe from fascism, making progress in human rights, providing better working conditions, and starting
Keith Akers
Oct 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
Chris Hedges offers us a light-hearted, nostalgic romp through the absurdity and humor of the last days of the American Empire. NOT.

All right, his writing is depressing, excellent, and accurate. But what do we do with it? I am using this book selectively. It requires a context --- which Hedges does not explicitly provide.

As advertised, the book is provocative. Hedges describes a surprising variety of the seamier sides of American life, and then relating all of this to his overall theme of "decl
Unabridged Bibliophile
Mar 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: library-reads, 2019
RTC ugh... that was tough to get through, but it's so relevant.
DNF @ 5%

I received this from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

I was hoping to read a balanced view of the current slow collapse of the American republic, but instead it's a book of solid bashing of conservative values. Definitely not going to finish this one!
Tim O'Neill
Jan 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
Hedges is not going to win any award for Optimist of the Year and, as others have noted, this book is sobering to the point of being bleak. But it is hard to argue with his thesis - the United States is in a state of late capitalist decay thanks to years of Reaganite policies that have favoured the rich while keeping everyone else either stupefied or distracted. Hedges uses the election of Trump as an obvious jumping off point for a detailed examination of what has gone so wrong in the last 60 y ...more
Kaelan Ratcliffe▪Κάϊλαν Ράτκλιφ▪كايِلان راتكِليف
Rebellion Is A Force That Gives Us Meaning

Hedges Magnum Opus. There's not much else to say. For those who follow his Articles (now moved from website Truthdig to Scheerpost) and read his books, there's not much new in Hedges sweeping analysis of American culture, corporate capitalism, and civilisational collapse. However, the interviews and time spent with those on the sharp end of the sword of Americas decline are unforgettable. It's incomprehensible at times how some of these individuals s
Scriptor Ignotus
Sep 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: politics, economics
This is a sobering depiction of American life in the throes of disintegration under a regime of corporate capitalism that is systematically dismantling our civil society. The ubiquitous influence of corporate lobbyists in the drafting of our legislation, the cannibalization of public utilities by for-profit corporations in an age of fiscal austerity, the outsourcing that has left large swathes of American workers trapped in the rusted shells of what were once our great industrial cities, the for ...more
A detailed description of all the reasons why America's hey day is over and not to be repeated – at least not in any future that we will ever recognize as "American".

We are following the same downward spiral that previous empires have taken. Our non-manufacturing, service and consumption-oriented, and finance-heavy economy is an unsustainable house of cards. The illusion of security and well-being that the rising stock market showcases benefits only the most wealthy in our society (for how long?
Dec 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A book that may change the way you look at porn!

In a galaxy far, far away...okay, this galaxy, the Empire lumbered along bringing with it: great joy and prosperity to all.

Well, actually, the Empire may be fracturing, crumbling before our eyes, with all of us complicit and distracted by the noise filling our craniums daily.

It’s 5 AM. I’m riding the elevator down from my home on the tenth floor. My eyes are drawn to the video screen above the keypad. “A family home in a province 1,000 miles away c
Feb 18, 2020 rated it really liked it
This book documents the current state of America, with a special focus on everything that has gone wrong and that threatens to undo the country's democratic structures and economic viability. Each chapter focuses on a different aspect of this breakdown in society. The author writes very well. And what he uncovers is extremely disturbing. My only caveat is that his solutions seem too based in Marxist dogma. He dismisses other approaches as if they could never have any important effect. I remain u ...more
Nancy Mills
May 26, 2019 rated it liked it
Four stars for great writing and very good points; 2 stars for ridiculous conclusions.
Uber-leftist Chris Hedges is a Presbyterian minister and is unabashedly Marxist, judging from the number of quotes lifted from Marxist literature. Marx, of course, advocated for communism, a concept unpalatable to most Americans but backed up by some very good reasoning.
Hedges effectively uses concrete examples of the decay in American standard of living and lost of jobs, starting close to home at the Scranto
Oct 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
At first I found myself nitpicking at things I disagreed with (for example, he poo poos identity politics and the politics of inclusion like only a white man can). But when I started to get a sense of his broader thesis, that resistance must be organized, that it must not just target a specific political party or politician but rather take aim against the larger corporatocracy, I focused more on that.

The book is not seamless, but it is well researched, journalistic yet polemical, convincing and
Rick Wilson
Jul 13, 2020 rated it it was ok
This is not a bad book. It’s just not saying anything of real significance. Is it one of those books that hashes and rehashes semi recent events and comes up with a witty analysis to show how smart the author is. Now the author is pretty smart and the analysis is pretty witty. But it’s not actually getting at anything of substance. That’s not a knock against this book specifically but more against books of this type.

“Big business does bad things”
“Trump tells lies”
“Welcome to late stage capitali
Mar 09, 2019 rated it liked it
What did I think about this book...

I like Chris Hedges. He's a guy who has seen some shit, and this is his primary qualification. There isn't a lot of analysis in this book, and the analysis there is is generally not original. There is a lot of reporting on some pretty grim situations, primarily involving poverty and incarceration. There is a whole lot of doomsaying.

The problem is that I can't figure out how much you can trust him. I don't think he's dishonest —the things he reports on, for th
Oct 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
Depressing because it paints what I believe to be a sadly realistic portrait of the United States at the present time and because Hedges holds Trump to be a symptom, not a cause. To quote Hedges, « The US government, subservient to corporate power, has become a burlesque. » Hedges is an excellent and experienced journalist and bases his book on travels throughout the States, observing decaying factory towns, accelerating opioid use, vast gaps between the rich and the remainder of people, the use ...more
Kent Winward
Oct 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
Hedges always makes me think and forces me to challenge certain preconceptions. I disagree with him and agree with him in about equal parts. Certainly he cherry picks his anecdotes (as do most humans) to make his point, but his points are strong enough to warrant further examination. It alos becomes a nice exercise in exploring my own confirmation bias, because I find myself easily agreeing with him on some issues and fighting him on others, which makes me wonder about my own foundational though ...more
Sep 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is a truly remarkable analysis of the current state of affairs, not just in the USA, but all over the world. Chris paints a pretty bleak picture of how we got into the state we are in and saves the last ten pages to discuss what, if anything, we can do about it.

This book will not give you hope for the future. It will not make you feel like we are on the right path. It will not help you out of your funk.

It will piss you off. It will get you riled up. It will make you even angrier.

It will o
N.L. Brisson
Dec 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Chris Hedge’s book America: The Farewell Tour begins with a chapter entitled “Decay”:

“I walked down a long service road into the remains of an abandoned lace factory. The road was pocked with holes filled with fetid water. There were saplings and weeds poking up from the cracks in the asphalt. Wooden crates, rusty machinery, broken glass, hulks of old filing cabinets and trash covered the grounds.”

His prose is personal and relatable. He is a well-respected journalist and does not ride a desk. He
Oh Chris, how can a I love you one minute then be rolling my eyes the next? I'll always be interested in what CH has to say, I've read most of his books and War is A Force that Gives Us Meaning is a favourite book of mine but he has gotten more and more into"Old Testament" mode as he has gone along and this book is a good example of that. He is at his best when he is out talking to ordinary people as the superb journalist and writer that he is, the stories about the opiod deaths and the responsi ...more
May 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
A bit of a pastiche of stories representing the underbelly of America and, perhaps, human civilization as it exists today.

I felt that Hedges hedged too much around using the existing system to effect change (reform), and resisting the system through militant struggle (revolution). He says: "There is no moral equivalency between antifa and the alt-right. But by brawling in the streets, antifa allows the corporate state, which is terrified of a popular anticapitalist uprising, to use the false arg
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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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