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America: The Farewell Tour

4.23  ·  Rating details ·  783 ratings  ·  174 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 ar
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)

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4.23  · 
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 ·  783 ratings  ·  174 reviews

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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 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.
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
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
Unabridged Bibliophile
Mar 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
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!
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
Scriptor Ignotus
Sep 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: economics, politics
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
Sep 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
A sobering look at where we are as an empire and where we are headed. I recommend everyone living in America pull their head from the sand and give this book a read.
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
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
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
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
Nancy 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
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
Sep 17, 2018 rated it it was ok
The first part ofthis book is excellent in the way he introduces the (real) theories of Karl Marx and tries to explain why capitalism will collapse. Maybe yes, maybe no, definitely food for further study. UNfortunately, he then goes off the rails in my opinion. We all may agree that porn is not a positive influence on our culture. Fair enough, but to substantiate that view is it really necessary to take an advanced course in BDSM (whips and chains, basically) as the author does and give blow by ...more
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
David Stephens
Mar 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: politics
In his newest book, the ever somber Chris Hedges explains how the economic and political rot that is corporate capitalism is harming America's mental and physical health, dissolving its culture, damaging its social bonds and structures, and, ultimately, bringing an end to its empire. Through several personal accounts and much empirical evidence, he argues that the income and wealth inequality in the U.S. has led to many systemic ills, including increased physical and financial damage from catast ...more
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
Donna Hines
Jun 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arc, netgalley
The War from Within is playing among the fears of its citizens, society, and ultimately its rules governing those afforded the highest degree of power and control from the top down. It will not end until we find the courage to speak out and voice our opinions allowing humanity and empathy the center stage!
This is exactly what every individual today needs to read and needs to address at the very core of many of the world's problems we find today especially with my hometown of Scranton taking the
Carol Watt
Nov 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Chris Hedges is brilliant. He is provocative, precise, courageous, and profoundly human. This book was a difficult read throughout. I had the inner challenge of reading his awful chapter on sexual sadism while the Kavanaugh debacle limped on as pathetically and egregiously as it did; as a result, I felt sickened to the core, finding myself asking where Chris Hedges gathers the strength to enter into these subcultures and live the reality so intimately as to report the deep societal sicknesses wi ...more
It’s certainly shocking and grim, but I couldn’t put this book down. The author outlines the many causes of US decay, including political corruption, corporate greed, unemployment, addiction, and nationalism. The chapter on the prison system in itself is incredibly eye-opening.

I agree with other reviewers that the chapter on BDSM seemed to be more of a moral judgement on the author’s part and generally out of place with the book’s other themes. Still, I highly recommend this book to anyone inter
Lauren Olmeda
Nov 20, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“War, as W. E. B. Du Bois said, creates an artificial community of interest between the oligarchs and the poor, diverting the poor from their natural interests and obscuring the class struggle. The redirecting of national frustrations and emotions into an epic struggle of good and evil against a common enemy, the cant of patriotism, the racism that is part of all nationalist ideologies that sustain war, the false bonding that comes with comradeship, seduces those on the margins of society. They ...more
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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
“We live in a two-tiered legal system, one where poor people are harassed, arrested, and jailed for absurd infractions, such as selling loose cigarettes—which led to Eric Garner being choked to death by the New York City police in 2014—while crimes of appalling magnitude by the oligarchs and corporations, from oil spills to bank fraud in the hundreds of billions of dollars, which wiped out 40 percent of the world’s wealth,41 are dealt with through tepid administrative controls, symbolic fines, and civil enforcement that give these wealthy perpetrators immunity from criminal prosecution.” 5 likes
“The decision by the ruling elites in ancient Rome—dominated by a bloated military and a corrupt oligarchy, much like the United States—to strangle the vain and idiotic Emperor Commodus in his bath in the year 192 did not halt the growing chaos and precipitous decline of the Roman Empire. Commodus, like a number of late-Roman emperors, and like Trump, was incompetent and consumed by his own vanity. He commissioned innumerable statues of himself as Hercules and had little interest in governance. He used his position as head of state to make himself the star of his own ongoing public show. He fought victoriously as a gladiator in the arena in fixed bouts. Power for Commodus, as it is for Trump, was primarily about catering to his bottomless narcissism. He sold public offices to the ancient equivalents of Betsy DeVos and Steven Mnuchin. Commodus was replaced by the reformer Pertinax, the Bernie Sanders of his day, who attempted in vain to curb the power of the Praetorian Guards, the ancient version of the military-industrial complex. The Praetorian Guards assassinated Pertinax three months after he became emperor. The Guards then auctioned off his position to the highest bidder. The next emperor, Didius Julianus, lasted sixty-six days. There would be five emperors in AD 193, the year after the assassination of Commodus. Trump and our decaying empire have ominous historical precedents.” 2 likes
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