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Losing Moses on the Freeway: The 10 Commandments in America

3.97  ·  Rating details ·  425 Ratings  ·  52 Reviews
The 10 Commandments -- the laws given to Moses by God -- are beyond the scope of human law. They are rules meant to hold us together but, when dishonored, they lead to discord and violence.
In this fierce, articulate narrative, Hedges, who graduated from seminary at Harvard Divinity School, looks through the lens of each commandment to examine the moral ruin of American s
ebook, 224 pages
Published June 7th 2005 by Free Press (first published 2005)
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Sep 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: philosophy, religion
Probably no political writer in America has the moral compass of Chris Hedges. The son of a Presbyterian minister in Upstate New York, Chris also went in for the ministry, studying at Colgate and Harvard Divinity School before losing much of his faith in organized religion while running a parish in Boston's Roxbury ghetto. In fact, he tells the tale in the first chapter of his book Losing Moses on the Freeway: The 10 Commandments in America.

Afterwards, he had a distinguished career as a Pulitzer
Will Byrnes
Hedges takes each of the ten commandments and comments on their application in modern life. It was a satisfying read, clearly intelligent and pointed.
Jul 06, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I got so excited when I learned about this book because I assumed it would affirm all my (self-righteous) notions about living a good and decent life surrounded by moral turpitude. Honestly, the U.S.!! Chris Hedges is a fine writer, and I knew that going in because I'd seen a piece of his about the decline of the dollar (and consequently of our "empire"). Well. Though Hedges (mostly in the epilogue of the book) touts love as the healing force for humanity, he writes unlovingly--and without joy, ...more
Jul 17, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
When I finish a novel, I'm often saddened by the loss of the friends that I met in the book--characters that I've become intimate with who I will never see again -- like when you're a kid and your best friend moves away. When I finish Hedges' non-fiction, I'm excited and energized to start the next one. This book is not doctrine; you wont find "10 Easy Steps to Becoming _________." It's commentary by a man who has spent a life exploring his own spirituality through his religion.

I grew up in the
Kathryn Bashaar
Jun 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is mind-blowing in its radical approach to the ten commandments. The author, who completed Harvard Divinity School but chose not to be ordained and instead spent many years as a journalist in war zones, devotes a chapter to each commandment. Each chapter centers around an example of someone who was confronted with the consequences of breaking that commandment. I mean brutally confronted in most cases. When we talk about adultery, for example, we're not talking about some upper-middle-c ...more
Don Bryant
Chris Hedges is a PK, pastor's kid. A graduate of Harvard Divinity he lost what could be called a traditional Christian faith (though in evangelical terms it was anything but traditional) and gained a disenchantment with the liberal, elite class that thinks it knows the cure for what ails the poor, the oppressed and the underclass. He is quite the liberal but a fiery critic of the partnership of the elite class with capitalistic opportunists and their shibboleths and too easy panaceas offered at ...more
Elliot Ratzman
War journalist Hedges is a humorless writer, a morose asserter of moral truths and, evident from this book, not at all a people person. Nevertheless, his flat-toned jeremiads against War and Empire probably have moved a few sullen readers to sniffles. What makes his eyebrows so knitted? This was to be a book on the Ten Commandments in America today, but it’s mostly excuses for him to share semi-interesting stories loosely related to each—sometimes misquoted!—Commandment. Hedges tells of living i ...more
Jul 29, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A buddy of mine says he's lost friends over Chris Hedges. I say - if they didn't see the truth in what he says they weren't worth keeping anyway. Let them return to the herd with the rest of the sheep.
Nov 04, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book has single-handedly reminded me of all the personal and individual reasons I have for enjoying a spiritual life.
Jun 20, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book totally blew me away.

Hedges deconstructs the 10 commandments in a very modern but completely unexpected way. He's willing to go to painfully honest places that few writers are.
Jun 11, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
law that binds, commands that free

"Moses came and told the people all the words of the Lord and all the ordinances; and all the people answered with one voice, and said, 'All the words that the Lord has spoken we will do.'" —Exodus 24:3

"Now behold, one came and said to Jesus, 'Good Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life?' So Jesus said to him, 'Why do you call me good? No one is good but One, that is, God. But if you want to enter into life, keep the commandments.'" —Ma
Jamie Howison
Mar 06, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was my second time reading this one, both times in the contexts of book groups that worked through just a couple of chapters at a time. I have to say that in both of those groups, this book was one of the best conversation starters/fuelers imaginable. I've read a good number of books by Chris Hedges, but this has got to be my favourite.

Chapter by chapter, he engages the 10 commandments. It is anything but a conventional commentary, in that he grabs what he sees as being the heart of each co
Jul 23, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very interesting book.....It is broken into 10 segments--1 for each of the 10 commandments. The first chapter, based on "Thou shalt not have any other god before Me" really intrigued me. The author tells of his work in an inner-city church as a young man while attending Harvard Divinity school. He tells of the struggle to make a difference and his disenchantment with the church as a whole. (How does this relate to the commandment? You can read it yourself to see the link.) However, he does ultim ...more
Apr 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This entrancing read is in my opinion one of the best books by Hedges although not mentioned often, I think how he relates his and other peoples' real world experience with how the 10 commandments apply in life and how if holding true to them could have benefited everyone involved in one of the chapters which are broken into 1 commandment each, it is an eye-opening look at how with a little more moral consideration into our daily life choices, the world in general could benefit greatly. The writ ...more
Jul 25, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The more I read Hedges, the more of his work I want to read.

Hedges references a distinction between comradeship and friendship, concluding that they are opposites.

He also discusses the violation of the commandment to refrain from theft within the context of insider trading and the further development of the American oligarchy that is currently living it up like the robber barons they are on the hard won funds of the middle-class poor. This oligarchy is formed by the fusion of economic and poli
Aug 29, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The book's strength is Hedges' ability to expound the impact and force of a commandment in a very new way (an idea he got from an obscure foreign film). Several of the commandments, which I might have regarded as almost comically narrow and impertinent, now seem relevant to my own life and my own shortcomings in ways that are surprisingly meaningful. Hedges also manages to get across that the commandments aren't rules that keep us pious; they're teachings that show us, generally after we've made ...more
Jordan Uhl
This book is an exploration of the moral erosion in American society using the 10 Commandments as framework for 10 vignettes.

Anyone familiar with his style will appreciate the presentation of the personal accounts, anecdotes and interviews with people who have violated a commandment that serve as 'lessons' for the reader and all are interconnected by one overlying theme. Love, Hedges argues, is what can bring us together, deliver atonement and pave the way for a better society going forward.

Jul 09, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"God cannot be summed up in a name. God cannot be described. only idols provide this certitude. but watch, God seems to say, you will know me when you encounter me. you will see who i am in the profound flashes of self-knowledge that cut through darkness in the hope that rises out of despair and suffering, in the loving touch of another, in a moral life where we resist the worship of ourselves so others can prosper. God, the experience, is real."

"the commandments hold out to us the possibility o
Nov 18, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was a fun read for me, Chris hedges just continues to open my eyes to the world around me, or maybe it is just I have lived long enough to see my youthful way of thinking and living.
Me and my wife have what I call a successful life we have worked very hard to get here and at times it is hard to not want more out of life, by more I mean stuff . I have recently started to open my eyes to the works around me and have realized that we have everything we could ever want , to live simple is
Nov 04, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My third Chris Hedges book, (I've also read "I Don't Believe in Atheists" and "Empire of Illusion") this is without a doubt my favorite. This man is such a glum cynic/realist who shits on everybody's parade... And I couldn't possibly love him more for it. If you think you can escape death, poverty, mystery, mediocrity or the dark side of your own humanity, Hedges books will demand that you stop fooling yourself. Someone in another goodreads review described Hedges as a "mirthless moral scold" an ...more
Rachel Smith
Mar 19, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: clsc
This book reads a lot like an essay and a very repetitive one at that. Although Hedges attempts to bring in each commandment he continually diverts back to the commandment on idolatry and could have instead devoted the book to that idea. His stories are interesting but, as the novel progresses, seem to diminish in connection to himself and in conviction and detail as they relate to his thesis.
It must be said though that he did introduce me to a new way of approaching the commandments that I will
Denton McCabe
May 18, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was interesting to me as someone who does not identify as a Christian. There was not a lot of explicit discussion of the Ten Commandments, instead Hedges engages the reader in some very interesting "slice of life"-type of stories. He speaks of war, boxing, his father, and many other subjects I found to be fascinating. I will say, I would not recommend it to anybody who is incredibly anti-christian and of the opinion that a christian has nothing worthwhile to say, on the other hand, if ...more
Kevin Summers
Aug 01, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: adult
Sample quote: "The danger of idolatry runs through every commandment. But warding off the allure of idols is difficult. The God of the Bible is ineffable, unknowable, hidden. The mystery frustrates and defies us. To worship God, it seems, is to worship nothing. There is no security. ... It is easier to have idols. It is harder to trust in the unknown, in the darkness, in the voice answering Moses' request for revelation with the words: 'I AM WHO I AM.'"
Bob Prophet
Another fantastic book by Chris Hedges on how morality and religion has been skewed in the new age. We've forgotten why these principles matter and twisted them into black-and-white rights and wrongs, losing sight of the many shades of gray that exist in determining one's moral stance. He tells of his earlier years pursuing his seminary degree and working within a ghetto, and also of his father's impact on his outlook.
Angela Kantola
I read an advance uncorrected proof copy (subtitled "America's Broken Covenant with the 10 Commandments) while visiting family. Overall it was a good read, though I thought middle portions were weaker than the beginning and the end.

Here's a good quote: "A life that holds the capacity of humankind or the attainment of pleasure as a final end is a life dedicated to the self. Love is about the capacity to subsume ourselves for others."
John Fredrickson
Not my favorite book of Hedges. It focuses on individual stories for each of the commandments rather than being a cultural account of how we fare against the commandments generally. As such, it seems to lack the power and directness of some of his other works, which I think should be mandatory reading.
Sep 12, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I was very touched and impressed with the early parts of the book when hedges was in Roxbury-- Some very profound and thought-provoking statements. I was hoping to recommend the book to my church book club. But the more i read the more disappointed i became. I found the book disjointed, repetitive and very self righteous. Cannot recommend.
Sep 29, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wow, this book has completely changed my mind. The man is brilliant. He discusses the 10 commandments both personally and what he has observed.
The thing is he makes one think about one's own past and feelings about the commandments. It is not manipulative or coercive. It is a totally new perspective.
Jun 06, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Linda by: Ginnie
This is a compassionate but unflinching look at the ramifications of breaking the ten commandments. Hedges passes no judgement, merely traces the effects in the here and now of idolatry, adultery, lying and so forth on the individuals who transgress, those they transgress against, and society as a whole. It's a beautiful book, worthy of multiple reads.
Comments on the Ten Commandments and of their ability to bind humanity in the face of human suffering. Consists of ten chapters, each a personal narrative relating back to the spirit contained in a certain commandment. The book reads like a series of gritty and passionate essays. Hedges writes really well.
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not what i expected 1 11 Jun 01, 2009 05:33AM  
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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
More about Chris Hedges...
“The more we listen to the voices of others, voices unlike our own, the more we remain open to the transcendent forces that save us from idolatry. The more we listen to ourselves, the more we create God in our own image until God becomes a tawdry idol that looks and speaks like us. The power of the commandments is found not in the writings of theologians, although I read and admire some, but in the pathos of human life, including lives that are very unlike our own. All states and nations work to pervert religions into civic religions, ones where the goals of the state become the goals of the divine. This is increasingly true in the United States. But once we believe we understand the will of God and can act as agents of God we become dangerous, a menace to others and a menace to ourselves. We forget that we do not understand. We forget to listen.” 3 likes
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