Chris's Reviews > America: The Farewell Tour

America by Chris Hedges
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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 important. In the end, my biggest criticism is that he didn't start articulating a somewhat clear vision of resistance until the last few pages. This after opening with a reference to the massive influence of a right-wing manifesto of sorts in the 70s, and how it has shaped the US (and world) today. Still, I was inspired by this book to get more active, to seek out strategic ways to make a better world. I agree with him that the empire is crumbling and we need to think, and act, seriously, and make sacrifices if we want whatever replaces it to be livable. Here are some good quotations from the book:

-"Many of the estimated 69 empires that have existed throughout history lacked competent leadership in their decline. They ceded power to monstrosities such as the Roman emperors Caligula and Nero or imbecile narcissists like Trump."
-"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."
-"Trump has tapped into the hatred that huge segments of the American public have for a political and economic system that has betrayed them. He may be inept, degenerate, dishonest and a narcissist, but he adeptly ridicules the system they despise."
-"The idea that the Democratic Party is in any way a bulwark against despotism defies the last three decades of its political activity. It is the guarantor of despotism."
-"The longer we perpetuate the fiction that we live in a functioning democracy, that Trump and the political mutations around him are somehow an aberrant deviation that can be vanquished in the next election, the more we will hurtle toward tyranny."
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Reading Progress

September 10, 2018 – Started Reading
September 10, 2018 – Shelved
September 10, 2018 –
page 94
23.5%
September 11, 2018 –
page 100
25.0%
September 11, 2018 –
page 105
26.25% "Something I disagree with:

"We cannot battle racism, bigotry, and hate crimes...without first battling for economic justice. When we speak in the language of justice first, and the language of inclusiveness second, we will begin to blunt the proto-fascism..." Why the chronological prioritization here? I see justice and inclusiveness as intertwined, spokes of the same wheel. Mustn't justice be inclusive?"
September 17, 2018 –
35.0%
September 19, 2018 –
38.0%
September 19, 2018 –
page 200
50.0%
September 21, 2018 –
page 220
55.0%
October 3, 2018 – Finished Reading

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