Chomsky Reader, The

by Noam Chomsky (1987)

9/10

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 a national global treasure and I’m already ruing the day he is no longer with us. Those will be some Grand Canyon-sized shoes to fill.

I’ve only ever read Necessary Illusions and this covers more ground, perhaps more superficially, and probably recycles some of that material — but can you read this stuff too many times? Really you need to re-read and re-read once again, until it becomes ingrained, until you can recite this stuff, until you wake up with it every morning and go to sleep with it every night, because none of it should ever be forgotten. We need to always keep in mind just what kind of world we’re living in. Whose world, I should say.

My favorite parts were the “Responsibility of Intellectuals” and the “Central America” sections. If you can only read one essay from the whole book you should make it “Intervention in Vietnam and Central America: Parallels and Differences,” which encapsulates nearly everything important he has to say about the two continents in addition to the Cold War, U.S. foreign policy, and propaganda.

Sure his writing is dry — the only real criticism anyone can make of him — but getting hung up on his writing is batshit insane if you stop for even half a second to think about the content he’s presenting. Seriously people, what is important here: the continual, systematic slaughter of millions of innocents by the world’s greatest superpower, or the fact that the only guy writing about it doesn’t make it flashy enough?

In recommending Chomsky, I don’t really care if you read this one or not. Sure, why not? It’s as good a place to start as any. Some people have said his interviews/speeches are more accessible, so maybe start there. Just read something of his, for god’s sake, because this stuff needs to be common knowledge already.

 

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