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Downsize This Paperback – 1 Jun 1998


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Product details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins; 1st HarperPerennial Ed edition (1 Jun. 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060977337
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060977337
  • Product Dimensions: 13.5 x 1.9 x 20.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 3,762,876 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Amazon Review

Who says the left wing doesn't have a sense of humour? Maybe it doesn't, but in Downsize This! documentarian Michael Moore certainly does. Moore's politics are rabidly liberal, populist and anti-big business--about what you'd expect from the former editor of Mother Jones. While this restricts his audience to those on the left side of the aisle, Downsize This! will be a chance to point and laugh hysterically (if ruefully) at the clique of rich white guys who run everything.

Moore is at his best as a prankster, whether it's trying to see if Pat Buchanan will take a campaign donation from the John Wayne Gacy Fan Club (yes) or whether he can have Bob Dornan committed to an insane asylum because of his bizarre behaviour (no, but it was close). Moore is one of America's sharpest satirists, and Downsize This! makes one wish he would write a "Sorry State of the Union" every year. But only if it doesn't cut into his moviemaking--that's too big a price to pay. --Michael Gerber, Amazon.com --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


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SINCE MAKING Roger & Me in 1989, I've listened to a lot of stories from people, strangers in the street, who want to buy me a beer or a burger and tell me what happened to their American Dream. Read the first page
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Norberto Amaral on 25 Feb. 2003
Format: Paperback
You might think this book is funny. Yes, Michael Moore does his best, but the subject is too serious, the stories too unbelievable to make you laugh.
Here's an example. There are two pictures on the first page. The first is the federal building in Oklahoma City destroyed by Timothy McVeigh's bomb in 1995. The second is an extremely similar picture, in fact it could be the same building a few moments later, what used to be a General Motors office building in Flint, Michigan. A single question above the pictures: "What is terrorism?".
Many of us have been asking ourselves this question lately. As Moore points out, terrorism can be of a corporate nature. When corporations across the US were making record profits they were downsizing millions of people, effectively moving their jobs elsewhere, usually to either Mexico (courtesy of NAFTA) or the Far East, where labour is much cheaper. However, this policy causes many problems to the society, much more than 'simple' unemployment.
These days corporations merrily take all public subsidies they are offered and don't give a flying rat about giving anything back to the community. In fact, many make a point of not minding that at all. Moore names many companies that keep the money and still leave the place where they had promised to stay. Others get so much money that the overall cost of each direct job is a small fortune. That's the case of the Mercedes-Benz plant in Alabama, where each job was subsidised by about US$175,000. I could understand such a level of subsidies to a company making small and environmentally friendly cars, for poorer people. What I can't understand is how such a poor state (in comparison with others) is paying for people to have their luxury cars, that pollute like there's no tomorrow. This smells bad - literally.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By John E. Davidson on 27 Jan. 2005
Format: Paperback
'Downsize This' is early Michael Moore before his enormous success and, in my opinion, it is all the better for it. This book represents Moore at his best: angry, mischievous, provocative and most importantly funny.
I'm not sure that even Moore believes everything he writes but he always has a point. The result is an enjoyable, interesting, often stimulating but most importantly funny book.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Curns VINE VOICE on 10 May 2003
Format: Paperback
Inspired by Stupid White Men to read another of Moore's books, I came away thinking that Downsize This was actually a better work. Sure, some of the scenarios are silly ('What America Needs Is A Makeover') and many of the examples a little dated (some have been overtaken by world events). It's also true that some of humour doesn't seem to sit well with the subjects but it is, nonetheless, a very welcome voice in the sea of opinions.
Moore does attempt to be humorous with his staple subjects: corporate greed and accountability, right to freedom/life and social and environmental responsibility. Like Stupid White Men the book makes subjects accessible that are often not covered by mainstream media.
If Stupid White Men has made you think about reading more then this is a good start if you're happy to have many more American examples as the main topic. If you're looking for something a little more British then this is not the book for you.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By John Matthew Dear on 14 Oct. 2005
Format: Paperback
Due to its being Moore's first book, I expected Downsize This! to be something of an anti-climax. I was wrong, however, and now believe this, in addition to Adventures In A TV Nation, to be his best work.
It can be seen from this mighty tome that Moore's main strength is being the new, less funny and far more wealthy Bill Hicks. The really sad thing is that what Bill saw fit to comment on hasn't changed much with Moore. A chapter stating comedically that the Democrats are no different to the Republicans still rings true today nearly a decade after it was written.
Sometimes, though, Moore's humour adds little genuine weight to his arguments. His ironic defence of abortion, A Sperm's Right To Life, attempts to make light out of a serious subject and falls short of its target.
This is a minor problem and I feel that a book with thirty-five chapters of American satirical content has much to offer all readers, not just us evil lefties.
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22 of 26 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 3 Jun. 2003
Format: Paperback
I too read this after stupid white men and found the same level of biting satire I had come to expect. If you look at this as one mans opinion piece it is a very good read. However, there is alot to disagree with - his use of statistics is tenuous at times. The chapter on Germans paying their dues sums up the faults - 1) he goes on about gun toting nuts and then encourages people to go after some geriatric germans, 2)He criticises people for wanting to restrict immigration to the US, and then has a problem with any German wanting to emigrate there, 3)He falls into the generalisation trap - all Germans of WW2 age are not and were not Nazis, and 4) He looks at history in the same naive way that he criticises others for eg overlooking the fact that Germanys boom was created by Americas cold war one upmanship. My advice if you read this book - gloss over the bits that aren't relevantand concentrate on those that relate directly to the American economy.
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39 of 49 people found the following review helpful By J. Maher on 12 Mar. 2003
Format: Paperback
I read this after Stupid White Men ... and wasn't disappointed.
Michael Moore must be the only American who stands up for the working man back in his homeland.
The book's opening page shows the destruction cause by terrorism.
Now you would think these would be done by overseas terrorists - but you'd be wrong these acts were done by Americans one by Timothy McVeigh and the other by the General Motors Corporation in his hometown of Flint Michigan.
Moore argues the actions are both the same as well as the consequences.
The running theme throughout the book is the effect of Corporations have on American society - from massive redundancies dressed up in corporate speak as 'Downsizing', welfare recieved by these corporations, huge salaries paid to CEO's without justification.
Exporting of factories and jobs to the Far East and Mexico under NAFTA.
Moore describes the effects these factors have on communities. Increase in unemployment,physical and mental health problems, bankrupticies and increases in alcoholisim.
Towns and cities broken all in the name of captialism. After a few chapters the feeling of nausea came over me. Captialisim has no morals.
Moore as always is a born fighter so what does he do he exposing these 'Corporate Crooks' by seeting up a trading card game ( brilliant!)for who they are uncaring and yes crooks many of their companies have been fined heavily by the US government for deaths, lying about tests, false claims etc.
The book has it's lighter chapters e.g. Moore delights in telling the reader his fantasy woman Hilary Clinton.
He doesn't understand why she suffers attacks from the liberal media especially a New York Times columnist.
How the Republicans are literally foaming at the mouth in condemming her.
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