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Hegemony or Survival Hardcover – 6 Nov 2003

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Hamish Hamilton Ltd; First Edition edition (6 Nov. 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0241142504
  • ISBN-13: 978-0241142509
  • Product Dimensions: 16.2 x 2.8 x 24.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 275,348 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Amazon Review

Scholarly polemicist Noam Chomsky's latest book Hegemony or Survival argues that America's strategy for the future is nothing less than the maintenance of American hegemony through the use or threat of military force--a strategy that threatens to leave the world a more dangerous and divided place. He goes on to claim that the only other world superpower with any chance whatever of curbing America's ideologically driven quest for global dominance is World Public Opinion. Recent books on American involvement in Middle East affairs, books such as Dilip Hiro's Iraq, Rampton and Stauber's Weapons of Mass Deception, and, more recently, The Guardian sponsored The War We Could Not Stop have also drawn attention to the propaganda war waged upon the American public by the Bush administration. For Chomsky this is by no means a new development. He sees American foreign policy historically showing a remarkably pattern of hypocrisy, racism, exploitation, and cynical manipulation of public opinion by successive US administrations. What is new and disturbing about the events leading up to the invasion of Iraq, he says, is the precedent America and Britain have set for establishing new norms of international law. The concept of "preventative war" must have its victims and those victims must be weak, yet important enough to be worth the trouble. Any country that is opposed to US interests but is capable of defending itself--i.e., those with nuclear capabilities--will be left alone. He leaves us with the terrifying assessment that the clear and catastrophic message to opponents of American hegemony is to get nuclear--quick. It's the only way to keep the bully off our backs.

One of Chomsky's special talent remains his ability to undermine comforting platitudes--such as the idea that we Westerners have become more "humanitarian" over the last few decades or that we have been making steady moral progress. As with Greg Palast's The Best Democracy Money Can Buy, Chomsky's Hegemony or Survival is relentlessly damning of the American political and economic elite and highly sceptical of the idea that virtue is to be found there. But if you're looking for a more balanced and hopeful examination of America's excursion into modern empire building and the problems it poses try Michael Ignatieff's Empire Lite. --Larry Brown


"America's greatest dissenter, a one-man cultural revolution whose writing on globalisation has mobilised a generation." -- Observer Nov 30 2003

"His writings are among the few essential documents of our times" -- Observer - Nov 30 2003

"The Elvis of academia" -- Bono - U2

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A few years ago, one of the great figures of contemporary biology, Ernst Mayr, published some reflections on the likelihood of success in the search for extraterrestrial intelligence.1 Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

98 of 111 people found the following review helpful By "keeganben2" on 15 Nov. 2003
Format: Hardcover
Those new to Chomsky�s view on American dominance of the world will find this book a revelation. Those who�ve been reading Chomsky for years will find an unsatisfying familiarity; not with his eminently straightforward writing style, but with the fact that little in the world seems to have changed. All who read this book will turn off their bedside lamp with a will to change the world tomorrow.
Chomsky tends to write his books as updates to previous books, therefore those familiar with his past works will inevitably find themselves being exposed to facts they�ve already heard. However, as these facts are so numerous and noteworthy, only the most retentive brain will mind hearing them for a second or third time. And for newcomers what this man has to say about America�s intentions for the world will require two or three reads to soak in, and a further session of research to determine whether his meticulously documented facts could possibly all be true.
The book itself does exactly what Amazon�s synopsis says, so those in the know will click on add to basket straight away. For those unfamiliar with Chomsky, I�ll say only this: if you still question whether the US administration is willing to sacrifice innocent lives for oil, this book provides an intelligent answer.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By jelly bean on 5 Nov. 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
shortly after 9/11 i was hungry for books and knowledge to educate myself about the world we live in. although i was still very young i was one of those unfortunate souls who believed i was already informed and well-read. i would have argued to the death that i was right because i thought i was. "i watch the news, i watch documentaries, i do know what's happening..." and then i discovered noam chomsky. hegemony or survival was the first chomsky work that i read. and it knocked me sideways. if you've never read anything like this before, but think you know what's happening out there, this book is intellectually devastating. the thing that sets chomsky apart is that he only deals in documented facts. there is no debate to be had. this man has more integrity in his little finger than the entire western world's corporate mainstream media has combined. he is a walking encyclopedia. i gave this book away to a friend one evening and told him trust me, just read it. he text me around 6am the next morning. the text said simply "this book is incredible."
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23 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Tristan Martin VINE VOICE on 21 Sept. 2006
Format: Hardcover
If you are reading this, then you are probably already familiar with Professor Noam Chomsky's writings, so rather than re-cap his work, I will offer only a few salient points.

This is Chomsky's most well written book in years. It is a small irony that a professor of linguistics has often authored books that can be quite badly written - Year 501: The Conquest Continues, being a prime offender. This isn't dumbed-down Chomsky but rather this book feels as if Chomsky has taken much more care in making this book accessible to a wider audience and not just his hardcore fanbase.

Secondly, as usual with Chomsky's books, he recapitulates his own work quite frequently (to phrase it generously). Hegemony or Survival is no different. About half of this book is fresh material and half is previously published.

However, this book is most definitely worth purchasing, even if you have Deterring Democracy (probably his best) because it covers the years 1993 - 2003 (approx.) with his usual insightful prose. Though the book covers outside of this timeframe, looking at the Cuban Missile Crisis or Israel and Palestine, for example, Chomsky is at his best in this book when he is being contemporary. The parallels he draws betwixt Clinton's bombing of the Sudanese pharmaceutical factory and Al Qaeda's bombing of the Twin Towers is fiercely provocative and yet thoroughly underpinned by diligent research and logic.
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By Spider Monkey HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on 5 Aug. 2007
Format: Paperback
This is another eye opening book from Chomsky about American foreign and domestic policy. It covers the period from the end of the second world war, and focuses (as expected) on Iraq. It has some fascinating and shocking information (although a lot of it has been said elsewhere by various people, including Chomsky) and I would say this is a good starting place for those new to American foreign policy and practise. Sadly, considering Chomsky is a linguistics professor, this book isn't too clear at times. I found that for many pages the prose flowed coherently and put across the points extremely well, only to be followed by a couple of pages that were unfocused and hard to decipher at first read, and I've read many Chomsky and political books. This is the only reason this book got four stars from me. Overall, an insightful, fascinating, if slightly scary and depressing read. If this whets your appetite, try 'One No, many yeses' By Paul Kingsnorth for one portrayal of an alternative world view.

Feel free to check out my blog which can be found on my profile page.
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30 of 38 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on 5 Feb. 2004
Format: Hardcover
Chomsky again presents a coherent, fact based account of US foriegn policy and its catastrophic affect on third world nations who are the main victims who have to endure its terror. As time passes the list of affected peoples grows. What is saddening is that policy is not changing and the more involved you become in the debate of the conflict between human rights & democracy and US Imperial hegemonic dominance what becomes apparent is that there isn't really anyone who engages in debate with Chomsky. That is not to say there is no-one who opposes Chomsky but instead of engaged debate rely on the tried and tested traditional method of slander, mis-information and character assasination hoping that it will disuade people to read his books.
Chomsky is an heroic intellectual who is bent on exposing Imperial deceit and injustice and promote the values of Democratic Freedom and Justice for all human beings that as a Jewish American he so values. There is no hidden agenda with Chomsky, he finds the mass murder of innocent civilians unjustifiable whether they be hundreds of thousands in a East Timor, tens of thousand Palestinians in a ghetto in Gaza, a few hundred Israelis in Tel Aviv or three thousand office workers in the twin towers.
Chomsky's main message is - How do we stop Terrorism ?
For Chomsky if the US and UK governments were to STOP participating in Terrorism they will reduce terrorism by a very substantial amount ? The logical precision of a philosopher.
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