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L\'obsession anti-américaine - Son fonctionnement ses causes ses inconséquences (French) Paperback – 2002

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Paperback, 2002

Product details

  • Paperback: 312 pages
  • Publisher: Plon (2002)
  • Language: French
  • ISBN-10: 0785974849
  • ISBN-13: 978-0785974840
  • Product Dimensions: 21.8 x 14 x 2.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 5,940,952 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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299pages. in8. broché.  Un vol. couv. imprimée, illustrée, int. frais.  

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By Pieter Uys HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWER on 27 Jun 2008
Format: Paperback
Jean-Francois Revel was one of those rare French philosophers - others include Andre Glucksmann, Chantal Delsol, Bernard Henri-Levy and Alain Besancon - who seek to clarify and elucidate rather than obfuscate. Revel's revelations and observations on anti-Americanism have since been confirmed by other intellectuals like Andre Markovits in his equally thought-provoking work Uncouth Nation which also demonstrates the intimate connection to Antisemitism.

Revel first examines the contradictory character of the diatribes against America, pointing out how the European elites that always blame the USA conveniently forget certain unpleasant facts: their own continent turned the 20th century into the most murderous in history through colonialism, genocidal ideologies like communism and Nazism and two world wars. Bernard Harrison has identified and analyzed this sordid blame game of the elites - in the UK in particular - in the way it targets Israel and incites Antisemitism.

Revel then turns his attention to Antiglobalism, proving that it really is a struggle against classical liberalism of which the USA is a shining example. Not that the Left has anything against globalism, they just don't like the fact that people worldwide will be able to freely trade with one another with diminishing government interference and become prosperous in the process.

The mostly young antiglobalists are blind ideologues, remnants from a past of cruelty and bloodshed.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 14 reviews
20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
Anti-American Irrational Exuberance 22 Jan 2003
By Serge J. Van Steenkiste - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Jean-François Revel systematically demonstrates with much talent that some political, cultural and religious elites rather than the population at large have been the key drivers behind anti-Americanism (pg. 248). Think, for instance, about the ongoing power struggle between youth and authorities in Iran (pg. 248-249). The obsession of these elites is nothing new (pg. 21). These elites regularly use Anti-Americanism as a convenient scapegoat to escape from their responsibilities ... and failures (e.g., pg. 24, 58-59, 91, 114, 129). Woe be to all who put that scapegoat on the side as Jean-Marie Colombani experienced after writing his memorable article "We Are All Americans" in the aftermath of 9/11 (pg. 254-255).
The two most striking characteristics of anti-Americanism are evidence selection and internal contradiction of the indictment (pg. 26, 241-242, 257). Some political, cultural and religious elites refuse to contemplate the role that their countries have played in the emergence of the only remaining superpower. The economic, technological, military and cultural leadership of the United States of America results not only from the drive and creativity of Americans but also from the sum of some failures overseas. One can think, for instance, about the emergence and fall of the two worst dictatorships on earth, the worldwide bankruptcy of economic socialism, pauperization of one continent and sub-optimal higher education in some places (e.g., pg. 24, 37-42, 45, 58-59, 80-82, 91, 114-115, 129, 200-202, 300). The USA, however, is not the first civilization that has enjoyed such an indisputable pool position. Athens, Rome, Italy during the Renaissance, France and the United Kingdom were once the leading powers (pg. 32-33). One can add to that list Egypt, Mesopotamia or Spain under the Mores, to name a few. The USA, however, is the first civilization to lead on a worldwide basis what makes some people squealing (pg. 37, 45). The leadership of one nation has not led to uniformity but to cross-fertilization of competing civilizations (pg. 87, 192). One is thus far from the (cultural) rolling mill that some people have recently denounced (pg. 198). At best, everybody but the elites pays for the cultural exception that is only crass and vain protectionism, the lifelong enemy of progress (pg. 185, 189-190, 193-195, 209).
Revel gives a number of other examples to demonstrate to his audience that the sermonizers are often pious hypocrites. Anti-internationalists, who are almost all the primary beneficiaries of globalization, amalgamate the USA with economic liberalism that apparently has nothing good to offer (pg. 271). President George W. Bush recently observed with much pertinence that anti-internationalists are most often the enemies of the third world (pg. 70). Developing countries indeed ask for less protectionism and more liberalization to catch up with the first world (pg. 70-71, 135). Opponents of globalization should also remember what happened between the two world wars when what they are asking for came true: i.e., the 1929 crisis, massive unemployment and rise of the worst dictatorships that humanity has ever known (pg. 41, 80-81). Furthermore, adversaries of economic liberalism should keep in mind that fear increases quickly when economic growth in the USA stalls. Almost everybody hopes that the chief bogeyman turns around the situation ASAP (pg. 61, 245). One can naively hope that in the future anti-internationalists will ask for more globalization on behalf of the poorest countries if they do not want to suffer one day the fate of their predecessors, the Luddites.
Furthermore, Revel shows with much efficiency the illogic of the same elites who have criticized the USA for both unilateralism and isolationism. Furthermore, these elites have been fast to claim credit when things go right and put the blame squarely on the USA in the opposite scenario (pg. 21-22). Think, for example, about American intervention in Europe during and after both world wars (pg. 22), Vietnam (pg. 20-21), call for economic help to "arrogant" America all the time (pg. 75), tough stance of the Reagan Administration against the Evil Empire (pg. 219, 294-295), America cleaning the European mess in the Balkans (pg. 42-43), American policy towards Iraq (pg. 236-237), North Korea (pg. 232-235) and Palestine (pg. 260-265), 9/11 reward for American unilateralism (pg. 131-134, 240), economic protectionism (pg. 241-245).
Revel also clearly demonstrates that some political, cultural and religious elites have tried to blacken the USA, symbol of democratic liberalism, as the exclusive epicenter of a materialistic, unfair, racist, dirty, violent, and fascist society for exempting themselves from any criticism (pg. 30). Think, for instance, about such myths as money the only driver of the American society (pg. 142, 193), absence of any social security and solidarity (pg. 44-45, 145-146), broken democracy (pg. 45-50), unequal criminality (pg. 149) and America, the unique obstacle to a clean environment (pg. 52-56). Anyone staying for a while in the remaining superpower, imperfect as any human creation, will realize quickly that the USA shares, mutatis mutandis, challenges such as racism, inequality, violence, pollution, and corporate misbehavior with many other nations. Most Americans are conscious that their country is not perfect and can always do better as their media regularly point out (pg. 147-151). However, not many countries can brag about the absence of any dictatorship during their entire history (pg. 45-50) and a working melting pot (pg. 165-179), to name a few.

Unsurprisingly, the USA feels that it is invested with a universal, moral mission to be in the driver seat because of a perceived lack of pertinence and rationality in the rest of the world (pg. 61-62, 82-83, 297, 299-300). Ignorance and bath faith, unfortunately, are die-hard obstacles to progress against which humanity seems to be doomed to fight forever because of the free will that it ultimately enjoys.
PS Hopefully, Jean-François Revel's masterpiece will be available in English soon on Amazon.com
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
A tribute to reason over dogmatism 11 Feb 2003
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
A must for all those who want to understand the absurd and ununderstandable French position over Iraq.
By a strange coincidence I'm reading this book at the moment where tensions between Europe (particularly France and Germany) and the US are at a historical high. It is astonishing to see how clearly this book, written before these tension developped, explains them. As a French national, I'm deeply grateful to JF Revel to express so clearly that not all French are misinformed or disinformed anti-american dummies; that some (among which I am proud to be) can see through the web of lies cast by die-hard marxists who have not accepted the utter failure of socialism, rabbid far-right extremist convinced that the US is a puppet in the hands of Israel and a conservative right-wing, heir of the fiercely independant General De Gaulle for whom it is more desirable to fail on its own rather than owe its successes to its friends.
It is difficult for anglo-saxons, used to a very independant and investigative press, to imagine how public opinions can be manipulated on such topics as America and American policies by obedient media, especially when other sources of information are not available as very few people speak english. Let's hope this book (hopefully to be translated in english very soon) will have the US realize that there IS a problem with some European countries, but with their so-called elites (a strange name for people responsible of so many failures), rather than their people.
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
A source of jubilation 21 Mar 2003
By P-henri Thoreux - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
At last, In France, a voice raises against the stream of the anti-americanism " well-thinking ". French believe they invented the Human Rights but, despite Voltaire, Montesquieu, Tocqueville, Bastiat, and many others, they ignored the essence of the liberalism. From communists to nationalists, including socialists and gaullists, they misunderstand the spirit of America.
This book, with a gentle sense of humour, and many opportune references, is a source of jubilation. One by one, all the bloody stupidities and insanities accumulated since so many years, fall in dust. And little by little, JF Revel shapes a righter image of this great nation to which we so much owe. A true event in the briny marsh of the generally accepted ideas !
It should be hoped that this comforting speech will contribute to let american people know that some french hold them in great esteem, and cherish with them, Democracy and Freedom !
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Great book! 17 Mar 2003
By Marc Fortier - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Now that we are in the middle of an other crisis between the U.S. and the rest of the World, Mr. Revel's book comes in handy to put things in their just perspective.
Like Reagan when he asked Gorbatchev to "tear down that wall", Bush has been ridiculed from the beginning in many countries, particularly in France. He's been called a "cowboy", "simplist", etc. According to "Old Europe", he should have listened to them, with their great experience... After all, they know about human tragedies... They had two World Wars, two of the greatest fascists of History -- Hitler and Stalin --, a never-ending mess in the Balkans... Quite a résumé to say the least...
They obviously are the ones who how to handle such things.
Mr. Revel will tell it better than me. The book is well documented, to the point. He great read to anybody who wants to make his opinion and understand how the world came to show such division in the face of grave danger.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Vive l'Amerique! 9 Jan 2003
By "wmpicard" - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Combine Sanche de Gramont's disdain for the French 'intelligentsia's' pedantry and intellectual dishonesty with Andre Maurois' appreciation of the anglo-saxon model and you might obtain something akin to M. Revel's latest book. In "L'Obsession Anti-Americaine" M. Revel exposes very methodically the lies, ignorance and feelings of envy and inadequacy on which is based the French left and extreme right's anti-american rhetoric. He backs his claims with copious examples and evidence. For those who love America and appreciate its contribution to the world this book will come as a breath of European fresh air. Without ever being petty, and in beautifully fluid french prose, M. Revel 'sets the record straight'. One hopes that he speaks for a somewhat silent majority. Whether you buy it in French or wait for the translation, this book is a must for anyone interested in Franco-American relations.
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