At the time George W. Bush ordered American forces to invade Iraq, 70 per cent of Americans believed Saddam Hussein was linked to 9/11. Voters in Ohio, when asked by pollsters to list what stuck in their minds about the campaign, most frequently named two Bush television ads that played to fears of terrorism. We live in an age when the 30-second television spot is the most powerful force shaping the electorate's thinking, and America is in the hands of an administration less interested than any previous administration in sharing the truth with the citizenry. Related to this and of even greater concern is the current administration's lack of interest in the process by which the truth is ascertained - first among which are an embrace of open inquiry, in which unexpected and even inconvenient facts can lead to unexpected conclusions. How did the US get here? And how much damage has been done to the functioning of American democracy and its role as steward of its national security? Never has there been a worse time for the US to lose the capacity to face the reality of long-term challenges, from national security to the economy, from issues of health and social welfare to the environment. As "The Assault on Reason" shows us, there is precious little time to waste. Drawing on a life's work in politics as well as on the work of experts across a broad range of disciplines, Al Gore has written a farsighted and powerful manifesto for clear thinking.