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The Assault on Reason: How the Politics of Fear, Secrecy and Blind Faith Subvert Wise Decision-making and Democracy [Hardcover]

Al Gore
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)

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Book Description

22 May 2007
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.


Product details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC (22 May 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0747590974
  • ISBN-13: 978-0747590972
  • Product Dimensions: 15.3 x 23.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 887,085 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

'You can't fault his sincerity, rigour and energy as he pleads, with recourse to blinding graphs and damning photo evidence, that we all, especially his fellow countrymen, need to sit up and realise that global warming is neither a wacky theory nor a political manifesto, but stone-cold reality.' Time Out 'An impeccable slideshow, with just the right balance of gut-wrenching photographs, comprehensive charts and frightening predictions.' New Scientist 'A lucid account of what Gore rightly calls 'a moral issue', delivered with authority, wit and style' The Observer

About the Author

Al Gore was elected to the US House of Representatives in 1976 and the US Senate in 1984 and 1990. He was inaugurated as the 45th vice president of the United States on 20 January 1993 and served eight years. He is chairman of Generation Investment Management, a London-based firm that is focused on a new approach to Sustainable Investing. He also serves as chairman of Current, an independently owned cable and satellite television network for young people based on viewer-created content and citizen journalism. He is a member of the Board of Directors of Apple Computer, Inc., a senior advisor to Google, Inc., and a visiting professor at Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. He is the author of the 1992 bestseller Earth in the Balance: Ecology and the Human Spirit and An Inconvenient Truth (2006), the companion book to the award-winning documentary film.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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First Sentence
Not long before our nation launched the invasion of Iraq, our longest-serving senator, Robert Byrd of West Virginia, stood on the Senate floor and said: "This Chamber is, for the most part, silent—ominously, dreadfully silent. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
By Donald Mitchell HALL OF FAME TOP 500 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback
The American political scene has shifted greatly since 2000 in ways that most Republicans like and most Democrats do not. Although Al Gore's title suggests a broader topic, The Assault on Reason focuses on the Bush methods of running the government and the Republican Party. As you might imagine, Al Gore doesn't like anything about what has happened.

If you were to boil this book down into one single idea, it would be this: Absolute power corrupts absolutely and is a danger to us all. Gore takes the point of view that the Bush administration has been and is mostly about gaining and holding power in order to reward Republicans and those who pay for Republicans to be elected.

As examples, Gore cites the following evidence:

1. The administration always knew that there never was any connection between terrorist attacks and Iraq (nor any threat of weapons of mass destruction being produced in Iraq), but made invading Iraq a high priority for pursuing its oil-focused strategy of controlling the Middle East where major oil companies and contributing contractors have been rewarded.

2. The Bush administration seeks to maximize fear of terrorism to gain ever more power for itself, usually by ignoring the limits on government power in the Constitution.

3. Fund-raising for Congressional Republicans is now controlled by the White House so the administration hasn't had any oversight from either party in Congress, a sharp departure from past practices.

4. When the president signs a new piece of legislation, he almost always indicates that he won't follow the law that was enacted (this has occurred over 1000 times).
Read more ›
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30 of 34 people found the following review helpful
By Donald Mitchell HALL OF FAME TOP 500 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Hardcover
The American political scene has shifted greatly since 2000 in ways that most Republicans like and most Democrats do not. Although Al Gore's title suggests a broader topic, The Assault on Reason focuses on the Bush methods of running the government and the Republican Party. As you might imagine, Al Gore doesn't like anything about what has happened.

If you were to boil this book down into one single idea, it would be this: Absolute power corrupts absolutely and is a danger to us all. Gore takes the point of view that the Bush administration has been and is mostly about gaining and holding power in order to reward Republicans and those who pay for Republicans to be elected.

As examples, Gore cites the following evidence:

1. The administration always knew that there never was any connection between terrorist attacks and Iraq (nor any threat of weapons of mass destruction being produced in Iraq), but made invading Iraq a high priority for pursuing its oil-focused strategy of controlling the Middle East where major oil companies and contributing contractors have been rewarded.

2. The Bush administration seeks to maximize fear of terrorism to gain ever more power for itself, usually by ignoring the limits on government power in the Constitution.

3. Fund-raising for Congressional Republicans is now controlled by the White House so the administration hasn't had any oversight from either party in Congress, a sharp departure from past practices.

4. When the president signs a new piece of legislation, he almost always indicates that he won't follow the law that was enacted (this has occurred over 1000 times).
Read more ›
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Infuriating and enlightening 14 Aug 2008
Format:Paperback
Polemic? Yes. Turgid? Absolutely not! This isn't a book you would anticipate sitting down to at the airport, or reading whilst lying down at the beach sunning yourself. It doesn't tackle light and easy subjects, it addresses the very basis of the American constitution and why that is currently being subverted, so inevitably it isn't a page turner. It needs to be read at a measured pace, but is not difficult to read. In reading it though and for those of us who are relatively ignorant on the subject, it provides an excellent insight into the fundamentals of the American polity, the approach taken by the Founders of the US to ensure a degree of rationality and reason and fairness in US government and also to try to safeguard this framework from the efforts of those who might wish to subvert it.

Whilst in hindsight it might be obvious, but this book has made it clear to me how unpatriotic Dubya and his pals are, how everything they are doing runs counter to the Founders' aims and is not with a view to ensuring the primacy of the US Constitution but with a view to ensuring self-interest and to hell with the rest. So in that sense it is infuriating, it does amaze me and does make me wonder how a nation with such a strong foundation in democracy (seen in the aims of the aims of it's Founding Fathers) can allow itself to be so betrayed by those in power.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very informative and well researched 21 July 2008
Format:Paperback
I can't disagree more with what the reviewer wrote below. This book is very informative and well researched - if you don't agree with what it says than research the facts yourself to see if they are the truth and then complain.

The problem I had with this book was that is was little convoluted when far more straight forward language could have been used. Saying that, Al Gore gives a very good summing of what is so wrong with modern day politics and Media - especially in the United States.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Obvious criticism but compelling
You know you are going to get at least some mild criticism, but this is a savage indictment of the Bush administration's dismantling of democracy, transparency and the American... Read more
Published on 8 Dec 2011 by Ryan Sales
4.0 out of 5 stars The State of the Nation (according to Al Gore)
This book is Al Gore's analysis of the current political process. It is of course written with the U.S.A. in mind but many of his points are valid for the U.K. Read more
Published on 31 May 2010 by M. G. Tokyo
4.0 out of 5 stars The Assault On Reason
'The Assault On Reason' is another clear and readable book from Al Gore. It looks at how democracy in America has been gradually eroded by a variety of small changes that add up to... Read more
Published on 29 April 2009 by Spider Monkey
5.0 out of 5 stars The USA's Darkest Hour
If you come from Europe and understand its political history you will find it shocking to find that the USA has not learned from our history and is repeating the same mistakes. Read more
Published on 9 Jan 2009 by Stephen Parry
4.0 out of 5 stars The Assault On Reason
'The Assault On Reason' is another clear and readable book from Al Gore. It looks at how democracy in America has been gradually eroded by a variety of small changes that add up to... Read more
Published on 3 Jan 2009 by Spider Monkey
5.0 out of 5 stars The greatest President we never had
My Better Half bought this at the airport and by Day 3 we had both read it. It is unusual to find a book so packed with content that is so easy to read. Read more
Published on 4 Oct 2008 by Dr Liz Miller
1.0 out of 5 stars What a load of ********
What a turgid polemic this is

It is about time that A.G. realised that he, and others like him, ARE the problem

It just shows how bored I was that I wasted... Read more
Published on 17 Jun 2008 by C. Davison
5.0 out of 5 stars Intelligent, challenging and convincing
Gore argues that democracy is being spoiled by dumbed down news media and the concentration of power in the hands of a small number of insiders, who are keen to keep the masses... Read more
Published on 27 April 2008 by M. McManus
4.0 out of 5 stars Very relevant, fascinating, if a little hard going at times
I am afraid, I am somewhat cynical and very much a sceptic but a true believer in the truth and democracy. Read more
Published on 13 Jan 2008 by Robert A. Carter
4.0 out of 5 stars Stemming the erosive tide
Erosion is a subtle force. Quiet and persistent, the force wears away an object until it fades away or suffers catastrophic collapse. Read more
Published on 29 Dec 2007 by Stephen A. Haines
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