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The Assault on Reason: How the Politics of Blind Faith Subvert Wise Decision-making Paperback – 5 May 2008


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Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC; First Printing edition (5 May 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0747593345
  • ISBN-13: 978-0747593348
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 2 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 741,023 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

'Powerful ... His writing represents a decency and an intelligence in American political thought that has been missing in recent years' Nick Rennison, Sunday Times 'A lucid, passionately argued book ... Through drawing upon his life in politics and the expertise of skilled practitioners across a broad range of disciplines, his clear-thinking, visionary book packs a powerful punch' Good Book Guide 'Part civics lesson, part political jeremiad, part philosophical tract, The Assault on Reason reveals an angry, impassioned Al Gore ... this book shows a fiery, throw-caution-to-the winds Al Gore, who has decided to lay it all on the line with a blistering assessment of the Bush administration and the state of public discourse in America' New York Times 'He provides in this book one of the most comprehensive indictments of the Bush administration that has ever appeared in print' LA Times

About the Author

Former Vice President Al Gore is chairman of Current TV, an independently owned cable and satellite television non-fiction network for young people based on viewer-created content and citizen journalism. He also serves as chairman of Generation Investment Management, a firm that is focused on a new approach to sustainable investing. Gore is a member of the Board of Directors of Apple Computer, Inc., and a senior advisor to Google, Inc. Gore was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1976, 1978, 1980, and 1982 and the U.S. Senate in 1984 and 1990. He was inaugurated as the forty-fifth Vice President of the United States on January 20, 1993, and served eight years. In 2007, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. He is the author of the bestsellers Earth in the Balance and An Inconvenient Truth. He and his wife, Tipper, live in Nashville, Tennessee. They have four children and three grandchildren.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Donald Mitchell HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 23 May 2007
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).
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By B. Capaloff on 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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30 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Donald Mitchell HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 23 May 2007
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).
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Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By M. McManus VINE VOICE on 27 April 2008
Format: Hardcover
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 dumb and misled. Gore compares this state of affairs with the previous centuries, where American public debate was noted for its intelligence and reasoned thought. He laments that now, sound bites and pandering to fears and prejudices are under cutting this, and "short circuiting" this.

Gore believes that the advent of radio and TV destroyed democratic debate. Prior to then, books were the primary medium, which required intelligence to read and also required citizens to seek information rather than simply receive it. TV and radio concentrated the power to spread information and messages in a small number of hands, namely, the TV and radio barons who snapped up a monopoly when the technology was in its infancy. As a result, Americans went from being information seekers, to passive information receivers, being fed droning, dumbed down coverage. Gore also feels that the few active citizens who were not dumbed down could not compete with the multi-million dollar budgets or expensive technology needed to challenge this lamentable state of affairs.

However, Gore feels that the internet has changed this, as it is cheap, and allows individual citizens to spread information. Crucially, it also allows for two-way communication and debate, and allows citizens to both receive and seek information. Gore is optimistic that this will lead to a revival of intelligent debate in political debate.
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