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Original and powerful, but structurally deficient
on 26 January 2015
Chomsky pulls no punches in his scathing attack on US foreign policy and the systemic corruption of the world in which we live. His comments are backed up with numerous valid examples of how US government policy was determined throughout recent history by corporate – not public – interests, often to devastating effect. His insights on such matters are original, powerful, substantive, and thought-provoking. That an intellectual of his stature will speak out so openly and frankly about his own country is surely to be admired and valued.
However, the book’s nature of being a compilation of Chomsky’s previous books, which themselves were compilations of question-and-answer-style interviews, leaves us inevitably with a somewhat messy structure which lacks any natural pace or coherence, and which leaves no room for any overarching argumentation as we move from topic to topic. Consequently, we are left with a cocktail of intelligently delivered insights into the corrupting role of Big Business on Government, mixed with ubiquitous anti-capitalist value-judgements which seem axiomatic to Chomsky’s world view, but may alienate the more right-wing readership who may genuinely contend, in the absence of any acute justification from Chomsky, that genuine free markets and less government are other viable answers to the problems Chomsky presents about the workings of the world. Somewhat disappointingly, the most recent content of this book was written around 1997, so almost 20 years of our most recent history, including 9/11, are entirely absent. Nevertheless, Chomsky’s insight into the nature of power and the workings of corporations and government are surely timeless and certainly invaluable.