4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 20 April 2004
This is a must-read - that rare thing, a book that will make a significantdifference. We need to understand the psyche of the neocons, who have usall in the palms of their hands. Reading from an historical perspective,Frances Hill is uniquely qualified to understand the political andpsychological factors at the root of an elite's ability to manipulategroups into a state of delusion and paranoia. From her study of the Salemwitch trials, Hill has garnered a profound understanding of the dynamic ofscapegoating by political cliques with brittle egos, a fundamentalistWeltanschauung and the will to power. The book is eminently readable andtells its story with lucid irony: I read it at one sitting, though thenight. READ THIS BOOK.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 18 March 2004
Read this book! Whether you are a seething democrat, a bilious republican - or just a normal person - this book gives an historical perspective on the current day Bush administration by drawing parallels with the Salem Witch Trials and those who instigated them. The fear of the witch is replaced by the fear of the terrorist.
Frances Hill has created a powerful argument that draws the two regimes together through individual comparisons, and a minutely forensic approach in teasing out the similarities. Even the 'good' or 'believable' members of President Bush's and Governor Phips' teams are seen to be weak and pliable.
There is anger at the roughshod methods of both regimes; but anger tempered by incontrovertible facts. How has the US lost its way as a beacon of democratic freedom in the world? Why are the poorer being disadvantaged while the rich benefit?
Michael Moore may be funnier, but Frances Hill delivers a more devastating polemic.
The comparisons are uncanny; the initial outcomes chilling. The only question remaining is left at the very end… how will the world respond to the neocons' callous ministrations?
5 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on 21 October 2004
This is a piece of personal politics masquerading as history. It is simplistic, the contemporary material is inaccurate and it falls back on caricature and glibness as its most incisive critical weapon. It ignores the complexities of U.S. history, moments when similar situations and characters gave rise to cultures of fear (e.g. internment, McCarthyism, Johnson, Nixon, Vietnam War). Are witches and terrorists the same thing? The author at first acknowledges they aren't, but goes on with the comparison anyway. The book attempts to deal with some extremely timely issues - the agenda of the Neo-conservatives, the implications and prosecution of the war of terror - but fails on almost every level. Still, there is a sense in which a book like this only wishes to preach to the converted, those who share the author's simplistic dislike of Bush. In its way, this follows the witchhunt pattern of interrogation - the author only wishes to hang Bush, and she fits the 'evidence' accordingly. Avoid.
1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 22 May 2005
This is a fine, thoughtful and highly intelligent book. Far from being bad history, as a previous reviewer asserted, it is excellent history as well as subtle, thought-provoking political commentary. The "bad history" reviewer clearly comes with her own angry, warped and dim-witted agenda. The book is proving more insightful by the day as events unfold in the US, Iraq and Afghanistan.