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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best overview, 17 Dec 2008
This review is from: The Chomsky Reader (Paperback)
After twenty years of reading Chomsky, in my opinion, you only need to read the following before getting into a huge amount of repetition (the examples may be more up to date, but the fundamental analysis is the same):

The Chomsky Reader - covers 1966 to 1987, the best single interview, The Responsibility of Intellectuals, the influential Spanish Civil War part of Objectivity and Liberal Scholarship, various items which do not appear elsewhere

Radical Priorities (1981) - naff title for an excellent collection of shorter items, with a long introduction by the editor, Carlos Otero, which explains where Chomsky is really coming from. Noam likes to make you work this out for yourself, so this is a real time saver.

Turning the Tide (1985) - Central America + the only proper explanation of why the US spends so much on arms, needed the arms race and will never agree to a nuclear test ban

The Fateful Triangle (1983) - a pitiless analysis of Israel's territorial motivations, lack of interest in its own security (because it prefers more land) and the Lebanon war, though a far narrower overall Middle East perspective than the rave left-reviews suggest

Manufacturing Consent (1987) - really Edward Herman, with Chomsky's very penetrating chapters on Indochina. This one is indispensible. You will never watch the news or read a newspaper the same way again, even if you don't agree with it all.

The Washington Connection and Third World Fascism (1979) - explains the US economic, political and military motivations in the Third World, and hence why the US is so hated in many quarters. It is important to note that this is simply a function of being the current superpower at this point in world history and nothing to do with Americans being uniquely evil. We were just as bad when we were top dog.

Rethinking Camelot - a fascinating vignette, demolishing the fantasy of Oliver Stone's film JFK, and related books, arguing that JFK wanted to get out of Vietnam regardless of whether South Vietnam had been brought under control.

Deterring Democracy (1992)- a collection of Z Magazine articles shaped into a book. His style has become a bit robotic at this point.

Hegemony or Survival (2003) - brings the analysis up to date, including the Iraq war.

The endless interview-books have long past the law of diminishing returns and are driven by the interests of publishers only.

The only one worth buying for my money is Language and Politics, mainly for the interviews on linguistics, where it is far easier to understand what he is on about than trying to read his linguistics books. Also it has another monster introduction by Carlos Otero, which is very interesting if you tune out the worst excesses of the rampant hero worship.
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The Chomsky Reader
The Chomsky Reader by Noam Chomsky (Paperback - 1 Jun 1988)
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