on 1 November 2009
To be honest, you don't need to buy this book. You've heard it all before, whether conservative or liberal.
The bias in these reviews is blinding - use of the term 'anti-american' to describe someone who disagrees with the government is typical, shortsighted, and frankly a little pathetic. Try going to Italy, and telling someone on the streets of Rome that because he dislikes Berlusconi, he is 'un-Italian', and watch him roll around on the floor with laughter. The idea that disliking a leader and seeing fault with the sytem makes you a 'traitor' of some kind, IS laughable.
Other typical conservative attacks are obvious too - someone who recognises Israel's illegitimacy is 'anti-semitic', a 'nazi sympathiser', even a 'holocaust denier'
The arguments used in the book are no more compelling than those used by the reviewers. The venom, and fear-driven hate are evident throughout, and little to no evidence is used in support of their rebuttals. The slightest digging into the listed sources immediately shows the transparency and shallowness of the arguments used by the authors.
As I said at the beginning, you don't need to buy this book.
If you're conservative, you've probably already denounced Chomsky as a 'red', and this book would serve only as self-gratifying trash.
If you're a fan of Chomsky, you'll know his opinions already (most of which THIS book gets completely wrong, whether intentionally or accidentally it's hard to tell), and the arguments they use against him will be debunked with 5 minutes of further reading.
Either way, it's a waste of money. Save the 11 quid (or 20 when i bought it...)
on 15 September 2007
The authors here seem to bend over backwards to find fault with Noam Chomsky - do they do this as a service to the cause of honest, scrupulous scholarship? Most people who have read any Chomsky will have their own answer to that, but, for those who don't know him, a few explanatory words are necessary to assess this book.
Chomsky has been voted the world's no 1 living intellectual in several polls,only partly because of his groundbreaking work in linguistics (he is sometimes called the Einstein of linguistics), but mainly because his political criticism/journalism has, despite every obstruction from the powerful and almost total blackout by the media (though his name has cropped up more often recently), worked it's way over 40 years into the mind's of millions as the most lucid, thorough and consistent appraisal of the inadequacies of the 'system' we live under and of the venality and inhumanity of the elites who run it - his main focus being on how the mainstream media present us a propagandised version of world events.
There are increasingly many critics of his linguistic work, as of Einstein's work (but no-one would deny their huge contributions); I don't share his admiration for anarchism; some may quibble with his style - I think he overuses elaborate sarcasms to the extent that, while always entertaining, they sometimes necessitate a couple of readings to get the point; he may get things wrong occasionally - he is the first to admit this - he doesn't claim to be an infallible prophet, but I find it remarkable how hard it is to find anything at all that he DID get wrong, which is why his critics are usually reduced to misrepresenting him i.e. the most recurring slander that he praised Pol Pot and excused his crimes - in fact, AT THE TIME of the initial Khmer Rouge takeover, Chomsky asked why the media were giving so much attention to alleged crimes in Cambodia, for which, AT THE TIME, there was next to no substantial evidence, while the media ignored the concurrent Indonesian massacres in East Timor for which, AT THE TIME, there was massive evidence - because Indonesia was 'our type of people'( see ' the Political Economy of Human Rights vol 2: After the Cataclysm' - a lot more readable than it sounds). Like everyone else, when the evidence became more solid he accepted it (which doesn't in any way invalidate his earlier point), and, like John Pilger, Chomsky has written much on the support by the USA and the UK for the Khmer Rouge regime after their crimes were well known, which led to a member of the Khmer Rouge, at a time when they were reduced to a guerrilla band living in the jungle, representing Cambodia at the UN, rather than a representative of the Cambodian government - this is a matter of public record and was openly and widely reported in the mainstream media, but the authors of the anti Chomsky reader hope that their readers missed that.
Another common criticism of Chomsky is that he 'gave credibility to Holocaust denial' by writing an introduction to a 'revisionist' book by Robert Faurisson. Given that the substance of his piece was a defence of free speech, rather than an assessment of Faurisson's arguments, I would regard it as odd, rather than reprehensible, had Chomsky done this; but he didn't - he published the piece somewhere else, and Faurisson's publishers included it in the book without asking his permission.
The other charges against Chomsky just as readily fall apart on inspection - particularly the sort of inspection that involves comparing what Chomsky actually wrote with what Collier et al claim that he wrote, and checking to find that he gave ample sources and notes for statements they claim were unsupported.
In short, the best that can be said of the Anti Chomsky Reader's scholarship is that it is sloppy. I think a good case could also be made for calling it highly partisan, to say the least.
If there is a future in which books can be freely read and published (in whatever format)Chomsky will be revered in the way we revere the great Greek and Roman writers, as the most perceptive analyst of our times. God forbid that any future generations should find themselves living in a world in which the Anti Chomsky Reader is widely read.
on 22 May 2010
I've read some of Chomsky's works, as well as some writers who would disagree with him totally on military intervention (Christopher Hitchens is a strong example). I was expecting this book to be a refutation of the arguments that Chomsky makes (Christopher Hitchens and his critics contains a sequence of correspondence between himself and Chomsky, contrasting their views in a rigorous fashion). Unfortunately this book doesn't really do that. It merely seems to resort to character attacks and essentially labeling Chomsky as a traitor on the basis of having criticised aspects of US policy. It is the sort of hatchet job that would be better suited to fox news and I'm really rather glad I only had a library copy to read and didn't waste my money supporting this kind of thing.
Its a real shame that the opportunity for a detailed, two sided critique was avoided and replaced instead with a book with a very clear agenda: destroy Chomsky personal credibility.
on 16 July 2010
I thought this book looked very interesting, but having just read it, I can honestly say it is very poorly researched,dull, and with a fundamental personal bias that destroys any scholarly merit whatsoever - To call somebody who disagrees with Israeli foreign policy 'Anti- Semitic' is quite astonishing.
It's worth having a flick through this (if you can borrow a copy), but on no account should you waste heard earned cash on what is essentially an expensive parcel of very rough toilet paper.
on 7 June 2013
Step 1: Make some statements about history that Chomsky wouldn't disagree with, or would but no counterevidence is given. Step 2: Say what Chomsky thinks, in the hope people won't check. Step 3: Assume people will associate the supposed facts mentioned with Chomsky's supposed opinion, thereby circumventing any need for analysis, evidence, etc. To sum up, the pages are a little to coarse for toilet paper, which is the only use I can see for this book.
on 28 May 2006
Are we talking about moral values here or are we talking about scholarly values?
We have roughly two ideological viewpoints from readers and i suspect this informs many of the reviews of this book (including mine) more than any genuine evaluation of it as a thorough and credible academic work.
The authors, i think, have a definate axe to grind with Chomsky and though they've done their homework, it's hard not feel like they are simply trying too hard to discredit the man.
It's surely common sense that such a reknowned thinker couldn't be so far off the mark and make so many glaring mistakes that an opposing media and the conservatives wouldn't have already picked up on and written about with glee.
Also, putting Chomsky's name in the title was, i believe, a rather pathetic attempt to sell more books than, say the 500 or so it would have sold without it.
Now, I'm not an anarchist nor do i have any good answers on how to sort this world out, but i do appreciate Chomksy's often insightful criticism.
To paraphrase Chomsky 'if books like this didn't exist, i'd be doing something wrong'.
on 4 April 2013
I have this book by my toilet, but not for reading...
Seriously atrocious stuff that was refuted years ago, it's as if they hope people will read this and not look at the counter-arguments. This book is brimming with fatuous calumny and defamation. Anyone who agrees with the thesis of this "book" most likely came into it already hating Chomsky.
on 2 October 2004
ok i admit it. i only skimmed through this.sorry. so ive skimmed it again.i totally agree with the reviewer above; if chomsky is simply a bitter conspriracy theorist why are the criticisms of him confined to an obscure collection of polemics?
New readers of chomsky, particularly those whom are familiar with the world only through their newspapers and mainstream television stations, may indeed be bewildered, shocked even by his very different view of American foreign policy. A leading western dissident is always likely to attract a little mud slinging, but chomsky speaks of truths that do not need to be proven to anyone but those prejudiced against the foreigner or those so comfortable with their material wealth they are blinded to the fact that the VAST MAJORITY of people in the usa (and the rest of the so called developed world) do not fare that well under capitalism and are not represented in politics in any meaningful sense. A tiny proportion of the population accumulate obscene wealth: The constituents that matter.The top 1% are the primary motive for both foreign and domestic policy. Middle classes act as a buffer to prevent the great unwashed from spoiling the tea party.Chomsky puts forward a devastating arguement He describes America as a leading terrorist state based on a very simple premise; it uses violence or the threat of violence to achieve policy goals. the evidence runs through twentieth century history and is in the whitehouses own files.The result? a world driven by profit where people come last. The only superpower left on the planet surely has a responsibility to humanity or else is simply abusing its position. When confronted with a situation as shocking as 9/11 Americas ruling elite chose to escalate the cycle of violence, increasing the size of the "pool of resentment" from which extremism comes.Chomsky asserts this as simply a continuation of existing policy designed to maintain or enhance the position of the existing oligarchy ie the establishment of military bases in the middle east. At the time of writing (may 08) estimates from John Hopkins Institute are as high as 1.3million dead in iraq and the country descending into civil war.Entirely predictable and indeed it was predicted in leaked memos and secret documents that revealed no plan for the aftermath of the invasion. Are moslems not entitled to be angry as the Americans rightly were when they were attacked? is it not inevitable that a tiny proportion of those angry moslems turn to violence? If the united states spent their defense budget for one year on peace then perhaps over a billion people on this planet could drink clean water (and a lot more besides).who could hate America for that?
Chomsky did not "collaborate" with any holocaust deniers : he once wrote a letter defending the FREEDOM OF SPEECH of a holocaust denier. let the evidence shut the mouths of these people is what i say. Without the freedom to question and be told we are wrong we are on the road to totalitarianism.
To imply that anyone reading chomsky is merely an unquestioning follower is too insulting to be worthy of a proper response
If A Terrorist crime is measured by the number of victims then Clintons attack on the al shifa pharmaceutical plant was indeed a worse crime than 9/11. The only difference being that one terrorist attack was paid for by tax payers and one set of victims did not receive compensation payments. Chomsky has admitted mistakes in the past and doesn't claim to be infallible. I have NEVER detected any hate in Chomskys writing, only despair that the crimes of "our" enemies are well documented but the crimes committed by "our side" do not even count as crimes. I was hoping for some substance to the right wing rhetoric : the market is always right. Instead it is barely better than the partisan reviewer above who at once resorts to childish name calling (conspiracy theorist, bigot etc)I will be sticking with Chomsky and making up my own mind : the market is killing innocent and defenseless, blameless people. I wont close my eyes.
on 25 August 2004
If it seems odd that a book should be devoted to debunking the propaganda of a single individual, one must bear in mind that Noam Chomsky has become a cult figure for anti-American zealots throughout the world, not just left-wing extremists attached to the cause of revolutionary socialism, but also right-wing nationalists resentful of American power and, in a disturbing new development, apologists for the actions of Jihadi terrorists. Professor Chomsky, let it be said, has been consistent in his views. In every single conflict involving the United States since the end of the Second World War, from the Korean War to the current struggle against militant Islam, he has vilified the actions of the US while rationalizing - and often supporting - the actions of America's foes.
This excellent book systematically exposes the propaganda techniques used in Chomsky's voluminous writings: his selective use of unreliable source material, often based on nothing more than the official propaganda of Communist regimes and their Western fellow travellers; his attacks on the credibility of those who uncover facts that threaten his political agenda, a prime example being Francois Ponchaud, the Catholic Priest who compiled eye-witness reports of Khmer Rouge atrocities; his distortion and falsification of the historical record to portray the US as an aggressive empire comparable to Nazi Germany.
No serious historian with the smallest degree of objectivity would consider Chomsky to be anything more than a shallow propagandist, who twists and invents facts to serve his anti-American agenda. Serious historians do not believe that there was a "US-Nazi alliance" after the Second World War; that the Cold War was an imaginary conflict created by US "ruling elites"; that Cambodian Communists slaughtered their own people because US bombing drove them mad; that the US responded to the 9-11 attacks by planning "a silent genocide" against the Afghan people. But most people are not historians and those with a pre-existing grudge against America are all too likely to take Chomsky seriously. This book will help you answer them.
on 24 September 2007
If there were any sense in this world, "The Anti-Chomsky Reader" would be distributed to every student in the Western world. Noam Chomsky is the godfather of the anti-capitalist, anti-war Left and is treated like a demi-God by students, journalists and leftists alike.
As you can see from comments here, Chomsky's fan club are about as honest as their Dear Leader is. He is not on TV because of a conspiracy or because of a 'rich mans media'. He simply has no credibility with serious scholars, historians or the public at large. I would recommend too, that people DO read his books and pamphlets. His books are a mish-mash of half-truths, distortions, selective quotations of policy documents and intellectuals, and outright lies and slanders. Horowitz knows these techniques exactly because he used to deploy them when he was a Marxist in the New Left 60's movement.
Most sensible liberals and conservatives quite rightly dismiss his ramblings because they are unscholarly, ahistorical and pathalogically anti-American. However, his influence unfortunately permeates through liberal European culture and is on display in the pages of the Guardian, Independent and the New Statesman. It's a travesty that so many decent people take this hate-mongering fraud seriously.
Collier and Horowitz have done the impossible. They actually made me feel slightly sorry for the Professor (only for a little while). This is a devastating book, but by no means covers the entirety of Chomsky's forty years of lies and pseudo-intellectual posturing. And by the way, he was awarded 'World's No 1 intellectual' for his hateful anti-American leftist politics - not for his linguistic work in the 1950's. Harold Pinter and Jimmy Carter were both given awards for their anti-American, anti-war, anti-Jewish bile too. (The Nobel committe love bashing those capitalist-imperialist Yanks).
Chomsky is an Anarchist, not a socialist (there's apparently a difference in practice) and is an apologist for Communists, terrorists, jihadists and a defender of anti-semitic Nazis. This book brilliantly dissects his sympathizing, apologetics and outright lies, and helps people understand the mindset of the totalitarian Left which worships him.
To the 'No.1 intellectual in the world', the socialist Khmer Rouge genocide was "the result of localized peasant revenge and the acts of undisciplined troops." Communist Vietnam is "a miracle of reconciliation and restraint" and Maoist China is "quite admirable." He has also attacked Israel as "illegitimate" and defended PLO terrorists, and perhaps more infamously, he collaborated with neo-Nazis, as shown in Werner Cohn's brilliant chapter "Chomsky and Holocaust Denial".
And then to top off this, after 9-11, Chomsky claimed that America was trying to starve Afghans by stopping food-supply trucks. At a lecture, he said, "Looks like what's happening is some sort of silent genocide." As was clear at the time, this was complete and utter nonsense. But in Chomsky and the anti-war movements parallel universe, this was seen as self-evident American sponsored genocide.
Further on he says, "The terrorist attacks were major atrocities. In scale they may not reach the level of many others, for example, Clinton's bombing of the Sudan with not credible pretext." The denunciation of the 9/11 attacks is the usual rhetorical throat-clearing before the REAL denunciation of the REAL war crimes - US state terror.
Noam Chomsky is an unapologetic and unrepentant totalitarian, just like Stalinists' Hobsbawm, Parenti, Pilger and Zinn. He is the 'intellectual backbone' of the Michael Moore-Moveon.org stupidity, which passes for radicalism on campuses these days. Passionately committed to a discredited and destructive political creed, socialism, Chomsky must hate America, whose commitment to the freedom of the individual has done more than any other to disprove the claims of so-called "progressives" to improve human life by giving power to vanguards and elites.
Thus, as Horowitz concludes this indispensable collection, Chomsky must "kill the memory of American achievement along with the American idea. This, surely, is Noam Chomsky's mission in life and his everlasting infamy."