Top critical review
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A book that is too inconsistent and dense in communicating its themes and messages.
on 1 June 2016
The other reviews have highlighted some of the key problems with this book being selection of essays from over last 40 years (1969 onwards) so not wholly current, plus while a general connection exists around the issues of and understanding how anarchism might work in practice, overall the wide variety of ideas on show defeats the book being a well structured or logical read on the subject.
The key problem for me as a general reader wanting to learn more is that in a number of cases the essays and content are simply too dense to easily communicate the ideas under consideration. The badly written introduction by Nathan Schneider or the final Chomsky essay "Language and Freedom" being a treatise on linguistics and philosophy which requires a pretty in depth initial understanding of both subjects to start to understand the points being made, are the two worst examples.
Offsetting this are an excellent essay from 1969 on how "liberal" historians have treated the anarchist movement in the Spanish Civil War (given the great output of books since 1969 on this topic, especially across the last 20 years, the essay cries out for an Updated footnote by Chomsky which has sadly not been attempted) and a semi autobiographical Q&A interview on how Chomsky's early years and family developed his interest in anarchism, including his early interest in the Spanish Civil War.
Overall not an easy or consistent read but the gems that exist are well worth the price and persevering to struggle through to read.