Customer Review

33 of 41 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This book tells the truth... but do you want to know it?, 9 Mar 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: Why Do People Hate America? (Paperback)
The question: 'Why do people hate America?' arose out of the dust and ashes of the 9-11 attack on the World Trade Centre in New York. But this question became a statement and a focus for retaliation, rather than the starting point for a serious investigation into the real issues surrounding global hatred and terrorism.
Fortunately, Ziauddin Sardar and Merryl Wyn Davies have provided for us a powerful and challenging book which reflects a serious study of the many reasons behind this question. This is an important book for the present time and because it is written for a wide audience has the potential to really open up the debate concerning the numerous effects of what they refer to succinctly as the 'American Way', on communities around the world. In particular the rigid adherence to the economic 'growth' model is considered, and America's control of the institutions of globalisation, such as the World Trade Organisation, the World Bank and the IMF, which stand above all other considerations as the main cause of global hatred of the American Way, if not (thankfully) of the American people themselves, many of whom are by now just as appalled by (and powerless to redirect) the actions of their own government and institutions.
Then entrenched self-obsession of America, that its culture and value systems are 'simply the best: the last best hope for humanity', is perhaps the most powerful understanding that comes across over and over again through the pages of this book, as we are shown clearly how what used to be a 'super power' has now become a 'hyper power', dominating the whole world. This absolute faith in themselves and the American Way is promoted, entrenched, fought for and defended with no concern for evaluation. The reader experiences a great deal of empathy for those 'others' on the receiving end of the destructive outcomes of the whole process, leading to a good understanding of why many people hate what America stands for.
The authors concentrate on four main themes. Through film and TV we are introduced into a method of presenting American ideas, such as 'The West Wing', a soap opera based on a fictional depiction of the White House, which was used to discuss the 9-11 attack and which presented the reasons as the resurrection of the historical 'clash of civilisations', an extreme oversimplification of the real truth. The influences of European colonial history and American history and culture are also described. Politics and war are discussed and a full list of the 133 wars and military interventions which America has been party to over the last century or so is provided by way of illustrating their global control of political systems. But perhaps most importatly the economic system (globalisation) is considered, and its destructive effect on communities and cultures around the world, particularly in 'developing' countries. The main beneficiaries of which, we are informed, are American consumers.
'Why do people hate America?' introduces us to the importance of all these issues and deserves to be well read, but whether people will want to know the truth is another matter.
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3.5 out of 5 stars (42 customer reviews)
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