AMERIKA PSYCHO: Behind Uncle Sam's Mask of Sanity Paperback – 15 Apr 2003
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Top Customer Reviews
Although very short (127 pages or so), it is broken down in to many sections, each dealing with quite distinct topics.
If I had one criticism, however, it would be that I felt that although there was a certain synergy with the book, overall, during many of the chapters, Neville tended to digress frequently. He would begin a chapter discussing, for example, the breakdown of relationships in the modern society, or his Australian take on the USA being the most dangerous 'rogue state', and then move on to something completely different - only to return to the issue in hand later on.
Overall all, an enojyable read. In particular, the feedback (due to many of the chapters being articles previously published) in the form of emails from readers. A novel way of showing reaction to one's own work in a book.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Neville's concerns include machavellian US foreign policy, the indiscriminate killing of civilians in conflict zones and the environmental catastrophe that is the "American way of life" now exported worldwide. While Neville has always opposed American wars and advocated care of the environment since his first publications, a new theme in this collection is the vast power wielded by multinational corporations originating from the US and arguably controlling its government. These pieces were written at the dawn of the notion of "globalization" and Neville bemoans the swamping of local markets by US pop culture such as Hollywood movies, feeling that his native Australia and everywhere else is starting to resemble too much the US.
Neville's prose style was formed by the 1960s alternative press and hasn't changed much in the many decades since. Some readers may find its zany, gonzo tone dated, though I think it is fun. The pieces here will do absolutely nothing to convince people who aren't already in agreement with Neville's views, however. And really, those who share Neville's concerns have probably already heard nearly all of the factoids in these lightweight weekend magazine bits (the high rate of incarceration in the US, the massive civilian casualties in the early part of the Afghanistan campaign, the widening gap between the poor and the super-rich, etc). So, this is not exactly essential reading. Nonetheless, this collection it is still entirely timely reading even a decade later as recent events like the Snowden affair show, so if you're looking to get fired up and yearn for change, Neville's writing will resonate with you.
When this piece was first published it caused a storm - Neville includes the hate emails - while now it seems prophetic. He suggests America is "the wildest rogue nation of all" and shreds our obessive materialism, the "triviliasation of desire", porno violence and the wars against the developing world.
All this with humor & gusto.
Having once written a book about a famous serial killer, The Life & crimes of Charles Sobhraj, Neville argues that the personality of a psychopath equates pretty closely to that of Uncle Sam. There are Chapters on Who Killed the Counter Culture, the enviro rape of Texas (guess who by?) and even the politics of romantic partnerships ("to love, honor & throw away").
The last Chapter, from the cave to K-Mart, brings together all the themes and projects into the realm of alternative possible futures - "the journey to whole Earth healing inches ahead...". This is a fast, easy read and I have since enjoyed following Neville's controversial futurist raves on his website <richardneville.com>. While I don't agree with all his judgements, he has inspired me to think about the world in a new way. Amerika Psycho is already a cult classic in my neck of the woods.
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