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AMERIKA PSYCHO: Behind Uncle Sam's Mask of Sanity Paperback – 15 Apr 2003

4.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 126 pages
  • Publisher: OCEAN PRESS; First Edition edition (15 April 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1876175621
  • ISBN-13: 978-1876175627
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 1 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 3,032,907 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By A Customer on 19 Mar. 2003
Format: Paperback
A good read from Neville, with an insightful analysis of not just an emerging imperial American power, but also questioning of more social/cultural issues, e.g. the breakdown of relationships in society.
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.
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Format: Paperback
A compelling and insightful no-frills work. Though short, I really enjoyed this book for Neville's common sense approach to and comment on the ever-growing consumerist and 'Americanisation' of global society. Neither academic nor patronising in tone, this book made for an (albeit swift) excellent, thought-provoking read.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0x936ac900) out of 5 stars 4 reviews
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x93ad2900) out of 5 stars A vitriolic entertainment 22 Mar. 2003
By Steven Reynolds - Published on
Format: Paperback
Best known for his ground-breaking work in "Oz" magazine half a lifetime ago and his amusing memoir of the era ("Hippie Hippie Shake"), self-declared futurist Richard Neville has collected his more vitriolic contributions to Sydney's "Good Weekend" magazine and republished them here. His consistent target is America's global selfishness. This is a nation whose starting point in any conversation about the environment is, in the words of Bush the Elder to the Rio Earth Summit in 1992, "The American way of life is not negotiable." The American way of life - the global pursuit of more of everything - is precisely THE PROBLEM we need to solve. And a nation which sacrifices its own and everyone else's long term future to protect the short term interests of the megacorporations that fund the Presidency is not morally equipped to be running the planet, Neville argues. He attacks America's self-congratulatory assertion of global dominance, and its pigheaded ignorance of the moral responsibilities that go with it. And no, playing "global policeman" in the Middle East is not one of them: masking a geo-political power/oil grab as "liberating the people of Iraq" is precisely the kind of transparent, hypocritical double-speak Neville abhors. He occasionally reminds us that his hatred is not for the American people, lovely as they are, but for two things: the American administration which (barely) represents them, and the seemingly disembodied forces of economic and cultural imperialism devouring in their name. But Americans could be forgiven for feeling more than a little insulted by these tirades: and many were, if the e-mail correspondence accompanying some of the essays is any indication. (But kudos to Neville for including them.) In no sense is this a well-researched academic volume. These essays are clearly no more than reworked magazine pieces, and the content and tone are precisely what that implies: they're long on ridicule and short on viable alternatives. The book has the kind of entertainingly preachy passages you'll enjoy reading down the phone to your friends, but which won't convince them unless they already happen to be post-materialist lefties like you. Neville's strident whining wears thin before the final page, and he clearly enjoys the sound of his own voice. But not without reason. He still has a talent for the economical phrase: "The American way of life is not negotiable. Worse - the American way of life is inescapable."
6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x93a6ba20) out of 5 stars The cruelty behind the mask 11 April 2003
By Wendy Gibbs - Published on
Format: Paperback
He writes about love, cruelty and the culture of greed, a kind of Noam Chomsky on ectasy. While warm towards American citizens and their radical roots, he despairs of their ignorance of the crimes perpetrated in their name. This is a passionate, minority view, one which looks like it could become mainstream as events unfold in the Middle East. I was charmed by its exuberance, moved by its passion, intrigued by its holistic view of the world ans surprised by its humour. Apparently Neville was something of an underground press celebrity in the sixties and this cheeky spirit shines through each page. Very relevant in times of random cluster bombing described as �liberation�, and the division of the world into good and evil. Strangely philosophical, highly recommended.
HASH(0x93766708) out of 5 stars Not especially deep, but full of issues that are still pressing 10+ years on 16 Aug. 2013
By Christopher Culver - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Since he first visited New York in the late '60s as a journalist and representative of the London counterculture, Richard Neville has been an enormous fan of the vitality of the American people and its alternative voices, but a harsh critic of the US government. AMERIKA PSYCHO is an early 2003 collection (predating the Iraq War!) of some of his jeremiads for the magazine Good Weekend in his native Australia.

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.
5 of 8 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x937648d0) out of 5 stars A prophetic, witty indictment 11 April 2003
By Julie - Published on
Format: Paperback
The first chapter in this amazing multi layered polemic is based on an essay the author published in Australia several months before 9/11. A seasoned visitor to America, Richard Neville let loose his scathing cascade soon after President George W Bush dumped the Kyoto greenhouse agreement. This was announced around the time Gladiator won the Oscars, and Neville weaves together the impact of these two events on the consciousness of the wider world, a world that would increasingly resist and resent US political & cultural domination.
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 <>. 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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