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Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Chomsky’s Understanding Power

In the book Understanding Power, you can read up on American intellectual Noam Chomsky’s view on world politics, the uses and abuses of power, and distortions of mass media. The book covers everything from Nicaragua, “their terror” vs “our terror”, US involvement in South America, The New York Times, East Timor, and much more, and you’ll discover many historical incidents visible under radically new light.

Each chapter in Understanding Power is based on talks given by Chomsky, and I find the Q&A style – people ask questions, Chomsky answers – easy to follow. I didn’t finish the book yet, as it’s much bigger than some other books of his (and not as quick to digest as the many available DVDs covering Chomsky). What’s interesting is that while the book is thick already, all footnotes are outsourced to, and the footnotes taken together are bigger than the book itself.

Chomsky is neither “left” or “right”, nor “pro-this” or “anti-that” (Israel, Palestine, the US...) but simply attacks what he thinks of as hypocrisies and unfairness on all sides of the spectrum – if anything, he’s rooting for the underdog. Whether or not you agree with everything Chomsky says, I think this book is well-worth reading to get an “alternative” view on history and politics.


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