|The End of America
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In a stunning indictment of the Bush administration and Congress, best-selling author Naomi Wolf lays out her case for saving American democracy. In authoritative research and documentation Wolf explains how events of the last six years parallel steps taken in the early years of the 20th century's worst dictatorships such as Germany, Russia, China, and Chile. The book cuts across political parties and ideologies and speaks directly to those among us who are concerned about the ever-tightening noose being placed around our liberties. In this timely call to arms, Naomi Wolf compels us to face the way our free America is under assault. She warns us with the straight-to-fellow-citizens urgency of one of Thomas Paines revolutionary pamphlets that we have little time to lose if our children are to live in real freedom. Recent history has profound lessons for us in the U.S. today about how fascist, totalitarian, and other repressive leaders seize and maintain power, especially in what were once democracies. The secret is that these leaders all tend to take very similar, parallel steps. The Founders of this nation were so deeply familiar with tyranny and the habits and practices of tyrants that they set up our checks and balances precisely out of fear of what is unfolding today. We are seeing these same kinds of tactics now closing down freedoms in America, turning our nation into something that in the near future could be quite other than the open society in which we grew up and learned to love liberty, states Wolf. Wolf is taking her message directly to the American people in the most accessible form and as part of a large national campaign to reach out to ordinary Americans about the dangers we face today. This includes a lecture and speaking tour, and being part of the nascent American Freedom Campaign, a grassroots effort to ensure that presidential candidates pledge to uphold the constitution and protect our liberties from further erosion. The End of America will shock, enrage, and motivatespurring us to act, as the Founders would have counted on us to do in a time such as this, as rebels and patriotsto save our liberty and defend our nation.
- Concise and compelling
I thought I'd heard all I could of the political, military and social commentary of our time, but I gave this book a chance.
What an excellent book, compelling, well-voiced and the most concise presentation of the socio-pilitical ills brought about by our current administration. Scary and provoking....more info
- The Mind Has No Firewall - needs chapter on high technology human rights abuse
One of the book's weaknesses is that it doesn't portray the rollback on civil rights as having bi-partisan support. Where is the opposition in Congress? And she ended the book in a strange way by citing the "Critical Mass" bike riders as a source of inspiration in fighting oppression. While I think Critical Mass bike rides are a great activity, what is probably needed is something a little more political like the demonstrations of the 1960s. Naomi Wolf does a good job of documenting her sources, so the book is a valuable starting point for further exploration of these issues.
The main weakness of the book is the lack of a chapter on abuse of high technology. How can citizens protect themselves against non-lethal weapons like voice to skull audio transmissions and other methods of psychological manipulation and abuse? Kingsley Dennis of Lancaster University has a paper available that discusses some of these technologies titled "Opening Pandora's Box". Another paper I found on the internet is "The Mind Has No Firewall" by Timothy Thomas of the US Army War College. Wolf's book does a good job of comparing similarities of US Government actions since 9/11 to those of totalitarian governments, but not much on how American Fascism could be different which makes it harder to identify the new types of abuses & dangers. There's nothing on abuse of high technology which will make it very difficult for the average citizen to see the abuses suffered by their fellow citizens. How can citizens defend themselves against electronic surveillance, electromagnetic psychological manipulation, and community mobbing? The mass media has done very little to alert people to these dangers.
There needs to be a mental privacy amendment that states it is illegal to examine or manipulate a person's mind without their consent or knowledge, since there seems to be less agreement on what constitutes cruel & unusual treatment since 9/11. Maybe standards for human rights in the United States should be compared more often to other wealthy countries, in addition to monitoring of human rights in poorer countries. Also, awareness of community mobbing needs to be increased, so that this type of covert government abuse can be opposed. ...more info
- Creepy, Cool, Powerful Book
A top ten list of things that are REALLY wrong with America.
Our Constitution is the crowning achievement of the Enlightenment, the Age of Reason. Those of us privileged to have studied law and history stand in awe of what was accomplished in colonial America. I wept reading this book as Naomi Wolf eerily compares Bush administration policies to those of past fascist regimes and demonstrates how the assault on reason is turning back the clock on human progress.
After I finished this fine book, I read The Shock Doctrine by Naomi Klein, Confessions of an Economic Hit Man, by John Perkins, and The Wonga Coup, by Adam Roberts. The scale of the problem is depressing -you have businessmen all over the world plundering the global village. Revolutions in communication, travel and information technology have allowed the worst elements of our society to expand into global organized crime. We get blamed, attacked and vilified. We sort of deserve it, but not completely. Until there is a nationwide consensus that supporting slash and burn capitalism is wrong, and a world-wide effort to apprehend and punish those sleazeballs raping democracy for profit, we're going to see more suffering in the name of free enterprise.
These days, you kind of have to shut yourself in a closet and whisper "Not everybody is purely motivated by profit. In fact, it's wrong. Greed is NOT good." In fact, some of the best things EVER were not done for profit. Christmas doesn't come from a store, Mr. Grinch.
The bottom line is that our system, as wonderful as it is, is not immune to corruption. We would love to sit back and put it on automatic and enjoy life, but Americans of conscience with the ability to effect change must act to preserve the checks and balances that allow government to be of the people, for the people and by the people. Otherwise the frat boys win and we're back on the plantation.
Naomi Wolf is a good thinker and writer. We leftists are out of fashion, but when the chickens come home to roost and people discover that we have gone too far in the direction of security and materialism, things will change. She's just plain right on a lot of things. The Patriot Act is an affront to the bill of rights. Signing statements directing the executive branch to ignore laws are patently illegal. Torture and secret prisons are a good way to ensure more terrorist attacks. Privatization of the military is an invitation to disaster.
This is a must-read for anybody who loves this country enough to try and fix it....more info
- " All the world's a stage " Get indignant!!
I'll say this, for Naomi Wolf. She is very entertaining. That she got someone to actually publish this, is a feat unto itself. Her viewpoints are strangely similar to articles I remember from College, in 1972, that were hand-cranked off an ancient mimeograph machine, that most of us thought were somewhat interesting-but for the most part, unusable. A piece of advice, Ms. Wolf--one doesn't begin to change thinking, constantly bashing in someone's head, with a 2X4, all the while shouting what morons they are. Though I did think it was clever of you to design the front of your book, as if it were as profound as Thomas Paine's Common Sense....more info
- Schizoid America: The End of an Idea That Never Existed
This is a miswritten book not very well researched and schizoid. But it is also describes scary phenomenon and makes valid points.
The book is premised on the idea of America as the freest nation on earth and then warns patriots against the ending of that idea. The trouble is that ideal America never existed and the literary outcome is an example of American schizophrenia. Why did Ms Wolf structure the book around such a proposition? Do American audiences demand to be treated like fools?
Liberty? Freedom? Democracy? Were they all invented in America? Obviously, except that every American President since the second world war has committed international crimes whether for ordering invasions of sovereign nations (Kennedy and the Bay of Pigs for example) or promoting and supporting state terrorism (Reagan and the School of the Americas and the Central American Wars of the 1980's for example) or subverting any number of democratically elected governments (Guatemala, Chile, Iran for example). This is only the start of the list and one could go on all afternoon with other examples of nefarious unhelpful unlawful international American behaviours.
The question is can a country love liberty, freedom, and democracy at home and hate it overseas. The answer is for a while crocodile if you are schizoid, but not for ever.
If along with Ms Wolf you are worried that American authoritarianism is turning inwards and American freedoms are under threat you should take a non-schizoid look at examples of American aggression in the world and feel even more uncomfortable. If you drop the idea that America is the freest nation on earth and look at the years of American disrespect for law and democracy in its foreign affairs, then you should brace yourself for stormy weather at home. If authoritarianism continues on its long march home and you can no longer rely on the idea that America is the freest nation on earth, well you may as well put on your joggers and head north to a less free nation like Canada.
In the meantime I would like Naomi Wolf to have a think about the issues and write a better book....more info
- The End of America: Letter of warning to a Young Patriot
Naomi Wolf has written a wake up call to the American People. Her book could also serve as the frame work for the criminal indictments for treason that will surely be pursued against the agents of fascism and corporatism in America currently hiding in the Bush Administration.
There is going to be a day of reckoning for this administrations evisceration of our constitution, our armed forces, the middle class, the currency/economy, our individual rights and liberties and our standing in the world.
This book is a must read for anybody that cares about the United States of America....more info
- Eye opening
Naomi Wolfe makes this book a call to action. A republic is not non-participatory. We have to engage our government to be of the people. If you take the facts listed in this book and start to google the people and the actions taken you will find how truely high jacked our system has become. This book called me to read the constitution and the bill of rights in depth. It gave me a great appreciation for what the writers have tried to prepare us for. How they pass on there hard experiences in the constitution to not only protect us but inform us of what can happen. She also points out how far we have drifted from the true America that we know and love. We cannot simply assume our government will act in our best interests we must insure that it does. Please read this book and don't sell it, keep it as a reference. ...more info
- "Letter" of warning
Thanks Naomi. This book confirms my beliefs that I've held for sometime.
The 10 ingrediants for a fascist state are well documented with historical examples throughout. The conclusion is that the USA has shifted dangerously toward fascism. This shift has been constant for many years and perhaps the case could be made that fascism has always played a role in American government however it hides behind the ideals of Democracy and the constitution. The assassinations in the 60's, Watergate, Iran Contra, Ruby Ridge, Waco and other examples just go to show that we are ruled by a "secret government" that has control of the media and ultimately "the official historical record". Our Democracy is therefore a facade as evidenced by the 2000 and 2004 stolen presidential elections. Get informed and read "The End of America: Letter to a Young Patriot." ...more info
- an eye opener
Very well thought out book. Consider ourselves warned. We are already on this path unless drastic changes happen I am afraid all liberties will be lost....more info
- Great book, but.....
I think she makes a few rather vague comparisons in a couple chapters that I felt took away some of her credibility.. There were several examples where she simply added a short tidbit of information to enforce her thesis without telling the reader why it was important.
In short, if you're looking for a detailed analysis comparing the shifts of former Fascist countries to the recent shifts in the United States, then this book is not for you. It does, however, provide a good starting point for your own research (her listing of footnote sources and bibliography span 17 pages).
Overall though, I believe this book to be well written and researched, and would recommend it to everyone concerned with preserving your constitutional liberties here in America. I look forward to reading her newest book, "Give Me Liberty."...more info
- Pretty good observations!
Well, I wouldn't say the title of "End of America" is a good title. Heck, our founders embraced genocide of Native Americans, treated women as chattel and made slavery legal. Not exactly "freedom" which the author, Wolf, claims we are losing. Plus, I take issue with her claim that Adam Gadahn, as a US citizen, was not guilty of anything, because the Constitution protects his free speech. Seems to me he crossed the line by being a full-fledged member of al Qaeda and inciting war.
However, she does document some pretty scary directions toward a form of fascism which we have headed after 9-11. Like:
1. Using the term "Homeland" for the Department of Homeland Security. It is not too unlike the German word, "heimat" embraced by the Nazis.
2. The Military Commissions Act of 2006 which created a separate justice system for trying alien enemy combatants and using broad definitions for 'torture' and 'materially supporting hostilities'.
3. The evolvement of a 'security industrial complex', not purely ideological, but where profit is front and center with our government.
4. Secret prisons like Gitmo were stocked with people taken prisoner by paying Afghan warlords up to $5000 bounties. So, it is likely some of the captures happened only because of the financial incentive, not because they were likely guilty of anything.
5. Governments that do broadly define torture have a tendency to use it not so much to gain accurate information, since experts doubt how effective it is at that, but to obtain false confessions, which torture is good at doing.
6. Secret Service and White House staffers recently became more likely to threaten protestors with criminal prosecution. The author gives a couple of actual situations of note.
7. In 2001, the National Science Foundation stated that grants would no longer go to research based solely on science. Politics was also used by the Nazis to put pressure on the scientific community.
8 The slippery slope of expanding slanderous statements to acts of treason.
9. The 2007 Defense Authorization Bill which makes it easier for the president to declare martial law, weakening the power of the states to use their militias, the National Guards.
10. Weakening the constitutional right of habeas corpus, particularly of note, Attorney General Gonzales testifying before Congress that taking away some individual situations of habeas corpus does not invalidate the overall general right. Thus, making it easier for the executive branch to sidestep the Constitution.
So, despite some weaknesses, I do think the book is worthwhile, making the reader more informed about some directions we have been headed in, and allowing the reader to reflect on whether we have gone a bit too far....more info
- Great choice for all government students!
As a government student, I really enjoyed reading this book. I think Wolfe has America's best interest at heart. The way this book was set up made it easy to follow and understand, even for a lazy and easily bored 18 year old. I can admit to being biased and sharing most of Wolfe's views on the Bush administration, but I don't think many people can argue with her facts. She makes very valid claims and her arguments are logical. The one issue I had with this book was its relevance. Reading it now, in 2009, rather than in its publication year of 2007, gives a very different message. I'm sure someone reading it in 2007 would be terrified and moved to take action after reading. Now, in 2009 with a new President, I feel less inclined to worry about the fears presented by Wolfe. Most of what she is saying are results of actions by the Bush administration. Whether it is relevant anymore or not, it can still serve a purpose for educating people against repeating mistakes from history. When Wolfe alludes to the Bush administration being similar to that of Hitler or Stalin, it sends the message out that a dictatorship could happen again and that we should not allow ourselves to be swayed in that direction. ...more info
- Wow! What a Wake up Call for the Republic!
Naomi Wolf has crafted a concise, to the point warning to every man, woman, and child that lives in America today. Fascism is inevitable in a relaxed democracy and the 10 steps it takes to get their are already shifting into place....more info
- History Repeats Itself?
In "End of America" Naomi Wolf makes some startling comparisons of the current administration with some of histories worst governments such as Nazi Germany and Mussolini's Italy. She contrasts those similarities with the Constitution.
A sentence from the book's Introduction portrays the author's warning, "We take our American liberty for granted the way we take our national resources for granted, seeing both, rather casually, as being magically self-replenishing."
Another point that the author makes very clear is that to change government citizens have to participate. If the Founding Fathers would have waited for someone else to do the work of changing what they couldn't tolerate, there wouldn't be a United States of America.
She states on page 29 that while it is difficult to sustain an open society, it is easy to close one down. That PATRIOT Act succeeded in eroding a lot of civil liberties.
This is driven home by the mention of the author being on a list for air travel. This is especially disturbing as a form of bizarre punishment for those who disagree with the current administration. In itself, this is a blatant violation of the 4th Amendment protection against arbitrary search and seizure.
Another unconstitutional tool she mentions is the signing statement that G.W. Bush has abused far more than any other president. Americans are living under laws that Congress has never voted on and this tool puts Bush above the law.
Naomi Wolf has written a concise, yet powerful book about where we are now and how we should participate in the process of changing government. The power of the vote is only enhanced by participation. It's a call to Conservatives, Liberals, Independents, and any party affilitiations to take notice and get involved.
- Much respect to Naomi, but WHY the Obama vote?
It's very disturbing that Naomi can write such an eloquent and well informed book, yet still vote for Barack Obama. It's very clear that, as a member of the CFR, he is just as much a threat to our freedoms as Bush. It might work in a different way, but eventually the same thing will happen.
Zbigniew Brzezinksi is Obama's campaign adviser. He's ALSO one of the greatest heroes of world government in America. So...how does that make any sense Naomi? The only way we can have world government is if Americans loose their freedoms, and we succumb to totalitarian, socialist UN government.
Obama is NOT the answer. Hillary is NOT the answer. McCain is DEFINITELY NOT the answer. RON PAUL is the answer! ...more info
- A viewpoint from the left
I think Naomi was right on, except her viewpoint is from the extreme left. As you read, you'll learn she supported the Gore campaign and believes in Global Warming. I do think she had some incredible parallels with things that are occurring today, and it is written for patriots - but reader beware....more info
- "All you need is fear"
Ms. Wolf's "The End of America: Letters of Warning to a Young Patriot" is one of the most troubling, disturbing, and underline-and-write-in-the-margins worthy book I've read in a *long* time. Ms. Wolf outlines the defining characteristics of a fascist regime, the shift toward said regime, and draws several frightening parallels between the decisions and behaviors America engaged in (under the Bush administration, in particular) and the assaults on human liberty perpetuated by other fascist and fascist-like nations. The similarities are ghastly. I do recognize, however, that Ms. Wolf's examples supporting a fascist shift may be isolated and exaggerated -- we can only hope -- although I'm reluctant to deny the evidence pointing toward a grave breakdown and subversion of the American democracy.
Ms. Wolf couches her examples in one of the ten principle steps leading to the breakdown of an open society: (1) invocation of an external threat; (2) development of a paramilitary force; (3) creation of a secret prison system; (4) surveil of ordinary citizens; (5) arbitrary detainment and release of ordinary citizens; (6) harassment of citizens' groups; (7) target of writers, entertainers, and other key individuals for dissenting; (8) intimidation of the press; (9) recasting of dissent as 'treason' and criticism as 'espionage'; and (10) eventual subversion of the rule of law.
With the inauguration of President-elect Obama, I'm hopeful that this troubling trend toward a more closed society will be curbed -- even rolled back -- albeit this hope should be augmented with Ms. Wolf's pointed declaration: "We have to abandon the passive role we have accepted as mere consumers of media; we must see ourselves in a new light -- or rather, see ourselves once again in a revolutionary light -- as citizen leaders with responsibilities to speak the truth" (pp.132)....more info
- Forks in the Road
What most of us know of totalitarian states comes from Hitler's Third Reich, the paradigm of a controlled, aggressive society. The screen images are deeply imprinted-- the Fuehrer ranting, the massive rallies, the frozen corpses. Yet how this 12-year arc came together is much less known. Wolf's booklet is not a history of that period. Rather it's a timely cautionary tale of the steps through which totalitarian societies like the Third Reich come together. The import is clear-- is the good, old USA, land of the free and home of the brave, stumbling down a similar path in the wake of the so-called War on Terrorism. Given our democratic tradition, a parallel may seem far-fetched. But that's the problem.
Most importantly, Wolf shows totalitarianism need not appear overnight. It can occur in stages of legal authorization which she terms "fascist shift". In Germany's case, the shift consisted of moves to weaken checks and balances of parliament, expand the powers of the executive, and fatally weaken civil liberties, especially habeas corpus which prevents arbitrary and indefinite detention. If this sounds familiar, it's probably no accident. Nonetheless, it seems possible that these steps can be taken without totalitarian ends in mind, which may well be the Bush administration's short-sighted belief. Nonetheless, putting these tools in place, whatever the goal, creates a weapon that can be exploited at any time.
Wolf's examples range beyond fascist Germany, to include Stalin's Soviet Union, Mussolini's fascist Italy, and lesser regimes such as Pinochet's Chile. Despite individual differences, she shows the strong resemblances between how power grabs are justified to an uncertain populace and how that power is consolidated in the hands of a few.
Now, past war-time presidents have subverted the Constitution in various ways, as Wolf acknowledges. But, as she also points out, upholders of democratic rights have managed to bounce back to mitigate the abuses. The current assault, however, takes place within an indefinite War on Terror which may last for decades without a clear-cut end point. Thus, the pressures to defend against terrorists foreign and domestic may well be of indefinite duration. And, as Wolf shows, it's the threat of enemies inside and ouside that provides the strongest cover to a totalitarian move.
A big step has already been taken with President Bush's claim that he has the right to arrest anyone deemed an "enemy combatant" and detain them indefinitely without legal representation. Of course, most of us know the administration's rather expansive view of what methods can be used to extract information or confessions from detainees-- another big step in totalitarian shifts. Now, it's true that Wolf generally bypasses the cultural aspect of the shift. But that too should be kept in mind. For example, the TV show "48 Hours" has worked to soften audience abhorrance of torture techniques within a rigged dramatic framework. Perhaps that's not the producers' intended outcome, but it is a key practical result, nonetheless.
Wolf certainly doesn't claim that the US has become fascist or that some such is inevitable, even under pressures of the terror war. But a trend has emerged and an informed citizenry needs to beware the kind of road we're headed down. In my little book, Democrats can't be counted on to furnish the needed "bounce back'" since they have themselves been stampeded into rash legislative action on too many occasions. It may be a cliche but only an aroused citizenry can ultimately protect against the seductions of a fascist shift. For in small doses, the shift can appear quite comforting to a beleaguered public. But once the trap closes, the results can be as fatal as those frozen corpses on the steppes of western Russia....more info
- Everything I hoped for
The book I received from this seller was in excellent condition, and was forwarded to me in a timely manner....more info
- A gem . . .
Ms. Wolf has provided us with a timely, critical, concise wake-up call.
This gem should be required reading for each and every member of "our" Congress. And they should then be tested on it. There remains hope for our Republic yet. Buy a copy and ... start a chain book; give it away; donate it to a library....more info