The Seattle Review of Books, Seattle Weekly, and Third Place Books Seward Park continue our book club exploring who we are as Americans, where we're going, and how we might fix our greatest problems. Reading Through It meets on the first Wednesday of every month.
Our October selection is Requiem for the American Dream by Noam Chomsky. In his first major book on the subject of income inequality, Noam Chomsky skewers the fundamental tenets of neoliberalism and casts a clear, cold, patient eye on the economic facts of life. What are the ten principles of concentration of wealth and power at work in America today? They're simple enough: reduce democracy, shape ideology, redesign the economy, shift the burden onto the poor and middle classes, attack the solidarity of the people, let special interests run the regulators, engineer election results, use fear and the power of the state to keep the rabble in line, manufacture consent, marginalize the population. In Requiem for the American Dream, Chomsky devotes a chapter to each of these ten principles, and adds readings from some of the core texts that have influenced his thinking to bolster his argument.
To create Requiem for the American Dream, Chomsky and his editors, the filmmakers Peter Hutchison, Kelly Nyks, and Jared P. Scott, spent countless hours together over the course of five years, from 2011 to 2016. After the release of the film version, Chomsky and the editors returned to the many hours of tape and transcript and created a document that included three times as much text as was used in the film. The book that has resulted is nonetheless arguably the most succinct and tightly woven of Chomsky's long career, a beautiful vessel--including old-fashioned ligatures in the typeface--in which to carry Chomsky's bold and uncompromising vision, his perspective on the economic reality and its impact on our political and moral well-being as a nation.
"During the Great Depression, which I'm old enough to remember, it was bad-much worse subjectively than today. But there was a sense that we'll get out of this somehow, an expectation that things were going to get better . . ." --from Requiem for the American Dream
Political philosopher, activist, and linguist NOAM CHOMSKY is beloved around the world for the strength of his personal commitment to the truth as he sees it and for the brilliance of his ideas. Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on December 7, 1928, he studied linguistics, mathematics, and philosophy at the University of Pennsylvania and received his PhD there in 1955. Chomsky has taught at MIT for fifty years and is currently Institute Professor Emeritus in the Department of Linguistics and Philosophy. His linguistics work is widely credited with having revolutionized the field, and his political writings have made important contributions for decades. In 2001, he published 9-11, which became his first international bestseller and was arguably the single most influential post-9-11 book. Chomsky is the author of many other best-selling political works, including Profit Over People, Media Control, Hegemony or Survival, Failed States, Hopes and Prospects, Masters of Mankind, What Kind of Creatures Are We?, and Who Rules the World?
PETER HUTCHISON is an NYC-based filmmaker, educator, and activist. His documentary work includes What Would Jesus Buy? with producing partner Morgan Spurlock; Split: A Divided America; Beyond Activism: Four Decades of Social Justice; and Awake Zion: Rasta, Reggae & Judaism. KELLY NYKS is an award-winning writer/director of documentary films and has worked across Europe, Asia, and America. His prior films include The Age of Consequences, Disobedience, Disruption, Do the Math, Split: A Divided America, and Split: A Deeper Divide. Award-winning writer, director, and producer JARED P. SCOTT's other films include The Age of Consequences, Disruption, Do the Math, and The Artificial Leaf. His films have screened at Tribeca, Hot Docs, Sheffield, and IDFA, and have aired/streamed on Netflix, Starz, PBS, and Al Jazeera.
Drink and food specials are available from Raconteur during book clubs, so grab a glass and join us for a lively literary discussion. Every month our selected titles are discounted 20% through the date of the book club. All are welcome, no purchase required.