GIVE ME LIBERTY! by Gerry Spence


Freeing Ourselves in the Twenty-First Century
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A portentous jeremiad against the state of American society. Spence (O.J.: The Last Word, 1997, etc.), America’s best-known lawyer in a fringe jacket, asks here if we are free—and answers (resoundingly) no. For to be free, he maintains, one must enjoy control over one’s life. And as none of us can claim such control, we—re merely slaves—in a slave society! This —New American Slavery” may be even more pernicious than the legal slavery of old, argues Spence, because despite our bondage, we believe we—re free, and because the “New Master” is both less obvious and more elusive. This New Master is not a person or a group, but rather, a system: “an entanglement of megacorporations . . . and an omnipowerful national government.” This unholy alliance forces us to serve it when, in a truly free society, it would instead serve us. We work at jobs we hate because we’re told to. We allow government to tyrannize us. Though a rich nation, we unthinkingly accept the poverty of millions of our citizens as just “the way it is” and submit to the stranglehold mustered by corporate wealth over US politics. We accept all this, says Spence, because we are afraid of freedom. But if we overcame our fear, we could create a revolution: force corporations to be responsible, create new, participatory political structures, once again trust and care for one another. Spence makes important points about a flawed America, but overall this is a mishmash of feel-good self-improvement and populist bromides. His would-be reforms amount to anemic tinkerings. And the writing is truly awful, with a prose so purple that perhaps only Prince (formerly known as) could bear it. Spence has something to tell us but buries it under blarney and blather. (Author tour)

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 1998
ISBN: 0-312-19267-3
Page count: 384pp
Publisher: St. Martin's
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15th, 1998


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