Past Moyers and Dean, beyond Moore, is an assault against the administration, not for the faint of heart or those who miss...



Clearly, America is in serious trouble—it’s a coalition of the misinformed, and the fault lies largely with the media. The indictment this time is not against the perceived liberal press. Now it comes from the left, delivered by the irate author of the novel American Hero (1993), which was made into the 1997 film Wag the Dog.

The so-called War on Terror is a scam. The principles declared at Nuremberg are flouted. A State of the Union address assures profits for Halliburton and “tort reform” is designed to excuse corporate tortfeasors. Flimflam in Texas and shameless ballot theft in Florida have installed a government bent on secret, intentional self-destruction—all to benefit the wealthy and influential. The president and his henchmen, says Beinhart, are “chickenhawks” who send others to war, never fighting themselves. Dubya, believes the author, is not as dumb as he looks. How else could he have survived a history of feckless mismanagement without a scratch? The ruling class deems itself above the law. For example: Executive order 13303 declared certain judicial proceedings “null and void.” The facts—the fog facts—are out there, folks, but where is the reporting? Forget shock and awe; here are the stories that the national house organs, like the New York Times and the networks, missed covering in the miasma of fustian frequently offered as divinely inspired. (By the way, in case you thought the reverend Horatio Alger, at least, was a good guy, it is here revealed that he was a nasty pedophile.) Facts lifted from the fog—found too often, but perhaps inescapably, only on the ethereal Internet—provide telling talking points against the lies, fears and madness besetting the body politic.

Past Moyers and Dean, beyond Moore, is an assault against the administration, not for the faint of heart or those who miss The Alien and Sedition Act of yesteryear.

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2005

ISBN: 1-56025-767-9

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Nation Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2005

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A Churchill-ian view of native history—Ward, that is, not Winston—its facts filtered through a dense screen of ideology.


Custer died for your sins. And so, this book would seem to suggest, did every other native victim of colonialism.

Inducing guilt in non-native readers would seem to be the guiding idea behind Dunbar-Ortiz’s (Emerita, Ethnic Studies/California State Univ., Hayward; Blood on the Border: A Memoir of the Contra War, 2005, etc.) survey, which is hardly a new strategy. Indeed, the author says little that hasn’t been said before, but she packs a trove of ideological assumptions into nearly every page. For one thing, while “Indian” isn’t bad, since “[i]ndigenous individuals and peoples in North America on the whole do not consider ‘Indian’ a slur,” “American” is due to the fact that it’s “blatantly imperialistic.” Just so, indigenous peoples were overwhelmed by a “colonialist settler-state” (the very language broadly applied to Israelis vis-à-vis the Palestinians today) and then “displaced to fragmented reservations and economically decimated”—after, that is, having been forced to live in “concentration camps.” Were he around today, Vine Deloria Jr., the always-indignant champion of bias-puncturing in defense of native history, would disavow such tidily packaged, ready-made, reflexive language. As it is, the readers who are likely to come to this book—undergraduates, mostly, in survey courses—probably won’t question Dunbar-Ortiz’s inaccurate assertion that the military phrase “in country” derives from the military phrase “Indian country” or her insistence that all Spanish people in the New World were “gold-obsessed.” Furthermore, most readers won’t likely know that some Ancestral Pueblo (for whom Dunbar-Ortiz uses the long-abandoned term “Anasazi”) sites show evidence of cannibalism and torture, which in turn points to the inconvenient fact that North America wasn’t entirely an Eden before the arrival of Europe.

A Churchill-ian view of native history—Ward, that is, not Winston—its facts filtered through a dense screen of ideology.

Pub Date: Sept. 16, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-8070-0040-3

Page Count: 296

Publisher: Beacon Press

Review Posted Online: Aug. 18, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2014

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For Howard Zinn, long-time civil rights and anti-war activist, history and ideology have a lot in common. Since he thinks that everything is in someone's interest, the historian—Zinn posits—has to figure out whose interests he or she is defining/defending/reconstructing (hence one of his previous books, The Politics of History). Zinn has no doubts about where he stands in this "people's history": "it is a history disrespectful of governments and respectful of people's movements of resistance." So what we get here, instead of the usual survey of wars, presidents, and institutions, is a survey of the usual rebellions, strikes, and protest movements. Zinn starts out by depicting the arrival of Columbus in North America from the standpoint of the Indians (which amounts to their standpoint as constructed from the observations of the Europeans); and, after easily establishing the cultural disharmony that ensued, he goes on to the importation of slaves into the colonies. Add the laborers and indentured servants that followed, plus women and later immigrants, and you have Zinn's amorphous constituency. To hear Zinn tell it, all anyone did in America at any time was to oppress or be oppressed; and so he obscures as much as his hated mainstream historical foes do—only in Zinn's case there is that absurd presumption that virtually everything that came to pass was the work of ruling-class planning: this amounts to one great indictment for conspiracy. Despite surface similarities, this is not a social history, since we get no sense of the fabric of life. Instead of negating the one-sided histories he detests, Zinn has merely reversed the image; the distortion remains.

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 1979

ISBN: 0061965588

Page Count: 772

Publisher: Harper & Row

Review Posted Online: May 26, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 1979

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