AMERICAN POWER AND THE NEW MANDARINS by Noam Chomsky
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AMERICAN POWER AND THE NEW MANDARINS

Historical And Political Essays
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KIRKUS REVIEW

Chomsky is doubtless the most eminent American linguist/philosopher. Though the media have called him a hero of the New Left, it is as an uncompromisingly anti-Vietnam war professor that he has been the ally of students for the past three years. As an anti-imperialist, he offers no fundamental historical explanations here. What his dissection of American power displays is a prodigious grasp of specific foreign-policy issues and events of the 30's and 40's, as well as a gift for detailed destruction of current myths. His approach, then, is analytic rather than synthetic. He is preoccupied with the perversion of objective rationality. His comments on the social role of intellectuals are relatively weak compared with his specific indictments of the "Orwellian logicians" who claim "we are defending national independence when we protect a ruling elite from internal insurgency," and whose air of detachment presupposes "the value of stability and nonviolence--by the oppressed" rather than the obligation to speak the truth which Chomsky thinks intellectuals used to recognize. To say that Chomsky is mourning the death of genuine liberalism would be too simple. But he comes down hard on the "liberal imperialists like Schlesinger who have betrayed a privileged access to the truth which the lower levels of "creeping Eichmannism" do not enjoy. . . . It is hard to convey the book's gravity, simplicity, unself-righteousness and sheer intelligence; it is safe to predict both popular consumption and permanent worth.
Pub Date: Feb. 28th, 1968
ISBN: 156584775X
Page count: 418pp
Publisher: Pantheon
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1st, 1968




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