counter create hit The End of America: Letter of Warning to a Young Patriot - Download Free eBook
Hot Best Seller

The End of America: Letter of Warning to a Young Patriot

Availability: Ready to download

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 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 Paine's 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 motivate-spurring us to act, as the Founders would have counted on us to do in a time such as this, as rebels and patriots-to save our liberty and defend our nation.


Compare

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 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 Paine's 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 motivate-spurring us to act, as the Founders would have counted on us to do in a time such as this, as rebels and patriots-to save our liberty and defend our nation.

30 review for The End of America: Letter of Warning to a Young Patriot

  1. 5 out of 5

    Lynn

    I heard Wolf speak at a local bookstore yesterday, as well as on Stephen Colbert a couple of weeks ago, and was thoroughly blown away. Then I bought the book (short, fast read) and spent most of the night reading it. Everyone should, as I did, put aside whatever they are doing, buy this book, read it, pass it on to a friend who promises to read it and pass it on. And then hit the streets. One of the things that Wolf talked about (in person, not in the book) is that once you are familiar with the I heard Wolf speak at a local bookstore yesterday, as well as on Stephen Colbert a couple of weeks ago, and was thoroughly blown away. Then I bought the book (short, fast read) and spent most of the night reading it. Everyone should, as I did, put aside whatever they are doing, buy this book, read it, pass it on to a friend who promises to read it and pass it on. And then hit the streets. One of the things that Wolf talked about (in person, not in the book) is that once you are familiar with the system and examples from history everything becomes predictive since you know what the next step will be. And I predict that in a month or two, you won't be able to buy this book, so get it now. In “The End of America” Naomi Wolf tells the story about how American citizens are being set up to lose their freedom and liberty in “10 easy steps" that are common to all modern fascist shifts. She sheds light on a veritable business plan or blueprint on how to hijack open democratic systems of government and turn them into closed systems through campaigns of disinformation, terror and brutality, based on examination of the Italy in the 20s, Russia and Germany in the 30s, and some examples from East Germany in the 50s-80s and Chile in the 70s. These 10 steps are: 1. Invoke a terrifying internal and external enemy 2. Create a gulag 3. Develop a thug caste 4. Set up an internal surveillance system 5. Harass citizens' groups 6. Engage in arbitrary detention and release 7. Target key individuals 8. Control the press 9. Dissent equals treason 10. Suspend the rule of law Obviously this all sounds familiar if you pay even casual attention to the news. She also talks discusses how the framers of the Constitution were real worried about how this could happen here, which is why they created the system of checks and balances and the Bill of Rights, all of which are going rapidly down the tubes. I know that civil liberties seem kind of abstract and not all that relevant to our daily lives, but that is because most of us have always had them. When you lose them, life really changes, even for people who aren't political and generally keep their mouths shut and out of trouble. Most distressing are the new laws mean that any one of us can be named as an enemy combatant at the whim of the president with no evidence, detained indefinitely without trial and tortured. Also that the president can nationalize the state national guards (or use private militias such as Blackwater) as a domestic police force in response to a natural disaster, disease outbreak, terrorist attack or "other condition". These are recent laws, written by the Administration and passed by a Congress that is too cowed to stand up for our rights. Wolf sees the next few months at being critical at finalizing the closure of our society before the 2008 elections. She is trying to do a Tom Paine kind of thing with this book and it works pretty well. Its purpose is not to depress us but to wake us up and motivate us not to let it happen. Read it! Now!

  2. 4 out of 5

    David Lentz

    If you love democracy and want to see its ideals preserved, then this book offers a guide for its perpetuation. The founders of the American Constitution were so profound in their construction of democracy that they installed a series of checks and balances to power. Wolf examines history to offer a warning shot that portrays how past authoritarian and dictatorial regimes upset a democratic balance of power to enable ambitious regimes to come to oppress nations. If we are to preserve democracy, If you love democracy and want to see its ideals preserved, then this book offers a guide for its perpetuation. The founders of the American Constitution were so profound in their construction of democracy that they installed a series of checks and balances to power. Wolf examines history to offer a warning shot that portrays how past authoritarian and dictatorial regimes upset a democratic balance of power to enable ambitious regimes to come to oppress nations. If we are to preserve democracy, then it's essential to understand the ploys which could leave its power tragically unbalanced. Essentially, Wolf is advising that if we stay true to the expressed ideals articulated in the Constitution, then American democracy will work. However, insofar as the executive, congressional or judiciary branches stray, then shifts of power could occur. She follows the political journeys of history's great oppressors to show how they maneuvered and manipulated their government to gain absolute power. Wolf is deeply and rightly concerned that these same Orwellian tactics are now in play in America to threaten democracy here. Wolf cites ten specific measures which have been used to weaken democracies in the past: we must learn from the lessons of history in order not to repeat them. 1) Invoke an internal or external threat 2) establish secret prisons 3) develop a paramilitary force 4) surveil ordinary citizens 5) infiltrate citizens' groups 6) arbitrarily detain and release citizens 7) target key individuals 8) restrict the press 9) cast criticism as espionage and dissent as treason 10) subvert the rule of law. These warnings should be heeded by members both of the left and right in order to preserve democracy: for once there is a unifying motive. Wolf emphasizes that democracy is fragile and its perpetuity should not be taken for granted as other nations which have lost it sadly know from brutal experience. I highly recommend this cautionary tale by Yale grad and Rhodes Scholar, Naomi Wolf. This is an important book of warning by an American patriot designed to heighten the vigilance of other patriots toward the preservation of democratic ideals threatened by the hubris of adversaries externally and internally who thirst for power.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Jeanette (Again)

    I cannot give this book any less than five stars. I so greatly admire Naomi Wolf for having the courage and audacity to warn her fellow Americans about what is still happening right under their noses. Other reviewers here have covered the details of the book, so I won't do so. It's only about 150 pages, so if you care about your rights as an American citizen, you can read for yourself. This is not an idiotic partisan rant in the manner of that Coulter cow. Wolf wants to motivate ALL Americans to I cannot give this book any less than five stars. I so greatly admire Naomi Wolf for having the courage and audacity to warn her fellow Americans about what is still happening right under their noses. Other reviewers here have covered the details of the book, so I won't do so. It's only about 150 pages, so if you care about your rights as an American citizen, you can read for yourself. This is not an idiotic partisan rant in the manner of that Coulter cow. Wolf wants to motivate ALL Americans to speak up and demand a return to the rule of law. Her claims and references are documented. In short, Wolf devotes one chapter each to ten steps would-be dictators take when they want to kill democracy and free speech. She covers how Hitler, Mussolini, Pinochet and others took these steps. Then she gives real examples of comparable things Bush and his cronies have done that parallel each of these same ten steps. Wolf's purpose is to wake people up in America and show them, "Yes, it CAN happen here." The U.S. Constitution has been greatly undermined over the past few years, with most changes sheepishly sanctioned by Congress. Getting rid of Bush does not make the problem go away. The losses of rights and protections are now part of laws enforceable by all future presidents. The title of the book comes across as a little extreme, but it's not really. She gives certain possible scenarios and asks, "If this happened, would that be the end of America?" So anyway, that's where the title comes from.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Justin

    Although I agree with most of Wolfe's statements about our modern American dilemma, and was grateful that this book warns of a good portion of the grave dangers that our recent history has imparted upon the rights (or lack thereof) of the American people, this book was just flat-out not written well. The message was for the most part 3-4 stars, but I could have edited this book better in my sleep. Rife with grammatical errors and typos, this book was at times poorly enough edited to make it diff Although I agree with most of Wolfe's statements about our modern American dilemma, and was grateful that this book warns of a good portion of the grave dangers that our recent history has imparted upon the rights (or lack thereof) of the American people, this book was just flat-out not written well. The message was for the most part 3-4 stars, but I could have edited this book better in my sleep. Rife with grammatical errors and typos, this book was at times poorly enough edited to make it difficult to read. However, I do respect the fact that this is more than likely the result of Ms. Wolf's attempt to rush this book onto our shelves, knowing full well that her message of warning was time-sensitive and far too important for grammatical delays. That being said ... for me personally, the content of the book often lends itself to an overly-naive take on our "forefathers" and how seemingly noble their intentions were. Recognizing the failures of our most recent administrations is a good start toward a productive disillusionment, but we must then ask ourselves, "is our current situation, at least in part, a result of the shortcomings of our forefathers' plan and/or their limited foresight?" Good message; important subject to read on; written marginally and with a lack of eloquence; edited atrociously.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Mike

    This is a dishonest book clearly geared to make money from those who are predisposed to 'Bush Bashing'. By 'dishonest' I mean the following: - While many excellent examples of how previous pseudo-democratic societies have been subverted are given, very little evidence is shown that the Bush administration was following the same extremes. In essence, Wold was saying, "This could happen so you'd better be shaking in your boots." These were not-so-subtle attempts to strike fear in those susceptible t This is a dishonest book clearly geared to make money from those who are predisposed to 'Bush Bashing'. By 'dishonest' I mean the following: - While many excellent examples of how previous pseudo-democratic societies have been subverted are given, very little evidence is shown that the Bush administration was following the same extremes. In essence, Wold was saying, "This could happen so you'd better be shaking in your boots." These were not-so-subtle attempts to strike fear in those susceptible to propaganda just prior to an election. - Very similar or even identical behavior by liberal/progressive presidents was completely omitted. This omission makes me conclude that this was simply an attack on Bush, someone the author despises. - The standards to which Wolf expects Bush and 'conservatives' to follow are conveniently not applied to her liberal/progressive friends. Here are three examples just from pg. 76: 1) "In Florida in 2000 ... angry mobs of young men ... refused to give their names ..." I saw reports of this on television and they were hardly mobs, unless Wolf would like to use the Clintonism: "It depends on what you mean by 'mobs'." Further, any person-of-color would immediately contact the ACLU if they had were required to give their name by a 'mob'—why should a young man have to give their name? 2) "...one group made it clear to officials behind the glass that they could see who was doing what." And at the same time, there were similar groups of Democrats making it clear to vote counters in other areas that they were watching, too. I saw this latter in television reports, as well, but I didn't see any intimidating white-folk doing as Wolf claims. So I claim that Wolf is making this up. 3) "Some groups of aggressive young men also congregated menacingly outside voting booths in districts in which there is a majority of African-American voters"" "Were these menacing, aggressive young men wearing Black Panther arm-bands and dressing up in fatigues and carrying police batons as happened in Philadelphia?" I ask sarcastically. So the bottom line is that this book is bogus. If you're inclined to hate conservatives and/or Bush then this book will resonate with you (much as a Glenn Beck book would resonate with a conservative). I did not like Bush myself (and did not vote for Bush) but then liberals and progressives have done far more damage to democracy and freedom in the U.S. and around the world than conservatives ever have. May I suggest that Wolf next consider looking into how money and the management thereof (i.e. redistribution) affects freedoms and democracy.

  6. 4 out of 5

    GeekChick

    I learned of this book when I saw Wolf on Colbert Report. The premise is that there are 10 steps a government takes to move from an open society/democracy to fascism. Guess how many are underway in America right now? The first couple of chapters scared the hell out of me. If this is true, and if we don't take our country back soon, people with reading lists like mine will be "disappeared." I am fearful of our future. Now that I have read about halfway through, though, I must say that I wish Wolf I learned of this book when I saw Wolf on Colbert Report. The premise is that there are 10 steps a government takes to move from an open society/democracy to fascism. Guess how many are underway in America right now? The first couple of chapters scared the hell out of me. If this is true, and if we don't take our country back soon, people with reading lists like mine will be "disappeared." I am fearful of our future. Now that I have read about halfway through, though, I must say that I wish Wolf would flesh out her arguments more. The book is designed to be like a colonial-era "pamphlet" and therefore thinner. I think it would be much more powerful and interesting, though, if it were more like 500 pages. For the most part, she states her point, then offers one-sentence examples from Stalin, Mussolini, etc., then a multi-paragraph example from Hitler. Frankly, the constant comparison to Nazis is losing me. If her premise is that this has happened time and again throughout the western world, then she would be better served to provide broader examples. Still, I would recommend that people at least read the introductory chapters, setting the stage. After that, anyone educated on current affairs can just read the table of contents (to see the 10 steps listed) and fill in the blanks for him/herself. There is, in the back, a page or two with websites for organizations fighting for our civil liberties right now. This is a good resource for anyone wanting to fight the good fight while we still have some semblance of free speech. (Did you know that right now, if Bush read my book list, he could declare me an enemy combatant, and you'd never hear from me again? Really. It's happened already -- to our own military, no less!) ***Add on comments, later: I finally decided to move this off my "currently reading list," because it's been so long since I picked it up. That's because I get so riled up when I read it, that I realized I needed to be careful about doing so -- otherwise I'd face insomnia! I will finish this book for sure, but I thought it best to move it off the "current" list.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Lucius

    A Clarion Call for Patriots, January 20, 2008 What Naomi Wolf sees in the current state of affairs in America is a "fascist shift" - a subtle (and not so subtle) erosion of our Constitutional Democracy in the post 9/11 reality of perpetual global war. It is worth noting that according to Mussolini, fascism rejects pacifism. And, as he proclaimed in a 1932 Italian Encyclopedia article, "fascism believes neither in the possibility nor the utility of perpetual peace..." (What is Fascism) Wolf has A Clarion Call for Patriots, January 20, 2008 What Naomi Wolf sees in the current state of affairs in America is a "fascist shift" - a subtle (and not so subtle) erosion of our Constitutional Democracy in the post 9/11 reality of perpetual global war. It is worth noting that according to Mussolini, fascism rejects pacifism. And, as he proclaimed in a 1932 Italian Encyclopedia article, "fascism believes neither in the possibility nor the utility of perpetual peace..." (What is Fascism) Wolf has studied both historians and political scientists who have identified 10 salient characterists of fascist states. Wolf examines how these have played out throughout the course of modern history and then draws striking parallels with what is happening right here at home under our very noses. And it ain't a pretty picture. But this slender tome is not merely a delineation of the abuses of power endemic to the current administration; it is, indeed, as the subtitle has it, a "warning" to all Americans to resist this downward spiral into an American version of fascism that will come draped in the flag. As the Executive Branch has progamatically consolidated power in this Age of Terror, it is worth noting, once again, Mussolini's belief that "Fascism denies that the majority, by the simple fact that it is a majority, can direct human society..." Thus, the abrogation of our participation in Federal government to the Executive Branch, corporate lobbyists and special interests is perfectly in line with his philosophy and does not bode well for We the People. Given the prerogative of presidential 'signing statements', the Congress, notes Wolf, has become little more than an advisory body with little real power. We are, apparently, too much concerned with celebrities and feel-good pharmacuticals to take an active role in preserving our liberties in the face of "the global war on terror". But as Benjamin Franklin warned, "They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." (Contributions to the Conference on February 17 (III) Fri, Feb 17, 1775) That the cover and chapter heads of this volume evoke Thomas Paine is no accident. Paine's voice echoes throughout this "Letter...To A Young Patriot". And as General Washington insisted that his rag-tag militamen read Paine, so each citizen who would resist the tide of creeping fascism ought to read Wolf and prepare to do battle with forces foreign and domestic that would strip us of our liberties. The Founding Fathers knew what it was to live under a tyrannical government. Their wisdom and their vision insured that we, their posterity, would inherit a government responsive to the will of the People. It is that very legacy that is in danger of being co-opted by forces that assume they can shape our history. Read this book. Resist the powers that be.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Marcus

    I used to read horror stories to get myself scared. Now all you have to read is recent history. If you are like me, you have the feeling that America has changed in recent years. Feels like the government is marching to a slightly different tune than what the people desire. You also probably felt some of the things being done were wrong: aggressive interrogation, jailing reporters, use of signing statements to over Congressional rule, Guantanomo, etc....... Naomi Wolf's book compares 2000's USA t I used to read horror stories to get myself scared. Now all you have to read is recent history. If you are like me, you have the feeling that America has changed in recent years. Feels like the government is marching to a slightly different tune than what the people desire. You also probably felt some of the things being done were wrong: aggressive interrogation, jailing reporters, use of signing statements to over Congressional rule, Guantanomo, etc....... Naomi Wolf's book compares 2000's USA to Germany in the 1920's and the similarities are frightening and give cause for concern. Putting America in a perpetual state of emergency creates an opportunity for abuse. Government has systematically increased powers of the executive branch, while simultaneously removed/ignored citizens rights. 1920's Germany created a mythological enemy, funded creation of a paramilitary force, created a secret prison system, encouraged surveillance of citizens, practiced arbitrary detainment of citizens, harassed/infiltrated citizen's groups, targeted writers, entertainers and dissenters, recast dissent as treason and eventually ended the rule of law. Sound familiar?

  9. 5 out of 5

    Conor Ahern

    Sigh. Books like this are almost unreadable these days. I wish I had read this earlier, because I think I was woefully ignorant of the abuses and unconstitutional postures taken by the Bush administration until at least the beginning of my law school days, but the scope creep of the executive from Bush to Obama to Trump is almost too baleful to contemplate under the current administration. In highest dudgeon I've certainly lobbed my fair share of insults at the current president. I wonder if I'l Sigh. Books like this are almost unreadable these days. I wish I had read this earlier, because I think I was woefully ignorant of the abuses and unconstitutional postures taken by the Bush administration until at least the beginning of my law school days, but the scope creep of the executive from Bush to Obama to Trump is almost too baleful to contemplate under the current administration. In highest dudgeon I've certainly lobbed my fair share of insults at the current president. I wonder if I'll be flagged as a subversive? A few things in particular stand out as prescient--particularly regarding "fake news"--after a grueling first week of the Trump presidency: "The great masses of the people will more easily fall victims of a big lie than a small one" Hitler wrote in Mein Kampf. Fascists rely on perception management: what the intelligence community calls "info ops" because their tactics won't stand scrutiny by a free press. So, in a fascist shift, as real reporters are being frozen out, smeared, or faced with unemployment, there is an increasing use of spectacle in conveying a message, and the spectacle is accompanied by the production of fake news and false documents. The messaging, combined with the spectacle, can be stunning in a fascist ascendancy. Fascist messaging has advantage that democratic communications and advocacy, even of the highest sophistication, just cannot demonstrate. You can use a monolithic, harmonized voice and vision, unimpeded by dissent, rather than trying to break through a clash of pluralistic arguments. This power of epic messaging--in combination with power of spectacle--is a well known aspect of the seduction of fascism. Dictatorships specialize in faking news and falsifying documents. Hitler wrote that "All effective propaganda must be limited to a very few points, and must harp on these in slogans until the last member of the public understands what you want him to understand." He argued that good propaganda speaks to feelings and not reason, and that it should never admit a glimmer of doubt in its own claims or concede the tiniest element of right in the claims of the other side. After a certain point in a fascist shift, it doesn't matter whether most people believe the faked news or not. Eventually, they simply don't have access to enough good information to assess what is real and what is not. Sending a current of lies into the information scene is part of classic psychological operations to generate a larger shift, a new reality in which the truth can no longer be ascertained and no longer counts. In this reality, citizens no longer feel empowered or able to establish the truth on either side, and therefore give up their agency. At this point, people can be manipulated into supporting almost any state action, for how can citizens know what is right? Truth itself has been cheapened, made subjective, and internal, not absolute and external. And this profoundly sad final note from the last part of the book reminds me of a joke a friend told me recently. He said that in the 1980s a Republican went over to a Democrat's house to play a game of checkers. They agreed on the rules, made a few moves, and then at some point the Republican got up, threw a bomb at the house, and began spraying kerosene everywhere. Meanwhile, inside, the Democrat is looking out for double-jumps and opportunities to get kinged. We in America are used to a democratic social contract in which there is agreement about the rules of the game. When Congress demands an answer, for instance, the President does not simply refuse to pick up the phone. So we keep being startled when the steps of the democratic interplay are ignored. "He can't do that!" It's time to notice that they are playing a different game altogether. It's long past time to wake up.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Evin Ashley

    This was a quick read, and I wavered on whether to rate it 2 or 3-stars. Ultimately 2, because although what she says is valid in drawing attention to our government quickly eroding "unalienable" rights in the name of security and national integrity, Wolf rushed to draw dramatic parallel to outrageously fascist regimes. I believe the style and pacing of the book felt like someone blowing a steady stream of hot air onto your face - it was clear she wanted her words to mirror a revolutionary pamphl This was a quick read, and I wavered on whether to rate it 2 or 3-stars. Ultimately 2, because although what she says is valid in drawing attention to our government quickly eroding "unalienable" rights in the name of security and national integrity, Wolf rushed to draw dramatic parallel to outrageously fascist regimes. I believe the style and pacing of the book felt like someone blowing a steady stream of hot air onto your face - it was clear she wanted her words to mirror a revolutionary pamphlet and affect the American population thusly. In hilarious parallel to her namesake, Naomi seems to be crying wolf about the demise of America, and perhaps more concerned with demonizing a particular administration by unfairly squashing it into the historical context of fascist dictatorships only concerned with world dominion. The sad truth of America's gradual erosion of liberty is that it was borne not of external imperialistic ambition, but of fear. The United States has whipped up fear as a political tool to exert control over an increasingly unpredictable world, not out of any ambition to conquer it. Here's what I think: America is not dead. It cannot die, because it is an idea. We do desperately need to evolve our government to adhere to this idea and its influence in the world, but not whip American citizenry into a further frenzy of fear and complicit doom. We need to think differently; optimistically, constructively, as a revolutionary, which Naomi does not do. But in her own words: "Here's what we're not taught: Those words ["...life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness..."] at the time they were written were blazingly, electrifyingly subversive. If you understand them truly now, they still are. These men and the women who supported their work were walking further out into the unknown - betting on ordinary people's capacities - than anyone had ever walked in the history of the human race. You are not taught - and it is a disgrace that you aren't - that these men and women were radicals for liberty; that they had a vision of equality that was a slap in the face of what the rest of the world understood to be the unchanging, God-given order of nations; and that they were willing to die to make that desperate vision into a reality for people like us, whom they would never live to see." (p.27) Let's hearken back to that intrinsic American motivation and enthusiasm, predicated on building a better world, rather than withdrawing into a fearful, pessimistic one.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Matt

    I definitely could have used half stars here. It's a good book but it is very depressing. 2.5 presidential terms after the book was released and nothing has changed. If anything it's worse. I definitely could have used half stars here. It's a good book but it is very depressing. 2.5 presidential terms after the book was released and nothing has changed. If anything it's worse.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Amber Lea

    What a trip down memory lane. Remember Naomi Wolf? Remember Bush? Unfortunately, Naomi Wolf has a reputation for poor fact checking and I have no interest in fact checking this book myself. But you know, sometimes she makes really good points. Other times she sounds really dumb. Like toward the end she has this whole part about how bloggers can save us. I wonder what she would say about that now. But yeah, I don't know. I only read this book because I have a physical copy that I probably bought 10 What a trip down memory lane. Remember Naomi Wolf? Remember Bush? Unfortunately, Naomi Wolf has a reputation for poor fact checking and I have no interest in fact checking this book myself. But you know, sometimes she makes really good points. Other times she sounds really dumb. Like toward the end she has this whole part about how bloggers can save us. I wonder what she would say about that now. But yeah, I don't know. I only read this book because I have a physical copy that I probably bought 10 years ago and I'm trying to pare down all my books so they fit on my bookcase. It's really not that bad, but it does have that Naomi Wolf way of being kind of irritating. Seriously, so many people could benefit from an editor who's a real hardass and Naomi Wolf is definitely one of them. But it was interesting stepping back in time to 2007. Man.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Alex

    Naomi Wolf's short, straightforward book is a warning that the prospects for fascism emerging in America are real and growing. She lays out 10 steps that governments take in order to concentrate power and stifle dissent, on the road to fascism, all of which are underway in the good ol' US of A. 1. Invoke an External and Internal Threat 2. Establish Secret Prisons 3. Develop a Paramilitary Force 4. Surveil Ordinary Citizens 5. Infiltrate Citzens' Groups 6. Arbitrarily Detain and Release Citizens 7. Targ Naomi Wolf's short, straightforward book is a warning that the prospects for fascism emerging in America are real and growing. She lays out 10 steps that governments take in order to concentrate power and stifle dissent, on the road to fascism, all of which are underway in the good ol' US of A. 1. Invoke an External and Internal Threat 2. Establish Secret Prisons 3. Develop a Paramilitary Force 4. Surveil Ordinary Citizens 5. Infiltrate Citzens' Groups 6. Arbitrarily Detain and Release Citizens 7. Target Key Individuals 8. Restrict the Press 9. Cast Criticism as 'Espionage' and Dissent as 'Treason' 10. Subvert the Rule of Law This issue is obviously incredibly relevant today, and I happen to agree that fascism is an imminent threat in the US. But I wasn't terribly impressed by this book. Although I believe the author is or maybe was a radical, the arguments here are very very much within the liberal framework, or even right-libertarian framework, and the pro-U.S., pro-Constitution rhetoric, while serving a function here, does actually cover up the fact that this nation was built on state terror and repressive violence. It's not a new thing. I think this book also alienated me a bit because it's heavy on scare-tactic language, and even some implications bordering on conspiracy theory. These all served to make the book something more of interest to the (largely white, male) middle class as opposed to the truly dispossessed of this nation, who would actually be the ones likely to suffer most under a fascist system. What this book DOESN'T do is probably the most important thing, inspire HOPE that regular people can actually PREVENT emergent-fascism, or undo it. Wolf tries, but ultimately I think the effect is to actually scare us and the impression one gets is a gloomy, we're-fucked, bleak future. Intellectually, that may be alright, but if the intent is to move people to action, this fails horribly and may actually be counterproductive. Worth skimming, but there should be, and probably are, much better books on the subject of the U.S.' decline into fascism.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Josie

    Although, much like a textbook in presentation, and perhaps sounding a bit dated, now that we are all basking in the afterglow of a historic presidential election, I still think this is a very important book for all Americans to read. First off, it reminds us that the people who established are country lived under such tyrannical rule that they would lay down their life to fight for their liberty and rights. But, these same liberties and rights can be stripped away gradually and subtly if the pe Although, much like a textbook in presentation, and perhaps sounding a bit dated, now that we are all basking in the afterglow of a historic presidential election, I still think this is a very important book for all Americans to read. First off, it reminds us that the people who established are country lived under such tyrannical rule that they would lay down their life to fight for their liberty and rights. But, these same liberties and rights can be stripped away gradually and subtly if the people are not vigilant in their "civic life." This book clearly outlines the ten steps towards a fascist government takeover with chilling examples in historical regimes that we have looked on with disgust and disbelief, and how it has happened, and still is happening in our own country. I am hoping that the grass roots organizing that got many disenfranchised people out to vote, some for the first time in their lives, and showed that their involvement can make a difference, will also re-engage people into insisting that all branches of the government stick to the checks and balances to prevent our country from falling into fascist tendencies. Wolfe makes a very strong case that our current administration has spent a lot of time, in the name of security and the war on terrorism, to strip away these checks and balances to fulfill their objectives, which is profits for the many defense contractors that have made a lot of money in security and surveillance. Freedom is not to be taken for granted. It is a full time job for each citizen. Read this short little book and then insist on accountability from your government.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Atrebs

    I encourage you, regardless of political party affiliation, to pick up and read this book. It strikes a comparison between the rise to power of the dictators of the past (Hitler, Mussolini, Pinochet, etc.) and what she calls the "fascist shift" in American to an antidemocracy that has our founding fathers rolling in their graves. I was struck by the same stomach wrenching feelings I had while watching John Adams that our predecessors who gave their all for our freedom would be horrified by wha I encourage you, regardless of political party affiliation, to pick up and read this book. It strikes a comparison between the rise to power of the dictators of the past (Hitler, Mussolini, Pinochet, etc.) and what she calls the "fascist shift" in American to an antidemocracy that has our founding fathers rolling in their graves. I was struck by the same stomach wrenching feelings I had while watching John Adams that our predecessors who gave their all for our freedom would be horrified by what is taking place in American society today. In comparing the 'echoes' of fascism, as some claimed her comparison to Nazi Germany or Mussolini's Italy was not like the American situation, she says: "there is no guarantee that America is different if Americans fail to take up the Patriot's task". Defintely a lot to think about. Her ten steps to dictatorship are compelling in light of the similarities between the government's tactics post 9/11 and the tactics of Hitler and the Nazi party. Yikes!

  16. 4 out of 5

    Amanda

    This is a book that really gets you thinking about the rights culture we live in. It examines the US administrations approach to the Iraq war at home and abroad (I was especially intrigued by the look at the Patriot Act). I found myself thinking, how far are we willing to go for freedom? When you take security to unbelievable extremes can you really call it freedom? Is our society so consummed with a 'rights rehtoric' that we get lost in what we think we deserve? It was a book that made you ques This is a book that really gets you thinking about the rights culture we live in. It examines the US administrations approach to the Iraq war at home and abroad (I was especially intrigued by the look at the Patriot Act). I found myself thinking, how far are we willing to go for freedom? When you take security to unbelievable extremes can you really call it freedom? Is our society so consummed with a 'rights rehtoric' that we get lost in what we think we deserve? It was a book that made you question what has become second nature in our society: a belief that we have an unlimited amount of rights and are entitled to these rights. But is it possible for some people to take the rights revolution to far? and will the price of freedom cost us our fundamental rights?

  17. 4 out of 5

    Book Lover

    Enjoyable read. A lesson to us all.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Andrew

    A good book for a beginning liberal, but ultimately this book is long on problems and short on solutions. I mostly agreed with Wolf throughout, but lost patience with her arguments after awhile, anxious for solutions that never came. I probably should have known better just by looking at the conclusion, "A Patriot's Task," which is a whopping two pages long. Wolf presented a lot of valuable information, and a lot of the book works well as a history lesson. Particularly enlightening and frightenin A good book for a beginning liberal, but ultimately this book is long on problems and short on solutions. I mostly agreed with Wolf throughout, but lost patience with her arguments after awhile, anxious for solutions that never came. I probably should have known better just by looking at the conclusion, "A Patriot's Task," which is a whopping two pages long. Wolf presented a lot of valuable information, and a lot of the book works well as a history lesson. Particularly enlightening and frightening to me were chapters 3 ("Establishing Secret Prisons"), 4 ("Develop a Paramilitary Force") and 7 ("Arbitrarily Detain and Release Prisoners," about the disintegration of habeas corpus). In the "Restrict the Press" chapter, she makes some important points about the delegitimization of Truth, as well as making her most effective pitch at a solution when she calls upon bloggers to start taking their jobs more seriously. But overall, I got tired of the comparisons to Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy, Stalinist Russia, modern China, Pinochet's Chile, and other dictatorships. I don't actually disagree with Wolf's point, they just provoked a "Yeah, yeah, what next then?" response. Preaching to the choir. A big problem I had with the book was my impression that Wolf exaggerates at times. An example would be, when talking about surveillance: One reason dictators demand access to such private data is that this scrutiny breaks down citizens' sense of being able to act freely against those in power.You know what, that may very well be one reason, but I can guarantee you it's not the main reason, at least in the case of the U.S. Call me naive, but I believe that illegal wiretapping probably stems from a genuine desire to catch terrorists. Throughout the book, Wolf assigns this conspiratorial thinking where I'm not sure it exists. D For example, does Wolf really believe that G-Dub thought, "You know what we need to do? We need to break down our citizens' sense of being able to act freely against us."? It is true that many of the tactics she describes lead to abridged freedom, but I don't think she does lefties a service by fabricating this evil right wing empire-in-waiting, when most evidence points to it being a much more organic process, without one or even a group of evil masterminds guiding it. It's scary enough as it is, and we need to discuss it honestly in order to figure out how to stop it. Wolf -- perhaps unintentionally -- injects a fair amount of irrational dogmatism into the conversation. . . . . . And then her solution is that people should magically become more informed and politically active, and just better in general. And everyone should just magically get along and learn how to cooperate and work together to demand their freedom. Very helpful, Naomi. NOT. As an aside, the book would have gained much credibility just from a more thorough proof-reading. It's hard to take a book with so many typos seriously. Not Bad Reviews @pointblaek

  19. 4 out of 5

    Tim

    This is a very important book, especially for these times. Not only should every patriotic American read this, but anyone anywhere who values freedom of and for the people. The author, without being emotive, draws on evidence from the last century, right up to last year to paint a picture of how a change in government direction can insidiously take place until almost suddenly there is a real risk of liberties being eroded and replaced with a form of dictatorship. Wolf describes this as a "fascis This is a very important book, especially for these times. Not only should every patriotic American read this, but anyone anywhere who values freedom of and for the people. The author, without being emotive, draws on evidence from the last century, right up to last year to paint a picture of how a change in government direction can insidiously take place until almost suddenly there is a real risk of liberties being eroded and replaced with a form of dictatorship. Wolf describes this as a "fascist shift". She shows examples of what happened in Hitler's Germany and Mussolini's Italy and then shows examples of what is happening in the USA; the reader is left with an unavoidable sense of deja vu. She covers the reasons behind the creation of the US constitution and the Founders desire to ensure that tyranny could not happen again in the USA. She then shows how the fears of the Founders are as valid today and urges all citizens to stand up for democracy and the values that the constitution was built upon. Wolf shows, how this fascist shift takes place, again using examples from history and suggesting that the reader consider if and how those elements have and are taking place in the USA today. She does this covering what she calls the ten steps to fascism: 1. Invoke a terrifying internal and external enemy 2. Establish secret prisons 3. Develop a paramilitary force 4. Set up an internal surveillance system 5. Infiltrate citizens groups 6. Arbitrarily detain and release citizens 7. Target key individuals 8. Restrict or control the press 9. Cast criticism as "espionage" and dissent as "treason" 10. Subvert or suspend the rule of law Watts is not scaremongering. She is not a "wild lefty" or "conspiracy nut". She is not suggesting that the USA will go the way of Nazi Germany. She is, however, issuing a much needed warning, that the citizens of the USA are in danger of allowing the foundations of democracy to be "fatally corroded" under their noses. It is not a pleasant task to consider that freedom, which is taken for granted by many, may indeed be under attack. It is a task that we all should be undertaking. Even for readers who are already aware of the shift away from personal liberties and freedoms can find much of value in this book. It is the sort of book that one could consider giving to anyone whom you wished might consider some difficult questions about freedom today. Naomi Wolf's book is a very readable and easy to understand starting place for those who may for the first time be faced with really opening their eyes to what has been and is happening to freedom and democracy. She provides many references from which readers can begin to test for themselves just what direction the USA is headed in.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    This book is a well-researched, well-developed argument for the dangerous direction that America has been headed. Wolf outlines 10 steps to close an open society that have been repeated again and again throughout history. She further outlines how the US is well on its way to following these 10 steps. While she stops short of suggesting that we are headed toward a dictatorship, she points out that we are very much headed toward something less than a democracy.....something less than what our Foun This book is a well-researched, well-developed argument for the dangerous direction that America has been headed. Wolf outlines 10 steps to close an open society that have been repeated again and again throughout history. She further outlines how the US is well on its way to following these 10 steps. While she stops short of suggesting that we are headed toward a dictatorship, she points out that we are very much headed toward something less than a democracy.....something less than what our Founders intended. The wording of the Constitution is no accident. It is based on experiences that led the Founders to anticipate the problems a democracy could face. Perhaps most importantly, Wolf encourages us to wake up, to take action and to be aware. While we wait for the pendulum to swing back, we are slowly becoming accustomed to the way things are, forgetting about the way things used to be. Wolf is able to put these arguments together in a more documented, clearer and more substantiated way than myself, but I will just briefly mention the ten steps to closing an open society and a word or two on how this applies to the United States today. You decide if reading further is warranted. Invoke an External and Internal Threat --- an endless Worldwide war on Terror Establish Secret Prisons --- Guatanamo and more, New ideas of Torture Develop a Paramilitary Force --- Blackwater (scary) Surveil Ordinary Citizens --- Wire tapping, email surveillance....the LIST Infiltrate Citizens Groups ---infiltrating antiwar groups, Talon Arbitrarily Detain and Release Citizens --- again the list, Cat Stevens for example Target Key Individuals --- Dixie Chicks, Bill Maher, entertainers and political figures Restrict the Press --- the book cites many fabulous examples of this, but do you ever get the feeling that the press isn't reporting the whole truth. Think Fox News Cast Criticism as "espionage" and Dissent as "Treason" --- Scary stuff. Treason is supposed to mean waging war against your country......these terms are being thrown around an awful lot lately. Subvert the Rule of Law --- ousting attorneys that don't agree with administration that aren't "loyal", taking control of national Guard away from States, Can we guarantee a fair election given all of the above........

  21. 4 out of 5

    Eva Aurora

    Naomi Wolf outlines the ten steps that are historically followed by a government wishing to take an open society to a closed society. It is chilling as well as inspiring. It was a chilling read because I realized to what extent I'd been asleep. I take my freedoms in this country far too much for granted, as I think most Americans do. I also don't want to believe that those we entrust with our freedoms have designs to take them away, but Wolf makes the important and historically correct point th Naomi Wolf outlines the ten steps that are historically followed by a government wishing to take an open society to a closed society. It is chilling as well as inspiring. It was a chilling read because I realized to what extent I'd been asleep. I take my freedoms in this country far too much for granted, as I think most Americans do. I also don't want to believe that those we entrust with our freedoms have designs to take them away, but Wolf makes the important and historically correct point that people in power desire to retain that power, and that to do so they must close a society. She points to some of the famous dictators of the past and draws parallels between their governments and ours. This is not a popular course of action unless you are a political pundit with leanings to the far left, but I found Wolf credible because of her lack of bias. She also correctly points out that these dictators used the law to close their societies, slowly tightening the noose around the necks of the citizens until they had no room to breathe. However, this book was an inspiring read, despite the sleepless nights it gave me. Wolf does not thrive on the doom and gloom aspect of our potential fate and then leave us in depression. She points out that we, the People, must return to our duties to be constantly watching those in power. It is up to us to be educated and enlightened so that we can take steps, if needed (and they are needed all the time), to retain our freedoms as the Constitution outlined. She calls us to be patriots like those who fought against Britain to make us a free country. And she reminds us that the common people of the early United States constantly read, debated about and made their voices heard about government policies. We need to return to that kind of dedication and education. We have fallen asleep.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Julie

    This is a chilling read. Wolf describes various repressive dictatorships and then compares their practices to recent political actions. Her comparison of George Bush's flight-suit-plane-landing to a plane landing of Hitler filmed by famed propagandist Leni Riefenstahl is disturbing. Very disturbing. I don't know if I am with her 100%, but even 60% of her truth is terrifying. Simple language- simply stated. Horrifying conclusions. And when I think think "hey we are voting the bums out!" She attac This is a chilling read. Wolf describes various repressive dictatorships and then compares their practices to recent political actions. Her comparison of George Bush's flight-suit-plane-landing to a plane landing of Hitler filmed by famed propagandist Leni Riefenstahl is disturbing. Very disturbing. I don't know if I am with her 100%, but even 60% of her truth is terrifying. Simple language- simply stated. Horrifying conclusions. And when I think think "hey we are voting the bums out!" She attacks my naiveté with this stinging comment: "Leaders who are willing to abuse signing statements, withhold information from congress, make secret decisions, lie to the American people, use fake evidence to justify a preemptive war, torture prisoners, tap peoples phones, open their mail and email, break into their houses and now simply ignore congress altogether, leaders with currently a 29% approval rating will surely say, come 2008, "The decision rests in the hands of the people, let the votes be fairly counted!" ouch. I sent some $$ to the ACLU and pledge to get off my butt as well as keep informed.

  23. 4 out of 5

    John

    Naomi Wolf writes an alarming letter to a patriot, comparing the tightening of civil liberties during the Bush administration to totalitarian regimes of the past--Nazi Germany, Communist Russia, Communist China, Chile, and the Eastern Bloc countries. I give Wolf kudos for writing the book four and a half years ago, but unfortunately things have only gotten much worse since she wrote the book, and because of that, it is a bit dated. But her central thesis is convincing. She argues there are ten st Naomi Wolf writes an alarming letter to a patriot, comparing the tightening of civil liberties during the Bush administration to totalitarian regimes of the past--Nazi Germany, Communist Russia, Communist China, Chile, and the Eastern Bloc countries. I give Wolf kudos for writing the book four and a half years ago, but unfortunately things have only gotten much worse since she wrote the book, and because of that, it is a bit dated. But her central thesis is convincing. She argues there are ten steps that every totalitarian regime follows to tighten its grip of power. The United States is well on its way to a totalitarian government, writes Wolf in 2007, and we're still on course for totalitarianism. I would have never found this book convincing had I not undergone a philosophical transformation a few years ago and finally realized that Bush, and the Republican party in general do NOT love liberty and embrace the principles of the Constitution. So the book is for the already skeptical, or "the choir" as they say. But perhaps it might help others open their eyes to the growing threat of totalitarian government in the United States.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Bruce Sanders

    This is a very important book. Everyone should read it. It is short, it is succinct there are no excuses not to read it. It makes clear that America is not immune to a fascist shift, in fact, we are clearly headed that way. I am not too impressed with some of the correlations of terminology, but very impressed by correlations of behavior and attitude of our current administration. Wolf makes clear that she is not talking about a move to fascism (yet) but just a shift in that direction. The book This is a very important book. Everyone should read it. It is short, it is succinct there are no excuses not to read it. It makes clear that America is not immune to a fascist shift, in fact, we are clearly headed that way. I am not too impressed with some of the correlations of terminology, but very impressed by correlations of behavior and attitude of our current administration. Wolf makes clear that she is not talking about a move to fascism (yet) but just a shift in that direction. The book is very narrow in scope. It offers no solutions other than exhorting the reader to defend democracy; it does not spend time looking at economic or social factors that lead to the shift or anything like that. It is just a series of observations of this is how fascism arose in Nazi Germany, Mussolini's Italy, Pinochet's Chile, Stalin's Russia, etc. and here are scarily similar things that are happening in the US today. It's very sobering and I'm glad it was written, but I'm unconvinced that it will prevent a further hard swing to the right in this country.

  25. 5 out of 5

    emily

    "We in America are used to a democratic social contract in which there is agreement about the rules of the game...So we keep being startled when the steps of the democratic interplay are ignored: 'He can't do that!' It's time to notice that they are playing a different game altogether." it's frightening but important to hear the specific examples of the bush administrations' appropriation of rhetoric, language, visuals, and techniques of these regimes to close down on freedom. wolf breaks down a "We in America are used to a democratic social contract in which there is agreement about the rules of the game...So we keep being startled when the steps of the democratic interplay are ignored: 'He can't do that!' It's time to notice that they are playing a different game altogether." it's frightening but important to hear the specific examples of the bush administrations' appropriation of rhetoric, language, visuals, and techniques of these regimes to close down on freedom. wolf breaks down a blueprint of the ten steps to dictatorship and points out how we are well on our way. we need to get over the shock and disbelief of what the administration is doing and make sure the rules aren't changed to close down on democracy any more than it already has; it's in our hands. depending on where you get your news you may find yourself wishing you had more information about the news items she references. but that leads to a whole other conversation (one i'd love to have) about media and news coverage which is part of the problem.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Michael Anthony

    Naomi Wolf inspired me to read this book when I saw her on Youtube giving a lecture. It was evident that this lady was a true patriot with a message to convey. This book is not complicated it is straight talk. The author took a real humanistic approach to communicate her sincerity with a layman’s platform of sustainable facts to provoke you to initiate a sense of responsible awareness of the current political climate and the true enemy of the American people--- Those on the inside whose agenda is t Naomi Wolf inspired me to read this book when I saw her on Youtube giving a lecture. It was evident that this lady was a true patriot with a message to convey. This book is not complicated it is straight talk. The author took a real humanistic approach to communicate her sincerity with a layman’s platform of sustainable facts to provoke you to initiate a sense of responsible awareness of the current political climate and the true enemy of the American people--- Those on the inside whose agenda is to take from America the hope of a true Democracy which protected by the United States Constitution that is currently under a vicious attack. Naomi Wolf's writing style reads more like a conversation with a concerned friend who has the courage to tell you what no one else will. Turn off the television read this book and start researching for your self! We are all just as much responsible for the decline of America as those who seek to ruin this nation! Get involved!!

  27. 4 out of 5

    Jim

    This started to get a little bit scary. …our country - the democracy our young patriots expect to inherit - is in the process of being altered forever. All of us - Republicans, Democrats, Independents, American citizens - have little time to repeal the laws and roll back the forces that can bring about the end of the American system we have inherited from the Founders - a system that has protect our freedom for over 200 years. Nope. Naomi Wolf didn't write this in early 2017 at the beginning of This started to get a little bit scary. …our country - the democracy our young patriots expect to inherit - is in the process of being altered forever. All of us - Republicans, Democrats, Independents, American citizens - have little time to repeal the laws and roll back the forces that can bring about the end of the American system we have inherited from the Founders - a system that has protect our freedom for over 200 years. Nope. Naomi Wolf didn't write this in early 2017 at the beginning of the Trump presidency. She wrote it in 2006-2007, toward the end of the Bush presidency. I have to agree that we need to be on watch - but can I say that maybe drawing direct parallels between America at the beginning of the 21st century and Nazi Germany may be a bit far? [To be fair, she states: I am not comparing the United States in 2007 to Nazi Germany, or Bush to Hitler…I…am calling to your attention to important lessons from history about how fragile civil liberties are, and how quickly freedom can be lost. And maybe that's a point well taken. But she does say that after ] In the introduction, she discusses Ten Steps that lead to Fascism. I couldn't figure out what they were - she doesn't explicitly list them. But I finally figured out what they were when I found this article that gives a summary and the fact that they were outlined in chapters 2 through 11 of this book. The following is a scary, though not utterly surprising thought (though Wolf suggests it "may sound shocking", after what I've seen in the 2016 election it would take more to shock me): …fascist regimes can be "quite popular" for the people who are being terrorized. And this is interesting: Arbitrary arrest, state intimidation, and torture were the tactics of the tyrannical monarchs of the eighteenth century Europe - tactics the Founders sought to banish from America soil forever. Too bad it hasn't been banished for people of all colors and religions and orientations! The thing that's scary is that so many fascist states started out as open societies. That's why we must remember to always be vigilant. This scared the shit out of me: …home-grown American versions of the same steps that all dictators have advanced may yet create an America in which all our institutions are intact--but functioning weakly; in which citizens have in theory the right to dissent, and some may do so mutedly, but most are afraid to exercise that right robustly; in which the press is subdued, the opposition is pulling its punches, and people are worried about expressing their true opinions, because it may cost them their jobs, or worse. The first thing to do is to invoke threats - both internal and external. I won't go into all the possibilities here, but the right has sure whipped up straight, white, middle class men into a fury that they are under attack and that their rights, lifestyles, and beliefs are under attack. Hitler came to power by first (well, after being elected) invoking threats to weaken the systems of checks and balances in a democratic government. Let that sink in. Why should Americans worry about Guantánamo? Because history shows us that building a secret prison opens a Pandora's box in Hell. Maybe I'm naive, but looking at the slippery slopes that Germany and the Soviet Union (under Stalin) followed, I feel like this couldn't happen here - the US is too big, too populated for the state to take over like this. But then, this is how all these things start - with the thought that "this can't happen here." And this is the problem with places like Guantanamo - although there are only 41 detainees now (or as of this March 2017 report), at least 780 prisoners have been kept there, we have offered bounties of between $3K and $25K for prisoners, and without due process, it's difficult to determine who is innocent and who isn't. How many innocent people have we held there? Just because they're not American citizens doesn't make it ok. And among all of these things that identify the move to tyranny, to a dictatorship - they all involve starting outside of the citizenry - so no one's alarm bells go off. It's scary. The signs are there: Developing a paramilitary force (no one seems to be talking about Blackwater). I'm almost nervous to type that word - do they search for new uses of that word? And little by little, rights taken away from dissenters, or at least making their lives more troublesome - whether you're on the TSA's list to be searched more thoroughly or your church is investigated by the IRS after your pastor delivers an anti-war sermon. And then you have restricting the press - which was basically a Trump campaign promise. And this is freaking scary: An ordinary lie distorts or hides the truth; the fascist lie is the assertion that truth is not a market anymore. Excuse my French, but holy shit! Alternative facts, anyone? Another thing fascist regimes do is start to throw around the word treason. The Constitution defines treason as actually "levying war" against America or giving "aid and comfort" to its enemies. By the Constitution's definition, nothing Obama did could be considered treasonous, but Trump and his staff aiding the Russians in impacting the election definitely applies. Ann Coulter's book Treason basically defines as treason anyone critical of then-President Bush. Of course, that definition wouldn't have been changed the day Obama took office, would it? In the end, it's the erosions of our institutions - of our checks and balances - that could close down our experiment in democracy in ways that look very American and familiar, but still leave us less than free. We need to always be vigilant.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Amberly

    Fantastic and timely premise. Horrifying and thought-provoking. She is correct that U.S. citizens have gotten too lax in upholding liberty, instead ceding their autonomy to supposed 'experts' and 'professional' politicians. The Founders did not mean for their country to go to hell like it is, and we shouldn't have ultimate faith in the pendulum of justice. It takes work, maybe even revolution. Especially scary, is the 1984/Animal Farm-ish elements of thought crime and re-writing history/altering Fantastic and timely premise. Horrifying and thought-provoking. She is correct that U.S. citizens have gotten too lax in upholding liberty, instead ceding their autonomy to supposed 'experts' and 'professional' politicians. The Founders did not mean for their country to go to hell like it is, and we shouldn't have ultimate faith in the pendulum of justice. It takes work, maybe even revolution. Especially scary, is the 1984/Animal Farm-ish elements of thought crime and re-writing history/altering truth. While she starts out fiery, straight-forward, and extremely well-researched, by the last few chapters Wolf leans more toward rhetoric and opinion. To wit, a business associate of mine was at the Chicago airport, waiting to depart on his flight, when airport officials took him aside and questioned him for 2 hours. He asked a sympathetic-looking official, "Why?" To which they replied, "You should be careful what you read in the airport."

  29. 4 out of 5

    Mark

    Lenin, Stalin, Hitler, Moussolini, Mao and all other 20th century dictatorial types followed the same blueprint: They invoked an internal and external threat, they established secret prisons that did not operate within the rule of law, they developed a paramilitary force, they spied on ordinary citizens, they infiltrated citizens' groups, they targeted key opponents, they restricted the freedom of the press, they cast criticism as "espionage" and dissent as "treason" and finally, they subverted Lenin, Stalin, Hitler, Moussolini, Mao and all other 20th century dictatorial types followed the same blueprint: They invoked an internal and external threat, they established secret prisons that did not operate within the rule of law, they developed a paramilitary force, they spied on ordinary citizens, they infiltrated citizens' groups, they targeted key opponents, they restricted the freedom of the press, they cast criticism as "espionage" and dissent as "treason" and finally, they subverted the rule of law. Given this information, it seems the question the American public has to answer is this: Will we continue to submit to the Bush Administration's radical expansion of executive power and gutting of the Constitution or will we prove ourselves different and demand a return to the rule of law, both for ourselves as well as for those who would do us harm? Anything less must eventually lead to tyranny.

  30. 5 out of 5

    James

    Dead on target, alarming and infuriating. Naomi Wolf's description, in historical context, of the ongoing drive by the far right to take over America and destroy freedom should be read by every voter before the next time they vote. As a veteran who dedicated 20 years of my life to the protection of our Constitution and as a lifelong student of history with a passionate love of the beautifully balanced system the Founders created, it disgusts me to see this work of genius attacked and endangered b Dead on target, alarming and infuriating. Naomi Wolf's description, in historical context, of the ongoing drive by the far right to take over America and destroy freedom should be read by every voter before the next time they vote. As a veteran who dedicated 20 years of my life to the protection of our Constitution and as a lifelong student of history with a passionate love of the beautifully balanced system the Founders created, it disgusts me to see this work of genius attacked and endangered by morally retarded thugs without the souls to even appreciate what they're trying to take away from the rest of us. Today is the 32nd anniversary of the day I went on active duty as a Marine - maybe it's time to renew my oath and my commitment to the defense of our Constitution, society, and system of government. I say, if these people want to live in a dictatorship, there are already plenty of those around the world - let them go to one of those countries; they can't have mine.

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.