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The Decline and Fall of the American Empire

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Six essays on the theme of empire and republic, with particular focus on the national security state and the failure of the U.S. economic system.


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Six essays on the theme of empire and republic, with particular focus on the national security state and the failure of the U.S. economic system.

30 review for The Decline and Fall of the American Empire

  1. 5 out of 5

    Brian Napoletano

    Gore Vidal was a brilliant writer and political analyst. His insights into the ways in which powerful corporations dictate the spectrum of dialog in the United States remain pertinent, as do his many indictments of the failure of the Democrats to live up to their unmerited reputation as the "progressive party." His biting critique of the racism and imperialism inherent in religious fundamentalism still describes much of the American church as it leads the fight against women, Muslims, and homose Gore Vidal was a brilliant writer and political analyst. His insights into the ways in which powerful corporations dictate the spectrum of dialog in the United States remain pertinent, as do his many indictments of the failure of the Democrats to live up to their unmerited reputation as the "progressive party." His biting critique of the racism and imperialism inherent in religious fundamentalism still describes much of the American church as it leads the fight against women, Muslims, and homosexuals in the United States. Vidal considered himself a radical and an "anti-'anti-Communist,'" and he was willing to step well outside the boundaries of the mainstream "liberal" consensus on important issues and propose measures such as a people's constitutional convention and the abolition of the CIA. Throughout the essays collected in this short volume, he repeatedly emphasized the militarism that has dominated the political establishment since the end of World War 2 as a critical issue that would eventually unravel the threads holding the American Empire together. Thus far history seems to be confirming his conclusions, as the Empire persists in expending the bulk of its wealth and lives on a series of unwanted military occupations, "regime changes," and corporate welfare programs, while deteriorating conditions at home continue to subject vast segments of the population to abject poverty and the sense of powerlessness fostered by the media and disinterested politicians continues to foster the growth of racism, paranoia, religious fundamentalism, and violence.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Marley

    What a little blockbuster! Outdated a little only because things have gotten so much worse than 1986-1992 when these lectures were delivered, GV lays out our future. And it's pretty grim. "Monotheism and it's Discontents put it all together for me His essays 1952-1992 were so prophetic, and this carries on the tradition. Where ARE today's honest, inteligent people. Not in government not in media not in the schools for sure.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Don Mitchell

    A bit dated but excellent and provocative book. A bit of preaching to the choir, but many may not have heard these radical contentions. He points out that the military is really running the US and consumes more than the lion's share of the budget. He points out that our two parties are microns apart politically. He reminds us that the soviet threat (and demise) was greatly exaggerated to justify curtailing US rights and lining the pockets of the military and intelligence industries. I totally ag A bit dated but excellent and provocative book. A bit of preaching to the choir, but many may not have heard these radical contentions. He points out that the military is really running the US and consumes more than the lion's share of the budget. He points out that our two parties are microns apart politically. He reminds us that the soviet threat (and demise) was greatly exaggerated to justify curtailing US rights and lining the pockets of the military and intelligence industries. I totally agree with him that we should disband our military and intelligence services down to a pure maintenance level of no more than the size and budget of the next two countries combined. It, including veteran benefits, emergency appropriations, debt servicing, and ancillary domestic agencies, should consume no more then 30% of our non-social security, non-medicare budget, imho. His last chapter rails against monotheism. He has many good points, but I have to disagree with his conclusion. It's not monotheism nor even theisms descendant from Judaism: it's the tribal interpretation and manipulation. Nevertheless, his experience of oppression is real and there's no excuse for this oppression under any banner. I just believe that that oppression would exist regardless of banner or cover: it's a human tribal trait and not a religious tenet.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Brian

    Some of Gore Vidal's most interesting works on the subject of "The American Empire" that were penned back in the 80s and 90s are in this book. Many of them seem to be warning calls for the messes that we are in today when it comes to our economy and our foreign policy. Vidal's usual insights on the subjects of our military industrial complex and the monotheistic intentions of our nation are also discussed in this book. Reading this book in 2011 makes you realize that during the days of Reagan, V Some of Gore Vidal's most interesting works on the subject of "The American Empire" that were penned back in the 80s and 90s are in this book. Many of them seem to be warning calls for the messes that we are in today when it comes to our economy and our foreign policy. Vidal's usual insights on the subjects of our military industrial complex and the monotheistic intentions of our nation are also discussed in this book. Reading this book in 2011 makes you realize that during the days of Reagan, Vidal was way ahead of the times and saw the problems that were brewing back then becoming a much more unfortunate reality now.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Hollowman

    One is not an America or USA basher/hater for reading and recommending Vidal's books. Vidal -- like Zinn, Chomsky and the late Chalmers Johnson -- want to protect their homeland from opportunistic exec-level intellectuals (= certain upper-level politicians in govt. and/or corporate execs [often they are one and the same!]) with either deliberate imperialistic agendas ... and/or self-interest agendas that result in imperialistic consequences. It gets complicated! But the results are not: 2008 eco One is not an America or USA basher/hater for reading and recommending Vidal's books. Vidal -- like Zinn, Chomsky and the late Chalmers Johnson -- want to protect their homeland from opportunistic exec-level intellectuals (= certain upper-level politicians in govt. and/or corporate execs [often they are one and the same!]) with either deliberate imperialistic agendas ... and/or self-interest agendas that result in imperialistic consequences. It gets complicated! But the results are not: 2008 econ. meltdown, gov. (taxpayer) bailout of major US banks and auto industry.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Frederick Gault

    America is a totalitarian police state. Vidal states this simply, then proceeds to prove it.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Clem Paulsen

    The positions here are familiar -- has anything changed since 1988? Primacy of the military in national budgeting? Role of Christian Fundamentalism? The advantages in a more lenient approach to drugs? Short. Opens your eyes to the work that still needs to be done.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Homa

    In this work, Vidal provides the answer to how this book can seem like it was written today despite being over 25 years old.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Stephen

    An insightful little book. Six essays written on a topic that I find so engrossing it is clouding my ability to think clearly about the issues of 2011 America. Published as part of The Real Story series it provides a scathing assessment of America, corrupted to the core by corporate interests, the national security state perpetrated by the industrial military complex, and right-wing Christian fundamentalism. We live in a Clusterfuck Nation who honesty deserves what it is getting since we in esse An insightful little book. Six essays written on a topic that I find so engrossing it is clouding my ability to think clearly about the issues of 2011 America. Published as part of The Real Story series it provides a scathing assessment of America, corrupted to the core by corporate interests, the national security state perpetrated by the industrial military complex, and right-wing Christian fundamentalism. We live in a Clusterfuck Nation who honesty deserves what it is getting since we in essence have thrown the baby out with the bath water. I sincerely doubt our ability to wake up from our slumber-induced sleepwalking and address any of these issues as we hurdle down the highway to "The Rapture! God Bless America because I doubt anyone else will. Turn out the lights and sleep well, because in all honesty the system we have created in our urge to consume has been given our tacit approval by every action we do, and continue doing - so "ALL IS GOOD" in AMERIKA.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Steve Scott

    Written originally in 1986 and updated in 1992, Vidal offers some fairly prescient observations of the fate of our empire. You'd think he had a (albeit slightly foggy) crystal ball. Political wonks with a love of history will like this one. It's blessed with Vidal's prose, wit, and brilliance. It also is a very quick read, as it isn't much more than a pamphlet.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Kevin Summers

    Gore Vidal, being his usual provocative self... Sample quote: "Writers have figured very little in our imperial story. The founders of both republic and empire wrote well. ... Today public figures can no longer write their own speeches or books, and there is some evidence that they can't read them either."

  12. 4 out of 5

    Raimo Wirkkala

    This 95-pg, Noam Chomsky-like, pamphlet is comprised of 6 essays/speeches produced by Gore Vidal during the late '80s and early '90s on one of his favourite topics; the American Empire. The passage of time makes some of this material badly dated but the author would probably be delighted by the degree to which his contrarianism still resonates and is, in fact, relevant.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Tommy Estlund

    Funny, biting, honest.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Ricky

    quick read, finished it in a 24 hour period. its amazing how this collection of short stories that Gore wrote for The Nation 15-20 years ago is still ringing so true today.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Kami

    This book is reminding me that I used to know how to read intelligent critics and smirk at thier snide comments. I'm reading this now and only getting about 1/2 of the inside smarty jokes.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Karl Steffey

    The Decline and Fall of the American Empire (The Real Story Series) by Gore Vidal (1992)

  17. 5 out of 5

    Bradley Hanson

    Even truer today than when I read it 20 years ago...

  18. 4 out of 5

    Will

  19. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

  20. 4 out of 5

    Eulipion

  21. 5 out of 5

    Mitchell

  22. 4 out of 5

    Lauren

  23. 4 out of 5

    Lisa

  24. 4 out of 5

    Lorenzo Hagerty

  25. 5 out of 5

    Chris Bushman

  26. 5 out of 5

    J. Greenwood

  27. 5 out of 5

    Jimmy Holliday

  28. 4 out of 5

    Dan

  29. 5 out of 5

    Vittorio

  30. 5 out of 5

    Tim

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