Imperial America In the long-awaited conclusion to his bestselling trilogy, Vidal has written his most devastating exploration of Imperial America to date. "Not since the 1846 attack on Mexico in order to seize California," he writes, "has an American government been so nakedly predatory." Full description
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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur Amazon.com (beta)
59 internautes sur 65 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile
Time is running out5 juin 2004
Raymond F. Gillis
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I would urge those concerned with the future to read Mr. Vidals newest book, Imperial America. In it you'll learn things of value. The False Statement Statute (Title 18: Section 1001) which should allow not only for Bush's impeachment but a possible jail sentence is one. Another is the HAVA (Help America Vote Act) which could allow some very suspect machinery to influnence this next election...or rather after 2000, the selection. One should be more concerned with Letting America Vote.
Yet please do not feel this is a slow, technical read...far from it. It moves briskly and unlike many offerings always shows where quotes came from and who said them. Mr. Vidal, along with Ms.Roy and Mr.Chomsky continue to be very meticulous here. Their knowledge greatly expands each book...allowing for greater thought, bringing us into area's not reported or covered. For those who won't read this book...don't...you will not get anything from it. For those who respect knowledge and truth, you'll undoubtedly read it. My concern (and hope) is for those not quite sure. It is for you to grow and become (far) more knowledable. Put down the sports page, stop worrying about some millionaire, who will not hit his weight...and get involved. Time is running out...The French Foreign Legion had a motto, 'March or Die.' For 2004 may I suggest, 'Learn or Die.' Thank you for taking the time to read this...and please read this book...Highly recommended.
72 internautes sur 81 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile
Wise and sad humor1 juin 2004
L. F Sherman
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This is a wonderful collection of essays; some current, and all timely despite a few redundancies and dated comments about the Japanese economy. There is more wisdom and truth here than in the dry high school textbooks that were the last history that many have read (neither rates 100% but Vidal is MUCH better). The first and last essays alone are well worth the price of the book. Unlike certain policy makers today (almost all 'Chickenhawks') Vidal served in the military; unlike most (including a certain 'gentleman C student and-proud-of-it) Vidal knows his history. You may not agree but you should always find him thought provoking. When the US is something like 25th in reading (despite the benefits of great English literature and many choices) this should be first on the list before the military history and heroes of myth. Unlike many books today it is the truth here that will both disturb and enchant. It is a thoughtless, uninformed, superficial reading that would dismiss the some arguments as anti-Semitic or ideological and it is the early democratic spirit of the country not Marxism that informs his judgments. Thinking about the comments of Franklin, Jefferson, Adams quoted herein should make that clear. If people read it otherwise perhaps the Hollywood producer, quoted by Vidal in another context, assessing the general public as walking with its knuckles scrapping the ground was right?
69 internautes sur 78 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile
Alfred E. Neuman (aka George W. Bush): What Me Worry???18 mai 2004
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Superb. As timely as Revere's midnight ride. If Ronald Reagan was America's neo-Julius Caesar, his adopted "son" was the first George Bush (just as J.C. adopted Augustus). And look what THAT progeny wrought. I fully expect that over the next century, no fewer than seven Bushes will have run or become president (mimicking the Roman Caesarian line). Goodbye, American Republic. I, too, am a republican with a small 'r'. I have long feared what this corporatist Disneyland culture we laughingly still call a nation has been doing and NOW will do to the world in a Christian Evangelical/Viagara/Prozac-induced frenzy. Vidal is right: Americans don't know anything about the wider world or themselves because they don't remember anything. Nothing. As I see U.S. domestic culture now, it is all pointed in the direction of turning evry last one of us into a hamfisted, flat footed, grasping, thrusting, huckleberry foot soldier for Empire. Just as in ancient Rome. And there ain't a jesus-bleepin' thing we can do about it now. It's too damn late. We're all screwed. Welcome to your Empire, America. There's just one thing: having built it, now you gotta run it. Have fun watching your sons and daughters die in even farther away places than Iraq - but don't worry - by then you'll be more than used to it. Death in the Empire will be so common place, it'll be like breathing. Natural. In your short-term memories, don't say nobody didn't warn you.
34 internautes sur 37 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile
Nothing New Under the Sun13 septembre 2004
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By Gore Vidal
If you were already feeling that the task of reforming even one part of our federal government is too overwhelming, IMPERIAL AMERICA will only give you more data to confirm your skepticism. In a collection of articles written over the past 30 years, Vidal traces the imperialistic tendencies of the U. S. from the Founders but says that our current self-styled "war-time President" and his evil concept of pre-emptive war fulfills Ben Franklin's prediction at the Constitutional Convention that government, after a course of years, "can only end in Despotism". He does not mask his contempt for Bush's lies ("lies repeated often enough become truth") and abuse of language that serves to "disguise, not illuminate" ("Healthy Forest Initiative", etc.). Vidal the historian tells us that Imperialist attitudes were present in some degree from the nation's beginnings (Native Americans, slaves, Mexican war, Louisiana Purchase) but that real empire-building began with McKinley and T. Roosevelt. Imperial Presidential powers expanded --- always under the guise of "national security" --- under Lincoln and Wilson and have been used to justify all "hot" and "cold" wars since ---Korea, Vietnam, Panama, and Iraq. (Strangely, he faults poor Carter for NOT using executive privilege to fix the energy crisis.) FDR began rearmament, and Truman further militarized the economy, although he realized that he had to "scare the Hell" out of people to make them go along. Vidal notes that Imperialist governments "gain maximum power" over the people when citizens are in constant terror --- a perfect description of this nation's current status. Also, a permanent wartime footing is good for the economy! Vidal is not alone in pointing out that, without an "enemy", there is no justification for the huge proportion of the federal budget going to the Defense industry. Only Eisenhower, a soldier, warned about the dangers of the "military-industrial complex".
The scariest and most jaw-dropping chapter in the book describes how Reagan's preoccupation with Armageddon influenced his relationship with Gorbachev and Israeli foreign policy! Vidal offers his unique opinions and suggestions regarding political parties, special interests, prisons, victimless crimes, and ALL spy agencies. Reminding us that Jefferson suggested a constitutional convention at least once a generation since institutions must "advance, hand-in-hand with the more enlightened human mind", Vidal advocates a parliamentary system and much shorter, smarter Presidential campaigns. He also says that the "irrepressible, invincible ALTRUISM" that leads us to invade countries would be better suited for national health care, improved transportation and schools, and clean air and water.
Vidal is hard to summarize because he is such a brilliant thinker! It's impossible to absorb even a fraction of what he presents.
22 internautes sur 23 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile
Confronting and necessary...22 décembre 2004
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I waited with great expectation for the publication of this "pamphlet", Imperial America by Mr. Vidal, following his acclaimed Perpetual War for Perpetual Peace and Dreaming War, because I knew it would cajole, inform and disturb my political senses regarding the current state of the American Republic.
An Australian friend of mine once told me that the single thing he loves about American's is their unfaltering idealism, that notion that as a young country, with their Bill of Rights and the Constitution, they could make a difference in the world. Having grown up in the United States and moving abroad, I found myself with this same idealism, at times defending the country from criticism by those who had never lived in the country. I was sometimes fierce in my defence; standing on the table, hand on my heart, pushing the party line to the end. (We are not as loved as you might assume.) To a certain extent this idealism still remains - it never really leaves you. But as the years passed, this idealism considerably waned because as one becomes more informed about history, particularly twentieth century history, America's imperialist intentions, similar to a stinging slap across the face, become more than evident.
Mr. Vidal remains an idealist; as America's biographer, he is deeply concerned about his beloved Republic and where, domestically and internationally, it is possibly heading. These essays are confronting and quite disturbing. True to form, however, Mr. Vidal is not a ranting left-wing lunatic, as a few neo-conservatives would have you believe. He points out the problems but also provides solutions.
The latest more disturbing news to come out of America is the "Help America Vote Act" (HAVA), where the old punch -card and lever voting machines are being replaced by Direct Recording Electronic systems, (DREs) where, currently, are being used in thirty-seven states across the country. Anyone with a little knowledge of computers is aware that any information going into them can be altered without detection. Even more telling, the companies who own these machines, because of "privacy laws", are not compelled to let election observers enter the systems to check for suspected influence: Bingo- potential ballad fraud. Why wasn't the American press jumping all over this story? The first hard news about this came out of New Zealand. Any electronic voting system is highly fallible, and therefore should not even be considered.
Similar to Vidal's other two pamphlets, his concerns are repeated here: corporate ownership of political parties; the billions of dollars poured into the defence budget; abolishing the secret agencies i.e. CIA and NSA, turning the economy from a war based to a peace based one. Public supported election campaigns as opposed to corporate contributions, where our politicians are mere bagmen, etc.
These are important and terribly confronting essays. These issues are real and should be read, debated and considered. Vidal is an idealist but a practical one and this book should be read by all concerned citizens whether American or not.