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The Assault on Reason

Average Rating 3.5
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

A Sad Litany of Republican Abuses...and a Call to Reason

While George H. W. Bush has been jumping out of airplanes, Jimmy Carter has written numerous books 'one will be reviewed below' and has continued working with The Carter Center, a nonprofit organization he founded with his wife Rosalynne to promote democracy, improve he...
While George H. W. Bush has been jumping out of airplanes, Jimmy Carter has written numerous books 'one will be reviewed below' and has continued working with The Carter Center, a nonprofit organization he founded with his wife Rosalynne to promote democracy, improve health, and resolve conflicts worldwide. Along the way, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his work with the Center. Bill Clinton, since leaving office, has written two books and now trots the globe buttonholing anyone who will listen to obtain funds for work in underdeveloped countries. Al Gore has been busy and productive, too. He has written books, including this recent one, won an academy award for his 2006 documentary An Inconvenient Truth on the global climate crisis, and was recently awarded the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize 'he shared it with the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change'. We haven¿t seen such efforts and achievements from our former Republican presidents. Richard Nixon did write several well-received books on world affairs, but Gerald Ford retired to Palm Springs to play golf, and Ronald Reagan was advanced in age when he left office 'still, couldn¿t he have dictated something to Nancy?'. And what can we expect from the 12 years of the Bush Administrations? Probably nothing as erudite, impassioned, and visionary as Gore¿s The Assault on Reason. This a complex and wide-ranging book, but it is held together by a main theme that underlies all of the discussion. Gore states it perhaps most succinctly two pages before the end: The rule of reason is the true sovereign of the American system. Our self-government is based on the ability of individual citizens to use reason in holding their elected representatives, senators, and presidents accountable for their actions. When reason itself comes under assault, American democracy is put at risk. On the issue of the necessity of ¿an informed citizenry,¿ as envisioned by the Founding Fathers, there is a strain of thought in American letters that is deeply conservative 'not to say elitist', perhaps best exemplified by Allan Bloom¿s 1988 book The Closing of the American Mind, which singled out higher education for ¿impoverishing the souls¿ of students. Gore is not in that camp and seems to truly believe that we can still govern ourselves intelligently given the chance and a more open system of dialogue, which he calls ¿the conversation of democracy.¿ Indeed, he is almost too sanguine about the American voter, letting us off a little too easily with regard to our own responsibility to seek out information and become ¿connected¿ to our democracy. Yet, Gore presents a reasonable case for why so many people seem to have opted out of the public debate. His principal argument is that we have moved from a print-based culture, which began in the late middle ages with the first printing presses and exploded during the Enlightenment of the 18th century, to a passive TV/film/video culture in which the ¿conversation¿ is essentially one way. He contrasts the activity of watching TV with the act of reading, in which, he says, we ¿co-create¿ the reality. With modern mass media technology, however, the images are so realistic and explicit that our reasoning shuts down, further cutting us off from involvement in public discourse. It also leaves us vulnerable to ¿propaganda¿ 'polite term, advertising', and Gore cites the liberal economist John Kenneth Galbraith who, in the 1950s and 1960s 'e.g., The New Industrial State' wrote that huge corporate advertising budgets had permanently changed the classical economic model of supply and demand because so much of ¿demand¿ today 'Gore would include political acquiescence' is ¿manufactured¿ through extremely expensive, very slick, and emotionally persuasive 10- to 30-second TV spots. Another theme is the use of ¿fear-mongering¿ by those in power to gain political ends--how many times have we been told over the past seven years that we are in a constant, endle

posted by Anonymous on January 25, 2008

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Most Helpful Critical Review

2 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

Don't fall for it

I can't believe people still want to listen to this washed up, spotlight hungry, unrealistic man. He is a hypocrite and has no desire to teach in reality. He has no passion for our society he just want to be known for ill-fated reasons. This book is just another display...
I can't believe people still want to listen to this washed up, spotlight hungry, unrealistic man. He is a hypocrite and has no desire to teach in reality. He has no passion for our society he just want to be known for ill-fated reasons. This book is just another display of tearing the American people apart for fame. Thanks.

posted by Anonymous on January 3, 2008

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 25, 2008

    A Sad Litany of Republican Abuses...and a Call to Reason

    While George H. W. Bush has been jumping out of airplanes, Jimmy Carter has written numerous books 'one will be reviewed below' and has continued working with The Carter Center, a nonprofit organization he founded with his wife Rosalynne to promote democracy, improve health, and resolve conflicts worldwide. Along the way, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his work with the Center. Bill Clinton, since leaving office, has written two books and now trots the globe buttonholing anyone who will listen to obtain funds for work in underdeveloped countries. Al Gore has been busy and productive, too. He has written books, including this recent one, won an academy award for his 2006 documentary An Inconvenient Truth on the global climate crisis, and was recently awarded the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize 'he shared it with the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change'. We haven¿t seen such efforts and achievements from our former Republican presidents. Richard Nixon did write several well-received books on world affairs, but Gerald Ford retired to Palm Springs to play golf, and Ronald Reagan was advanced in age when he left office 'still, couldn¿t he have dictated something to Nancy?'. And what can we expect from the 12 years of the Bush Administrations? Probably nothing as erudite, impassioned, and visionary as Gore¿s The Assault on Reason. This a complex and wide-ranging book, but it is held together by a main theme that underlies all of the discussion. Gore states it perhaps most succinctly two pages before the end: The rule of reason is the true sovereign of the American system. Our self-government is based on the ability of individual citizens to use reason in holding their elected representatives, senators, and presidents accountable for their actions. When reason itself comes under assault, American democracy is put at risk. On the issue of the necessity of ¿an informed citizenry,¿ as envisioned by the Founding Fathers, there is a strain of thought in American letters that is deeply conservative 'not to say elitist', perhaps best exemplified by Allan Bloom¿s 1988 book The Closing of the American Mind, which singled out higher education for ¿impoverishing the souls¿ of students. Gore is not in that camp and seems to truly believe that we can still govern ourselves intelligently given the chance and a more open system of dialogue, which he calls ¿the conversation of democracy.¿ Indeed, he is almost too sanguine about the American voter, letting us off a little too easily with regard to our own responsibility to seek out information and become ¿connected¿ to our democracy. Yet, Gore presents a reasonable case for why so many people seem to have opted out of the public debate. His principal argument is that we have moved from a print-based culture, which began in the late middle ages with the first printing presses and exploded during the Enlightenment of the 18th century, to a passive TV/film/video culture in which the ¿conversation¿ is essentially one way. He contrasts the activity of watching TV with the act of reading, in which, he says, we ¿co-create¿ the reality. With modern mass media technology, however, the images are so realistic and explicit that our reasoning shuts down, further cutting us off from involvement in public discourse. It also leaves us vulnerable to ¿propaganda¿ 'polite term, advertising', and Gore cites the liberal economist John Kenneth Galbraith who, in the 1950s and 1960s 'e.g., The New Industrial State' wrote that huge corporate advertising budgets had permanently changed the classical economic model of supply and demand because so much of ¿demand¿ today 'Gore would include political acquiescence' is ¿manufactured¿ through extremely expensive, very slick, and emotionally persuasive 10- to 30-second TV spots. Another theme is the use of ¿fear-mongering¿ by those in power to gain political ends--how many times have we been told over the past seven years that we are in a constant, endle

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 3, 2007

    A reviewer

    This book is written in a funny tone slashing the current Bush Administration for its mistakes in Iraq and 9/11. Every American should read this book! I agree and always knew that our media and goverment works on a one-way street only. The assault on reason explains it should be a two way street for flow of information. We are puppets doing what the folks with the most money in this country want us to do! Al explains that we do not think, nor stand up and question our hiarchy. Either because we are not educated enough or care. This book was written to take action! And NOW!

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 18, 2009

    Underrated

    Purchasing this as a "bargain" book, I was shocked to know that this book has already run its course. The topic is very relevent in today's culture of corruption and greed that has run amok for the past eight years.

    The depth of information and detail not only shocks but appalls this reader, and I mean that only in a good way. There's so much about the Bush administration and the lack of media attention that was revealed and I was surprised to hear some of the factoids and other details that probably most of the country is/was unaware of.

    If you want in-depth coverage of politics, media, human sociology and psychology, this book stimulates the brain and makes you think deeply about the larger picture and how far this country has come from its origins.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 3, 2008

    Don't fall for it

    I can't believe people still want to listen to this washed up, spotlight hungry, unrealistic man. He is a hypocrite and has no desire to teach in reality. He has no passion for our society he just want to be known for ill-fated reasons. This book is just another display of tearing the American people apart for fame. Thanks.

    2 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 29, 2007

    DISGUSTED WITH POLITICS AND THE MINDS DISTORTED BY POWER AND SELF-ADORATION

    After reading Mr. Gore's book I couldn't help but wonder if he composed it, while seated in front of a mirror. Mr. Gore's familiar complaints and political diatribe left me with a sense of emptiness and hopelessness. Mr. Gore is an over-ripe specimen for neurobiologists and cognitive scientists. The book is completely void of ¿grounded and collaborative¿ reasoning. Mr. Gore seems so intoxicated by his own blurred belief system that he believes his 'reasoning' is unassailable and unquestionably correct. As a scientist I am troubled by Mr. Gore's lack of supporting facts, non-objective perspectives and poorly presented suppositions. This book is difficult to read without becoming mired in Mr. Gore's open distain and contempt for past and present events. Even when I tried to apply cognitive abstraction or influenced metaphors, Mr. Gore's attempt to fill the role of 'statesman' (or even 'Shaman') falls far short of this vision in my - epigenetic, gene-culture, co-evolution - gut. This book is a sad and obvious attempt at propaganda - broadcast through the use of an intellectual word that carries its own innate power and deep-seated association with the truth. Buy something else from B&N that will feed the mind and not fuel tribal and divisive emotions.

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 10, 2007

    About time somebody said it!

    The most unfortunate thing about this book is that those people who need to read it the worst will discount it as 'left wing' and ignore it. That, my friends, is exactly what Gore is talking about in this book. The segment of the population who accept certain concepts and claims whole cloth don't want opposing information, they want to be told what to think and do. It is a darn shame that as this country tries to improve education this group celebrates ignorance!

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 8, 2009

    God help the Democratic Party

    In 2000, I voted for Ralph Nader for President of the United States. I spent years kicking myself for that choice. After reading this, I no longer regret my vote. Al Gore used the media to bury the more progressive Bill Bradley in the primaries and to keep Ralph off of the TV and out of the print media that Gore now wishes to replace with the internet. Talk about hypocricy. How can the Democrats move towards progressive leadership if Conserva-Dems like Gore still have pull?

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 2, 2009

    Wow. Impressive.

    The last chapter alone is worth it. VERY insightful.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 4, 2014

    The Assault On Reason is a good book. It's well written and Al G

    The Assault On Reason is a good book. It's well written and Al Gore comes across as an intelligent guy. In fact the book is a lot more "deep" and "philosophical" than I expected it to be. While much of the book focuses on criticizing the Bush administration, a lot of time is also spent discussing American history and world history, and how it all relates to what's happening in American democracy today.

    While it is a good book, there is also a deeply ironic and troubling aspect to it. Gore preaches the virtues of science, honesty, logic and reason. And he exposes many of the lies of the Bush administration. But throughout the book, Gore strongly supports the biggest and most tragic lie of all, the official government story of the 9-11 attacks. People who write off 9-11 Truth as a "bizarre conspiracy theory", as Al Gore does, do so precisely to avoid having to use logic and reason. Because when you apply logic and reason to the official story, the official story falls apart. And what's left is the ugly truth, the ugly truth that many people would prefer not to confront.

    David Ray Griffin is a college professor who has written several books which use logic and reason to destroy the official government story. Read a few of his books, and then see if you can honestly keep telling yourself that it was nineteen Muslim hijackers who attacked us and brought down three skyscrapers.

    So I ask you Al Gore, with your professed love of science, honesty, logic and reason, why do you not question the official 9-11 story? Why do you blindly accept and support the biggest Bush lie of all? Is it perhaps because 9-11 Truth is too inconvenient for you?

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 24, 2013

    The old bs'er

    Why are jerks knaves and crackpots so often rich? George Bush looks a lot better now. Even the left sees through "Zinc Mine Gore" at this point.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 9, 2013

    I would never read

    Al gore just wish he wasnt from tenn he would sell this country out he is crazy so very happy he never got to be president he didnt even win tenn

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 27, 2008

    Wake up and Start Asking Questions

    A great book that forces any American Citizen to delve into the theories and realities of how OUR country is being run and how it should be run. I recommend this book to every American!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 28, 2007

    A reviewer

    I loved this book. It offered such logical perspective on some very important issues. This book has many themes that people of all races can relate to. It is a beautifully written book.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 30, 2007

    Gore Helps Us to Beware the Influence of Fools

    Al Gore sees the world from a mountain top perspective that reveals to him the way out of the labyrinth of our dire situation. American people have lost confidence that their voice is heard or has an effect. Instead, we squabble among ourselves rather than find compromise solutions that work for the majority. As we sit fixated in front of mind programming television, selfish men become billionaires and children are sent to die. People like Al Gore can change the world if the masses can hear and comprehend him. Perhaps, he can use the media to his benefit by communicating at the educational level of fourth grade, rather than to doctoral level minds, and increase the results of his efforts. Insightful book.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 27, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted April 29, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted November 27, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted March 2, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted October 28, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted May 19, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

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