Advance Praise for Escaping Plato's Cave "[Mort Rosenblum's] most intense, detailed, and certainly most passionate book. I read it with pleasure and felt enlightened. . . . It is bitterly funny as well as powerful." --Paul Theroux, author of Dark Star Safari
Advance Praise for Escaping Plato's Cave
"[Mort Rosenblum's] most intense, detailed, and certainly most passionate book. I read it with pleasure and felt enlightened. . . . It is bitterly funny as well as powerful."
--Paul Theroux, author of Dark Star Safari
"A great foreign correspondent draws on forty years of travels and experiences to paint a vivid picture of how America is falling short of its highest values and crippling its global leadership."
--James F. Hoge, Jr., editor, Foreign Affairs
"This has to be the greatest ticket a boy yearning to see the world could ever dream of: forty years as a foreign correspondent for the Associated Press, your feet touching the soil of a hundred countries, the stomach-tingling thrill of being on deadline with you every single moment of those four decades. What a journey. What a reporter. What a life."
--Bob Greene, author of And You Know You Should Be Glad
"This chilling, anguished account of how badly we are served by the journalism establishment, which ignores the flaws of our leaders and indulges the national optimism in the face of reality, could perhaps only be written by an insider with Rosenblum's experience, and the perspective of someone who understands other societies. I hope his news is heard."
--Diane Johnson, author of Le Divorce
An outraged screed against dissembling politicians, a benumbed public and a corporatized media that enables both. Plato used the analogy of shadowed images flickering against a cave wall being mistaken for reality as a way of showing how most people are blind to the world around them. Long-time AP foreign correspondent Rosenblum (Chocolate: A Bittersweet Saga of Dark and Light, 2005, etc.) picks up the cave analogy 2,500 years later to underscore his argument that on issues ranging from globalization to the Mideast to the environment, Americans are ignorant, distracted by baubles and fiddling while the world burns. Only someone truly living in a cave would find this book eye-opening. Who doesn't know that the invasion of Iraq was botched, that Wal-Mart underpays its workers, that the world is in a perilous state? Is this mostly the American public's fault? Instead of a nuanced, sophisticated analysis, the author plods over familiar ground, interspersing stock left-wing talking points with dispatches from the AP that his editors refused to publish, accounts of luncheons with interesting people and eviscerations of stupid Americans unaware of the destruction they have wrought. Rosenblum is an engaging writer, and much can be learned when he delves into complex issues that require more than full-throated exhortations, such as in his chapter on the threat of global pandemics. Too often, however, he forgoes reportorial legwork for repetitions of the obvious. He fancies himself something of a sage for all his work and travel, and he certainly has the scars and bylines to show for it, but instead of suggesting solutions to the intractable problems we face, he stands on top of the cave, wavinghis arms and demanding we do something. Other than telling readers to watch the BBC and travel internationally, he is unable to say exactly what we should do. Well-intentioned but a chore.
From the Publisher
"Mort Rosenblum has spent his entire working life in the wider world, and "Escaping Plato's Cave" is the fruit of that vast fieldwork—passionate, timely, and original, it is a book every American should read."
Mort Rosenblum was an Associated Press foreign correspondent for nearly forty years until 2004, covering coups, earthquakes, wars, and everything else in more than one hundred countries. He was editor of the International Herald Tribune from 1979 to1981. He has written twelve books and has been nominated for the Pulitzer Prize eight times. He splits his time between a boat on the Seine in Paris and an olive farm in the south of France.
Author's Note ix
The Cave Wall 1
That Five-Letter Word 25
Why Do "They" Hate Us? 50
Plagues upon Us All 106
The Generosity Sham 125
Shock and "Aw, Shit" 153
Corporate Colonialism-and Worse 178
The World, in Fact, Is Round 205
Escaping the Cave 218