The Secret Knowledge: On the Dismantling of American Culture

The Secret Knowledge: On the Dismantling of American Culture

3.7 42
by David Mamet
     
 

View All Available Formats & Editions

David Mamet has been a controversial, defining force in nearly every creative endeavor-now he turns his attention to politics.

In recent years, David Mamet realized that the so-called mainstream media outlets he relied on were irredeemably biased, peddling a hypocritical and deeply flawed worldview.

In 2008 Mamet wrote a hugely controversial op-ed for

Overview

David Mamet has been a controversial, defining force in nearly every creative endeavor-now he turns his attention to politics.

In recent years, David Mamet realized that the so-called mainstream media outlets he relied on were irredeemably biased, peddling a hypocritical and deeply flawed worldview.

In 2008 Mamet wrote a hugely controversial op-ed for the Village Voice, "Why I Am No Longer a 'Brain-Dead Liberal'", in which he methodically attacked liberal beliefs, eviscerating them as efficiently as he did Method acting in his bestselling book True and False.

Now Mamet employs his trademark intellectual force and vigor to take on all the key political issues of our times, from religion to political correctness to global warming. The legendary playwright, author, director, and filmmaker pulls no punches in his art or in his politics. And as a former liberal who woke up, Mamet will win over an entirely new audience of others who have grown irate over America's current direction.

Editorial Reviews

One doesn't expect to see a book by David Mamet in Current Affairs. The Pulitzer Prize playwright and director is, by any measure versatile, having not only written plays and films, but also created children's stories, memoirs, guidebooks on acting, an examination of anti-Semitism, a book of verse, and even a graphic novel. In this collection of short, informal essays, he describes the reasons for his disillusionment with "brain-dead" liberalism. Another round of batteries in our cultural wars.

Publishers Weekly
American playwright and filmmaker Mamet is a wide-ranging author (including children's stories, a volume of verse, and even a graphic novel), but he excels at the coolly acerbic essay, which best shows off his contrarian streak. This set of short, informal essays elaborate on his recent political awakening from "brain-dead" liberalism, a foray into what used to be called the culture wars. It feels a couple of decades tardy and, despite its author's characteristically terse yet pensive prose, too at-the-knee of the usual neoconservative icons, including Hayek. The title refers to the privileged patterns of initiation into the worldview of the "Liberal Left" Mamet ridicules, often by analogy to adolescent naïveté. But he replaces one set of talking points with another: the familiar argot about free markets, inveighing against any opposition to Israel as anti-Semitism, and the "liberal" attempt to bankrupt us all. Mamet still wields the colorful anecdote and unexpected analogy, and his narrative holds most interest when straying back to his turf on movie sets and theater stages. But as an avenging apostate of liberalism, Mamet offers nothing new. (June)
Kirkus Reviews

A Pulitzer Prize–winning showman and "reformed Liberal" rants about the precarious state of the nation.

In 39 short essays, playwright, screenwriter and director Mamet (Theatre, 2010) discusses many of his least-favorite things, including taxes, sloth, foreign aid, the notion of global warming, big government, taxes, the present Democratic administration, liberals, taxes and "social justice" (quotes his).Did we mention taxes? With the mood of serious discussion, the author weights this jeremiad with stilted argot and copious footnotes that are simply more of the same arguments in reduced typeface. But Mamet is sharper than the conventional scold, and, like his most memorable stage characters, he offers a mashup of notions, some commendable, supported by reference to very selective history. Unabashed in making blanket, unfounded assertions, the gifted dramatist erects nincompoop straw men easily demolished with clever, impassioned rhetoric. Detection of undeniable flaws in liberal logic, rightly derided, gives way to ad hominemargument,post hocreasoning and faulty classification—it's disputation, not evidence. In a monolithic, elitist Left—one surely not as cohesive and close-minded as Mamet depicts, one more liable to agree with him on, say, the benefits of capitalism (albeit, perhaps, with more legal safeguards—he sees hypocrisy. Surely, community values and the unfettered marketplace of ideas are important to liberal and conservative alike. Sweetened with personal history, a couple good jokes and some pointed insights, Mamet's polemic yields no secret and scant knowledge. He does, nevertheless, raise the volume with incontestable dramatic talent.

A Manichean analysis from a strident new voice from the Right—for liberals, something intended to ignite antagonism; for the like-minded, a buttress against the opposition.

From the Publisher
"A Manichean analysis from a strident new voice from the Right—for liberals, something intended to ignite antagonism; for the like-minded, a buttress against the opposition." —Kirkus

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781595230768
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
06/02/2011
Pages:
256
Product dimensions:
9.06(w) x 6.28(h) x 1.10(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
"A Manichean analysis from a strident new voice from the Right—-for liberals, something intended to ignite antagonism; for the like-minded, a buttress against the opposition." —-Kirkus

Meet the Author

David Mamet is an acclaimed playwright, screenwriter, film director, and essayist. Some of his most famous works include the films The Untouchables, The Verdict, and Wag the Dog, the last two nominated for an Academy Award, and many plays, including American Buffalo and Glengarry Glen Ross, for which he was awarded the Pulitzer Prize.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >

Secret Knowledge 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 42 reviews.
cbiblioholic More than 1 year ago
Wow! - What a powerful book. I have read many other books by new converts to conservatism but I think this book will really speak to liberals. It is beautifully written in a manner that will appeal to the liberal intelligentsia while at the same time preaching to the proverbial conservative choir. I could not put it down. A great gift for any open minded liberal. Welcome aboard Mr. Mamet!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The usual carping from Lib reviewers. That's because they can't touch the substance!! Someone has finally, in plain English, made it clear how "mindless" so many people have become. It's going to be hard work to get back to common sense and integrity after so many years of listening to politically correct drivel from the so-called "smart people". Mr. Mamet has my heartiest congratulations on work well done. Concise and effective.
Jeff Miller More than 1 year ago
Whether you are liberal or conservative, this is an essential read. Mamet does a brilliant job of demonstrating the foundations of his conservative conversion.
WK54 More than 1 year ago
I think Mamet has done everyone a great service with this unselfish and very brave bellringer. Every human being with a conscience and a belief in fairness hard won, will be buoyed by this work. And every person preoccupied with political correctness, the new socialism and the systematic ridicule of all things Right Wing, should they actually have the good fortune to read this, will be enlightened beyond the slightest doubt, that they are a sorry, pitiful tool. But this is where the re-education begins, as I hope and believe it will, if this book is read by the many individuals who've lost their conscience and ability to think for themselves. Bravo, Mr. Mamet. Bravo.
UncleDennis More than 1 year ago
Mamet is a great writer. He's done a number of great screenplays, plays and more. With "The Secret Knowledge," he expands his writing into the super-personal story of his life-changing epiphany: He's a conservative! The book is a fantastic read, with Mr. Mamet going through the reasons for his transformation from standard Hollywood-liberal to right-leaning man of reason. He explores the biggest differences he sees in how the left and right view the world, making sure to take stabs at the liberal establishment (media, government, Hollywood, and such) along the way. Mr. Mamet's change seems to be wholeheartedly organic, with influences from key people (his Rabbi, Dennis Prager, and others), and comes across so very naturally. I remember reading an early pseudo-review of the book (probably in the LA Times- not known for being centrists or conservative) complaining that the book was very light on specifics, references and data to back up Mr. Mamet's claims regarding bias, policy thoughts, and other aspects of the left he disagreed with now. If anything, the book does its best to keep the story going, with plenty of footnotes (mostly anecdotal continuations of a thought) and a very thorough bibliography at the end. Maybe we right-siders take our time to peruse the bibliography and explore other sources of information more than our left-sider counterparts, but anyway, the book is not meant to be a textbook. If this means The Secret Knowledge has less influence on liberal readers in understanding or being influenced by Mr. Mamet's writing, then that'd be a sad reflection on the reader more than the writer. Overall, a great book, definitely worth reading regardless of which side of the aisle you side with.
mjc64 More than 1 year ago
How does a life-long, typical, show-biz liberal come to embrace political conservatism? Mamet answers that question in a way that will have both conseratives and liberals shaking their heads, but in opposite directions. Fans of Mamet's plays, movies and such are in for a surprise, as Mr. Mamet's descriiption of his journey from one end of the political spectrum to the other is told in a fast paced, self-deprecating style that is neither too scholarly nor too pedestrian. Agree or disagree, an interesting read during this political season.
alicelouise More than 1 year ago
If you like Rush Limbaugh's book The Way Things Ought to be and See I told you so!, you will like this book of essays. Although the aithor asserts that he is a late comer to Conservatism, he must have worn his Liberal faith quite lightly judging by his past works such as Glengarry Ross. All I can say to Mamet is Welcome Aboard!
Sean Cooney More than 1 year ago
Brilliantly rationale in presentation and refreshingly direct. This book opened my eyes to the incidious nature of left wing ideology and how it is destroying our culture.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
NoLa18 More than 1 year ago
If, like me, you've been longing for a highly thoughtful, intellectually based, yet commonsense defense of conservatism, this is for you. I've always enjoyed Mr. Mamet's work, and my respect for his intellect and talent has increased since reading his outstanding book. If you're conservative and have liberal family and friends who remain mystified about why you hold your beliefs, don't miss this!
ddthom More than 1 year ago
Eviscerates the liberal "thought" process. Mamet speaks from the perspective of a reformed liberal. His conversion was based on empirical evidence that he could no longer ignore.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago