America : The Farewell Tour
by Hedges, Chris

Chapter 1 Decay
Chapter 2 Heroin
Chapter 3 Work
Chapter 4 Sadism
Chapter 5 Hate
Chapter 6 Gambling
Chapter 7 Freedom

The Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author of War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning presents a controversial examination of today's America that connects unemployment, deindustrialization and dwindling opportunities to today's rise in depression, hate and drug abuse.

America as we know it is in a death spiral, Hedges vehemently argues, and the end may come sooner than we think. The Pulitzer-winning former war correspondent pulls no punches as he deep-dives into the many trials plaguing the nation. Traveling across the country and talking to witnesses on the front lines, he explores crises such as the opioid epidemic and the evaporation of family-supporting jobs, while also analyzing why we have fostered fertile environments for hate groups and sexual violence. While he presents the election of Donald Trump as a symptom of the country's troubles, he places blame equally on both parties, claiming that the Democrats have betrayed the working and middle classes. Convinced that without radical change, the U.S. will only last one to two decades before a complete collapse, he lays out a revolutionary solution that some will decry as socialism while others will endorse for its commitment to justice. This is an exceedingly dark, passionate, and provocative book, certain to arouse controversy but offering a point of view that needs to be heard. Copyright 2018 Booklist Reviews.

With a trademark blend of heavy-handed polemic and sharply observed detail, Hedges (Wages of Rebellion: The Moral Imperative of Revolt, 2015, etc.) writes a requiem for the American dream."This moment in history marks the end of a long, sad tale of greed and murder by the white races," writes the author. "It is inevitable that for the final show we vomited up a figure like Trump." There's not much room for evenhanded debate in the face of such language, but that's beside the point: Hedges is ticked off, as ever, and here he is in full-tilt righteous indignation, making it clear that it's not just Christians who are awaiting the apocalypse. Hedges limns an America whose economy is presupposed on mindless consumption and permanent war, in which the rich are now busily honoring Karl Marx's prediction that in the end times, "the capitalist system would begin to consume the structures that sustained it"—health care, education, infrastructure, and so forth. That much seems in arguable. Hedges doubles down on the apocalyptic prophecy as his argument builds: "Droughts, floods, famines, and disease will eventually see the collapse of social cohesion," he writes, "including U.S. coastal areas." Nobody said that climate change and its effects would be pretty, but the author lays it on thickly as he delivers a comprehensive, onrushing litany of the horrors that await us. Where he uses hard data—as when he calculates that despite at annual expenditure of $76 billion in the war on drugs, overdose deaths have increased by 400 percent since 1999—Hedges is nearly unassailable. Where he relies on mere rhetoric, as in a rather strange disquisition on sex work, sadism, and capitalism, he's less satisfying. His breadth of reference, however, is refreshing, drawing on the likes of Plato, Émile Durkheim, and Eric Voegelin—and lots of Marx—for reinforcement. While often an exercise in preaching to the choir, the book is also a fiery se r mon that weighs the nation and finds it wanting. Copyright Kirkus 2018 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.

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