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The World As It Is: Dispatches on the Myth of Human Progress [Hardcover]

Chris Hedges
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
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Book Description

April 12 2011
Drawing on two decades of experience as a war correspondent and based on his numerous columns for Truthdig, Chris Hedges presents 'The World As It Is', a panorama of the American empire at home and abroad, from the coarsening effect of America's War on Terror to the front lines in the Middle East and South Asia and the continuing Israeli-Palestinian conflict.Underlying his reportage is a constant struggle with the nature of war and its impact on human civilization. "War is always about betrayal," Hedges notes. "It is about betrayal of the young by the old, of cynics by idealists, and of soldiers and Marines by politicians. Society's institutions, including our religious institutions, which mold us into compliant citizens, are unmasked."

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Review

"Indicative of the longtime war correspondent's experienced eye and commitment to social justice...[Hedges'] descriptions of the dangers of American 'political passivity' deserve careful consideration along with much else in these powerfully written pages" -Publishers Weekly, starred review" --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author

Chris Hedges was a foreign correspondent for the 'New York Times' and was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Explanatory Reporting, and his 'War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning' was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award in Nonfiction. Hedges is a senior fellow at the Nation Institute, a columnist for Truthdig, and the Anschutz Distinguished Fellow at Princeton University. He lives in Princeton, New Jersey.

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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Most helpful customer reviews
27 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dare we open our eyes? June 5 2011
Format:Hardcover
The title of this book - The World as It Is - is, let's face it, not very inviting, boring even. I suspect that Chris Hedges, as accomplished a writer as any I have recently read, has deliberately chosen this title to ratchet down the intensity of this astonishing book. Reality is never easy to face, and certainly not today for Americans dealing with the condition of their country. The reality Hedges sees is ugly, frightening, and demoralizing. We are rushing to a global catastrophe, controlled by a corporate state, frightened by imaginary enemies, diverted by trivia, blinded by fantasies. These are the dying days of the American Empire, and we are not far from the dying days of humanity as a whole.

As someone who has seen the reality of war directly I can attest to the validity of Hedges' description of the brutality and futility of America's wars in Asia, and I have confidence in his analysis of the economic and environmental catastrophe that is the result, at least in part, of these wars.

If you wish to live undisturbed in the dreamworld of your fantasies of progress, material wealth, and imperial hegemony, do not touch this book.The World As It Is: Dispatches on the Myth of Human Progress
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The American dream has become a nightmare..... Aug. 25 2011
By Ronald W. Maron TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
If you ever thought that the USA was actively covering up a long-standing series of atrocious acts all in the name of 'patriotism', you were right. If you ever feared that the lessons you learned in school were tainted with a high degree of propaganda, you were also correct. And, lastly, if you suspect that the country in which you live is now on an abrupt downhill slide, these suspicions are also true.

Chris Hedges, through a compilation of articles and essays taken from his truthdig website relates to us a text that is both compelling in its depth and frightening in its scope. The United States of America is not, nor has been, the country in which we have placed our trust and compassion. Instead, it is a country that fully embraces the concept of imperialism and hegemony, and one that places power, and its companion corruption, above reasonable humanistic standards. Its sister state, namely Israel, is equally as deceiving and militaristic with its actions and attitudes towards its Islamic neighbors. No amount of banner waving, allegiance pledging nor Independence Day celebrations can remove, or even lessen, the negative impact that both countries have had on the present day world. The sole purpose of both countries over the past thirty years has been one of world domination and control. But, just as the credit card bill eventually comes in the mail, the monetary payment for such long standing actions is well past due. And we, quite frankly, cannot afford to make the minimum payment. We have, long ago, 'robbed Peter to pay Paul' and/or simply stolen from our domestic funding until we are now both penniless and desolate.

Wake up America, the corporatists during the Reagan era bought out the the ruling majority of the politicians!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The world as it shouldn't be Feb. 4 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I was very angry and depressed by the time I finished this book but nor could I put it down as Hedges has a very compelling message for all as he destroys "the myth of human progress." We humankind are like children incapable of controlling our urges as we lapse back ignoring the lessons of the twentieth century indulging ourselves in greed, corruption, the rape of the planet, wanton militarism and a total disregard for human life.

At a time in history,"the information age" when we have the hindsight and forsight to avoid pitfalls of the past we are retreating into a world of degeneracy.

The book is a collection of essays written over a number of years. Hedges writes compellingly with the authority of his vast world experience and his razor sharp insights.

Hedges makes his readers uncomfortable as we must confront ourslves in his writings, at the same time he has a message, raising issues we must confront with great urgency as our political elites betray us.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best book in ages! Nov. 20 2011
Format:Hardcover
Hedges has explained things in such a way that I now see the world as it really is, not the way the media has explained it!
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Amazon.com: 4.4 out of 5 stars  46 reviews
277 of 293 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hedges at his best. April 20 2011
By Dustin G. Rhodes - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Chris Hedges defies easy categories: he's part journalist, part poet, part zen master -- always with his finger pointing toward the (often very painful) truth. I consider him to be among the very best living writers.

Hedges' work is a downer. Sometimes I read his columns and his books, and I am filled with paralyzing fright and sadness. He knows how bad the world is; he can articulate the horrors of war, greed, capitalism, corporate power, etc. ad nauseum in a way that is visceral and devastating. I know of no other writer who speaks the truth in such a dense, but accessible and compassionate way.

I am grateful to Chris Hedges. His books and columns have transformed me -- changed both my personal habits and outlook. The World As It Is is filled with wisdom, sanity and unsettling truth -- a truth we are wise to not only embrace but act upon before the world descends into a place from which there is no escape.

My description might sound bleak (ahhhh, but: the world is bleak, if we choose to see 'the world as it is'), but Chris Hedges doesn't blather on about hopelessness and despair; he states the truth as if we might choose a different way of life -- one that respects our fellow citizens and the planet we live on. Hedges knows the world we live in is filled with enormous pain and suffering, and also that there's another way. His sobering work has the power to nudge us in the right direction.

I cannot recommend this book highly enough.
117 of 122 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb insights May 2 2011
By Tom Markus - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
While working as a civilian contractor in Iraq I read Chris' book "War is a Force That Gives Us Meaning". It affected me deeply and confirmed my exact feelings about what I was seeing over there. This new book is another excellent one. Why can't a deep thinker like this be in charge of our foreign policy instead of egotistical politicians who constantly play games? When people started hypnotically and robotically chanting "U...S...A.....U...S...A" the other night, it reaffirmed that we are in a period of psychotic patriotic hype that Mr. Hedges has written so presciently about.
118 of 124 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An important book about the future April 12 2011
By Future Watch Writer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Chris Hedges is one of the most creative American writers today. I have read his columns regularly on the Truthdig web site. Why is this book important? It is important because it represents a truly prophetic vision of where we are headed. He points out many of the truly malevolent aspects of today's modern plutocratic world system and the need to confront them. I am less pessimistic than he is about the prospects for reform in the Democratic Party in the U.S.. As a reporter for the New York Times in the Middle East and Bosnia, he saw the fury of religious war first hand. He has a unique insight into the world that is likely to come as things collapse. The power of the misuse of religion will be a major factor. He wrote a very interesting book on the religious right called American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America. He also wrote a good book on the failure of the liberal establishment in America Death of the Liberal Class... You may not agree with everything he says. I don't. However, he is a unique and creative voice of integrity. You can get a good idea of what's here by clicking on some parts of the book you can read on Amazon. Check this out.
18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sharing the truth about our world June 4 2011
By Deborah Lorentz - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This book, The Word As It Is: Dispatches on the Myth of Human Progress, is highly readable. For those who are not afraid to face the stark political and
social dilemmas that confront the human community, this book is a must. It challenges the reader to ask: "What can I do in my local situation that might make a difference in our world?" The writer is radical in his perceptions and candid in his analysis. Nevertheless, the book leaves the reader with hope. I
recommend this book.
16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Prophetic Voice May 20 2011
By Margaret A Anderson - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This book is a collection of Hedges insightful commentaries on current affairs. He comes from a unique perspective of one with a solid education in religious studies and the humanities topped off by real world experience in foreign wars and the not-so-obvious war zones in US politics and society. This allows Hedges to speak with an authentic prophetic voice that makes the reader sit up and pay attention. It's a book to share but not give away as you'll want to keep it on your shelves in a prominant place to read again and again.
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