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5.0 out of 5 stars
Rage Against the Mega-Machine, Mar 9 2001
Nobody writes like this anymore. I hadn't expected the eminent urban historian to write such a brilliant paranoiac tract against the System and Established Order. Although often redundant, Mumford makes a heroic attempt at explaining the current problems of our times, with roots in the Middle Ages, and perhaps even the Age of the Pyramids. He echoes contempories like Herbert Marcuse, Erich Fromm and Marshall McLuhan, but instead of taking a Marxist, psychological or media perspective, he takes the more general view of an urbanist. The arguments are quite paralell, although considerably more holistic at times. One recognizes critiques that were earlier or later articulated by not only Marxists, but also feminists, environmentalists, and anti-Imperialists. There are also anticipations of the New Age Movement! (See Fitjof Capra's "the Turning Point.")In short, this massive volume impressively combines much historical and cultural material in its critique of Modern Western Civilization. Although the tone of the book is quite bleak -- we would all appear to be trapped in this Megamachine, the High Technology of the Power Elites -- one also senses a hope towards last chapters that an alternative is possible. He seems to suggest a New Age style withdrawal, rather than any kind of organized resistance. Draw your own conclusions.