America at War with Itself
From poisoned water and police violence in our cities, to gun massacres and hate-mongering on the presidential campaign trail, evidence that America is at war with itself is everywhere around us. The question is not whether or not it's happening, but how to understand the forces at work in order to prevent conditions from getting worse. Henry A. Giroux offers a powerful, far-reaching critique of the economic interests, cultural dimensions, and political dynamics involved in the nation's shift toward increasingly abusive forms of power. His analysis helps us to frame critical questions about what can and should be done to turn things around while we can.
Reflecting on a wide range of social issues, Giroux contrasts Donald Trump's America with Sandra Bland's to understand who really benefits from politically fueled intolerance for immigrants, communities of color, Muslims, low-income families, and those who challenge state and corporate power. A passionate advocate for civil rights and the importance of the imagination, Giroux argues that only through widespread social investment in democracy and education can the common good hope to prevail over the increasingly concentrated influence of extreme right-wing politicians and self-serving economic interests.
Praise for America at War with Itself:
This is the book Americans need to read now. No one is better than Henry Giroux at analyzing the truly dangerous threats to our society. He punctures our delusions and offers us a compelling and enlightened vision of a better way. America at War with Itself is the best book of the year.--Bob Herbert, Distinguished Senior Fellow at Demos and former Op-Ed columnist for the New York Times
In this current era of corporate media misdirection and misinformation, America at War with Itself is a must read for all Americans, especially young people. Henry Giroux is one of the few great political voices of today, with powerful insight into the truth. Dr. Giroux is defiantly explaining, against the grain, what's REALLY going on right now, and doing so quite undeniably. Simply put, the ideas he brings forth are a beacon that need to be seen and heard and understood in order for the world to progress.--Julian Casablancas
In America at War with Itself, Henry Giroux again proves himself one of North America's most clear-sighted radical philosophers of education, culture and politics: radical because he discards the chaff of liberal critique and cuts to the root of the ills that are withering democracy. Giroux also connects the dots of reckless greed, corporate impunity, poverty, mass incarceration, racism and the co-opting of education to crush critical thinking and promote a culture that denigrates and even criminalizes civil society and the public good. His latest work is the antidote to an alarming tide of toxic authoritarianism that threatens to engulf America. The book could not be more timely.--Olivia Ward, Toronto Star
America at War with Itself makes the case for real ideological and structural change at a time when the need and stakes could not be greater. Everyone who cares about the survival and revival of democracy needs to read this book."--Kenneth Saltman, Professor, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, Author of The Failure of Corporate School Reform
Henry A. Giroux's most recent books include The Violence of Organized Forgetting and America's Addiction to Terrorism. A prolific writer and political commentator, he has appeared in a wide range of media, including the New York Times and Bill Moyers.
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About the Author
Henry A. Giroux is a world renowned educator, author and public intellectual. He currently holds the McMaster University Professor for Scholarship in the Public Interest and is a Distinguished Visiting Professor at Ryerson University. He is also The Paulo Freire Distinguished Scholar in Critical Pedagogy. His most recent books include: Zombie Politics and Culture in the Age of Casino Capitalism (Peter Lang, 2011); Henry Giroux on Critical Pedagogy (Continuum, 2011); Twilight of the Social: Resurgent Publics in the Age of Disposability (Routledge, 2012); Disposable Youth (Routledge 2012); Youth in Revolt (Routledge, 2013); The Violence of Organized Forgetting (City Lights Open Media, 2014), and Dangerous Thinking in Authoritarian Times (Routledge 2015). A prolific writer and political commentator, he writes regularly for Truthout and serves on their board of directors. He currently lives in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada with his wife, Dr. Susan Searls Giroux.
Author and historian Robin D.G. Kelley is one of the most distinguished experts on African American studies and a celebrated professor who has lectured at some of America's highest learning institutions. He is currently Professor of American Studies and Ethnicity at the University of Southern California. He is author of Thelonious Monk: His Story, His Song, His Times and is best known for his books on African American culture: Race Rebels: Culture Politics and the Black Working Class, Yo' Mama's DisFunktional!: Fighting the Culture Wars in Urban America and Freedom Dreams: The Black Radical Imagination. He is currently working on another book, Speaking in Tongues: Jazz and Modern Africa. His career spans several esteemed universities, including serving as a Professor of History and Africana at New York University as well as acting as Chairman of NYU's History Department. While at NYU, Kelley was one of the youngest full professors in the country at 32 years of age. He was also the William B. Ransford Professor of Cultural and Historical Studies at Columbia and helped to shape programs at its Institute for Research in African American Studies. Kelley's work includes seven books as well as over 100 magazine articles, which have been featured in such publications as The New York Times, The New York Times Magazine, Rolling Stone, Code Magazine, Utne Reader, and African Studies Review.
"In book after book, decade after decade, Henry Giroux has joined Noam Chomsky among our most prolific, clear-sighted public intellectuals. His latest, America at War with Itself, begins with Donald Trump's rise in the 2016 election as symptomatic of the anti-democratic forces Giroux has anatomized in American society, including the sway of authoritarianism, violence, militarism, and 'the terror of neoliberalism.' This book provides bracing revelations of the evasion of cogent causal analysis in our mainstream public discourse. For example, 'The call for gun rights conveniently side steps and ignores criticizing a popular culture and corporate controlled media which uses violence to attract viewers, increase television ratings, produce Hollywood blockbusters, and sell video games that celebrate first person shooters. . . . Such violence serves not only to produce an insensitivity to real life violence but also functions to normalize violence as both a source of pleasure and as a practice for addressing social issues.'"--Donald Lazare, author of Thinking Critically About Media and Politics and Why Higher Education SHOULD Have a Leftist Bias
"The current U.S. descent into authoritarianism did not just happen. As Henry Giroux brilliantly shows it was the result of public pedagogical work in a number of institutions that were part of a long-standing assault on public goods, the social contract, and democracy itself. Giroux powerfully skewers oppressive forces with the hallmark clarity and rigor that has made him one of the most important cultural critics and public intellectuals in North America. His sharp insights provide readers with the intellectual tools to challenge the tangle of fundamentalisms that characterize the political system, economy, and culture in the current conjuncture. America at War with Itself makes the case for real ideological and structural change at a time when the need and stakes could not be greater. Everyone who cares about the survival and revival of democracy needs to read this book."--Kenneth Saltman, Professor, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, Author of The Failure of Corporate School Reform
"Giroux, a public intellectual, academic, and prolific author, sounds a wake-up call about growing threats to democracy. He observes that cutthroat capitalism nurtures intolerant viewpoints that muzzle opposition and label swaths of society as undesirable outsiders. Popular media and hyperconsumerism emphasize celebrity culture and material distractions over civic engagement, creating social passivity. Education focuses on technical skills and multiple-choice tests, rather than helping students see how knowledge can lead to an effective life. Time and money are being shaped by nonstop markets and a get-rich mania, not by long-term investment in the public good. Giroux prescribes ways to teach critical thinking ... his argument for active citizenship is important and stimulating."--Booklist
"America at War With Itself is wide-ranging in its analyses of power without ever resorting to shallow cynicism; it is accessible and passionate while still delving meticulously and perceptively into the public concerns that are shaping our political identities of the present. Giroux continues as a visionary."--CounterPunch
"We certainly don't need a book to inform us that America is at war with itself. ... Giroux's purpose in his slim new book is to look at the manner in which totalitarianism is finding expression today and explain the crucial role education can play in undermining what has been called soft fascism."--The Toronto Star
"In America at War with Itself, Henry Giroux's passionate denunciation of our increasingly authoritarian society will provoke outrage in any thinking American. He makes us mad about the stoking of fear to justify the taking of privacy, the extreme nationalism that foments hatred of outsiders, the privatization of our educational system, the 'normalized' U.S. war values. Through his writing Giroux makes it clear that we can best support our country by recognizing these grievous flaws and unite to make changes. Giroux is true to the title of his book throughout, describing America's 'War With Itself' for incarcerating people rather than educating them, shooting first and asking questions later, tolerating a child or teen death every three to four hours, and waging a racialized class war. One of the rarest and most admirable qualities of Giroux's writing is his acknowledgement of other writers, especially those in the progressive community, who must continue to work in unison in order to combat the menaces outlined in the book. It is refreshing to see so many forceful opinions blended into a cohesive whole."--Paul Buchheit
"This cogent and hard-hitting book puts on display the many factors that are eating away at democracy in the United States as the public embraces a new brand of toxic authoritarianism. ... The snappiest section in America at War with Itself contains a detailed and thought-provoking profile of Donald Trump and his vision of America animated by guns, walls, surveillance, prisons, media, wars, racism, and xenophobia. ... Whether he is pondering the racism of police in Ferguson or the pursuit of revenge by ISIS, the author always brings us home to what this all means for us today. In this regard, he concludes: 'Violence has become America's national sport and its chief mode of entertainment.'"--Spirituality & Practice
"In his penetrating new book, Henry A. Giroux devotes an early chapter to the Flint water crisis, asserting that it epitomizes a menacing 'new authoritarianism' and contends that what happened here was 'an act of state sponsored violence.' ... From American foreign policy to the militarization of American police forces to the economies of the gun industry and culture, he demonstrates that as the acceleration of the move from a welfare state to a warfare state grows, 'violence and the impunity of authorities become normalized.' ... For this Flint resident and victim of state-sanctioned violence, the most visceral aspect of Giroux's book is the case he makes that what happened here is an act of domestic terrorism. Incendiary language for some, but difficult to beat down."--East Village Magazine
"Henry Giroux has become the Left's most articulate and insightful critic of America's distorted political life, highlighting its authoritarian turn and the political illiteracy that our culture fosters and that the media helps channel into racism, the worship of money and power, and an ethos of survival-of-the-fittest that produces the foundation for renewed fascistic movements. The alternative is a critical pedagogy linked to an ongoing project of democratization and 'the defense of public spheres capable of producing thoughtful citizens, critically engaged communities, and an ethically and socially responsible society.' Giroux manages to link together almost every dysfunctional aspect of American society in a cohesive account that is really important to read!"--Tikkun Magazine
"[America at War with Itself] is a provocative challenge to the existing fundamentalisms that define the fascist politics and culture of the contemporary nightmare of history when the rise of Trump becomes a sign of the dismal fate of democracy where racism, patriarchy and class become the hallmarks of a dark age."--The Hindu
"It is all but impossible to do justice to the value of this tapestry of explication and insight, essential elements to a broadened and deepened awareness of the horrific political and economic developments that are unfolding in American and elsewhere."--Chicago Life Magazine