Chris Hedges is fast becoming one of my favourite writers alongside Chomsky, Nader and a few others. Hedges writes with a powerful, rousing voice and effortlessly articulates the rumbling discontent so many of us are feeling about the systems and political forces we know are the sources of modern enslavement. He speaks for the disenfranchised and outlines clearly the mechanisms behind the systems of power, exposing the political and capitalist elite for the true criminal class they are.
I found the chapter on America's prison system devastating. Hedges reveals it for what it is - nothing more than state sanctioned slavery. I am appalled by the truth of what is happening inside these prisons and horrified that privatisation is being embraced by other countries like Australia, where I live. Making money off other people's misery is truly evil.
I am grateful to Hedges for giving me, through this book and his other works, the evidence and the language through which to express my opposition to a capitalist system I have long known is a tool of oppression. I am grateful too for the insight and understanding I have gained into the motivations of the far right and radical left. After reading this book I feel more compassion for those swept up in these ideologies even if I will never agree with them.
Chris Hedges suggests there is another way to get the boots of oppression off our necks. We must recognise each other as human beings and come together in our refusal to let them silence us. We must refuse to let our fear of the system's brutality stop us for standing up for each other and for what we know is right.
What is this book supposed to be? It contains the following topics - a political manifesto; absolutely hyperbolic criticism of Donald Trump; an introduction to Marxism; an introduction to American labor history with extensive extracts of Eugene Debs speeches of the 1890s; voyeuristic description of prostitution and sadomasochistic pornography; drug addiction including the opioid crisis. Only a minority of the book is relevant to its title being the decline (outsourcing) of American manufacturing; the increasing American prison system; the shrinking of the middle class; the increasing underclass. The author critically omits the failings of the American medical system and financial corruption for example. Far superior analytically structured unbiased and more encompassing material is available with multiple books from Prof. Niall Ferguson, Dr. Paul Craig Roberts, and Barbara Ehrenreich.