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On Anarchism

Narrated by: Eric Jason Martin
Length: 4 hrs and 55 mins
4 out of 5 stars (7 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

On Anarchism provides the reasoning behind Noam Chomsky's fearless lifelong questioning of the legitimacy of entrenched power. In these essays, Chomsky redeems one of the most maligned ideologies, anarchism, and places it at the foundation of his political thinking. Chomsky's anarchism is distinctly optimistic and egalitarian. Moreover, it is a living, evolving tradition that is situated in a historical lineage; Chomsky's anarchism emphasizes the power of collective, rather than individualist, action. The collection includes a revealing new introduction by journalist Nathan Schneider, who documented the Occupy movement for Harper's and The Nation, and who places Chomsky's ideas in the contemporary political moment. On Anarchism will be essential listening for a new generation of activists who are at the forefront of a resurgence of interest in anarchism - and for anyone who struggles with what can be done to create a more just world.

©2013 Noam Chomsky; Introduction 2013 Nathan Schneider (P)2014 Audible, Inc.

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Jacob King
  • 2014-06-18

Hit and Miss

What is not made clear anywhere in the description of the book is that this is a collection of pieces, often excerpts from longer works, including interviews and book reviews where Chomsky talks about anarchism. It is not analytic or deeply thought through; the inclusion criteria seems to be if Chomsky mentions anarchism in the text then it is in. It is also quite often repetitive - not on Chomsky's part but if he wants to quote the same passage from Humboldt at different points across a thirty year period it is probably up to an editor to not to collect all those quotations together.

Some of the pieces are better than others - the middle section on the Spanish civil war is the most interesting but is a review of a book that probably no one has read since the sixties so it is not the best anarchist history of that time period. The final essay on "Language and Freedom" is hampered by Chomsky clearly working to a commission and not really being sure of what the topic is supposed to be about.

This is still worth listening to, Chomsky is a clear and interesting thinker and the reader does a good job with the material, but as a curiosity. You need to know going in that this book is not intended to be in any way a definitive statement on anarchism by Chomsky but is a collection of lesser writing by a third party.

Also introduction is unrelated to the book and has already dated more than anything else here.

16 people found this helpful

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  • Armen Pandola
  • 2014-04-24

Chomsky Delivers - Again

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

If you are interested in the history of anarchism and its place in the modern world, you will enjoy this in depth account of anarchism. Chomsky puts on his scholor's cap and dissects the anarchist movement in modern times.

What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

Chomsky takes issue with those who believe that anarchism and effective state action are opposed to each other. He sees anarchism as fitting in with an enlightened socialism.

Have you listened to any of Eric Martin’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

No.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

This is a book that makes you think - and then think again.

Any additional comments?

Chomsky has gotten such a bad rap as some kind of extreme nut that rarely do people take the time to notice that he is one of the greatest political, social and philosophical thinkers of our time. He has always been spot on in his criticism of our - and other - governments when they trample on international law, people's rights and - most importantly - trample on the best tool we have for understanding even the most complex problems - our reason.

9 people found this helpful

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  • Patrick Daoust
  • 2016-03-26

very interesting book

Overall this book is very inspiring and opens the imagination to ways of thinking that are almost never presented in the public discourse. Different chapters have different styles, some from talks or one on one interviews. The sections on interpretations of the Spanish civil war are a bit dry - i.e. presented in a formal and academic manner, but nonetheless very rigorous and interesting.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Vilmaldor
  • 2018-08-09

Not what was expected

It was good but not what I expected, the book circled mainly around the Spanish revolution. This was my first book I've tried from chomsky but I'm willing to try others of his.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Ibi A. Cole
  • 2017-04-18

just ok

his interviews are far more engaging than his written essays. understanding power gives all of this book and more

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  • James L Gleeson
  • 2017-03-10

The American Misunderstanding of Anarchism

A must read for every American citizen to understand the true nature of our so called democratic government and our freedom

1 person found this helpful

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  • Adam Cook
  • 2020-02-26

A haphazard mishmash

An unintentional collection, lacking coherence or thesis. A random walk of essays, interviews, speeches, not created for the purpose of this book. In that way you get all the classic chomskyisms and golden oldies.

If t try he book we’re titled a brief history of anarchy-syndicalism in 1930’s Spain, then I’d have thought more of it, but my interests were broader, more general.

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  • Jonathan Polivka
  • 2020-02-20

Ground breaking and mind opening.

Truly remarkable thought and writing. Easy to comprehend. Not the bast narration. This book will help you.

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  • Brent
  • 2020-01-15

Weak arguments with whimsical statements

Clearly does not understand an Anarcho- capitalism. Nor does he understand capitalism in general. Frankly, I wonder if he has spent any time evaluating any type of historical economics book.

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  • Hildegard
  • 2020-01-12

Fascinating

It’s Chomsky. What else needs to be said? I learned so much about anarchism, the ideal of anarchism, and the bastardization of the term in modern times. I will definitely be listening to this again. So much wisdom to glean.