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The End of America: Letter of Warning to a Young Patriot

The End of America: Letter of Warning to a Young Patriot

Written by Naomi Wolf

Narrated by Karen White


The End of America: Letter of Warning to a Young Patriot

Written by Naomi Wolf

Narrated by Karen White

ratings:
3.5/5 (17 ratings)
Length:
6 hours
Publisher:
Released:
Mar 15, 2008
ISBN:
9781400176465
Format:
Audiobook

Description

The Founding Fathers believed that the proper goal of the State was to make men and women free to develop their faculties and to pursue virtue and wisdom. Our Constitution was built around these principles, protecting civil liberties and developing a careful system of checks and balances that protected our freedom from tyranny.



Naomi Wolf's latest work, The End of America: A Letter of Warning to a Young Patriot, exposes how the escalation of executive power has eroded these core values and systems, limiting Congress's ability to make laws and our courts' power to interpret them-a scenario that our Founding Fathers foresaw and warned against. Wolf outlines in this citizen call to action-which is reminiscent of Thomas Paine's revered Common Sense-the real threats to our civil liberties that exist and explains how by working together we can stop the growing threat.



The End of America: A Letter of Warning to a Young Patriot is the centerpiece to the American Freedom Agenda, a nonpartisan organization of which Naomi Wolf is a founding board member and which asks all Americans to support a "Freedom Pledge" to support only candidates who favor restoring the pillars of American liberty. It combines a wide host of partners, united in their belief that when it comes to the Constitution, we are neither conservative nor liberal; we are all Americans.
Publisher:
Released:
Mar 15, 2008
ISBN:
9781400176465
Format:
Audiobook


About the author

Naomi Wolf made a sensation with her landmark international bestseller The Beauty Myth in 1991. The author of four books, she is also the cofounder and president of the Woodhull Institute for Ethical Leadership. She lives in New York City.

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3.7
17 ratings / 15 Reviews
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  • (4/5)
    Okay, I'll get it out of the way right up front. I'm beginning to realize that Chelsea Green does not do a good job of editing books. Some of the errors here were so blatant a third grader could have spotted them. Okay, got that off my chest. Now to the book itself. The book was written during the closing years of the Bush 43 administration, amid the writer's concern that we were moving toward fascism. It would be easy to dismiss that idea when the Obama years seemed so much more democratic (but were they?), but now that we are entering the countdown to 2020 with another budding fascist in the White House, it is frightening to look back on the things Congress was doing to give away their power to the president, and in some cases, power that no one is supposed to have because the Constitution forbids it. Most of this happened unnoticed, some of it even in the middle of the night, and only such as were political junkies even knew it happened. Many of us weren't sure what it all meant. The author does a good job of laying that out, of examining the various tools that Congress and the people willingly handed over to a president who has been gaining power for at least a century. Nearly all, if not all, of those tools still remain in place, and can be picked up at any time by a president who lacks integrity and desires absolute power. The author examines other dictatorships around the world, especially those that grew out of democracy like fascist Italy and Nazi Germany - not implying that our country was Nazi Germany, but just looking at the ways in which democracy can be subverted in a very short period of time. Should be required reading in all Civics classes, if only we taught such a thing anymore (and the English teachers could use it to demonstrate how to find sentences missing words or with added words, or with bad punctuation - a double win for a small book).
  • (3/5)
    The end of America by Naomi Wolf 2007 155p polThis book is a political type of pamphlet showing that the US government with all the checks and balances placed by the founding fathers to keep it democratic,it can revert to a dictatorship very easily and has had periods in its history when this has happened.The founding fathers were revolutionary at the time democracy with equality and liberty were considered seditious and this is not appreciated today..There are periods in question like slavery, the cancelation of habeas corpus by Lincoln, the Jim Crow laws and lynching in the south the internment of Japanese, the Mc Cathy purges, and now since 9/11 and Guantoonama Bay.The book tells of the Blackwater mercenary organization that is a private army available for use and hires the worst thugs and is a law unto itself an insult to a democratic country. They were used to keep order after Katrina.There are examples of how both Mussolini and Hitler controlled and manipulated the media and even in America at times the press has become self censoring or people are scared to lead opposition group or sign protest petitions. Bush younger took the USA into war in Iraq wth a lie. Lies are a tool used by dictators till the public cannot identify the truth.The silver lining is that a lot of people must have been aware of what was going on because there was large turnout at the polls and a Democrat was elected in 2008. High voter turnout and regular change not allowing one party to become entrenched is good for democracy.
  • (4/5)
    A "letter' written by Wolf during the George W Bush era detailing why she believes that the Republican party is strategizing to become a permanent majority and keep control of the US government. She lists the ten steps a leader will take to " close down a democracy or crush a prodemocratic movement, whether by capitalists, communists or right-wing fascists."The ten steps:1) Invoke an External and Internal Treat2) Establish secret prisons3) Develop a Paramilitary Force4) Survey Ordinary Citizens5) Infiltrate Citizen Groups6) Arbitrarily Detain and Release Civilians7) Target Key Individuals8) Restrict the Press9) Cast Criticism as "espionage" and Dissent as 'treason"10) Subvert the rule of lawWolf gives examples of how GWB put all these steps into action. The book was written before Obama won the 2008 election. According to Wolf if the Republicans had won America would have become a fascist state. Now the USA has a new president who is already putting these steps into action. Some of them he can skip -- the secret prisons and paramilitary forces of the Bush era still exist. It's a very scary time. Wolf's main advice to defeat a fascist take over of the government, is for all Americans to become and remain "awoke".
  • (5/5)
    Absolutely essential read. Our freedoms are crumbling right in front of us. Naomi Wolf looks into history to find out what that means for our future.
  • (3/5)
    An easily-read primer (see others' notes of errors/omissions) of the responsibility of all citizens to police their government. Immediate past examples may put most of the text into old news, but reminders to the American public with its notoriously short memory, are well advised.
  • (3/5)

    Wow, couldn't put it down, I also very much like the talk she gave on Oct. 11th 2007, look it up on Google video.
  • (5/5)
    This is a "must read" for anyone concerned about the decline of civil liberties in the U.S. I have bought several copies for others to read.
  • (1/5)
    Poor, poor, poor. Let me say it again...Poor!Naomi Wolf seeks to create a new version of Thomas Paine's Common Sense. She succeeds in that, like Paine, it is not a logical, well thought out argument of reason but rather a base appeal to emotion.I read this following completion of Liberal Democracy, finding that unsatisfying in that, although logically thought out and backed up with facts, it only looked at the Democrats and not the current administration. So I turned to this for balancing. Because, as Wolf reasons, there are serious problems today.There are two major flaws. One is putting meat onto the bones. She fails quite often to back up her assertions with information. especially when those facts might undermine her case. For a tract, this is not a problem. Perhaps that is her purpose.The more important flaw is in her argumentation. The Bush administration did XYZ. Hitler and Stalin also did XYZ. Therefore, our democracy is weakened because it is like Hitler and Stalin. But what about other Western nations? Do they do XYZ as well? (In many cases yes) Have previous administrations in the last 200 years done XYZ and stayed a democracy?There is no logic, but only emotional appeal to fear.
  • (4/5)
    In Praise of Naomi Wolf's Little Beige BookI'm primarily a fiction fan, but I do read the occasional nonfiction book, and Naomi Wolf's "The End of America: Letter of Warning to a Young Patriot" was well worth my time this past weekend. Ms. Wolf's book, easily read in 1-2 evenings, employs a straightforward framework: She lists the 10 steps to fascism that are invariably employed by people in power who seek to make that power absolute, and she lists ways in which these 10 steps are discernible (sometimes subtly, sometimes overtly) in the current political climate of the United States.(For those of you who want to cut to the chase and know what the 10 steps are, look no further: 1. Invoke a constant internal and external threat. 2. Establish secret prisons. 3. Develop a paramilitary force. 4. Surveil ordinary citizens. 5. Infiltrate citizens' groups. 6. Arbitrarily detain and release citizens. 7. Target key individuals. 8. Restrict the press. 9. Cast criticism as "espionage" and dissent as "treason." 10. Subvert the rule of law. )Ms. Wolf's tone is urgent, but it also bears the dispassionate veritas of factual exposition. Either the 10 steps are historically constant or they are not, and either they (or their precursors) are detectable in the United States today or they are not. She provides ample notes and bibliographies in support of her assertions, and invites the reader to apply his/her own powers of reason and further investigation to her work.Some sections of Ms. Wolf's book are so alarming that they will keep you up into the wee hours of the morning. Case in point: a quoted interchange between between Senator Arlen Specter and (now former) Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, in which Gonzales implies that although the right of habeas corpus, if applicable, cannot be suspended except in cases of invasion or rebellion, a citizen of the United States may or may not be entitled to that right in the first place. It all depends . . . . . (I think that the fuzzy concept of "enemy combatant" is involved here, although I'm not entirely sure . . . )The most frightening aspect of Ms. Wolf's book is the fact that you don't have to be an inherently evil, murderous person or group in order to slowly morph an open society into a fascist regime. The initial impetus of your behavior doesn't even need to involve bad intent. You only need (a) to believe, with uncompromising passion and absolutist zeal, that you have envisioned what is best for your state/country/local school board, etc., and (b) be willing to consolidate and mobilize your power base in such a way as to subdue, silence and/or eliminate anyone who disagrees with you. Come to think of it, anyone who has ever fantasized about using a "trap door button" to eliminate a fellow committee member during a contentious and inane committee meeting has experienced a Mussolini moment.Read this book. It will make you think.
  • (4/5)
    Naomi Wolf's latest work offers a concise account of the dirty dealings of the latest presidential administration, aptly comparing the doings of Bush and Company to actions undertaken by well-known dictatorial regimes of the twentieth century, most notably those of Mussolini's Italy and Hitler's Germany. "Many people are understandably overwhelmed when the term 'Nazism' or the name 'Hitler' is introduced into a debate," Wolf admits (p. 13). "I also know that there is a kind of intellectual etiquette, an unwritten rule, that Nazism and Hitler should be treated as stand-alone categories. But I believe that this etiquette is actually keeping us from learning what we have to learn right now." The parallels she draws offer a terrifying picture of American decadence: while each of the individual governmental actions Wolf mentions, taken alone, paints a portrait of prideful, corrupted power, taken as a whole they indicate a democracy in decline.Wolf's thesis is simple: "There are ten steps that are taken in order to close down a democracy or crush a prodemocratic movement, whether by capitalists, communists, or right-wing fascists. These ten steps, taken together, are more than the sum of their parts. Once all ten have been put in place, each magnifies the power of the others and of the whole. Impossible as it may seem, we are seeing each of these ten steps taking hold in the United States today" (p. 11).Wolf's laundry list includes items such as "invoke an external and internal threat," "develop a paramilitary force," and "arbitrarily detain and release citizens." For these and seven other generalized forms of governmental suppression she is able to cite dozens of instances of malfeasance on the part of the American government, instances in line with steps taken by fascistic leaders of the twentieth century.The book is well-written, but while Wolf attempts to package her campaign as an across-the-board appeal to American citizens of every stripe, her message is obviously aimed at people towards the political spectrum's left end. My fear is that the book will end up preaching to the choir: those who read it and enjoy it will likely already be well aware of the misdeeds being perpetrated, and will already be doing all they can to counteract the effects of those deeds. Many more conservative readers will simply not believe much of what Wolf has to say in the first place.The book's a quick read, and if you can stomach so concentrated an account of the Bush administration's treachery, I recommend it. It's a solid book, despite its sometimes purple prose.
  • (3/5)
    Despite a slightly hokey premise (the "warning to a young American"), this is a well-researched, well argued polemic. The similarities between recent events in the U.S. and the development of fascist societies elsewhere are definitely food for thought, although the author takes care not to overstate the analogy.
  • (4/5)
    First off, the subject matter here is too important to let the flaws in this book get in the way, regardless of where you are on the political spectrum.Wolf has worked hard to assmeble and organize relevant facts to allow comparison to historical precedent. Sure, there's hyperbole, but a lot less than typical in a book on a subject like this. And she doesn't set aside her political bias as much as she'd like (but who can). But she does an heroic job of avoiding finger pointing, though she does name names when it's unavoidable.All this being said, she gives it the old college try, and does a good job of it. Her goal is to line up current events in one column (figuratively), and line up historical events in the other and let you see if the parallels scare you.If you care about an America that works within the Constitution that we've thrived under for over 200 years and if you believe in the rule of law, then you must deal with the events, legislation, and administration initiatives laid out in this book.This isn't literature, and I can complain a lot about the writing style, but this book is to be read (and right now) for content and education, not for entertainment. Because it accomplishes its objectives in strong, straighforward language, I rate the book rather high.
  • (3/5)
    A good book for a beginning liberal, but ultimately this book is long on problems and short on solutions. I mostly agreed with Wolf throughout, but lost patience with her arguments after awhile, anxious for solutions that never came. I probably should have known better just by looking at the conclusion, "A Patriot's Task," which is a whopping two pages long.

    Wolf presented a lot of valuable information, and a lot of the book works well as a history lesson. Particularly enlightening and frightening to me were chapters 3 ("Establishing Secret Prisons"), 4 ("Develop a Paramilitary Force") and 7 ("Arbitrarily Detain and Release Prisoners," about the disintegration of habeas corpus). In the "Restrict the Press" chapter, she makes some important points about the delegitimization of Truth, as well as making her most effective pitch at a solution when she calls upon bloggers to start taking their jobs more seriously.

    But overall, I got tired of the comparisons to Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy, Stalinist Russia, modern China, Pinochet's Chile, and other dictatorships. I don't actually disagree with Wolf's point, they just provoked a "Yeah, yeah, what next then?" response. Preaching to the choir. A big problem I had with the book was my impression that Wolf exaggerates at times. An example would be, when talking about surveillance: One reason dictators demand access to such private data is that this scrutiny breaks down citizens' sense of being able to act freely against those in power.You know what, that may very well be one reason, but I can guarantee you it's not the main reason, at least in the case of the U.S. Call me naive, but I believe that illegal wiretapping probably stems from a genuine desire to catch terrorists. Throughout the book, Wolf assigns this conspiratorial thinking where I'm not sure it exists. Does Wolf really believe that G-Dub thought, "You know what we need to do? We need to break down our citizens' sense of being able to act freely against us."? It is true that many of the tactics she describes lead to abridged freedom, but I don't think she does lefties a service by fabricating this evil right wing empire-in-waiting, when most evidence points to it being a much more organic process, without one or even a group of evil masterminds guiding it. It's scary enough as it is, and we need to discuss it honestly in order to figure out how to stop it. Wolf -- perhaps unintentionally -- injects a fair amount of irrational dogmatism into the conversation. . .

    . . . And then her solution is that people should magically become more informed and politically active, and just better in general. And everyone should just magically get along and learn how to cooperate and work together to demand their freedom. Very helpful, Naomi. NOT.

    As an aside, the book would have gained much credibility just from a more thorough proof-reading. It's hard to take a book with so many typos seriously.
  • (3/5)

    1 person found this helpful

    Having just seen the documentary based on this book, I wanted to read her short original text too. While her intention is admirable, the effort often reads like the one-eyed leading the blind.Unfortunately, she is often wrong in the details due to her superficial knowledge. When she writes "By 1930 Nazi propagandists referred to Germany not as "the nation", this is simply wrong, as any glance at the National Socialist party name shows. When she quotes Emerson "We began well. No inquisitions, here", she ignores the Massachusetts witch trials. For a work claiming to educate the public, this is a fairly error-laden pamphlet. But then again, her audience in the United States of Amnesia knows even less.Her basic diagnosis of a creeping totalitarianism in the United States of America is correct. It is wrong to attribute this solely to the Bush administration, though, even if they were especially brazen. The "inalienable rights" were and are often denied from the slaveholder Thomas Jefferson to Proposition 8 bigots. The totalitarian Pledge of Allegiance, the House Committee of Un-American Activities (HUAC), vote suppression and press manipulations are part of America, even American inventions such as gerrymandering or lynching.Removing the Republicans from office only partially heals this. US totalitarianism is mostly not based on hard action (torture, detainment, military forces) but on the more pernicious soft power. The Obama administration will abolish the most heinous acts of its predecessors but not dismantle the soft measures. The problem of US journalism is not the threat of prison time but the self-censorship of editors and journalists seeking "access". Audiatur et altera pars in US practice means an authoritarian Republican discussing with a center-right Democrat. Her plea for Americans "to publish online, research aggressively, check facts assiduously, expose abuses, file Freedom of Information Act requests, publish 'zines, write op-eds" seriously overestimates and overcharges the nation of couch potatoes. The problem lies in the media-entertainment complex and the dismal state of public education. The second problem is not touched by her at all, the failure of American democracy: Most US elections are not competitive. Incumbents are nearly impossible to unseat due to gerrymandering and the influence of money.Overall, a worthy effort, mostly for the gallery. After all, Noam Chomsky has been preaching the same message better researched and better written for decades.

    1 person found this helpful

  • (4/5)
    Naomi Wolf's book 'The End of America' is a well written book. There are plentiful footnotes to back up her examples. There is a large useful bibliography to guide the reader in further reading on the subject. The style she took of a letter to a young patriot makes the book very readable. It is almost conversational. The young patriot is given a history and civics lesson. Her basic premise is given by an allegory of a swinging pendulum. The swinging back and forth of the pendulum represents the back and forth of the left and the right political philosophies. The amplitude of the swing represents the amount of liberty we have. When we have no liberties, the pendulum is stationary. She proposes that the job of the patriot is to prevent the pendulum from stopping. I personal find this allegory less than effective. Don’t we want to reach a stable point where neither the left nor the right enforces their will on us? What motion of the pendulum describes that state? Despite the effectiveness of her allegory, not one she invented mind you, her discussion about the struggle between left and right is accurate.She illustrates ten items or actions that take a Democracy to a Fascist state. For the most part, each of these step are demonstrated in historical context. Where and how the steps were used by Hitler in Germany, Mussolini in Italy and others are explained. She includes statements of how the framer of the constitution sought to project us against these steps. The one failing of the book is it near constant use of the Bush administrations policies as examples of the actions leading to a fascist state. It isn't until very late in the book that she points that the small steps that eroding our liberties can be used by either a republican or democrat president to lead us to fascist state. To me it seems unlikely that the Bush administration wished to bring down the democracy and install themselves as leaders of a fascist state. I think it is more a likely in human nature to turn away from liberty to protect our safety. That idea being much more frightening. I felt she should have at least spent some time examining this aspect of human nature. Sadly, I think the use of the Bush administration actions as the corner stone of most of the book, will out of date the book as of January 20th 2009. This is a pity, since the main message of the book, the call to fight the powers of repression by becoming an active participant in the cause of liberty, is a good message.