This latest offering from best-selling author Wolf (The Beauty Myth) is a harbinger of an age that may finally see the patriarchal realm of political discourse usurped. Here is Wolf's compellingly and cogently argued political argument for civil rights, not women's rights. She contributes this call to action to a canon that from Plato and Aristotle to Hobbes and Locke and forward, with a few exceptions (e.g., Hannah Arendt), has been largely populated by men. Wolf's work is actually closer to the agitated, passionate polemics of Emma Goldman than the ponderous, philosophical musings of Arendt. Readers will appreciate her energy and urgency as she warns we are living through a dangerous "fascist shift"¯ brought about by the Bush administration. Her chapters outline the "Ten Steps to Fascism"¯ citing historical corollaries (as well as the pigs in Orwell's Animal Farm), with headings like "Invoke an External and Internal Threat,"¯ "Establish Secret Prisons," and "Target Key Individuals."¯ In other words, fascism can exist without dictatorship. Her book's publication through a small press in Vermont that is committed to "the politics and practice of sustainable living"¯ rather than through a large trade house is itself a political act. Highly recommended for all collections.
The Midwest Book Review
Despite its subtitle, The End of America: A Letter of Warning to a Young Patriot should be required reading for all American patriots regardless of age. Author Naomi Wolf has extensively researched the rise of 20th century dictatorships in Germany, Russia, China, and Chile, and observed ten parallel steps that governments routinely take to guide the nation to a fascist takeover, and bring an end to any aspects of democracy. What is far more frightening than any horror novel is that the ten steps have been and continue to be applied here, in present-day America. One chilling example is step 2, "Create secret prisons where torture takes place," which is currently underway along with the current administration's assertion of the "right" to name any American citizen an "enemy combatant" and detain them indefinitely without trial. Also horrifying is step 3, "Develop a thug caste or paramilitary force not answerable to citizens," which is gradually being realized through the private service of Blackwater, a military force used by the American government in Iraq, that allegedly is prone to fire upon civilians and legally is not subject to military court-martial or Iraqi law. Wolf warns that daily life can appear to proceed normally as liberties crumble, until the instant that fascism takes power and the rule of law is suspended; to protect American liberty and democracy, citizens must act now- there is not one year, one month, one day to waste. Highly recommended.