Naomi Wolf. The End of America: Letter of Warning to a Young Patriot. Chelsea Green Publishing, 2007.
I found many things to like about this book, a best-seller written by a leading American feminist social critic. Wolf presents her polemic against American social and political trends in recent years as reflecting her one “conservative” (as in affirming the democratic traditions pioneered in the U.S. and reflected in our Constitution and Bill of Rights). She sees herself in the long tradition of dissent against oppressive government dating back to colonial days, especially evoking Thomas Paine.
Wolf gives us a clear and carefully thought through portrayal of how recent trends in our country, when looked at carefully, put us clearly on the road to fascism–this is a persuasive argument, I think. Her writing is accessible, well-reasoned, logical, and passionate.
I also like how Wolf, already a very prominent figure and sure of selling a lot of books, chose to publish with a truly independent publisher rather than making money for the very corporations that are underwriting our journey away from democracy.
I haven’t read any of Wolf’s reflections following the election of Barack Obama to the presidency. I would expect she would draw some hope from that election–our democracy may still have some vitality. But I would hope she would also raise some strong words of caution. We are far from out of the woods. The temptations facing Obama to live too comfortably with the perks of the imperial presidency will be powerful. Citizens must sustain, even heighten, their efforts to make sure we decisively turn from the path toward fascism.