Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and…

Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle (2009)

by Chris Hedges

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
7133513,224 (3.65)18



Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 18 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 35 (next | show all)
Polemic wrapped in non sequitur garnished with glimmers of insight. This topic has potential that was not realized by the author. The leaps in logic (Most psychologists belong to the APA, the APA is involved in torture, therefore positive psychology is a technique used to break humans down) and constant seepage of personal vendetta into his writing leave this book thoroughly missable. ( )
  liso | Sep 18, 2015 |
Read half this book. Too much anti-Jesus bias and too depressing to finish. Glad I borrowed rather than bought it! ( )
  delenburg | Jan 3, 2015 |
How to review this book? The idea is certainly true -- or at least deeply resonant with me at the moment. We as a culture have become addicted to illusion and spectacle. Prominent examples from the book include professional wrestling, porn, and our obsession with celebrities. We are surrounded by distraction -- TVs everywhere blaring a 24-hour fluff news cycle and somehow no programs of substance, twitters and Facebook statuses on constant rolling feeds, all in 140 characters or less, all of us chained to this stream of entertainment and pseudo-news, and who has time to read a book? Who has time to think deeply about any one particular issue? How easily those with a different script are dismissed as doomsdayers, naysayers, future-fearing Luddites, so they can be erased from view and replaced with someone who will move more product.

Corporations are running the world. All so subtly it's like we didn't even know it was happening. It's not a monopoly if it's five companies controlling every thing we read, hear, watch, and surf, right? Never mind they all have the exact same interests at heart -- profit, advertising, the commodification of the audience: us. It's still a democracy if we have so many choices, right? But now strange all those voices sound the same on the issues important to the deep pockets required to make those voices loud enough for us to hear in the first place.

This is a bleak world view. As it goes on it gets clearer and clearer just why that shiny world of glitz is so much more attractive than reality. But then just when I was ready to give way to despair, Hedges won me back with one very simple promise: love wins. I emerged from the other side of this book even more deeply convicted of the importance of manifesting my crazy liberal theology. We'll see how that goes. ( )
2 vote greeniezona | Sep 20, 2014 |
A depressing but hard-hitting look at the dumbing-down and commercialization of American society. Well-written if a bit too earnest (would it have killed the author to have a bit of fun with some of this... ala Freakonomics?!) , this is a sobering look at future generations in the US and the world. ( )
  mjspear | Jun 5, 2013 |
Hedges vents his considerable anger with America's cultural and intellectual decline, and the penchant for most of our fellow citizens to choose the comforts of distraction and delusion over confronting the challenges of reality. I share his disillusionment. ( )
  Sullywriter | Apr 3, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 35 (next | show all)
While Hedges isn't the first to posit that the biggest threat to America is Americans .. his may be the most compelling argument yet. .. Citing everyone from Socrates to Steinem, Hedges manages to ratchet up the terror factor by several degrees per chapter so that, by the end, the reader is at least exhausted, if not completely defeated.
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
First words
John Bradshaw Layfield, tall, clean-cut, in a collared shirt and white Stetson hat, stands in the center of the ring holding a heavy black microphone.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Publisher series
Original language

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (3)

Book description
Haiku summary

No descriptions found.

Chris Hedges argues that we now live in two societies: one, the minority, functions in a print-based, literate world, able to cope with complexity and to separate illusion from truth. The other, a growing majority, is retreating from a reality-based world into one of false certainty and magic. In this "other society," comforting, reassuring images, fantasies, slogans and a celebration of violence push reality, complexity and nuance to the margins. The worse reality becomes, the less a beleaguered population wants to hear about it and the more it distracts itself with squalid pseudo-events of celebrity breakdowns, gossip and trivia. These are the debauched revels of a dying culture.--From publisher description.… (more)

» see all 2 descriptions

Quick Links

Swap Ebooks Audio
197 wanted5 pay

Popular covers


Average: (3.65)
1 5
1.5 1
2 11
2.5 5
3 33
3.5 11
4 71
4.5 7
5 24

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.


Help/FAQs | About | Privacy/Terms | Blog | Store | Contact | LibraryThing.com | APIs | WikiThing | Common Knowledge | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | 105,812,280 books! | Top bar: Always visible