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America’s Gift to the World:
The Culture of Terrorism

bookcover features a photo of a military parade with the Washington Monument and Jefferson Memorial in the background. The Culture of Terrorism
by Noam Chomsky
South End Press, 1994; ISBN 0-89608-344-9

From the South End Press:

This scathing critique of U.S. political culture is a brilliant analysis of the Iran-Contra scandal. Chomsky offers a message of hope, reminding us resistance is possible, necessary and effective.

From the Common Courage Press:


“The central — and not very surprising — conclusion that emerges from the documentary and historical record is that the U.S. international and security policy, rooted in the structure of power in the domestic society, has as its primary goal the preservation of what we might call the “Fifth Freedom,” understood crudely but with a fair degree of accuracy as the freedom to rob, to exploit and dominate, to undertake any course of action to ensure that existing privilege is protected and advanced.

“This guiding principle was overlooked when Franklin Delano Roosevelt announced the Four Freedoms that the U.S. and its allies would uphold in the conflict with fascism: freedom of speech, freedom of worship, freedom of want, and freedom from fear.”


“Chomsky, linguist and political essayist, continues his critique of President Reagan’s Central American policy begun in Turning the Tide ( LJ 4/1/86), in which he argued that the United States has opposed human rights and democratization in the region to advance our economic interests. Here the thesis is extended to the Iran-contra scandal. Chomsky’s documentation neatly supports his logic. Leftist adherents will applaud, while the majority depicted as perpetrators or dupes of military-based state capitalism will ignore the book or dismiss it as rhetoric. But Chomsky has a point of view not frequently encountered in the press. For larger public and academic libraries.”

— Kenneth F. Kister
Library Journal

“Chomsky once again holds the mirror up to America and shows how blatantly hypocritical and disingenuous our foreign policy actually is. In this book his primary focus is on the Reagan administration and Central America, where corporate and military interests were promoted at the expense of the indigenous people and “true” democracy. Recent events (the 2000 Bush “coup”, Webb’s book on cocaine and the contras, the Colombia “aid” package, etc.) show how truly relevant this research is.

“Also, do not let the simpletons of the right and the mainstream (is there really a difference between the two anymore?) critique Chomsky without comment or evidence. His research, unlike theirs (on those rare occasions when they actually engage in true journalism) is meticulously documented and uses their own words and documents as source material.

“One last thing, if you don’t get this book then get any book from Chomsky on American economic and foreign policy (I recommend his work on Israel and the Palestinians as a particularly contemporary selection).”

— Brian Mitchell
Amazon.com reviewer
from Woodland Hills, CA

“Enlightening for those who suffer it; outrageous for those who profit from it. The culture of terrorism (overt and covert) is very much a global reality to deal with. A bad book for those whom the culture of terrorism has managed to brainwash into blind denial and self-censorship. An excellent book for us, 99% of the world oppressed by that culture.”

— Fernando
Amazon.com reviewer
from Mumbai, India

The following is a joke, not a real quote. However, the type of American it portrays is, most unfortunately, all too real :)

“Y’see? This here book by Chomsky proves we Americans got cultur! Shit, besides the parade like it shows on the cover, we got Ronald McDonald n’ Standard Oil n’ Coca Cola n’ Joe Camel cigarettes n’ Nike shoes (Just Do It child laborers!). We got Mickey Mouse n’ Goofy n’ Democrapublicans like Bill ‘I never inhaled’ Clinton n’ Ronald ‘Bedtime for Bonzo’ Reagan. We got Hollywood n’ Playboy bunnies n’ REAL football n’ — most importint uv all — prime-time TV!

“Hell we got Charles Manson n’ Madeleine Albright n’ Lt. William ‘Babykiller’ Calley n’ Tricky Dick Nixon n’ Stormin’ Norman Scheizkopf n’ Colon Powell n’ Gee Dubbya Shrub n’... wull, the list of Amerikin heros is pert near endliss!

“Yep, we in cappitalist America feel so damn blessed, we just wanna share our fine, upstandin cultur with the rest of the world — whether you dang foreigners like it or not! Hell, its only outta the goodniss of our harts that we shovin are corporate dumocracy down you’re ungrateful throats. Fer the rest of you’re lives you be workin for slave wages, but hey — at least you got American TV an’ moovies to program yer stupid little infeerier third world brains with!

“What?   You ain’t gonna get on yer kneess n’ thank us??   Pinko Commies!!!   Well, fer yer own good, fer th’ sake of freedom n’ dumocracy n’ apple pie, we gonna hafta — to use a fine ol’ Americn expreshun — KICK YER ASS!!!”

— Joe Blowhard
All-American flag-waver,
Budweiser guzzler & True Believer

About the Author

Noam Chomsky

Noam Chomsky is a major figure in twentieth-century linguistics. He has taught since 1955 at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he became a full professor at the age of 32. His 1957 work Syntactic Structures revolutionized the field of linguistics, fundamentally changing the current understanding of language and mind. In 1976 he was appointed Institute Professor in the Department of Linguistics and Philosophy at MIT. Currently he is also the Ferrari P. Ward Professor of Modern Languages and Linguistics.

Chomsky has received honorary degrees from the University of London, University of Chicago, Georgetown University and Cambridge University. He is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the National Academy of Sciences. His work in linguistics, which has been internationally acclaimed, has earned Chomsky the Distinguished Scientific Contribution Award of the American Psychological Association, the Kyoto Prize in Basic Sciences and the Helmholtz Medal.

Born in Philadelphia on December 7, 1928, Chomsky became politically conscious at a very young age, writing his first political article, on the fight against fascism in Spain, when he was only ten years old.

Chomsky has written many books on contemporary issues and is an outspoken critic of U.S. foreign policy and corporate power. His political talks have been heard, typically by standing-room only audiences, all over the country and the globe.

In a saner world, his tireless efforts to promote justice would have long since won him the Nobel Peace Prize. But no, the committee prefers to give it to sleazy war-criminals like Henry Kissinger.

Books by Noam Chomsky

Audio books:

Other works:

Related site

The Noam Chomsky Archive

“This archive is hosted by ZNet, the web site of Z Magazine. It contains the full text to many of Chomsky’s major works, the complete audio to several important lectures, and numerous articles, interviews and speeches.”

Related pages

The Crucifixion of El Salvador
From What Uncle Sam Really Wants
by Noam Chomsky

Making Guatemala a Killing Field
From What Uncle Sam Really Wants
by Noam Chomsky

Teaching Nicaragua a lesson
From What Uncle Sam Really Wants
by Noam Chomsky

The Invasion of Panama
From What Uncle Sam Really Wants
by Noam Chomsky

Free online book from Common Courage Press:
Colombia: The Genocidal Democracy
by Javier Giraldo

Inside American State Terrorism: A Soldier Speaks
by Stan Goff

Chronology of U.S. Terrorism and Genocide of the Central American, South American & Caribbean peoples

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