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Book Review: America's Deadliest Export - Democracy

Blog posts reflect the views of their authors.
Blum spits fire in his latest undressing of the emperor's message
Blum spits fire in his latest undressing of the emperor's message

America's Deadliest Export - Democracy

By William Blum

270 pages

Alright, let's get this straight. William Blum is one bad-assed, living, breathing, encyclopedia of US military and clandestine incursions the world over. He knows this stuff inside and out, and his seminal book Killing Hope should sit front and centre on the shelf of every self-respecting human being who thinks they know how the world ticks. Where have the Yankees spoiled the hopes and dreams of real democratic processes taking root? Blum knows the answer, it's probably way more than you expected, and he's willing to share. Thank the Gods and Goddesses for Blum.

Blum's latest book, America's Deadliest Export – Democracy is another classic work. It's not the earth-rocking tome that Killing Hope is, and there is the whiff of cynicism about it. But damn, Blum's a serious veteran of the war on error. He was outside the White House handing out anti-war fliers before I was playing G.I Joes and throwing tantrums in the Toys R Us, so we've got to allow him the odd rant from the soap box.

America's Deadliest is like watching Renoir do some paint by number, just because he can. Blum hops, skips and jumps from topic to topic, undressing the mainstream disinformation as a matter of point. The chapters are set up in such a manner that you, with your atrophied attention span, can flip from 'Wikileaks' to 'Libya' to 'Dissent and resistance in America' without missing a beat. It's heavy information, to be sure, so having stand-alone chapters like this, where you can walk away, process, and say 'Holy shit this is one mad, mad world', before you dive back in is a welcome respite.

The book is a compendium of old and new material, which, in the world of the manic news feed, always runs the risk of trying to turn stale information into something freshly baked. But Blum is so damn eloquent and informed a writer that his dishes have no expiry date. Why should I bother, in 2013, with the chapter about 'Condoleeza Rice' or 'Yugoslavia'? Because Blum says I should. And that's enough for me.

The missiles, bombs and American flag that adorns the cover – as well as the title – might frighten off the meditating, granola crowd, as well as the American Idol crowd, which is a bit unfortunate because William Blum deserves a much larger choir to preach to. That this man remains sidelined is a statement to our collective prioritization of...well, I don't really know why, to be honest.

My suggestion is buy the book, do some rudimentary arts and crafts, and make your own cover. I'd personally put a picture of a silhouetted, cross-legged, asexual, individual with all their chakras lit up and glowing, on said cover. Give it a title like 'Unlocking the energy of your past lives in five easy steps' by Omni William Blum.

Conversely, depending on your intended, unsuspecting audience, you might want to try something with a sunset, with a title like 'Enabling your inner entrepreneur.'

Gift it to your favourite star child or go-getter, or place it surreptitiously on their bedside table with a seagull feather marking the page where Blum lays down your favourite enlightenment bomb. Blum can't do it alone. You've got to pass this one along.

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