Saturday, January 23, 2021

Review: Blackshirts and Reds by Michael Parenti

Rating: 5/5 stars

There are things that I have spent so much time thinking about, that I can speak or write of them in an impassioned and organized way whenever prompted. This book read like that to me - that Parenti has spent so much time thinking of this topic that this work just flowed straight out of his pen.

This fluidity made it a joy to read. However, it was also not quite what I expected. I picked this book up in part because I enjoyed The Assassination of Julius Caesar: A People's History of Ancient Rome so much, and I was expecting a similarly focused and well-cited exegesis. Instead it was a broad overview of the many facets of anti-communist and pro-capitalist propaganda and foreign policy in the 20th century. In some ways, it functions perhaps more so as an "introduction" chapter to the rest of Parenti's work - which I will probably read.

It took me a while to read; although flowing, it is dense with fantastic ways of framing or phrasing an issue that I think deserve a moment of contemplation.

I thought back a little to my review of Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media, where I complained that the illustrative examples of manufactured consent were all quite dated and unfamiliar to me, and were not fully explained, instead presuming the reader was already quite familiar with at least the mainstream media narrative of Pol Pot or Duarte or whoever (which I wasn't). Although the examples Parenti uses in this book are similarly old, more of the necessary background to understand them was presented.

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