Noam Chomsky: A Life of Dissent

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9781550222821: Noam Chomsky: A Life of Dissent
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This biography tells the story of how the great intellect of Noam Chomsky was shaped. It describes the political and intellectual contexts that helped form the unyielding principles by which Chomsky lives, and the arenas of scholarship, political action, and ideology to which he still contributes. Along the way, the book provides an engaging political history of the last several decades, and many insights into how history too often gets rewritten. Chomsky's views on the uses and misuses of the university are highlighted, as are his doubts about the legitimacy of post-modernist inquiry, and his overall assessment of useful political engagement. In a sense, this book allows Chomsky speak for himself on the matters of greatest concern to him, through well-placed excerpts from his copious body of published writings and unpublished correspondence.

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About the Author:

Robert Barsky is the author of Constructing a Productive Other: Discourse Theory and the Convention Refugee Hearing and Introduction à la théorie littéraire. He is also the coeditor of Bakhtin and Otherness. He is currently teaching in the department of English at the University of Western Ontario.

Review:

I found Robert Barsky's biography of Noam chomsky a comprehensive and compelling account of the scientific achievements and political engagements of one of this century's foremost intellectuals and social activists. Barsky convincingly demonstrates that independence of mind, freedom of spirit, and a passionate will to overcome social injustice, are the defining characteristics of Chomsky's fully-engaged life. This study will help a new generation of intellectuals to take up the unfinished business of this era―the construction of a meaningful democracy. It will serve also to raise those who are now weary and dispirited out of their lethargy. Barsky, with Chomsky as his subject and model, has written a text of hope.

(Herbet I. Schiller, author of Culture Inc. and Information Inequality; Professor Emeritus of Communication, University of California)

A charming account of the genesis of Chomsky's innovations in linguistics, and his critique of the status quo. Barsky has chronicled the development of Chomsky's advocacy: ideas ranging from workplace democracy to the worth of every person as a contributor to reshaping society.

(Seymour Melman, Professor Emeritus, Industrial Engineering, Columbia University)

For those who are interested in Noam Chomsky's work and its deepest roots, Barsky's book is essential reading. With its wealth of authenticated information (much of it unavailable or not readily available, including many photographs), it sheds much light on the thought and action of 'arguably the most important intellectual alive (ans unarguably the most cited). It provides an unparalleled point of entry and privileged access to a life committed to the struggle for a better world as well as to the thinking of one of the most remarkable figures of modern history. It may also be read as a challenging guide to a little known but far from unimportant strain of post-Enlightenment intellectual history and its significance for the immediate future.

(Carlos Otero, Professor of Romance Linguistics, UCLA; Editor of N. Chomsky's Language and Politics and Noam Chomsky: Critical Assessments)

Robert F. Barsky's wonderul new biography fits a real gap in the exisiting literature on Chomsky, one of the most remarkable figures of century. He has produced a tightly-written, engaging, thorough, and remarkably accessible account of Chomsky and his times― intellectual and otherwise. Barsky has an unenviable task: make both Chomsky's contributions to linguistic theory and the main elements of his political worldview clear to general readers without turning these discussions into a comic book style 'Chomsky for Beginners.' I think he does a great job. Barsky's careful reconstruction of the early political-intellectual milieu and influences on Chomsky is extremely useful. At the same time, he covers most of the events and issues that Chomsky's friends consider central to the 1960s and 1970s. I would not hesitate to use this text in a classroom or to recommend it to others.

(Robert Vitalis, Professor of Government, Clark College)

... a remarkably comprehensive biography.... Barsky makes Chomsky the person more visible than ever before.

(Michael G. Wessells Contemporary Psychology)

[A] detailed and perceptive survey of Chomsky's life and work.

(Raphael Salkie Times Higher Education Supplement)

For over thirty years Noam Chomsky has been a pathbreaking linguist and a controversial critic of American policies and politics. Indeed, the world seems to divide between those who revere and those who revile Chomsky. Both groups would find valuable Robert F. Barsky's appreciative biography; he recounts (the known and the little known) facts of Chomsky's life, evaluates his linguistic contribution and surveys the main quarrels. This is an essential book not only for Chomsky affecionados and adversaries, but for all students of American political and intellectual life.

(Russell Jacoby, UCLA)

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Other Popular Editions of the Same Title

9780262024181: Noam Chomsky: A Life of Dissent

Featured Edition

ISBN 10:  0262024187 ISBN 13:  9780262024181
Publisher: The MIT Press, 1997
Hardcover

9780262522557: Noam Chomsky: A Life of Dissent

MIT Press, 1998
Softcover

9781459645561: Noam Chomsky

ReadHo..., 2014
Softcover

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