Dirty Truths: Reflections on Politics, Media, Ideology, Conspiracy, Ethnic Life & Class Power

Michael Parenti, Author City Lights Books $14.95 (282p) ISBN 978-0-87286-317-0
Writing from a left-wing perspective that's been pretty quiet since the end of the Cold War, Parenti consistently overwhelms his occasional valid points with hyperbole more likely to alienate his readers than to inspire them to join the revolution. It's tremendously difficult to take seriously anyone who peppers his political essays with references to ""the reformist governments... of Libya, Panama, and Iraq."" And in a way, this is too bad. Parenti is a genuinely interesting guy, and when he writes about his own experiences, he's extremely effective. It's impossible not to sympathize with a man being blacklisted from academia because of his political beliefs, or with the kid who has to watch his dad's bakery forced out of business by the big chains. The points that Parenti raises in his essays are almost unfailingly thought-provoking. Unfortunately, these positives are more than balanced by the fact that his political writing is a chore to slog through. Parenti begins his collection with seven consecutive pages of statistics about poverty, disease and criminal behavior. While disturbing, the value of these numbers as a rhetorical flourish leaves something to be desired. He too often provides only numbers and/or cold factual accounts when something more is necessary. There is no doubt that Parenti is an able writer who is passionate about his beliefs. But the essays in this collection will not resonate with a wider audience. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1996
Release date: 01/01/2001
Genre: Nonfiction
Hardcover - 282 pages - 978-0-87286-318-7
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