cover image Unspeakable

Unspeakable

Chris Hedges, with David Talbot. Hot Books, $21.99 (208p) ISBN 978-1-5107-1273-7

Launching the Hot Books imprint of Skyhorse Publishing, Salon founder Talbot undertakes an extensive interview with the Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist Hedges (Wages of Rebellion), who writes about politics with a principled fury and an eye to pointing out injustice, even at the cost of his own career as an acclaimed war correspondent. The book is a long-running commentary on the many issues Hedges confronts in his writing, including war, Occupy Wall Street, and the New York Times's relationship to organs of state power. Hedges is trenchant on liberal activists—"They liked the poor, but they didn't like the smell of the poor"—and scathing about class in modern America: "The rich have disdain for anyone who does not belong to their inner circle." It's bracing to hear Hedges's unfiltered dissent and disdain, from his dismissal of George W. Bush as "a man of limited intelligence and dubious morals" to his discussion of how the seductions of celebrity undermined Christopher Hitchens's writing. But the format, and Hedges's occasionally righteous tone, can wear thin, even for an audience that forms the choir to which interviewer and subject preach. Hedges's observation that the today's ruling elites are out of touch with the country they govern is being borne out in the 2016 election cycle, showing that even the most stridently expressed views aren't necessarily wrong. (Oct.)