cover image Land of Idols: Political Mythology in America

Land of Idols: Political Mythology in America

Michael Parenti. St. Martin's Press, $22.95 (208pp) ISBN 978-0-312-09841-4

Parenti's ( Inventing Reality: The Politics of News Media ) publisher refers to him as ``the perfect antidote to Rush Limbaugh.'' Unfortunately, like Limbaugh, he is a strict idealogue--albeit leftist--but not nearly as entertaining. Nevertheless, Parenti makes several germane statements that catch one's attention: capitalists glorify ``self-reliance,'' but corporate interests ``depend on the government for all sorts of services and supports;'' and the Reagan-Bush endorsement of the religious right's position on abortion was ``one of the most dramatic flip-flops of modern American politics.'' Parenti deflates religious buffoons whose motto is ``Money is God in action'' and also makes salient points about the ``machismo'' of superpatriotism (``God, it seems, was a cold-war militarist who was preparing us for a final nuclear showdown''). However, in his quest to justify his theses, Parenti tends to go overboard, equating Lech Walesa with Spiro Agnew, and viewing Mother Teresa as a capitalist tool. The book, although provocative in parts, is so stodgy and dry that it will have little appeal to the general reader. (Oct.)