cover image The Left at War

The Left at War

Michael Berube, . . New York Univ., $29.95 (341pp) ISBN 978-0-8147-9984-0

Fresh off the 2008 election and anticipating an ascendancy of leftist thought and political success, Bérubé (Rhetorical Occasions ), cultural studies and literature professor at Pennsylvania State University, provides robust intellectual arguments for how to reshape leftist thought into a powerful, constructive and measurably successful political philosophy—and how to mitigate the damage caused by the “Manichean” left: notably Chomsky and other members of the hard left whom he disparagingly describes as ready to sympathize with “any 'anti-imperialist' who comes along to challenge the Western powers, from Milosevic to Hassan Nasrallah of Hezbollah to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.” He provides an assessment of Chomsky's appeal and a balanced critique of Chomsky's failings, juxtaposing him with Stuart Hall, who brings what Bérubé believes is the necessary nuance to leftist thinking. Bérubé forthrightly identifies himself as a social democratic leftist, and his effort not only identifies left-wing excesses and elevates its more viable and strategically sound currents, but puts critical thinking back into vogue on both sides of the political spectrum. (Nov.)