Synopses & Reviews
A visionary analysis of how the politics of fear, secrecy, cronyism, and blind faith has combined with the degration of the public sphere to create an environment dangerously hostile to reason.
At the time George W. Bush ordered American forces to invade Iraq, 70 percent of Americans believed Saddam Hussein was linked to 9/11. Voters in Ohio, when asked by pollsters to list what stuck in their minds about the campaign, most frequently named two Bush television ads that played to fears of terrorism.
We live in an age when the thirty-second television spot is the most powerful force shaping the electorate's thinking, and America is in the hands of an administration less interested than any previous administration in sharing the truth with the citizenry. Related to this and of even greater concern is this administration's disinterest in the process by which the truth is ascertained, the tenets of fact-based reasoning-first among them an embrace of open inquiry in which unexpected and even inconvenient facts can lead to unexpected conclusions.
How did we get here? How much damage has been done to the functioning of our democracy and its role as steward of our security? Never has there been a worse time for us to lose the capacity to face the reality of our long-term challenges, from national security to the economy, from issues of health and social welfare to the environment. As The Assault on Reason shows us, we have precious little time to waste.
Gore's larger goal in this book is to explain how the public sphere itself has evolved into a place hospitable to reason's enemies, to make us more aware of the forces at work on our own minds,and to lead us to an understanding of what we can do, individually and collectively, to restore the rule of reason and safeguard our future. Drawing on a life's work in politics as well as on the work of experts across a broad range of disciplines, Al Gore has written a farsighted and powerful manifesto for clear thinking.
"'As scathing as it is meticulous, Gore's treatise on reason juggernauts its way through the Bush administration, never even needing to include the controversial nature of Bush's presidential elections. He identifies the growing concentration of power in the executive branch virtually ignored by mainstream media. Drawing on the great political philosophers of history and his lengthy career in government, Gore contends that the loss of a genuine public forum in the age of radio and television has led to the decay of democracy. He delivers a serious critique of the United States tempered by hope and faith in the restoration of checks and balances. The articulated venom of Gore's words can be heard in Patton's voice as he narrates. He reads with an intensity that makes this already engaging prose compelling. Patton maintains a distinct smooth and edgy voice, but maintains a cadence that reminds listeners of Gore's own speaking mannerisms. In quoting historical figures, Patton's voice is distinct but not haughty or pompous. The combination of Patton's performance and Gore's words make this an impressive audiobook. Simultaneous release with the Penguin Press hardcover. (June)' Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)"
"[F]or all its sharply voiced opinions, The Assault on Reason turns out to be less a partisan, election-cycle harangue than a fiercely argued brief about the current Bush White House that is grounded in copiously footnoted citations from newspaper articles, Congressional testimony and commission reports." Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times
"Gore's professorial style...elicits a different response today than it did seven years ago....At a time when we are learning that political responses tend to be more emotional than rational, as he surely understands, his stubborn faith that we will someday return to reason is touching." Joe Conason, Los Angeles Times
"[T]his isn't a campaign book....It's a deep public remonstrance, inspired a little by Tom Paine's Common Sense....Gore is no Paine, but he argues persuasively that Bush's tenure is no longer a constitutional presidency." Boston Globe
Now With a New Preface and Final Chapter: "Post-Truth: On Donald Trump and the 2016 Election"
What has happened to our country and how can we fix it?
We are in the midst of a deepening crisis for our democracy. After the strangest election cycle in modern American history it is important that we address the grave threats to our way of life that were glaringly revealed in this campaign. In The Assault on Reason, Nobel Peace Prize winner and former Vice President Al Gore examines how faith in the power of reason--the idea that citizens can govern themselves through rational debate--is in peril. Our democracy depends on a well-informed citizenry and a two-way conversation about ideas, but our public sphere has been degraded by fake news and the politics of fear, partisanship, and blind faith. Now updated to investigate the rise of Trump and post-truth politics, The Assault on Reason is a call to rebuild the vitality of American democracy by restoring the nation's information ecosystem so that we can start making good decisions again.
A #1 New York Times bestseller: A visionary analysis of the degradation of our public sphere and its consequences for our democracy
Nobel Peace Prize winner, bestselling author, activist, and political icon, Al Gore has become one of the most respected and influential public intellectuals in America today. The Assault on Reason takes an unprecedented look at how faith in the power of reason?the idea that citizens can govern themselves through rational debate?is now under assault. The marketplace of ideas, once open to everyone through the printed word, has been corrupted by the politics of fear, secrecy, cronyism, and blind faith. By leading us to an understanding of what we can do to restore the rule of reason, Gore has written a farsighted and powerful manifesto for clear thinking.
About the Author
Former Vice President Al Gore is chairman of Current TV, an independently owned cable and satellite television nonfiction network for young people based on viewer-created content and citizen journalism. He also serves as chairman of Generation Investment Management, a firm that is focused on a new approach to sustainable investing. Gore is a member of the Board of Directors of Apple Computer, Inc., and a senior advisor to Google, Inc. Gore was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1976 and the U.S. Senate in 1984 and 1990. He was inaugurated as the 45th vice president of the United States on January 20, 1993, and served eight years. He is the author of the 2006 bestseller An Inconvenient Truth. Al Gore and his wife, Tipper, live in Nashville, Tennessee. They have four children and two grandchildren.