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America’s Addiction to Terrorism


Foreword by Michael D. Yates

In the United States today, the term “terrorism” conjures up images of dangerous, outside threats: religious extremists and suicide bombers in particular. Harder to see but all the more pervasive is the terrorism perpetuated by the United States, itself, whether through military force overseas or woven into the very fabric of society at home. Henry Giroux, in this passionate and incisive book, turns the conventional wisdom on terrorism upside down, demonstrating how fear and lawlessness have become organizing principles of life in the United States, and violence an acceptable form of social mediation. He addresses the most pressing issues of the moment, from officially sanctioned torture to militarized police forces to austerity politics. Giroux also examines the ongoing degradation of the education system and how young people in particular suffer its more nefarious outcomes.

Against this grim picture, Giroux posits a politics of hope and a commitment to accurate—and radical—historical memory. He draws on a long, distinguished career developing the tenets of critical pedagogy to propose a cure for our addiction to terrorism: a kind of “public pedagogy” that challenges the poisoned narratives of “America’s disimagination machine.”

In a career marked by numerous thoughtful critiques of the existing order, Henry Giroux has outdone himself with America’s Addiction to Terror. More than any other book, Giroux chronicles the death spiral of contemporary U.S. capitalist society, and why young people are on the verge of a revolt the likes of which has not been seen for generations. We are very fortunate to have this book.

—Robert W. McChesney, co-author, People Get Ready: The Fight Against a Jobless Economy and a Citizenless Democracy

Henry Giroux is one of the most brilliant analysts of the humanly destructive impact of global capitalism as it plays itself out, not only in the economic sphere, but in every aspect of daily life. His deeply insightful analysis of the way the words ‘terrorism’ and ‘terrorist’ have been appropriated to advance militarist worldviews should be read by every citizen in Western societies.

—Rabbi Michael Lerner, Editor, Tikkun Magazine, chair of the interfaith and secular-humanist-welcoming Network of Spiritual Progressives and author of The Left Hand of God: Taking Back Our Country from the Religious Right

Important, compelling and incisive. Offering a different angle of vision on the question ‘What actually is terror?,’ Henry Giroux shows his courage and unique ability to reveal the hidden order of politics. In doing so, not only does he expose those modes of oppression and violence that are part of the everyday political fabric of American society, he impresses the urgency of critical pedagogy—more than simply a question of some ‘public good’—because lives depend upon it!

—Brad Evans, Senior Lecturer in International Relations, University of Bristol; founder and director of the Histories of Violence project

Henry Giroux is one of the singular intellects in contemporary life, a sane, compassionate, and fierce voice against the society of domination, inequality and the madness of ruthless Imperialist conquest.

—John Steppling, playwright, screenwriter, and essayist

America’s Addiction to Terrorism catapults Henry Giroux as one of the most important North American public intellectual voices in the tradition of Noam Chomsky and the late Howard Zinn. While courageous in posture, Giroux effortlessly demonstrates that the denouncement of the imperial desires, practices, and violence perpetrated by the United States through the fabricated war on terror narrative simply demands honesty—a coherent honesty which makes it clear that, behind an act of violence in ‘retail terrorism,’ there is always a prior state officially sanctioned violence. Giroux brilliantly and passionately unveils the structural racism etched in the white American supremacist ethos that condones the wanton killings of Black youth by white policemen with impunity by deconstructing the ‘school-to-jail-to-grave pipeline’ which has become the main principle that informs and deforms the anti-transformative corporate school reforms. America’s Addiction to Terrorism is a must read for all citizens and educators, particularly critical educators, as it challenges us all to go beyond the crass careerism of neoliberal policies and walk the necessary talk of educated hope, liberation, and human emancipation.

—Donaldo Macedo, Distinguished Professor of Liberal Arts and Education, University of Massachusetts Boston

Informed and informative, thoughtful and thought-provoking, challenging and iconoclastic, America’s Addiction to Terrorism is a compelling read from beginning to end and very strongly recommended for both community and academic library Contemporary Social Issues and Political Science reference collections and supplemental studies lists.

—John Taylor, Midwest Book Review

Henry A. Giroux currently holds the McMaster University Chair for Scholarship in the Public Interest in the English and Cultural Studies Department and a Distinguished Visiting Professorship at Ryerson University. A founding figure in the movement for critical pedagogy and author of more than sixty books, including America’s Education Deficit and the War on Youth, he is one of North America’s most influential public intellectuals. He recently received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Educational Research Association. Michael D. Yates is Associate Editor of Monthly Review Magazine and Editorial Director of Monthly Review Press.

Publication Date: January 2016

Number of Pages: 288

Paperback ISBN: 9781583675700

Cloth ISBN: 9781583675717

eBook ISBN: 9781583675724