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Necessary Illusions
Thought Control in Democratic Societies

Chomsky, Noam
Publisher:  Anansi, Toronto, Canada
Year Published:  1991   First Published:  1989
Pages:  424pp   Price:  $14.95   ISBN:  0-88784-519-3
Library of Congress Number:  P95.8.C56 1991   Dewey:  302.234

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Necessary Illusions: Thought Control in Democratic Societies contains modified versions of the five 1988 Massey lectures delivered by Noam Chomsky over Canadian Broadcasting Corporation radio. The five lectures are sorted into five different chapters, with appendices, divided according to chapter, acting as detailed footnotes. The lectures cover less than half of the book, the greater part of it is devoted to the appendices which include chapters titled "The U.S. and Costa Rican Democracy," "The 'Peace Process' in the Middle East," "The Sanctity of Borders," and "The Media and International Opinion." Overall, the book is an inquiry into the nature of the media and the role of intellectuals in "a political system where the population cannot be disciplined by force, and thus must be subjected to more subtle forms of ideological control." Specific examples are given, mostly from the U.S. media but some from media in other societies too.

A professor of linguistics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Noam Chomsky is an internationally acclaimed linguistics scholar, author and political radical. The material in this particular book has been motivated by his belief that "citizens of the democratic societies should undertake a course of intellectual self-defense to protect themselves from manipulation and control, and to lay the basis for more meaningful democracy".

[Abstract by Nabeeha Chaudhary]

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