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A Review of Thom Hartmanns Book: Screwed

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opednews.com Headlined to H3 10/27/09

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If you have never listened to Thom Hartmann's radio program, you should make an effort to do so. On the other hand, if you have followed his program for long then you probably have heard him discuss some of the material in his book, Screwed but this should not keep you from reading it because you probably have not heard all of the details and taken the time to absorb them.

At its root, Screwed is a U.S. history book, but it is not at all like that one that put you to sleep back in high school. If yours was like the one I suffered through, it had no theme; it simply recited facts to be read and memorized. In contrast, Screwed does have a theme and that is to argue in favor of our republican form of government and a strengthening of our democracy.

In terms of history, Screwed explains the Boston Tea Party in more detail and with more context than you probably heard in your high-school history class and it goes into significant detail on the thoughts and writings of Thomas Paine and Thomas Jefferson. Moving on, it also gives considerable attention to James Madison and Franklin Roosevelt. Along the way, there is a discussion the whole sad history of how the Supreme Court came to endorse the concept that a corporation deserves to be treated as a person.

Beyond being a history book, Screwed makes a strong argument that democracy is strongly linked with the existence of a middle class. Not surprisingly, this claim is accompanied with more partisan language than the more historical portions of the book.
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The strongly partisan (really, anti-neocon) language in Screwed may please some, but in some ways I find it unfortunate because it limits the audience for the book. Many on the right would probably go along with much of the book and many of the claims.

I would like to give my copy to some right-leaning friends. However, I know that even if they skipped the introduction and the preface, they would be turned off by the first and second chapters; it is unlikely they would read more than a few pages. The problem is that many people have picked up their political affiliations from their family with little regard to issues. -Politics is part of their identity more than it is their beliefs. When they see attacks on cons, they will feel under personal attack and just stop reading. This is very unfortunate because they would probably benefit from reading many of the later chapters in Screwed.
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A concerned citizen and former mathematician/engineer now retired and living in rural Maine.

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