Sunday, July 19, 2009


More than books, Chris Hedges writes polemics.

Hedges began his career reporting on the conflict in El Salvador, spent seven years as the Middle East Bureau Chief for The New York Times, covered the wars in Bosnia and Kosovo, and was later part of the New York Times investigative team of that won the 2002 Pulitzer Prize for their coverage of global terrorism.

In 2003, just two weeks after president Bush's "Mission Accomplished" speech, Hedges famously delivered a commencement address at Rockford College saying: "We are embarking on an occupation that, if history is any guide, will be as damaging to our souls as it will be to our prestige and power and security." Several hundred members of the audience booed and jeered his talk, his microphone was cut, and two young men rushed the stage to try to prevent him from speaking. His then employer, The New York Times, criticized his statements, issued him a written reprimand for "public remarks that could undermine public trust in the paper's impartiality," and demanded that Hedges cease speaking about the Iraq war. In response Hedges left The Times to become a senior fellow at The Nation Institute, write books and teach.

Since then, Hedges has published one scathing book after another, beginning in 2002 with the bestselling War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning which describes the patterns and behavior of nations and individuals in wartime, followed by Losing Moses on the Freeway, about lives which had been consumed by religious extremism, American Fascists in which Hedges argues that the Christian fundamentalist movement in the United States resembles the early fascist movements in Europe at the beginning of the last century, and Collateral Damage, written with Iraqi journalist Laila Al-Arian, which is based on hundreds of interviews with combat veterans and reveals the terrifying reality of daily civilian life in Iraq at the hands of U.S. troops.

Hedges speaks at Town Hall in Seattle on Wednesday July 22, promoting his latest book, Empire of Illusion, and to speak about his belief that America is retreating from the reality-based world into one of false certainty and squalid celebrity pseudo-events. Tickets are just $5 at Brown Paper Tickets or available at the door beginning at 6:30 pm.

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