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The author calls Donald Trump the symbol of a new authoritarianism, which is to say, the sign of a democracy unable to protect and sustain itself. He says that Trump represents corporate domination set free, a political ad economic engine that both fuels and feeds on fear and intolerance, and that he is the symbol of a frightened society that is increasingly seduced to choose the swagger of a vigilante strongman over the processes of collective sovereignty, the gun over diplomacy, and the wall instead of the bridge. [p.33] For the author Trumps rise indicates the increasing confluence of religious fundamentalists and economic activists who insist that social, racial, economic, and environmental justice are wrong, lead to big government, and are malignant to the nation. [p.34] While Donald Trump is probably the authors most frequently used example of and evidence for his thesis that America is well on its way to becoming a country that is authoritarian (a nicer way to say fascist or totalitarian) and militaristic rather than democratic, there are others, including, but not limited to, the Flint water crisis, the crisis in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, covert drone operations against ISIS that result in serious collateral damage, various incidents in which police target blacks, and the violence against Planned Parenthood clinics. The author seems to believe this movement towards authoritarianism has resulted, at least in part, from too much emphasis on the proposition that individuals are responsible for themselves and do not have any responsibility for the welfare of the society as a whole, i.e., that many Americans have lost a sense of social responsibility and an understanding that many issues are ones that must be addressed collectively rather than individually. The author seems to feel the slide can be corrected through education, implying it is due to a failure to teach critical thinking as more and more emphasis is placed on testing and memorization.There is value in this book. The author points to a number of issues we should be concerned about, regardless of whether we individually are directly impacted. However, when he talks about solutions, he goes to the 30,000 foot level, writing in generalities focused on the education system.The book seems to have been rushed to publication. The copyright for the book is shown as 2017. When I asked the clerk at the City Lights Bookstore (the publisher) why it was on the shelves in August 2016 if the copyright is 2017, he indicated that it was originally to be published in 2017 but had been published early. This is understandable given the Trump examples, but the book could have used the time until the originally expected publication in 2017 for some editing. It is quite repetitious. In addition, the text is rather academic, using terms that are not typically used by the general population, even those with advanced degrees. The chapters addressing the slide to authoritarianism and militarism would have been more effective if shortened and written less academically, including the elimination of many of the quotes. The endnotes are sufficient for those interested in exploring the thesis presented. The first two chapters (up to page 58) do a nice job of setting for the authors thesis - they are clear and relatively succinct. Thereafter the book starts to get increasingly repetitious. It was harder to discern the points being made and what, if anything, was added to the points laid out in the first two chapters. The last section (IV) contains only one chapter. In it the author suggests that the way to stop the slide is through education. However, this part lacks specific examples of how the author believes education should be done and where the teachers trained to teach in the manner he suggests are to be found or trained. He seems to be saying that teachers must teach critical thinking. This is a no brainer - isnt it what teachers are supposed to do? And if they arent, what is the solution to that?

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