The Secret Knowledge: On the Dismantling of American Culture

The Secret Knowledge: On the Dismantling of American Culture

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Overview

For the past thirty years, David Mamet has been a controversial and defining force in theater and film, championing the most cherished liberal values along the way. In some of the great movies and plays of our time, his characters have explored the ethics of the business world, embodied the struggles of the oppressed, and faced the flaws of the capitalist system.

But in recent years Mamet has had a change of heart. He realized that the so-called mainstream media outlets he relied on were irredeemably biased, peddling a hypocritical and deeply flawed worldview. In 2008 he wrote a hugely controversial op-ed for the Village Voice, "Why I Am No Longer a 'Brain-Dead Liberal,'" in which he methodically eviscerated liberal beliefs. Now he goes much deeper, employing his trademark intellectual force and vigor to take on all the key political and cultural issues of our times, from religion to political correctness to global warming.

Mamet pulls no punches in his art or in his politics. And as a former liberal who woke up, he will win over an entirely new audience of others who have grown irate over America's current direction.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781452654010
Publisher: Tantor Media, Inc.
Publication date: 08/09/2011
Edition description: MP3 - Unabridged CD
Product dimensions: 5.30(w) x 7.40(h) x 0.60(d)

About the Author

David Mamet is an acclaimed playwright, screenwriter, film director, and essayist whose many works include the Academy Award -nominated film Wag the Dog and the Pulitzer Prize-winning play Glengarry Glen Ross.

Johnny Heller has earned multiple Earphones Awards from AudioFile magazine, including one for Closing Time by Joe Queenan, and has earned two Audie Awards and many more nominations. Named one of the Top Fifty Narrators of the Twentieth Century by AudioFile, he has recorded over five hundred titles.

Table of Contents

Preface xi

1 The Political Impulse 1

2 The American Reality 8

3 Culture, School Shootings, the Audience, and the Elevator 11

4 Alcatraz 21

5 Lost Horizon 29

6 The Music Man 34

7 Choice 38

8 The Red Sea 50

9 Chicago 53

10 Milton Friedman Explained 58

11 What Is "Diversity"? 62

12 The Monty Hall Problem and the Contractor

13 Maxwell Street 71

14 R100 74

15 The Intelligent Person's Guide to Socialism and Anti-Semitism 80

16 The Victim 84

17 Puritans 88

18 The Noble Savage 91

19 Adventure Slumming 96

20 Cabinet Spiritualism and the Car Czar 100

21 Rumpelstiltskin 104

22 My Father, Al Sharpton, and the Designated Criminal 111

23 Greed 116

24 Arrested Development 123

25 Oakton Manor and Camp Kawaga 129

26 Feminism 134

27 The Ashkenazis 146

28 Some Personal History 156

29 The Family 164

30 Naturally Evolved Institutions 167

31 Breatharian 172

32 The Street Sweeper and the Surgeon, or Marxism Examined 177

33 Self-Evident Truth 190

34 Hope and Change 196

35 The Small Refrigerator 202

36 Bumper Stickers 206

37 Late Revelations 210

38 Who Does One Think He Is? 216

39 The Secret Knowledge 221

Acknowledgments 225

Bibliography 227

Index 233

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

"A Manichean analysis from a strident new voice from the Right—-for liberals, something intended to ignite antagonism; for the like-minded, a buttress against the opposition." —-Kirkus

Customer Reviews

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Secret Knowledge 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 47 reviews.
cbiblioholic More than 1 year ago
Wow! - What a powerful book. I have read many other books by new converts to conservatism but I think this book will really speak to liberals. It is beautifully written in a manner that will appeal to the liberal intelligentsia while at the same time preaching to the proverbial conservative choir. I could not put it down. A great gift for any open minded liberal. Welcome aboard Mr. Mamet!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The usual carping from Lib reviewers. That's because they can't touch the substance!! Someone has finally, in plain English, made it clear how "mindless" so many people have become. It's going to be hard work to get back to common sense and integrity after so many years of listening to politically correct drivel from the so-called "smart people". Mr. Mamet has my heartiest congratulations on work well done. Concise and effective.
Jeff Miller More than 1 year ago
Whether you are liberal or conservative, this is an essential read. Mamet does a brilliant job of demonstrating the foundations of his conservative conversion.
WK54 More than 1 year ago
I think Mamet has done everyone a great service with this unselfish and very brave bellringer. Every human being with a conscience and a belief in fairness hard won, will be buoyed by this work. And every person preoccupied with political correctness, the new socialism and the systematic ridicule of all things Right Wing, should they actually have the good fortune to read this, will be enlightened beyond the slightest doubt, that they are a sorry, pitiful tool. But this is where the re-education begins, as I hope and believe it will, if this book is read by the many individuals who've lost their conscience and ability to think for themselves. Bravo, Mr. Mamet. Bravo.
UncleDennis More than 1 year ago
Mamet is a great writer. He's done a number of great screenplays, plays and more. With "The Secret Knowledge," he expands his writing into the super-personal story of his life-changing epiphany: He's a conservative! The book is a fantastic read, with Mr. Mamet going through the reasons for his transformation from standard Hollywood-liberal to right-leaning man of reason. He explores the biggest differences he sees in how the left and right view the world, making sure to take stabs at the liberal establishment (media, government, Hollywood, and such) along the way. Mr. Mamet's change seems to be wholeheartedly organic, with influences from key people (his Rabbi, Dennis Prager, and others), and comes across so very naturally. I remember reading an early pseudo-review of the book (probably in the LA Times- not known for being centrists or conservative) complaining that the book was very light on specifics, references and data to back up Mr. Mamet's claims regarding bias, policy thoughts, and other aspects of the left he disagreed with now. If anything, the book does its best to keep the story going, with plenty of footnotes (mostly anecdotal continuations of a thought) and a very thorough bibliography at the end. Maybe we right-siders take our time to peruse the bibliography and explore other sources of information more than our left-sider counterparts, but anyway, the book is not meant to be a textbook. If this means The Secret Knowledge has less influence on liberal readers in understanding or being influenced by Mr. Mamet's writing, then that'd be a sad reflection on the reader more than the writer. Overall, a great book, definitely worth reading regardless of which side of the aisle you side with.
mjc64 More than 1 year ago
How does a life-long, typical, show-biz liberal come to embrace political conservatism? Mamet answers that question in a way that will have both conseratives and liberals shaking their heads, but in opposite directions. Fans of Mamet's plays, movies and such are in for a surprise, as Mr. Mamet's descriiption of his journey from one end of the political spectrum to the other is told in a fast paced, self-deprecating style that is neither too scholarly nor too pedestrian. Agree or disagree, an interesting read during this political season.
alicelouise More than 1 year ago
If you like Rush Limbaugh's book The Way Things Ought to be and See I told you so!, you will like this book of essays. Although the aithor asserts that he is a late comer to Conservatism, he must have worn his Liberal faith quite lightly judging by his past works such as Glengarry Ross. All I can say to Mamet is Welcome Aboard!
Sean Cooney More than 1 year ago
Brilliantly rationale in presentation and refreshingly direct. This book opened my eyes to the incidious nature of left wing ideology and how it is destroying our culture.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Such incite and clarity...I wish it were required reading in every High School and College. Alas it would probably be in line for the inevitable book burning to come...
br77rino on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
David Mamet makes the conventional conservative arguments, using primarily it seems Thomas Sowell and Friedrich Hayek as sources. Unfortunately, there is no description of an 'Ah Ha!' moment from him explaining his conversion, other than his mentioning that it began sometime after his move to L.A. in 2003 and hearing local AM radio. There is a good amount on the liberal mindset, which to his mind is one that de-emphasizes reason in favor of group membership - solidarity above all else, hate the other side above all else. He speaks of how Conservatives take the 'Tragic View' of humankind, that people are and always will be imperfect beings who need rules in order to live together, while Liberals take a fantasy-based view that Utopia and a Return to Nature is just around the corner if we can get the right leaders and put them in a supremely powerful government.He also uses the history of the Jews throughout the work, highlighting Moses and the Jews temptation to stay in slavery, the Torah, and the birth of Judeo-Christian Law.
Periodista on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Brain tumor? Small stroke? He says that wing-nut talk radio converted him. Doesn't look like there was any additional input. Future dramatic works will not be entertaining.Although I didn't read this all the way through, I opened it to various chapters. There's always some rant that's easily disputed. Reminds me of the questions posed by a high school civics teacher to get a class thinking. Why do the people that want to camp and softly wander around a national park have greater rights than the snow-mobilers? The latter have just as much right, Dave argues. Hey, in fact, so do those that want to exploit the coals reserves in said park, he says.Where would the 9th grade students begin? With metaphor of shouting fire in a crowded theater? Tragedy of the commons and all that? I think this book might be useful in such a class. Because the lone snowmobiler destroys the rights and pleasures of a greater number. Because that's what the national park has been set aside for. Because mining and forest destruction imposes permanent, reversible damage. Why we have law and government to decide such rationing.Honestly, he even says something similar about the users of a crowded, smoggy highway. Then there's the nutty ideas about the Depression and economics: a recession would have dissipated quickly if Roosevelt hadn't attempted radical interference in the economy. It's actually true that many of the make-work programs didn't do much for unemployment, which rose in the last year or so before investment in the war machine shot up. But the latter was still most certainly government stimulation and deficit spending that fueled the economy and employment. None of this would be so bad if he provided some authorities or some arguments providing a counter economic history, but he doesn't bother. There's not a tale of how he started thinking x and move to un-x.This book does not bode well for Mamet's future efforts re screenwriting or play writing. Unless he gets that tumor removed.
jacoombs on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
From knee jerk liberal to knee jerk conservative. I wanted to like the book, but it was too predictable, too rambling with little new to the debate(s).
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NoLa18 More than 1 year ago
If, like me, you've been longing for a highly thoughtful, intellectually based, yet commonsense defense of conservatism, this is for you. I've always enjoyed Mr. Mamet's work, and my respect for his intellect and talent has increased since reading his outstanding book. If you're conservative and have liberal family and friends who remain mystified about why you hold your beliefs, don't miss this!
ddthom More than 1 year ago
Eviscerates the liberal "thought" process. Mamet speaks from the perspective of a reformed liberal. His conversion was based on empirical evidence that he could no longer ignore.
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