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Thursday, March 15, 2012

Ameritopia: The Unmaking of America (audiobook) by Mark R. Levin


Much more intellectual than I expected

Published in 2012 by Simon & Schuster Audio.
Read by Adam Grupper and the author, Mark R. Levin.
Duration: Approximately 8 hours.

Over the years I have listened to Levin's radio show from time to time (he used to be carried in my city) and what I always remember from that show is Levin's frequent bombastic outbursts, a kind of manufactured rage that was meant to punctuate his points but lost their punch as I realized that he wasn't just getting angry over some particularly egregious issue, but he was angry over all of them.

But, I have listened to three of his audiobooks and find them to be much better than his radio show. The first one I listened to (Men in Black) was just for a goof and I was surprised to find that it was pretty solid and the next one (Liberty and Tyranny) was even better. This one was an intellectually robust look at the major philosophers who have espoused tyrannical forms of governments disguised as perfect societies (utopias) and the major philosophers who have countered those arguments by advocating freedom. This is not an attack book (you know the type - this politician said this outrageous thing, this one said that). Rather, it is firmly rooted in these classic works and generally lets the reader do the job of making those connections.

Mark R. Levin
The works that promise a perfect society but actually advocate tyranny (the people are only given a perfect society by giving all of their rights to the state) are Plato's Republic, Thomas More's Utopia, Thomas Hobbes' Leviathan and Karl Marx's Communist Manifesto. There are references to several others, but the main arguments to counter the utopian visions come from John Locke, Charles Montesquieu and Alexis de Tocqueville.

Mark R. Levin handles the narration with the opening and closing of the book. Levin is a capable reader, but I think it was wise to let Adam Grupper read the rest of the book. The book is quote-laden and Grupper's reading style is simply better for the carefully detailed points that Levin makes throughout.

I rate this audiobook 5 stars out of 5.

Reviewed on March 15, 2012.

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