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The Betrayal of Dissent: Beyond Orwell, Hitchens and the New American Century


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"Since his death in 1950, George Orwell has been canonised as England's foremost political writer and the standard-bearer of honesty and decency for the honourable 'Left'. In this controversial book, Scott Lucas argues that the exaltation of Orwell, far from upholding dissent against the State, has sought to quash such opposition. Indeed, Orwell has become the icon of those who try to silence public criticism of US and UK foreign policy in the 'War on Terror'. Lucas's lively and readable critique of public intellectuals including Christopher Hitchens, Michael Walzer, David Aaronovitch, and Johann Hari – who have all invoked Orwellian honesty and decency to shut town dissent – will appeal to anyone disillusioned with the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Lucas contends that these leading journalists and commentators have used Orwell to justify their own political transition from radicals to upholders of the establishment. He argues that we must rescue ourselves from Orwell and from those who take on his guise; as Lucas puts it, our 'silencing is ... vital to a "manufacture of consent" for the wars which are supposedly being fought in our name and for our good."


Scott Lucas is a regular contributor to the New Statesman. He is Professor of American and Canadian Studies at the University of Birmingham and author of numerous books on US and British foreign policy, intelligence services, culture and ideology. He is the author of Orwell: Life and Times (2003).

Product Code: 9780745321974

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