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How to Destroy America in Three Easy Steps Hardcover – 6 August 2020
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"Most Americans still embrace our free-enterprise system―today. But will they in the future? Ben Shapiro shows that it depends on the commitments we make to our common philosophy, culture, and history. Read this book and you will be prepared to defend, confidently and joyfully, the system that changed the world for the better." -- Arthur Brooks, Professor of the Practice of Public Leadership, Harvard Kennedy School, and author of Love Your Enemies
"Facing much more trying times than our own, Abraham Lincoln insisted, ‘We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies.’ Ben Shapiro reminds us that this friendship has a foundation, that it is the American idea, and that we still are responsible as citizens for the work of building that more perfect union." -- Kevin Willliamson, author of The Smallest Majority
"Conservatism is grounded in gratitude―gratitude for what we love and want to conserve for future generations. Ben Shapiro’s How to Destroy America in Three Easy Steps is a valuable and passionate expression of gratitude for what makes this country great and why we should be grateful for what it is, not angry at it for falling short of some ideological fantasy of perfection." -- Jonah Goldberg, author of Suicide of the West
About the Author
Ben Shapiro is founding editor-in-chief and editor emeritus of The Daily Wire and host of "The Ben Shapiro Show," the top conservative podcast in the nation. A New York Times bestselling author, Shapiro is a graduate of Harvard Law School, and an Orthodox Jew. His work has been profiled in nearly every major American publication, and he has appeared as the featured speaker at many conservative events on campuses nationwide, several of those appearances targeted by progressive and “Antifa” activists.
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Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
Shapiro is thorough and reviews the myriad of ways our country has been dismantled from its foundation. The insidious nature of some the changes is scary due to what feels like lack of ability to effect change. Reporting from all sides is not to be trusted, it seems. Personification has become the norm for polling and statistics. Finding facts is nearly impossible for we mere mortals.
There are 6 primary chapters that comprise the bulk of this book: chapters 1 - 3 - 5 look at American Philosophy, Culture & History while chapters 2 - 4 - 6 look at the Disintegration of the same. I appreciated that Shapiro kept his ideas focused on areas that were relevant to what is concerning most people today.
Some key areas of exploration I found particularly interesting were: the Constitution, Declaration of Independence, James Madison, Obama, Slavery, Tocqueville and Woodrow Wilson.
The book is written in clear, easy to read prose. Shapiro is unabashedly conservative but I found him to be equitable in representing all sides, not given to triggering or purposeful inflammatory language. Oh, plenty of people will take exception to his book, but I’m sure that’s expected. It’s professionally published with an interactive notes section, if you purchase the Kindle version and a publisher’s note advises the index doesn’t match the print version, altho’ I’m not sure why that matters.
“How to Destroy America in Three Easy Steps” is a tho’t provoking look at our history, philosophy and culture as a country. How we started, how we got where we are and most importantly, what do we do now; an important read for concerned Americans 📚
Also, the book is very light on facts and logic. There’s a lot about US history, but if you took the AP US History exam ten years ago and got a 5/5 without really trying that hard, then you probably know more than the author and could probably win against him in a debate if something like that were ever to occur. He makes up this thing called “American philosophy,” a kind of amalgamation of cherrypicked ideas and values that we’re supposed to believe the founding fathers all held and fully intended to eternally imbue into the foundation of the republic. Obviously this sort of hippy-dippy view of history is false, especially if you look at the way they actually ran the country after the revolution. Also, apparently we’re supposed to believe that classical liberalism is something the founding fathers were ideologically committed to and not just the most convenient existing framework for arguing against British. Also we’re told they were crazy in love with Judeo-Christian values and capitalism, and they did not like socialism (which didn’t even exist as a concept until decades after the Revolution).
I think it’s weird how Shapiro’s misreading of founding fathers—who were really just a bunch of politicians and not that great—is supposed to be the standard by which the American-ness of all ideas and values is measured when the most esteemed 19th century American writer was a gay poet named Walt Whitman, whose work was greatly admired by pretty much all the great writers in the world who knew about it, from Oscar Wilde in England to Natsume Soseki in Japan, so it’s nonsense when Shapiro says supporting the Boy Scouts of America discriminating against gay men because of Judeo-Christianity is American values but seeking to reform the organization to be more inclusive is disintegrationism and the opposite of American values or whatever. (Fortunately it is no longer the policy of the Boy Scouts to discriminate against gay men, but I just mention this because he brings it up in the book.) Also he cites Martin Luther King, Jr. over and over again without ever acknowledging that, far from being Shapiro’s ideological BFF, Dr. King was a democratic socialist (see: “The Radical King” by Cornel West), just like some of the people Shapiro regularly attacks, including Bernie Sanders, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, etc. And Shapiro also talks about the decline in civic engagement, and it's sort of rich to complain about that if, in the past, you've praised James O'Keefe for using hidden camera chicanery to destroy ACORN—a non-profit that was known largely for its voter registration drives—long after the facts of the scandal came out.
Also, he writes, “It is simply undeniable that capitalism, founded on the protection of property rights—the ideology of the founding fathers—has been uniquely successful in spreading peace and prosperity both domestically and around the globe,” and that struck me as uniquely nonsensical and ahistorical, because plenty of people have argued to the contrary, and I guess the author fears that he does not have the facts and logic to read their books and argue against them. He has written several books at this point, yet I don’t believe he has ever really engaged with any Marxist works on the relationship between imperialism and capitalism, so it’s like, what is he waiting for? In fact, to actually believe capitalism has made the world more peaceful, you would have to never read a history book, or at least skip all the parts on imperialism. Also if protecting private property was the ideology of the founding fathers, then how do you explain the Boston Tea Party? Obviously the author just wants people to believe that his ideas are desirable and have moral weight because they're supposedly the same ideas the founding fathers had; it's sort of like an implicit appeal to tradition, or to authority. But he's obviously wrong on multiple levels.
There’s a lot more to say about this book but basically, it’s about as insightful as a PragerU video, which is to say it’s not insightful at all. I think people should read books that have more facts and logic, like “Capital: A Critique of Political Economy” by Karl Marx, or really anything else Marx ever wrote. Or if you want to read something on political polarization, search "books on political polarization" and pick something that was written by someone who has more credibility because their career did not start on Breitbart. I would also recommend reading anything Shapiro criticizes because people should really be fact-checking him anyway. He complains about Howard Zinn's "A People's History of the United States," which is actually a much better book than this one, but he's also being dishonest when he argues that more and more schools are using it as a textbook, which is NOT true! Or at the very least, it's highly misleading. Just because a school assigns Zinn doesn't mean he's replacing other textbooks; Zinn might be assigned for a unit on how to critically read revisionist history, which is actually a great thing to teach students to do, so why do Republicans complain about it?! I actually was assigned an excerpt from Zinn in high school and I got docked points for not critiquing it to the teacher's satisfaction. The main text we were assigned was "The American Pageant," which is updated every few years, and it is also a great book to read if you want to learn more about how inaccurate so much of the history-related stuff in Shapiro's book is. Why would schools be switching to "A People's History of the United States," a book that will probably not be updated again because the author died ten years ago? The answer is that they're not. How can the author talk about political polarization while engaging in this type of fearmongering?!
This book is an absolute read and offers a clear analysis of the struggle between those who want to preserve and unite and those who seek to destroy and divide. Shapiro speaks of both sides of this battle one that seeks to unify and the other to destroy America. This book offers the way we can fight back and preserve our country.
Ben Shapiro is thoughtful in his examination of the current crisis and opens eyes and minds to the need to stand and defend America’s triumphs and remember and learn from the imperfections of America.