Books for changing the world
Illegitimate Authority
Facing the Challenges of Our Time

A wide-ranging and incisive collection of interviews with Noam Chomsky, addressing the urgent questions of this tumultuous moment.

In these informative interviews, conducted for Truthout by C.J. Polychroniou, Noam Chomsky addresses the rapid deterioration of democracy in the United States and rising tensions globally. He examines the crumbling social fabric and fractures of the Biden era, including the halting steps toward a Green New Deal; the illegitimate authority of the Supreme Court, in particular its decision to overturn Roe vs. Wade; and the ongoing fallout from COVID-19. Chomsky also untangles the roots of the War in Ukraine, the diplomatic tensions among the United States, China, and Russia, and considers the need for climate action on an international scale.

Throughout, Chomsky “remains…a beacon of hope in the darkest of times" (Sarah Jaffe).

  • "Incisive, informative, timely, thoughtful and thought-provoking...." Midwest Book Review

    "Illegitimate Authority is a trove of facts and arguments about the most impactful problems of our time and how to improve on current responses to them—from the ‘illegitimate authority’ of the US Supreme Court, to global heating, the war in Ukraine, prevention of nuclear war, US-China cooperation, the US Democratic Party and the working class, the role of neoliberalism in class war, and more. Anyone who enjoys the company of articulate, provocative, and off-beat intelligences (not only Chomsky but also Bob Pollin and Costas Lapavitsas) will want to read it. And pick a fight with it.”

    —Robert H. Wade, London School of Economics

    Praise for Optimism Over Despair:

    "The elder statesman of a resurgent left offers clear-eyed assessments of the US, past and present, and its role in the world. From meditations on human nature to strategic advice for the Trump era, Chomsky remains the thinker who shaped a generation, a beacon of hope in the darkest of times." —Sarah Jaffe,  Necessary Trouble: Americans in Revolt

    "This book of interviews with Noam Chomsky is a must read in these troubling times. Divided into three parts, it begins with Chomsky’s razor sharp analysis of neoliberalism, imperialism, the EU, the role of religion in politics, and class polarization. In the second, it focuses on the Trump presidency and lays out the long history of US foreign policy, as well as other topics such as health care, global warming and education policy. Finally, it looks at various alternatives—anarchism, communism and socialism. This is an excellent collection of interviews that highlights Chomsky’s encyclopedic knowledge of the key issues of our day and his unwavering criticism of the regime of the global 1%." —Deepa Kumar, Islamophobia and the Politics of Empire

    “In this brilliant series of recent and wide-ranging interviews, Noam Chomsky combines an astounding breadth of knowledge, great depth of insight, clarity in explaining his ideas, and a relentless commitment to social and economic justice. The full package is simply exhilarating, especially in our current dismal era of Donald Trump. Optimism over Despair is a book to devour.” —Robert Pollin, Distinguished Professor of Economics and Co-Director, Political Economy Research Institute, University of Massachusetts-Amherst

    “…Chomsky argues that the choice between optimism and despair is really no choice at all. I have a great admiration for Chomsky’s combination of consistent critical moral perspective and sharp eye for the details of world politics…” —Heikki Patomäki, professor of world politics at the University of Helsinki, and a civic and political activist

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