Turning Back The Clock: Hot Wars And Media Populism

by Umberto Eco
Translated by Alastair McEwen

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt | November 12, 2007 | Hardcover

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The time: 2000 to 2005, the years of neoconservatism, terrorism, the twenty-four-hour news cycle, the ascension of Bush, Blair, and Berlusconi, and the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq. Umberto Eco's response is a provocative, passionate, and witty series of essays-which originally appeared in the Italian newspapers La Repubblica and L'Espresso-that leaves no slogan unexamined, no innovation unexposed. What led us into this age of hot wars and media populism, and how was it sold to us as progress? Eco discusses such topics as racism, mythology, the European Union, rhetoric, the Middle East, technology, September 11, medieval Latin, television ads, globalization, Harry Potter, anti-Semitism, logic, the Tower of Babel, intelligent design, Italian street demonstrations, fundamentalism, The Da Vinci Code, and magic and magical thinking.

The famous author and respected scholar shows his practical, engaged side: an intellectual involved in events both local and global, a man concerned about taste, politics, education, ethics, and where our troubled world is headed.

Format: Hardcover

Dimensions: 384 pages, 9 × 6 × 1.3 in

Published: November 12, 2007

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0151013519

ISBN - 13: 9780151013517

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Turning Back The Clock: Hot Wars And Media Populism

Turning Back The Clock: Hot Wars And Media Populism

by Umberto Eco
Translated by Alastair McEwen

Format: Hardcover

Dimensions: 384 pages, 9 × 6 × 1.3 in

Published: November 12, 2007

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0151013519

ISBN - 13: 9780151013517

Read from the Book

Some Reflections on War and Peace  In the early sixties I contributed to the establishment of the Italian Committee for Atomic Disarmament and took part in several peace marches. I declare myself to be a pacifist by vocation and am to this day. Nonetheless, here I must say bad things not only about war but also about peace. So I ask the reader to bear with me.            I have written a series of articles on war, starting with the Gulf War, and now I realize that each article modified my ideas on the concept of war. As if the concept of war, which has remained more or less the same (aside from the weapons used) from the days of Ancient Greece till yesterday, needed to be rethought at least three times over the last ten years.1  From Paleowar to Cold War In the course of the centuries, what was the purpose of that form of warfare we shall call paleowar? We made war in order to vanquish our adversaries and thus profit from their defeat; we tried to achieve our ends by taking the enemy by surprise; we did everything possible to ensure that our adversaries did not achieve their ends; we accepted a certain price in human lives in order to inflict upon the enemy a greater loss of life. For these purposes it was necessary to marshal all the forces at our disposal. The game was played out between two contenders. The neutrality of others, the fact that they suffered no harm from the conflict and if anything profited from it, was a necessary condition for the belligerents' freedom of
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Table of Contents

ContentsSteps Back            1I. War, Peace, and Other MattersSome Reflections on War and Peace               9Love America and March for Peace                31The Prospects for Europe  37The Wolf and the Lamb: The Rhetoric of Oppression   44Enlightenment and Common Sense 66From Play to Carnival       71The Loss of Privacy             77On Political Correctness   89On Private Schools             97Science, Technology, and Magic     103II. Chronicles of a RegimeFor Whom the Bell Tolls: A 2001 Appeal for a Moral Referendum           115The 2001 Electoral Campaign and Veteran Communist Strategy            121On Mass Media Populism  128Foreigners and Us              157Revisiting History               166The Revolt Against the Law              180Pasta Cunegonda               190Chronicles of the Late Empire          195III. The Return of the Great GameBetween Dr. Watson and Lawrence of Arabia               201Words Are Stones                214Back to the Seventies         224Kamikazes and Assassins  229IV. The Return of the CrusadesHoly Wars, Passion, and Religion   235Negotiating in a Multiethnic Society             247The Taking of Jerusalem: An Eyewitness Report          253Beauty Queens, Fundamentalists, and Lepers               260What Are We to Do with the Pre-Adamites?   263V. The Summa and the RestThe Roots of Europe           269The Crucifix, Its Uses and Customs  272On the Soul of the Embryo 277Chance and Intelligent Design        281Hands off My Son!              
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From the Publisher

The time: 2000 to 2005, the years of neoconservatism, terrorism, the twenty-four-hour news cycle, the ascension of Bush, Blair, and Berlusconi, and the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq. Umberto Eco's response is a provocative, passionate, and witty series of essays-which originally appeared in the Italian newspapers La Repubblica and L'Espresso-that leaves no slogan unexamined, no innovation unexposed. What led us into this age of hot wars and media populism, and how was it sold to us as progress? Eco discusses such topics as racism, mythology, the European Union, rhetoric, the Middle East, technology, September 11, medieval Latin, television ads, globalization, Harry Potter, anti-Semitism, logic, the Tower of Babel, intelligent design, Italian street demonstrations, fundamentalism, The Da Vinci Code, and magic and magical thinking.

The famous author and respected scholar shows his practical, engaged side: an intellectual involved in events both local and global, a man concerned about taste, politics, education, ethics, and where our troubled world is headed.

About the Author

UMBERTO ECO is a professor of semiotics at the University of Bologna and the best-selling author of numerous novels and essays. He lives in Italy.

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Editorial Reviews

PRAISE FOR UMBERTO ECO

"The spirit of enlightenment breathes through the writings of Umberto Eco . . . [he] is an urbane, genial writer who brings calmness and clarity to every subject he treats." --Los Angeles Times

"Eco's double life as a theorist of communication and a practitioner of fiction makes him exceptionally well suited to entertain and inform . . . Eco is a master of saying what it is we can, with confidence, say, and he says it wonderfully." --San Francisco Chronicle