Turning Back the Clock: Hot Wars and Media Populism

by Umberto Eco
Translated by Alastair McEwen

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt | September 22, 2008 | Trade Paperback

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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. In this series of provocative, passionate, and witty essays, Umberto Eco examines a wide range of phenomena, from Harry Potter, the Tower of Babel, talk shows, and the Enlightenment toThe Da Vinci Code/What led us, he asks, into this age of hot wars and media populism, and how was it sold to us as progress?

InTurning Back the Clock,the bestselling author and respected scholar turns his famous intellect toward events both local and global to look at where our troubled world is headed.

Format: Trade Paperback

Dimensions: 384 pages, 8 × 5.31 × 0.89 in

Published: September 22, 2008

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0156034212

ISBN - 13: 9780156034210

Found in: Social and Cultural Studies

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– More About This Product –

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: Trade Paperback

Dimensions: 384 pages, 8 × 5.31 × 0.89 in

Published: September 22, 2008

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0156034212

ISBN - 13: 9780156034210

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 Back1I. War, Peace, and Other MattersSome Reflections on War and Peace9Love America and March for Peace31The Prospects for Europe37The Wolf and the Lamb: The Rhetoric of Oppression44Enlightenment and Common Sense66From Play to Carnival71The Loss of Privacy77On Political Correctness89On Private Schools97Science, Technology, and Magic103II. Chronicles of a RegimeFor Whom the Bell Tolls: A 2001 Appeal for a Moral Referendum115The 2001 Electoral Campaign and Veteran Communist Strategy121On Mass Media Populism128Foreigners and Us157Revisiting History166The Revolt Against the Law180Pasta Cunegonda190Chronicles of the Late Empire195III. The Return of the Great GameBetween Dr. Watson and Lawrence of Arabia201Words Are Stones214Back to the Seventies224Kamikazes and Assassins229IV. The Return of the CrusadesHoly Wars, Passion, and Religion235Negotiating in a Multiethnic Society247The Taking of Jerusalem: An Eyewitness Report253Beauty Queens, Fundamentalists, and Lepers260What Are We to Do with the Pre-Adamites?263V. TheSummaand the RestThe Roots of Europe269The Crucifix, Its Uses and Customs272On the Soul of the Embryo277Chance and Intelligent Design281Hands off My Son!284Those Who Don't Believe in God Believe in Everything288Relativism?309VI. The Defense of the RaceAre the Italians Anti-Semites?313The Plot317Some of My Best Friends320Some of Her Best Friends323VII. The Twilight of the New MillenniumA Dream329On the Shoulders of Giants334On the Disadvantages and Advantage
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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. In this series of provocative, passionate, and witty essays, Umberto Eco examines a wide range of phenomena, from Harry Potter, the Tower of Babel, talk shows, and the Enlightenment toThe Da Vinci Code/What led us, he asks, into this age of hot wars and media populism, and how was it sold to us as progress?

InTurning Back the Clock,the bestselling author and respected scholar turns his famous intellect toward events both local and global to look at where our troubled world is headed.

From the Jacket

"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 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 Ecos response is a provocative, passionate, and witty series of essayswhich originally appeared in the Italian newspapers La Repubblica and LEspressothat 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 the author of five novels and numerous essay collections, includingThe Name of the Rose,The Prague Cemetery,andInventing the Enemy.He received Italy's highest literary award, the Premio Strega, was named a Chevalier de la Légion d'Honneur by the French government, and is an honorary member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

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