Chop Shop: The Deconstruction of America

Non-Fiction Book

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Book by Jim Freeman
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Print Edition Price:
$17.50

eBook Price:
$5.99

Print Edition Size:
6" x 9"
(15.24 x 22.86 cm)

Pages:
214

ISBN Print Edition:
1937674-088

9781937674298
ISBN eBook Edition:

1937674134

9781937674137
Publisher:
Barkley Press
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Description


Does the evening news make you question what happened to your America? Can this possibly be the nation that spent more than two centuries crafting itself into the strongest, most envied and productive country on Earth?

Chop Shop is a refreshingly ironic and down-to-earth analysis that makes clear the origins and responsibility for an unprecedented Deconstruction of America. The past four of our forty-four presidents treated this country like a stolen car, selling it off in parts, plunging the nation toward mediocrity and the loss of personal freedom. The past two administrations increased that momentum and Freeman sees us with our backs against the wall. He argues that we either restore our constitutional legacy, both physically and intellectually, or lose the necessary energy to rebuild our dynamic republic.

Without being a rant against liberals or conservatives, Chop Shop flags the many stops along a route that dumped us at this point, confused and at each others' throats. We all share equally in the blame for that deconstruction. The book demands we look at America as it is, without the comfort or distraction of finger pointing.

First steps forward require an understanding of what went before. Chop Shop uses that structural history, from its 19th century origins, to understand this threat to American society. We thus far have failed to do that and are losing it all in ignorance. The time is short. The impact is enormous and undeniable. Freeman states the case with enough humor and sense of irony to make the read, if not a pleasant journey, certainly an informative one.

Reader Reviews

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E-books and the Concept of a Book


I ran across an interesting video the other day, Brian Felson’s conversation with book designer Joel Friedlander. The title was How eBooks Do Violence to the Concept of a Book and it wasn’t as confrontational as you might think. Felson is the CEO of Bookbaby and they are in the business of formatting and distributing e-books, so he has a dog in that hunt. The thrust of Joel’s comment was that new technology always tries initially to look like the old stuff it replaces, then catches its breath and moves into its own space.

It’s an excellent point. The first automobiles were ‘horseless carriages’ and essentially just an engine mounted in a carriage. Then came the Model T and now the hot cars of today. Hollywood began by filming stage plays.

I am not yet a fan of e-books, although all my books are offered in that format as well as print. I like to feel a book in my hands and turn pages and having invested the time in reading a book, I still like to put it up on the shelf and feel myself surrounded by books. Now, a Kindle or iPad can store upwards of three thousand books in a machine. No ‘library’ in the common sense of the term, but I guess you can still settle down with an e-reader in front of a crackling fire. I own a Kindle, but don’t use it much. I’ve seen friends’ iPads and admit the reading experience is much friendlier, but haven’t yet laid out the cash.

Now that I’ve established my point of view, here’s why I will no doubt someday become an e-reader owner. First, they will evolve as the Model T did to the BMW Z3, morphing into a number of designs from carryable to models for stay at home readers. Plus, e-books are also instantly delivered and cheaper, but the clincher will probably be the agony of lugging cases of books from home to home. Last time I moved it took 26 cases to transport 900 books and they are still not properly ordered on the shelves four years after the move. E-books can be cross-referenced on an e-reader as they’re purchased. Pretty smooth.

I’m a cautious and probably future owner, but not yet convinced enough to dive into the pool. And even then, I’ll probably continue to lug around the books I already own, just for the sheer joy of their ambiance.

Mike Wallace Died last Sunday at Age Ninety-three


That’s fact and incontrovertible, announced to us from every page and media source. It’s taken me these five days or so to get my thoughts together sufficiently to comment. Mike was a lion among journalist-commentators and brought to his trade a new paradigm. Not only virtually invented it, but left a streak across the sky in the process. He will be missed, probably not ever effectively imitated and thus a void exists at the exact time we need his style of accurate, fair, courteous and unflagging willingness to confront. We can hardly complain that he was taken from us too soon, as was Steve Jobs, for Mike was at an age some years past his contribution. Sixty years a journalist, thirty-eight of them with 60 Minutes.

Still in all, a giant has left us.

Those who imitated his style merely practiced gotcha-confrontations, lying in ambush to catch their quarry unawares while loading groceries in the car, counting among their trophies the terrified look facing cameramen. Wallace did a bit of that himself, quickly eschewing it as cheap stagecraft with no honorable purpose. His developed style was to present exactly the opposite, a non-confrontational and relaxed environment in which he set a stage comfortable enough to bring an interviewee into the conversation, essentially to make him (or her) a co-conspirator in the interview.

He had a twinkle about his eyes and willingness to listen as well as ask. He was mercilessly prepared, knowing everything about the man or woman across the table. That was his deep debt to professionalism and he never sold it short.  Louis Farrakhan came as close to coming over the table at him as anyone and Mike leaned back in his chair and took it without interruption. Because, as Mike knew, that was the story.

60 Minutes was a remarkable news magazine, the brain-child of Don Hewitt and a continuing work in progress that endures today as a Sunday evening must-watch in families across the nation. Mike shaped it in no small way and he and his close friend Hewitt had periodic screaming-matches over content and presentation. Needless to say, they both had strong views. But I grew up on 60 Minutes, a steady watcher throughout the seventies and eighties until I moved to Europe in 1993.

Asked about its success in an interview with Charlie Rose, Hewitt said he attributed it to the fact that the stars of the show, rather than the subjects, were and remained its reporters. Viewers came to see not so much what stories would be presented as what Harry Reasoner, Ed Bradley, Dan Rather, Morley Safer or Dianne Sawyer had waiting for them. But the glue was Mike Wallace.

Mike’s trophies included interviews with the likes of Frank Lloyd Wright, Ayn Rand, the Shah of Iran, Salvador Dali, Eleanor Roosevelt, Henry Kissinger, Barbra Streisand Yasser Arafat and Malcolm X. That list merely shows range and diversity, the occasional gangster and con-man was thrown in for color.

If it is true as some say that reportage has fallen victim to the sound bite, flash over substance and culture being crowded from the stage by entertainment, then Hewitt and Wallace are the last to hold us to those standards. Catch Mike’s remarkable interview with Luciano Pavarotti or his last personal interview with Charlie Rose for intriguing evidence of the man at his best and most personal.

Then ask yourself if, perhaps with the exception of Charlie Rose, Mike Wallace was not quite possibly the last man left standing of his remarkable genre.