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[PN] Review of Chomsky's biography

The following book review, under the Fair Use Doctrine,
is posted on PNEWS for educational purposes and may not
be reproduced for commercial uses.  It is hoped PNEWS-
listers will find this book review of interest.  rmcb
LINGUIST List:  Vol-8-673. Wed May 7 1997. ISSN: 1068-4875.
Review: Barsky, R.: Chomsky Biography
_Noam Chomsky: A Life of Dissent_ By Robert F. Barsky,
MIT Press, 1997, Pp. 237, ISBN 0-262-02418-7. $27.50
Reviewed by Fergal Murphy, University College Dublin

[As the book comes essentially two forms - a paper version and a
hypertext version - <http://www-mitpress.mit.edu/chomsky> - I
will deal with the content of the book first before going on
to talk about the web site for the book.  Page numbers indicate
Barsky's book unless otherwise indicated.]

In this very readable book, Barsky presents a view of Chomsky's life
through  "The Milieu that Formed Chomsky" and "The Milieu that Chomsky
helped to Create". Chomsky's Politics and Linguistics are presented as
derived from essentially the same philosophical traditions, with an
interest in the uniqueness and creativity of each individual at the
heart of Chomsky's concerns. The author points out that the main focus
of the biography he has written "is the political milieus that provide a
context for understanding [Chomsky's] approach to societal relations and
the structures that regulate them" (p.6). The author has previously
showed his liking for Chomsky's politics in the documentary
"Manufacturing Consent" and this book again portrays Chomsky as being on
the side of the angels. The book provides us with some new information
and photographs and brings together many of the strands in Chomsky's
life and work. A full analysis of Chomsky would take more than the 237
pages in Barsky's book but the book is a solidly researched analysis of
the basis of Chomsky's main philosophical concerns that can be read with
profit no matter what one's interest in Chomsky derives from.
As with any book on Chomsky, this biography will generate heated
discussion. Chomsky always provokes strong and divergent reactions but,
as the author points out, Chomsky is undeniably one of the most
important figures in modern thought (p.1).

The first section of the book - dealing with the milieu that formed
Chomsky - covers Chomsky's family and his education (both formal and
informal). The anecdotes about Chomsky's childhood show a serious, quiet
but competitive child who was used to intellectual and well-informed
debate about a wide range of topics at home. Some of the details are
already available to us from other sources but some of them are new and

[212 lines left ... full text available at <url:http://www.reference.com/cgi-bin/pn/go?choice=message&table=05_1997&mid=1647517&hilit=CHOMSKY> ]

Article-ID: 05_1997&1712338
Score: 93
Subject: Re: [CHOMSKY] Chomsky FAQ?