In this revealing personal account Chomsky relates formative childhood experiences. He wrote his first political essay at the age of 10. He recalls, “I’m just old enough to remember Hitler’s speeches on the radio. I didn’t understand the words but I couldn’t help but grasp the menacing tone and the cheering mobs. The first political article I wrote was in February 1939, right after the fall of Barcelona. It was for the fourth grade newspaper. I was the editor and probably the only reader. Maybe my mother read it. (laughs) I remember the mood of fear and foreboding at the time. The opening line was, ‘Austria falls, Czechoslovakia Falls, and now Barcelona Falls.’ The words somehow have always stayed in my mind along with the mood of dread and the sense of the dark clouds of fascism gathering over Germany and Europe. No one could see then the unimaginable horror coming.”
Noam Chomsky, by any measure, has led a most extraordinary life. In one index he is ranked as the eighth most cited person in history, right up there with Aristotle, Shakespeare, Marx, Plato and Freud. His contributions to modern linguistics are legendary. In addition to his pioneering work in that field, he has been a leading voice for peace and social justice for many decades. Chris Hedges says he is “America’s greatest intellectual” who “makes the powerful, as well as their liberal apologists, deeply uncomfortable.” The New Statesman calls him “the conscience of the American people.” He is Professor Emeritus in the Department of Linguistics and Philosophy at MIT and Laureate Professor of Linguistics and Haury Chair in the Program in Environment and Social Justice at the University of Arizona. At 94, he is still active; writing and giving interviews to the media all over the world. He is the author of scores of books, his latest are Consequences of Capitalism, Chronicles of Dissent and Notes on Resistance.