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Chomsky's Challenge to American Power
A Guide for the Critical Reader

Author(s): Anthony F. Greco

Noam Chomsky is a pioneering scholar in the field of linguistics, but he is better known as a public intellectual: an iconoclastic, radical critic of US politics and foreign policy. Chomsky's Challenge examines most of the major subjects Chomsky has dealt with in his nearly half century of intellectual activism--the Vietnam War, America's broader international role (especially its interventions in the Third World), the structure of power in American politics, the role of the media and of intellectuals in forming public opinion, and American foreign policy in the post-Cold War world.

Chomsky is as controversial as he is influential. Admirers see him as a courageous teller of unpleasant truths about political power and those who wield it in the United States. Critics view him as a propagandist and ideologue who sees only black and white where there are multiple shades of gray. While Chomsky's fans tend to view him uncritically, his critics often don't take him seriously. Unlike any previous work, this book takes Chomsky seriously while treating him critically. The author gives Chomsky credit for valuable contributions to our understanding of the contemporary political world, but spares no criticism of the serious deficiencies he sees in Chomsky's political analyses.

Biography of Author(s)

Anthony F. Greco is an independent scholar. He received his PhD in political science from Columbia, then had a thirty-five-year career in financial, business, and public policy analysis in the public and private sectors. Greco is an associate of the Columbia University Seminar on Twentieth-Century Politics and Society.


  • "Anthony Greco's treatment of Chomsky's role in the intellectual debates of our time is among the most thoughtful, and certainly the most comprehensive I've ever encountered. We are all in his debt for his generous--perhaps overly generous--but still tough-minded and intellectually critical reading both of Chomsky himself and of the work of his critics. His ability to put Chomsky's writings in the context of larger historical debates is also to be greatly admired and appreciated by all who have sought to make sense of the man and his extraordinary (and often infuriating) body of work."
    --Eric Alterman, co-author, The Cause: The Fight for American Liberalism from Franklin Roosevelt to Barack Obama
  • "In a torrent of books and articles, Noam Chomsky has elaborated a powerful critique of U.S. foreign policy from the Vietnam War to Afghanistan. Anthony Greco has read through this virtual mountain of material, tested Chomsky's arguments against the available historical evidence, and produced a fair and honest assessment of when Chomsky has been right and when he has been wrong. Anyone interested in U.S. foreign policy has much to learn from this important book."
    --Fred Block, Research Professor of Sociology, University of California at Davis