The authors go on to say that America has also forced their extreme versions of free capitalism and true democracy on the rest of the world, including into many places where those concepts really do not work. The American corporations that move into those areas control what food is eaten as well as grown there, and the conglomerates in the media bury most of the native culture of these other places under a strong onslaught full of American entertainment.
The authors, Sardar and Davies, address all of these issues with insight and research. The chapters in which they address culture very strongly, however, become somewhat repetitive and almost whiny on occasion. However, the authors are not saying that everyone has to agree with everything that they say. Even without agreeing with them completely, it is very easy to see that there are good reasons why many people do not like America, despite the fact that a lot of other people do like the country and what it stands for.
For those people who love to 'bash' the United States, this book will quite likely be exactly what they are looking for. Some see the book as being only a rant against everything that most Americans hold dear, such as the television news media, capitalism, movies, McDonald's, the military, and countless other 'American' things. For those that love America, this book might be a bit harder to take. There are many people who believe that their country is perfect, and they turn a blind eye to anything that would indicate otherwise. This book must be read with an open mind if it is to be understood and valued for what it is.
For those that hate America, this book will likely make them hate it all the more. For those that love America and are very devoted to their country, there is little that could be said to change their minds, regardless of the facts and regardless of the persuasiveness of the argument that was made. There are many that still feel as though America is hated because it is powerful and rich, and other countries are not. People in many other countries live under the misguided opinion that all people in America are rich and can buy everything that they want and need. They fail to understand that there are poor people in every country, no matter what the government is like or how wonderful everything in that country seems to be.
Another argument against this type of book is that other countries do not like America because they cannot be like America. In other words they assume that, because all Americans are rich and powerful and buy whatever they want, they should be jealous of America. The government in America, because it is rich and powerful, often intimidates people and sometimes resorts to simply using brute force so that it can accomplish whatever it feels that it wants to do. Other countries wish that they could do that as well, and so that hate America out of a misguided sense of jealousy and resentment.
Those that believe in this argument would state that socialist countries are socialist because they have failed at capitalism, but yet they do not blame themselves. Instead, they blame America. They turn the idea of success into evidence of a crime and the idea of failure into a proof of virtue. The see that, because America is rich, the rest of the world must be poor, and that there would not be violence in the world if the American military would simply stop meddling in the affairs of other countries.
People that live in other countries, such as Korea for example, see America much differently than Americans do. In 1945, Korea was a colony of Japan, and the atomic bombs that America dropped made it into a free country, but only through brute force. Prior to that year, Japan required that Koreans change their names to Japanese names, stop using the Korean language, and require their young women to provide sexual services for the Japanese military. Today, America is both loved and hated by the Korean people. The reasons behind this are complex, though, and cannot simply be explained because of the bombings that took place many years ago.
It is also pointed out that the hatred that many people in other countries feel for America is not new, and in many cases it is not without some merit. The question, though, is whether books such as this one lend anything new to the argument of why America is hated by others and whether anything can - and ever will - be done to change that. Since the book was written in 2002, it has not been that long since the authors voiced their opinions. The longer the war in Iraq drags on, however, the more that America will be applauded by some and hated by others, depending on one's feelings toward the war.
Others that have authored books that are along the same lines as this one sometimes come to other conclusions as to why the country is hated by so many others around the world. For example, some feel as though the American strength, and hence its problem for many, is that the lifestyle and culture of America are extremely dominant throughout the world. When people are given the choice, they buy American clothes, watch American movies, listen to American music, and eat at restaurants like McDonalds.
While the book is interesting, it is also significant to point out that the authors really did not do that much research. They talk about many, many movies in the book and use them as comparison. Unfortunately, they do not really analyze what they do find that thoroughly, making some of their points difficult to verify. However, there is still value to this book, even with what appears to be a clearly anti-American bias. Some of the information that the authors offer is also contradictory. They talk of how Americans have no real understanding of other nations and other cultures, but then they also talk about how Americans have been generally very successful in exporting both items and ideas to these other cultures. Doing this would be next to impossible without at least some understanding of the culture.
However, the authors are right in the assertion that they make regarding the love/hate relationship that is seen between America and many of the developing nations and third-world countries. This love/hate relationship with these smaller countries is what fosters much of the hatred that other countries have of America. The developing nations seem to resent America and envy the country because it has great power and wealth, yet try to be like the country, largely for the same reasons. They point out that, for example, the reason that McDonalds are everywhere is because people buy their food.
One of the main points that the book makes, even though it seems to be somewhat accidental, is that, while people say that they hate America, they buy and use American products to a large degree. This is a highly hypocritical attitude, but one that is still very prevalent in many countries today. America, therefore, can basically be viewed as the 'Wal-Mart of the world.' People in other countries talk about how terrible America is, but yet they covet that lifestyle and the items that the United States offers. This is similar to the way that Americans complain about how Wal-Mart takes money from small businesses and forces them to close, but yet they still shop at Wal-Mart to save more money, which they do not spend at those small businesses, but simply put in their bank accounts to spend again at Wal-Mart.
The book is worthwhile for anyone to read, as long as it is kept in mind that the authors appear to be among the group of individuals that do not like America very much, if at all. Because of this, the book is not completely unbiased, but one's opinion of America before reading the book will likely affect whether the book appears to be biased or not. While Americans overall do not seem to be as bad of a group as the authors make them out to be, it does seem as though they are, as a generalization for the group, uninformed about the rest of the world and what is really taking place in it. If one watches European news as a comparison to American news, many events and issues are portrayed quite differently.
Instead of fighting wars in other countries, Americans should spend more time taking care of their own people. There are many that are homeless, hungry and otherwise in need, and because they are Americans it seems as though they should be taken care of first, instead of feeding the poor and the needy in other countries. It is a nice thing to try to take care of others, but taking care…