“The Good American: A Situation Report for Citizens” by B. Sidney Smith is well worth reading, and you can read it in an hour. This is more the length of an article than a book, and you could read it in the same time in which you could read a lengthy review by me that wouldn’t do it justice.
Smith summarizes brilliantly the state of U.S. society; the role our government/military plays in the world; the ways our televisions and advertising and elections keep us ignorant, distracted, obedient, and pacified; the degree to which ours has become an unequal class society; the looming environmental catastrophe we face (or should face up to); and — a little less brilliantly — what we can do about it.
I could quote many excellent paragraphs or quibble with the points I disagree on. But fundamentally this is an outstanding pamphlet that should be spread around like Tom Paine’s was. I can’t think of a better, more concise explanation for your average American of what sort of mess we’re in. It’s a shame that Smith follows his analysis with a final chapter that walks right up to the edge of demanding creative nonviolent activism and then tells the reader — exactly as would Obama or Romney: “Now go vote.”