Chomsky Book Sales Skyrocket

Times Staff Writer

Noam Chomsky’s 2003 book, “Hegemony or Survival: America’s Quest for Global Dominance,” shot to No. 1 on the bestseller list Friday, two days after Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez held it up during a vitriolic speech to the United Nations.

At the start of his talk Wednesday, Chavez recommended that anyone wishing to understand “what has been happening in the world through the 20th century” should read Chomsky’s book.

For the record:

12:00 a.m. Oct. 27, 2006 For The Record
Los Angeles Times Friday October 27, 2006 Home Edition Main News Part A Page 2 National Desk 3 inches; 124 words Type of Material: Correction
Noam Chomsky: An article in the A section on Sept. 23 said that, in an appearance at the United Nations on Sept. 20, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez had held up a copy of Noam Chomsky’s book “Hegemony or Survival: America’s Quest for Global Dominance” and praised it, then mentioned his regret at never having met Chomsky before he died. The article pointed out that Chomsky was still alive. That account was based on the oral translation of Chavez’s remarks provided as he was speaking. A more complete translation provided later in writing showed that after mentioning Chomsky’s work, Chavez went on to offer praise for John Kenneth Galbraith, and it was Galbraith to whom he was referring when he expressed regret at his death.

“Hegemony or Survival” posits that American foreign policy over the last half-century has pursued a strategy to control the world, and that by its own definition of terrorism, the U.S. has been a terrorist state.


The book rocketed from the 20,664th place on the website’s list, past preorders for the perennially popular John Grisham’s “The Innocent Man,” to achieve the top position. As of Friday evening, the 2004 paperback edition of “Hegemony or Survival” was No. 1 and the hardcover edition was No. 10 at Amazon. On the Barnes & Noble bestseller list, the paperback was No. 3 and the hardback No. 30.

As an aside to the General Assembly address in which Chavez pronounced the U.N. “worthless” and referred to President Bush as “the devil,” the Venezuelan president mentioned his regret at never having met Chomsky before he died.

An icon of the American left, Chomsky is, in fact, alive and well and living in Lexington, Mass. “I continue to work and write,” Chomsky told the New York Times on Thursday.

His wife, Carol, declined to put Chomsky on the phone when a reporter called Friday, explaining that he had been “flooded” with interview requests.

Chomsky, 77, is often called the father of modern linguistics. In his political writings, he has been a frequent and fierce critic of American establishment politics. His many books include the bestseller “9-11,” a collection of interviews conducted soon after the tragedy, and this spring’s “Failed States: The Abuse of Power and the Assault on Democracy.”