In case you haven’t noticed, Naomi Klein’s new book, The Shock Doctrine, tends to divide critics and political pundits into two camps: those who support her contentious thesis – basically, that Chicago School neoliberals capitalize on natural and social catastrophes – and those who don’t. That divide couldn’t be made more clear than by a spread in today’s National Post, which pairs an excerpt of the book’s opening pages with salty commentary by right-wing columnist Terence Corcoran, who not only counters Klein’s argument but claims its opposite, maintaining that Klein blames Chicago School guru Milton Friedman for what are really “socialism’s failures.” However, what makes the column good reading is Corcoran’s description of the book as a kind of surreal travelogue:
By the end of the book, the Klein shock theory is careening like an out-of-control Bolivian bus on the road to La Paz, Milton Friedman strapped to the hood as a symbolic ornament, her rhetoric and ideas flying off in all directions.
If that’s the case, I can’t wait to get to the end of The Shock Doctrine.
The Post will be running excerpts of the book until Friday, presumably with more accompanying commentary. For more tempered perspectives, see The Globe and Mail’s review (where Todd Gitlin essentially agrees with Klein, but won’t stomach her “tendentiousness” and left-wing romanticism), Q&Q’s review (where Dan Rowe compares the book to Dr. Seuss’s story “The Sneetches,” and lauds Klein for her timeliness), or the Toronto Star‘s review (where James Grainger opens with this line: “The Shock Doctrine may be one of the most important non-fiction books aimed at the general reader published in the last decade”).