Avram Noam Chomsky was born in Philadelphia in 1928 to Jewish immigrant parents who were both educators. His parents were mainstream liberals, but through relatives, Chomsky was exposed at an early age to socialism and other progressive ideas that shaped his politics. After earning his Ph.D. in theoretical linguistics at the University of Pennsylvania in 1955 and a fellowship at Harvard University, Chomsky became a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. His first book, Syntactic Structures, published in 1957 and now considered a classic, not only shook up the study of linguistics, but also had a profound effect on philosophy and psychology, and laid the groundwork for the field of cognitive science. In the 1960s, Chomsky took part in protests against the Vietnam War and began writing the articles that initiated his other career as a public dissident and political thinker. Over the course of the next 60 years, Chomsky would continue to be a major voice in both areas, embodying a lifelong commitment to intellectual exploration, freedom of thought, and human rights.
In Simply Chomsky, Professor Raphael Salkie provides a compact, user-friendly introduction to Noam Chomsky’s political activism and his groundbreaking work in linguistics. Unlike most Chomsky studies, Prof. Salkie not only covers the essentials of Chomsky’s thought and accomplishments, but also explores his most recent concerns—including the climate crisis, the threat of nuclear holocaust, and current geopolitical hotspots—which are often very different from the topics that preoccupied him decades ago.
For students of linguistics, for those interested in U.S. foreign policy, and for anyone concerned about the enormous problems facing the world, Simply Chomsky will be exhilarating and thought-provoking reading. Noam Chomsky has spent his life challenging widely accepted assumptions and beliefs and has made an indelible mark on world affairs and human thought. Simply Chomsky offers a special opportunity to find out more about this remarkable and always engaging contrarian thinker.
“Noam Chomsky’s work has challenged and changed our understanding of the world from his pioneering work in linguistics to his unceasing critique of the world around us. Raphael Salkie’s book, Simply Chomsky, succeeds in bringing these critical issues to the attention of readers in a work at once succinct and illuminating.” —Irene Gendzier, Professor Emeritus, Dept. of Political Science, Boston University"
"Raphael Salkie has produced the most approachable, easy-to-read introduction to Noam Chomsky written so far. Speaking with a personal, very human voice, and peppered with Salkie's own up-to-date and illuminating examples, ‘Simply Chomsky’ covers the major points of Chomsky's vast political output as well as his ground-breaking linguistics." — Milan Rai, author of Chomsky's Politics
"‘Simply Chomsky’ is a delightful book. Professor Salkie cuts through the many misconceptions that have surrounded Noam Chomsky, his political activism, and views on language. Chomsky’s thinking on education, the climate crisis, nuclear war, language evolution, and global political conflict, among other issues, is examined with refreshing clarity and perception. ‘Simply Chomsky’ is a veritable cornucopia of the ideas of one of our most rational intellectuals and steadfast proponents of political change. It should be the starting point for readers who want to learn about Chomsky." — Louise Cummings, Professor of Linguistics, Department of English, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong SAR, China
"Noam Chomsky is remarkably interesting and provocative—and therefore so is this book!"— Bill McKibben, author Falter: Has the Human Game Begun to Play Itself Out?