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Michael Parenti

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Title: Michael Parenti  
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Michael Parenti

Michael Parenti
Michael Parenti
Born Michael John Parenti
1933 (age 82–83)
New York City
Occupation political scientist, historian, media critic
Nationality US
Education City College of New York, B.A.
Brown University, M.A.
Yale University, Ph.D.
Subject History, Politics, Economics
Children Christian Parenti

Michael John Parenti (born 1933) is an American political scientist, historian, and cultural critic who writes on scholarly and popular subjects. He has taught at American and international universities and has been a guest lecturer before campus and community audiences.[1][2]


  • Background 1
  • To Kill a Nation: The Attack on Yugoslavia 2
  • The Assassination of Julius Caesar: A People's History of Ancient Rome 3
  • References in popular culture 4
  • Appearances in film and television 5
  • Bibliography 6
  • References 7
  • External links 8


Parenti received his PhD in political science from Yale University. He is the author of 23 books and many more articles. His works have been translated into at least eighteen languages.[3] Parenti lectures frequently throughout the United States and abroad. He is the father of Christian Parenti, an author and contributor to The Nation magazine.

Parenti's writings cover a wide range of subjects: U.S. politics, culture, ideology, political economy, imperialism, fascism, communism, democratic socialism, free-market orthodoxies, conservative judicial activism, religion, ancient history, modern history, historiography, repression in academia, news and entertainment media, technology, environmentalism, sexism, racism, homophobia, Venezuela, the wars in Iraq and Yugoslavia, ethnicity, and his own early life.[4][5][6] Perhaps his most influential book is Democracy for the Few,[7] now in its ninth edition, a critical analysis of U.S. society, economy, and political institutions and a college-level political science textbook published by Wadsworth Publishing.[8] In recent years he has addressed such subjects as "Empires: Past and Present," "US Interventionism: the Case of Iraq," "Race, Gender, and Class Power," "Ideology and History," "The Collapse of Communism," and "Terrorism and Globalization."[3]

Michael Parenti was raised in an Italian-American working-class family and neighborhood in New York City about which he has written.[9] For many years Parenti taught political and social science at various institutions of higher learning. Eventually he devoted himself full-time to writing, public speaking, and political activism.[10]

In 1974, Parenti ran in Vermont on the Liberty Union Party ticket for U.S. Congress and received 7% of the vote.[11]

In the 1980s, he was a Visiting Fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington, D.C. In Washington, D.C., in 2003, the Caucus for a New Political Science gave him a Career Achievement Award. In 2007, he received a Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition from U.S. Representative Barbara Lee and an award from New Jersey Peace Action.

He served for some 12 years as a judge for Project Censored. He also is on the advisory boards of Independent Progressive Politics Network, and Education Without Borders; as well as the advisory editorial boards of New Political Science and Nature, Society and Thought.[12]

To Kill a Nation: The Attack on Yugoslavia

In 2000, Verso Books published Parenti's To Kill a Nation: The Attack on Yugoslavia.[13] According to Kirkus Reviews: "Parenti dissents from every piece of conventional wisdom about the former Yugoslavia’s breakup, the Kosovo crisis, and the NATO bombing campaign against the Serbian state in purported support of the Kosovar Albanians. Instead, he assembles a scarily persuasive alternate history in which an American-led coalition backed by aggressive financial interests precipitated the civil war and the profoundly destructive air campaign that killed at least 3,000 civilians."[13] Publishers Weekly's review stated: "Parenti gives an unabashedly critical assessment of this intervention, based on a solid and passionate rejection of Western leaders' 'lies' about events in the Balkans and Western interests in that part of the world. Readers not familiar with his leftist analysis may find Parenti's dismissal of NATO's justification for its 1999 bombing campaign shocking or silly; others may find it thought-provoking."[14]

The Assassination of Julius Caesar: A People's History of Ancient Rome

In 2003 The New Press published Parenti's The Assassination of Julius Caesar: A People's History of Ancient Rome.[15] PW said, "Parenti... narrates a provocative history of the late republic in Rome (100–33 B.C.) to demonstrate that Caesar's death was the culmination of growing class conflict, economic disparity and political corruption."[16] Kirkus Reviews wrote: "Populist historian Parenti... views ancient Rome’s most famous assassination not as a tyrannicide but as a sanguinary scene in the never-ending drama of class warfare."[15] Kirkus described the book as "revisionist history at its most provocative."[15] Political Affairs wrote: "This is an excellent book and a good read."[17]

References in popular culture

Appearances in film and television

Apart from several recordings of some of his public speeches, Parenti has also appeared in the 1992 documentary Panama Deception, the 2004 Liberty Bound and 2013 Fall and Winter documentaries as an author and social commentator.

In addition, he was interviewed for two episodes of the Showtime series Penn & Teller: Bullshit!, speaking briefly about the Dalai Lama (Episode 305 – Holier Than Thou) and patriotism (Episode 508 – Mount Rushmore).

Parenti was interviewed in Boris Malagurski's documentary film The Weight of Chains 2 (2014).


  • The Anti-Communist Impulse (Random House, 1970).
  • Trends and Tragedies in American Foreign Policy (Little, Brown, 1971).
  • Ethnic and Political Attitudes (Arno, 1975). ISBN 0-405-06413-6
  • Democracy for the Few, First Edition circa 1974, Eighth Edition 2007.[7] ISBN 0-495-00744-7, ISBN 978-0-495-00744-9
  • Power and the Powerless (St. Martin's Press, 1978). ISBN 0-312-63372-6, ISBN 0-312-63373-4
  • Inventing Reality: the Politics of News Media. First edition 1986, Second Edition 1993. ISBN 0-312-02013-9, ISBN 0-312-08629-6
  • The Sword and the Dollar: Imperialism, Revolution and the Arms Race (St. Martin's Press, 1989). ISBN 0-312-02295-6
  • Make-Believe Media: the Politics of Entertainment (St. Martin's Press, 1992). ISBN 0-312-05603-6, ISBN 0-312-05894-2
  • Land of Idols: Political Mythology in America (St. Martin's Press, 1993). ISBN 0-312-09497-3, ISBN 0-312-09841-3
  • Against Empire (City Lights Books, 1995). ISBN 0-87286-298-4, ISBN 978-0-87286-298-2 (chapter 1 online)
  • Dirty Truths (City Lights Books, 1996). Includes some autobiographical essays. ISBN 0-87286-317-4, ISBN 0-87286-318-2
  • Blackshirts & Reds: Rational Fascism and the Overthrow of Communism (San Francisco: City Lights Books, 1997). ISBN 0-87286-329-8, ISBN 0-87286-330-1
  • America Besieged (City Lights, 1998). ISBN 0-87286-338-7, ISBN 0-87286-338-7
  • History as Mystery (City Lights, 1999). ISBN 0-87286-357-3, ISBN 0-87286-364-6
  • To Kill a Nation: The Attack on Yugoslavia (Verso, 2002). ISBN 1-85984-776-5
  • The Terrorism Trap: September 11 and Beyond (City Lights, 2002). ISBN 0-87286-405-7
  • The Assassination of Julius Caesar: A People's History of Ancient Rome (The New Press, 2003). ISBN 1-56584-797-0.
  • Superpatriotism (City Lights, 2004). ISBN 978-0-87286-433-7
  • The Culture Struggle (Seven Stories Press, 2006). ISBN 1-58322-704-0, ISBN 978-1-58322-704-6
  • Contrary Notions (City Lights Books, 2007).[5] ISBN 0-87286-482-0, ISBN 978-0-87286-482-5
  • God and His Demons (Prometheus Books, 2010).
  • The Face of Imperialism (Paradigm, 2011).
  • Waiting for Yesterday: Pages from a Street Kid's Life (Bordighera Press, 2013).


  1. ^
  2. ^ "Speaking Engagements by Michael Parenti". Michael Parenti. Archived from the original on 27 October 2007. Retrieved 25 December 2007. 
  3. ^ a b "Biography of Michael Parenti". Michael Parenti. Archived from the original on 27 October 2007. Retrieved 25 December 2007. 
  4. ^ "Articles and Other Published Selections". Michael Parenti. Archived from the original on 26 October 2007. Retrieved 25 December 2007. 
  5. ^ a b Parenti, Michael (August 2007). Contrary Notions: The Michael Parenti Reader. City Lights Books. p. 403.  
  6. ^ "Books by Michael Parenti". Michael Parenti. Retrieved 25 December 2007. 
  7. ^ a b Parenti, Michael (February 2007). Democracy for the Few (Eight ed.). Wadsworth Publishing Company. p. 322.  
  8. ^ CENGAGE Learning. "WADSWORTH CENGAGE Learning political science". Retrieved 3 January 2008. 
  9. ^ Parenti, Michael (August 2007). "La Famiglia: An Ethno-Class Experience". Contrary Notions: The Michael Parenti Reader. City Lights Books. p. 403.  
  10. ^ Parenti, Michael (1996). "Struggles in Academe: A Personal Account". Dirty Truths.  
  11. ^ Sanders, Bernie (1997). "You Have to Begin Somewhere". Outsider in the House. 
  12. ^ Parenti, Michael. "Michael Parenti Political Archive". Retrieved 2 January 2008. 
  13. ^ a b "To Kill a Nation; The Destruction of Yugoslavia".  
  14. ^ "To Kill a Nation: The Attack on Yugoslavia".  
  15. ^ a b c "The Assassination of Julius Caesar: A People's History of Ancient Rome".  
  16. ^ "The Assassination of Julius Caesar: A People's History of Ancient Rome".  
  17. ^ Riggins, Thomas (June 24, 2004). "Book Review - The Assassination of Julius Caesar, By Michael Parenti".  

External links

  • Michael Parenti Political Archive maintained by Michael Parenti
  • Appearances on C-SPAN
    • , September 7, 2003.The Assassination of Julius Caesar interview with Parenti on Booknotes
Michael Parenti's articles
  • Dubious Design (Creationism & Intelligent Design)
  • Talks by Michael Parenti – MP3 format.
  • TUC Radio's Michael Parenti Archive – recordings available for purchase.
  • Michael Parenti talks about “The Culture Struggle” May 2007 on Democracy Now radio.
  • October 2006 interview on KPFA radio.
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