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Buda's Wagon: A Brief History of the Car Bomb Hardcover – 5 Mar 2007

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Verso; 1st Edition edition (5 Mar. 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1844671321
  • ISBN-13: 978-1844671328
  • Product Dimensions: 1.5 x 0.2 x 2.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 632,793 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

"Typical of Mike Davis, this extraordinary book is a brilliant antidote to official history, allowing us to understand how the weak have fought back, ingloriously, against the onslaught of the strong." -John Pilger Praise for Planet of Slums: "A brilliant book." - Arundhati Roy "The Raymond Chandler of urban geography." - Independent "A heartbreaking book... the astonishing facts hit like anvil blows." - Financial Times"

About the Author

MacArthur Fellow Mike Davis lives in San Diego. He is the author of Planet of Slums, Prisoners of the American Dream, City of Quartz, Ecology of Fear, Magical Urbanism, Late Victorian Holocausts, Dead Cities, and The Monster at Our Door: The Global Threat of Avian Flu.

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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Alan Lenton on 16 Mar. 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Buda's Wagon - A Brief History of the Car Bomb by Mike Davis, Verso
MacArthur fellow Mike Davis has written an absorbing book about the development of what has been called 'the poor man's air force'. Starting with anarchist Mario Buda's horse and cart bombing of J.P. Morgan's building in Wall Street in 1920, Davis leads the reader through the development of increasingly powerful and sophisticated weapons until we get to the use of car bombs in Baghdad today.
But the author is not just interested in the technical time-line of car bombs, he also looks at the sociology of car bombs, in particular the way in which car bombs have been increasing used to inflict deliberate civilian casualties, rather than to target specific 'enemy' infrastructure. Davis also charts the rise in suicide car bombings and sets the whole story in a political framework which some people will find uncomfortable.
Just one caveat. Don't take this book to read on a plane. Government security personal are notorious for their inability to understand that people might want to study activities of which they disapprove in order to understand motivation!
Recommended.
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By Germinal TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 11 April 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
In Buda's Wagon: A brief history of the car bomb, Mike Davis recounts the background of what he calls the "workhorses of urban terrorism".

Often the product of fringe militancy or "clandestine state terrorism", Davis shows that the car bomb has a limitless capacity to create and sustain fear.

This is, he argues, largely because of its low cost and technological accessibility.

He writes, "Vehicle bombs are stealth weapons of surprising power and destructive efficiency."

However, as Davis puts it, "Like even the `smartest' of aerial bombs, car bombs are inherently indiscriminate. `Collateral damage' is virtually inevitable.

"If the logic of an attack is to slaughter innocents and sow panic in the widest circle, to operate a `strategy of tension', or just demoralise a society, car bombs are ideal.

"But they are equally effective at destroying the moral credibility of a cause and alienating its mass base of support, as both the IRA and the ETA in Spain have independently discovered."

Davis steers away from romanticism, keeping tight focus on the indiscriminate violence inflicted upon innocents.

Packed with horrific details, the book goes beyond the statistics to portray the human and moral costs of this gruesome political lever.

He exposes the role of state intelligence agencies - particularly those of the US, Israel, India, and Pakistan - in globalising urban terrorist techniques.

He points out, "Anonymity, in addition, greatly recommends car bombs to those who like to disguise their handiwork, including the CIA, the Israeli Mossad, the Syrian GSD, the Iranian Pasdaran, and the Pakistani ISI - all of whom have caused unspeakable carnage with such devices.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
a very good read alongside the DVD which is a 'must see'
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By John Palser on 2 Jan. 2015
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Item exactly as described and delivered very promptly
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2 of 5 people found the following review helpful By C. Hallahan on 18 May 2009
Format: Hardcover
Factually very interesting (some of the stories such as the brief account of an explosion of fertiliser on a boat off the coast of Texas are staggering), but the constant snipes at American foreign policy are tedious. The fact that Pilger credits this book on the back of the book is of no surprise! Still, it doesn't hamper a well constructed book on a under reported subject.
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