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The Human War Paperback – 7 Jun 2007


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Product details

  • Paperback: 92 pages
  • Publisher: Snowbooks Ltd (7 Jun. 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1905005466
  • ISBN-13: 978-1905005468
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 0.6 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 972,286 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Synopsis

On the eve of the Iraq war, in Youngstown, Ohio, Mark Swift drinks, has sex, goes to a strip club, does everything that Youngstown can offer to escape, but it only deepens the horror. "The Human War" is a bleak, disturbing tale of one man's struggle with war, death and the human condition, shot through with the author's deadpan humour. Frequently compared to Beckett, Sartre and Bukowski, Noah Cicero's acclaimed debut is accompanied by two short stories, "The Doomed" and "Little Flowers", that together mark the arrival of an extraordinary new voice.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Mr. P. Rigby on 4 Feb. 2008
Format: Paperback
There's a short story by Bukowski about a young man he went to school with who wants to encourage everyone to be Nazis. Buk feels sorry for him and decides he'll be a Nazi too, just because everyone is picking on him. It's a great story as the writer really twists with your sympathy. If you're reading a Buk story then it's because you love him. Yet, Buk wants to be a Nazi?

I've started there because the cleverest thing about this novella is the way it captures that sense of twisted emotion. The logical conclusion becomes the ultimate contradiction. I hope I can explain...

As an outsider he hates people, yet instinctively knows that war is wrong. He is driven to do something but cynical of the power of protest and never really convincing as a right wing hawk he directs his energy into the only thing he knows...sex, booze and barfly banter.

We are the post-post-war generation and have experienced suffering only through TV and the movies. Baudrillard is never mentioned in the text but he is there in spirit.

The theme of the powerless individual resonates throughout the book with the inescapable and nihilistic sense that all is hopeless. Sometimes this is well done with the strip club scene becoming a larger metaphor for dumb animal behaviour but in other places (thinking about war and then just happens to bump into an ex-soldier who moved into the woods.

It's obvious that Cicero is hugely influenced by Bukowski; the dialogue, at its worst, stinks of 2nd rate Buk. But that's not to say there's nothing interesting here.

I'd recommend this book on the strength of the second story DOOMED which is a nicely observed piece.
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Format: Paperback
I read The Human War very quickly and then immediately read it again.

It made me feel very excited and nervous. It made me feel like the main character.

The main character seems out of control in a very identifiable, real way. His reactions to events that happen throughout the course of the novel seem very authentic, and are compelling to read about.

I love this book very much and recommend it to everyone.
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By Daniel on 2 Nov. 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Cicero's style is brilliant. The Human War is weird, funny and disturbing and makes you want to read a lot more of Cicero's work after closing the book.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 9 reviews
24 of 26 people found the following review helpful
White Trash Existentialism -- BRILLIANT 25 Feb. 2005
By Tim Hall - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Imagine if Sartre and de Beauvoir battled it out on The Jerry Springer Show, and you get an idea what reading this book is like. Noah Cicero is one of the most amazing voices in fiction I've ever discovered. Remember the first time you read Bukowski, Miller, or Ginsberg's HOWL? Reading this book was like that for me: it just riveted me to the back of my seat and made me shake my head in wonder.

Noah's great innovation is the "sentegraph": prose so clipped that each line becomes poetry; the perfect obverse of "vers libre" poets who simply write prose with irregular line breaks. Noah comes screaming from the rust belt hell of Youngstown, Ohio, but don't expect just another sad-sack, Harvey Pekar type of artist: Cicero is young, brilliant, fearless, and completely original. He hangs out in Denny's and goes to strip bars and, in this book--written on the eve of the Gulf War II--rages against war and politics and the horror and emptiness the eve of war has caused him.

I cannot recommend this book highly enough. I hope this has helped.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Review by Sam Pink 23 April 2011
By Sam Pink - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
The Human War is a really good book. it is easy to read. it is funny and also insightful but never in a way that seems like the author is trying too hard. the book is about an individual's experience during the beginning of the war in iraq. probably my favorite thing about it, is that it doesn't try to define the war, or the situation or anything universal. the book examines one person's reaction, as he talks to other individuals. the end result is that nothing is determined, and each person must go on living as a single person, while things like war, absurdity, and interpersonal relationships threaten to discover the meaninglessness of life. i recommend this for fans of sartre, bukowski, and heidegger.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
too much self-righteous 25 Feb. 2013
By Derya - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This book seemed to me kind of coming of age book, when you first realize in your 20's that there are bad things in the world and you can do nothing to stop them, you feel helpless and you must keep living normally one way or another.
I really liked the conversational style with various people who have very different backgrounds and have different relationships with the author.

The problem and the huge turn off for me was the author wishes that he wasn't so "smart" and hadn't read so many books so he wouldn't think too much. He categorizes the people as "stupid" when they have different opinion than his own. Normally it would be OK but he talks about this too much all over the book.

Overall, this book may be worthwhile for the people who are in their beginning of the 20's.

Otherwise, it was a waste of time for me.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Lindah Squeeze Me 28 Jan. 2009
By Pius Gone - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If you think sentences--single sentences. You know the type: unmarried, lonesome, etc-- describe a particular aspect of the core of your being, then you're in luck because Cicero delves right into the problem of trying to get you to disagree with yourself in that those sentences really hate you.
The Human War 13 May 2013
By Caleb Bouchard - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The Human War by Noah Cicero was a very absorbing book, one of the books you want to savor but can't tear yourself away from. The title story, "The Human War" is about an American named Mark as he spends his night in Youngstown, Ohio thinking and talking to people about the Iraq War, which is expected to start at midnight. He talks with his family, his girlfriend, a Vietnam vet/pacifist, his friend Jimmy and others. Very philosophical and visceral. Lots of dialogue and deep thoughts on war, sex, violence, civilization and being human. Funny, too. Absurd. The other two stories, "The Doomed" and "Little Flowers" hold up as well.
I read this book in less than 2 days, which is fast for my standards. Reminded me of Samuel Beckett and Sam Pink and Tao Lin and James Frey. If you like these authors this book is definitely worth checking out.
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