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The Ordinary Person's Guide to Empire [Paperback]

Arundhati Roy
4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
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Price: 8.68 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Book Description

5 Jan 2004

An utterly entrancing new collection of essays, as controversial, inspirational and passionate as anything Arundhati Roy has yet written.

In this collection of speeches and essays, gathered together here for the first time, Arundhati Roy writes, with passion, clarity and urgency, about the subjects dearest to her heart, subjects which must be of the utmost importance to any of us interested in democracy, in global justice, and in the direction certain powerful agencies beyond our control are taking the world.

Focusing largely on that intense period leading up to and beyond the UN's attack on Iraq, Roy systematically deconstructs the US government's argument for going to war. She brilliantly exposes the gaping errors in their thesis, the hypocrisy and false ideology behind the rhetoric that led to 42% of the American public believing that Saddam Hussein was directly responsible for the attacks of 9/11 on the World Trade Centre, and that a bombed, besieged and starved country such as Iraq was a direct threat to the safety of the mighty USA.

Roy opens our eyes, like no other writer can do, to the problems that our increasingly divided world is creating, highlighting the growing disparity between rich and poor, with the world's poor increasing by 100 million in the last ten years.

Every article Arundhati Roy writes, every speech she gives, attracts worldwide attention and this collection, controversial, polemical, provoking but always inspirational, is an essential addition to her work.

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The Ordinary Person's Guide to Empire + Power Politics + The God of Small Things
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Product details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Flamingo; Wrap Has Light Shelfwear edition (5 Jan 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007181639
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007181636
  • Product Dimensions: 1.5 x 12.5 x 19.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 87,811 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Arundhati Roy is an award-winning film-maker and a trained architect. Her first novel, The God of Small Things, won the Booker Prize in 1997 and was a bestseller in more than two dozen countries worldwide.

Product Description


‘Though she be but little, she is fierce. Roy is witty and moving, and her passion is focused and mordant. She is a great modern rhetorician, treading the boards of a world stage.’ The Times

‘Roy is excellent at putting across the rational arguments and web of facts that are necessary to back up her opinions. She has a good command of both the big picture and the small and allows people to speak for themselves, pushing those who are often forgotten into the foreground of the debate.’ Natasha Walter, Guardian

‘Roy should be required reading.’ Marie Claire

‘Roy is always passionately intense. Her controversial views on terrorism are single-minded and uncompromising. She compels you to have an opinion on matters she feels are important.’ Observer

‘Roy is to be congratulated for a real and personally risky political engagement at a time when many Western writers of her celebrity can respond to world events only from a debilitating aesthetic distance.’ Time Out

From the Back Cover

Arundhati Roy is the author of the novel THE GOD OF SMALL THINGS which won the Booker Prize in 1997.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
30 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Chance buy... 27 Mar 2005
I picked this book up in a cheap bookshop in Chatham as something to read on the train... it turns out that what I bought was one of the most thought-provoking and intelligent books I have ever read. Not only that, but Roy has the rare quality of an emotive writing style. Both beautiful and profoundly insightful- a must read!
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24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Insightful and intriguing 26 Jan 2006
For many years I've heard much about Arundhati Roy but I've never picked up one of her books until recently. The Ordinary Person's Guide to Empire was being featured on the shelves of the Oxford Book Store, Park Street in Kolkata - India when I picked it up and started browsing through it. The book captured me immediately. As an Indian born and brought up outside India, over the last few years I have started taking a greater interest in my mother country. This book at first glance seemed to be a bit of an eye opener about some of the pre-conceptions I have about India and the what I believe to be trouble because of what I’ve read or been told by the mass media. This book proved to be an antidote to what mass media had been feeding me about "India Shining". Roy does not mince her words and highlights the many injustices of governments around the world upon their people, though in this book her zeal is concentrated upon the injustices of the USA and India. From plight of those living in flood zones caused by massive river dam projects, to farmer committing suicide because of financial dept to the way western governments, notably the USA, is controlling power, resources and trade around the world, The Ordinary Person's Guide to Empire starts to give the lay man an inside track on apparent “truths” which today’s people who been lead to believe is the absolute truth by our governments.
This book is composed of a series of essays and speeches given by Roy between 2002 and 2004. Detailed references in an appendix at the back of the book offer the reader extensive avenues of further reading and each essay is contextualized and it's date and location catalogues in a second appendix.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ONLY 145 PAGES 31 Jan 2008
Excellent collection of thought-provoking essays
But please don't be misled, this edition is flimsy length-wise only 145 pages and large typeface at that, NOT the 240 pages that Amazon advertises
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31 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Ordinary Person's Review of Arundhati Roy. 7 Feb 2004
By A Customer
Roy separates the political FACTS, MYTHS and TRUTH about the world we live in post Sept 11. Her words tug at the hearts of all those that still believe in the principles of "satya" Truth and "Ahimsa"- non-violence. She remind us that that we are "standing on the shoulders of giants"[think about Gandhi,MLK Jnr,and Mandela next time you vote].
And lest we forget it - there's so much more yet to do to safeguard the freedoms and civil rights of people across the world. Roy is without a doubt, passionate, poetic and powerful.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brave, intelligent writing. 3 Jan 2010
I wish there were more thinkers in this world like Arundhati Roy. This book is a collection of the Indian scholar and activist's speeches and addresses, in which she discusses poverty, the global effect of the Bush administrations abuse of American foreign policy, and especially, what a concerned person can do to help other people. It is neither patronizing nor particularly challenging, it is instead crisp and perfectly judged.

This book serves as much as a bristling manifesto and impassioned call to (intellectual) arms as it does a handy source of wonderful quotes and reliable data for students and activists alike. I would recommend this book to anybody, even and perhaps especially to you if you have ever wondered "what can I do to change the world for the better?" or "Just what are all those liberal tree-hugging hippies on about anyway?" or "Why can't we all just get along?"

The book is insightful, Roy is a razor sharp mind and an excellent writer, her words are clear and accessible and everything is designed for maximum impact. This book is not written for the intellectual, nor the politician, nor even the high minded, idealistic student. This is a book written for everybody, it is a rebel yell, a rallying cry and just maybe, the promise of a better world.

Short, sharp and to the point (unlike this review)
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