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Days of Destruction. Days of Revolt
Days of Destruction. Days of Revolt
by Chris Hedges
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 16.24

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars essential, 16 Nov 2012
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This is essential stuff for anyone who is interested on the dynamics driving contemporary america. The first four chapters each are brilliantly written investigative pieces on some of the places at the sharp end of the contemporary crisis in industrial capitalism. The first chapter excavates Americas past through looking at the bloody legacy of the creation of the country and how it bleeds into the present. It takes in life and death on the Pine Ridge reservation in South Dakota and looks at the issues of dispossession that the Sioux people have to live with. The second chapter looks at the inner cities (specifically, Camden NJ.) and charts many of the processes that anyone who has seen The Wire will be familiar with. Chapter 3 looks at West Virginia and the murder of communities of the rural poor by the Coal industry. In chapter 4 we're in the Florida and looking at the fresh produce industry.

The themes that connect each of these chapters is the degradation of the physical landscape, the dispossession of its population and their sacrifice before the altar of an increasingly rapacious and destructive capitalism. In illustrating this Joe Saccos drawings are brutally illuminating. The comic strips that intersperse the text, each of which tells the life story of one of the inhabitants of these areas, also brings the stories of these people and their world to life in uncomfortable and uncompromising detail.

The last chapter details what the author hopes, and what many of us still hope, is the beginnings of a large scale fight back with the occupy movement. Its good that the author finishes on a note of hope. Seriously, after reading about West Virginia I was genuinely puzzled as to why america doesn't have more indigenous terrorists in the Appalachians going all ELF on the bastards and taking out a few of those big ass multi million pound earth-rapers the mining companies use. You could see it couldn't you? A few hillbillies baking up batches of backyard dynamite in their out houses or pilfering it from the mining companies themselves, merking some heavy equipment and disappearing off back into the hills. I suppose he does answer this one indirectly by making the point that most people tend to opt for escape (either physical through internal migration or figurative into the haze of OxyContyn) as a less dangerous option. I suppose when you stand up and fight its because you have something to fight for and by god they aren't leaving them much of that.

The authors commentary on the Occupy movement and its methods of organisation and resistance do a lot to balance some of the nihilism of the previous chapters. In it though you can see some of the issues and contradictions that would become more apparent as occupy spread across the world, and a few of the very real problems with it are left unaddressed. That said, it is nice to have an insiders account of the beginnings of something that I at least have confidence will be seen as a real turning point.

I've seen other people dismissing this book as polemic. Well, I think thats fair enough, but its necessary to counteract the constant one sided braincandy pumped out by the mainstream media. The carnival of consumerist apologia has given enough air space and time to the system and its defenders, frankly more is not needed. There is an urgent need in fact for more of this kind of stuff and I hope it gets the airing it deserves.

Alan Moore: Wild Worlds
Alan Moore: Wild Worlds
by Alan Moore
Edition: Paperback

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Proof that Alan Moore on an off day is better than 90% of other writer at their best, 9 Mar 2008
This volume collects most of the stuff Alan Moore did for the various Image titles in the mid 90s that doesn't appear elsewhere, only the Spawn Mini-serise Bloodfued is conspicuos by its abscence (which means it'll probably get its own trade paperback soon).

There are 5 stories of varying length and quality in this paperback:
the Spawn/Wildcats crossover Devils Day

A Stand alone strip featuring Majestic

the Voodoo: Dancing in the Dark Mini serise

a Deathblow mini serise

and Wildcats issue 50: Reincarnation, which also appears at the end of Alan Moore:Complete Wildcats.

Taking them in order of preference Least->most

As I've said, its already in The Complete Wildc.a.t.s., whats it doing here? Its an entertainging enough wee episode but outside of the context of Alan's run on wildcat it makes no sense. Particularly the twist at the end, if you don't know who Tao is or was then who cares?

Devils day-
Nowhere near as good as Moore's other work on Spawn. It has its moments and nice Moorean story telling touches, i.e. the stuff about the beings outside of time and the amulet, and the dialouge with the future spawn, but over all its just too, for want of a better word, Imagey. Too many characters, too much going on, the characters themselves are too new still and don't have the gravitas to carry off the stuff that happens in the future that we're supposed to care about. The supposedly shocking scene of female ex-superteam members being Future-Spawns stable of bitches has little impact since a lot of them are from obscure Image titles. No idea who most of them are and I don't care.

Deathblow: Byeblow-
No idea who the charater os or where it fits into the continuity butI liked this. Naked woman wakes up on some strange world and is purseued by other people who may or may not be trying to kille her and each other. plenty of cool dialouge-less action story-telling. Just an enjoyable wee sci-fi yarn, thesort of thing that might have made a good Future-Shock when moore was writing for 2000AD.

Majestic: The Big Chill:
Now this is more like it. The idea of the immortal Image character Majestic as one if the last sentient beings alive as the universe slowly dies of entropy is the sort of thing only Alan Moore coulor would come up with. I can't go into too much detail because its short enough but if Byeblow was a decent Future shock then this is a pure classic Future shock. A proper sci-fi idea well executed with attention to detail, character and a little bit of humour. Tremendous.

Voodoo: Dancer in the dark.
Absolute classic Moore. Its an absolute joy from beginning to end. The story is a nice bit of thriller tinged Southern Gothic with mythology thrown in. Basically, the WILDCATS character Voodoo is uprooted from the superhero world and used to explore the mythos of the real world afro-syncretic religion Voodoo.

Overall, this is worth getting for Alan moore completeists who didn't get the originals in the 90s, or anyone who likes comics will appreciate the Majestic and Voodoo stories. Even the weaker stuff has nice moments that remind you hat you're reading something by the master of the genre.

Dr. Strangelove's Game: A Brief History of Economic Genius
Dr. Strangelove's Game: A Brief History of Economic Genius
by Paul Strathern
Edition: Paperback
Price: 7.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Good introduction to economics for the layman, 15 Jan 2006
As an intorduction to economics you could do a lot worse, it certainly highlights the oddness and comic aspects of some economic theories (and theorists).
One small annoyance is that he repeats the largely discredited story of how Fredrick Engles raised Karl marx's illegitimate progeny as his own. While there is some tantalising evidence to support this idea (and it's a nice used of imagery) its largely based on supposition and the testamnony of people who wouldn't have been there at the time. interesting though it is, the ballance of evidence would suggest that it never happened.

The Stainless Steel Rat Wants You (Sphere science fiction)
The Stainless Steel Rat Wants You (Sphere science fiction)
by Harry Harrison
Edition: Paperback

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best of the Rats?, 31 Aug 2005
In my humble opinion, yes.
This was the first of the Stainless Steel Rat books I read and still my favourite out of the serise. It has all the hallmarks of the others, is funny, inventive, clips along at a good pace and has a deftnesss of touch throughout that some of the others struggle to maintain.
The plot concerns Di Griz, and his family, battling a horde of aliens from the other end of the universe, bent on destroying humanity (but is there a more sinister force behind their actions?). It features some of the best lines in comedy sci-fi, a few good action set-peices and a nice happy ending.
If you like the other books in the serise, you'll love this and if you haven't read any this is a good place to start.

Win at Checkers (Dover Books on Chess)
Win at Checkers (Dover Books on Chess)
by Millard Hopper
Edition: Paperback
Price: 6.47

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Keep getting your arse kicked at Checkers? Read This!, 23 Aug 2005
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This is a great wee book. I was forever getting pwned at the internet checkers by intermediates. I could beat nearly everyone I was playing at the beginner level yet but anything further than that and I just got a good whupping. I am only about 1/3rd of the way through the book and already I am getting results. I seem to be out played by about 1/10 of my opponents, playing very close to, even drawing with 1/4 of my oponents and demolishing the other 2/3rds (Ok that doesn't add up exactly but you know what I mean).
It reads quite nicely as well. Aside from the more technical bits, the prose has a nice gentle old-world feel to it, Hopper is like a re-assuring avunclar figure.
I'm not sure if this has much to tell the seasoned master, but if you are getting started in checkers and you want to raise your game a bit or learn some of the theoretical principles of the game this book is well worth a look.
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