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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
This review is from: The Ordinary Person's Guide to Empire (Paperback)
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.
I feel this book is required reading for anyone who's blinded by mass media about India's current feel good factor. It's a real eye opener. The book leads the reader on to a wealth of extra reading material, though at times a number of the essays do overlap and the book starts to get a little repetitive. But that's the nature of public speaking. You don't always come up with different things for each individual speech you give to the public. Indeed, you probably would want to spread the same messages the world over and this is apparent in the book.
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30 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Chance buy..., 27 Mar. 2005
By 
Ms. L. Scott (Kent, England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Ordinary Person's Guide to Empire (Paperback)
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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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brave, intelligent writing., 3 Jan. 2010
This review is from: The Ordinary Person's Guide to Empire (Paperback)
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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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
This review is from: The Ordinary Person's Guide to Empire (Paperback)
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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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ONLY 145 PAGES, 31 Jan. 2008
By 
H. Evans - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Ordinary Person's Guide to Empire (Paperback)
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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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The obscene accumulation of power, 1 April 2009
By 
Luc REYNAERT (Beernem, Belgium) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Ordinary Person's Guide to Empire (Paperback)
power
The key notions in Arundhati Roy's texts are also the key elements in the history of mankind: power and powerlessness.
Power means survival, physically and morally, in the struggle for life on the political, economic, social and, of course, individual front.

means
Those in power have the means to survive, to extend their hegemony or to crush the opposition: wealth, weapons (of mass destruction), armies, media monopolies, transnational corporations and national and international long arms (intelligence services and secretive institutions like the IMF, the World Bank or the WTO).

policies
Through their media monopolies the powerful create a `controlled' reality, `a lunatic asylum'.
They send their hypocritical rhetoric of `free markets, justice and freedom' all over the world. But in the name of freedom and justice, they wage war and kill millions of human beings.
Free markets are protecting `western markets and force developing countries to lift their trade barriers, the poor are getting poorer and the rich richer.' More, free markets undermine democracy: transnational corporations `cannot push through highly profitable deals without the active connivance of the State machinery of corrupt authoritarian governments in poorer countries.'
There is no globalization of human rights, but only of money, patents, goods and services.
There is erosion of freedom: civil liberties are being suspended in the name of protecting democracy under the veil of `The War on Terror.'

opposition, democracy
But, (non-violent) dissent had already clear results: it forced the powerful to drop their masks. It made them stand naked.
`The corporate revolution will collapse if we refuse to buy what they are selling. We are the many and they the few. They need us more than we need them.'
Ultimately, the only means to break the stranglehold by those in power is true democracy (one man, one vote).

We need Arundhati Roy's mighty voice.
This book is a must read for all those who want to understand the world we live in.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Overall: an Excellent and thought-provoking book that has great insight, & facts to counter old myths!", 19 May 2009
By 
Matloub Husayn-Ali-Khan "Matloub" (South Yorkshire, Sheffield, UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Ordinary Person's Guide to Empire (Paperback)
I come across this book in 2004, when I received it as "freebie" from New Statesman magazine. Instantly, on reading it, I was hooked with Arundhati Roy's writing style of being emotive, passionate, poetic and very powerful.

The book is excellent & though-provoking with the separation of political facts from myths and at the same time being honest about the world we live in post 9/11. It also covers the issue of power and powerlessness which to me means the need for the poor to survive in physical, moral, social, economic and political levels. Arundhati Roy's (AR) readings of American Linguist/Philosopher Noam Chomsky entitled: "Manufacture of consent" & "Reason of State" clearly shows the re-writing (out) of history of what really happened to American native Indian race and the American invasion of South Vietnam in 1962 is very telling of what most recent events (2001-2003) in Iraq, Afghanistan and how they will be remembered.

AR's sharp analysis of the media monopolies by the few & very powerful transnational forces that send out hypocritical rhetoric of: 'free-market'; 'justice' and 'freedom' all over the world is very helpful. Furthermore, AR argues that the third world's corrupt authoritarian regimes within poorer countries have on most occasions colluded with transnational companies and "there is no globalisation of human rights but is about money, patents, goods and service". Additionally, AR argues that the "erosion of freedom and civil liberties" has been suspended in the name of protecting democracy under the so called "War on Terror".

Finally, AR's answer to this hypocrisy of 'democracy' & true democracy is (one man, one vote) and we need to stop buying from those who oppress us and: "We are many they are few. They need us more than we need them"!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply fantastic., 11 April 2010
This review is from: The Ordinary Person's Guide to Empire (Paperback)
It's an easy read, yet full of energy, criticism, and hope. She writes in a manner which is very captivating and least dry, which is tough with subjects like the ones she touches upon, as they are subjects we tend to avoid, ignore, and generally consider "not our business" (although she makes it clear it is very much so everyone's business).

It's not a book that will change the world - but it's a book that might change you, and that's what it takes. A must read by anyone interested in the world and politics, history, and a critial eye to what we unwillingly digest through the media 24/7.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must-read for anyone with an interest in what's really happening in the world., 18 Sept. 2011
This review is from: The Ordinary Person's Guide to Empire (Paperback)
Arundhati Roy must be one of the most inspiring and thought provoking writers of the 21st century. Personally she is my favourite writer of all time.

This collection of her speeches, lectures and essays throws down the affronts upheld by US government on their foreign policy, war and the very nature of democracy with an absolute bombardment of shocking and deeply saddening truths.
It is easily one of the most passionate collection of writings, with that special power of Roy's which opens your eyes and changes your views on some of the most important issues of our time.
Quite fittingly I read this around the anniversary of 9/11, and it has completely altered my perspective of what happened, to the point where I feel a profound and passionate rage towards the US government and its leaders from the cold war until Obama came into power.

I highly recommend that you buy this book - it will alter your whole perspective of globalisation and the notion of democracy. It's also an excellent example of how to debate to leave your opponent completely speechless - felt like yelling 'BOOM!' at several points whilst reading haha.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Essential reading for those interested in the world around them., 24 Dec. 2012
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This review is from: The Ordinary Person's Guide to Empire (Paperback)
Arundhati Roy has guts. This is a collection of speeches and essays delivered intelligently, without fear, and in the face of a vast, multifaceted Empire. We need more people like Ms. Roy. This world would be a much better, and more honest place.
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