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1 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars the man who wanted to go to war, 7 Oct 2008
This review is from: The Dangling Man (Penguin Twentieth Century Classics) (Mass Market Paperback)
in the anglo-american dominated and policed world, few or perhaps no one seems to take notice of the history of communism in amerika. Yes, there used to be a communist party in amerika, founded in 1919. and yes of course, those bloodthirsty communist criminals, they believed in this criminal beliefs, like social justice, and a better world etc, so 2 red scares, the maccarthy commission and a lot of good work of our friends secret service, manage to break the party in pieces and eventually nearly outlaw it.
now this is what we call democracy! everybody is free to think and say what they want, complete uncensored freedom of speech apart from the things that are .. forbidden.. like communism in the usa..
sure, the process on paper is perfect: if tomorrow a vast majority of people woke up communist, next thing you know, they will move lenin and mao's mummies over to capitol hill; but this doesn't take into account how the will of people can be manipulated, how scare tactics can work on the minds of the majority of people, how the secret service and the military complex can be used to change the course of history, and so on.
anyway, dangling man is not about this stuff.. it's just that the main character, joseph, is a self declared ex member of the communist party, some time before mccharthy came of age.
dangling man is more about the agony of a generation, the depression generation of americans, who was going to take a blood bath in europe and thus thrust us into this magnificent times of nowadays.
the pressure of modern life, in a big city, while the war is on, finally has the best over one man, Joseph, who surrenders to everything, becomes incapable of the daily repetition of acts in a robot-like manner: wake up, go to work, earn money, spend money, go back home, with few exceptions for the weekends (when there has to be more spending and less earning).
Joseph decides to go to war, but even this attempt is delayed, because man makes his own life as miserable as it can be, and so there is red tape, there are problem. so joseph spends almost an year or a bit longer, living off his wife, reading the newspaper, with increasingly worn clothes; all the good qualities that "society" or "good manner" require, peel off him like skins decaying for lack of use.
the character will loose the extra weight of external skins that society requires us to wear and will go down to a core of a solitary man, desperate to be part of something, in agony for having lost that social belonging.
last words of the book are: "Long live regimentation!".
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