The latest in my series of political books is about the current climate of hatred towards all things American, brought to the fore especially by the events of September 11, and the subsequent so-called War on Terror, and the very recent, second Gulf War.
So far, I’ve got as far as the end of the Introduction, and so far I am impressed. This is a call for understanding, of the American culture, which seems its darnedest to become the global culture; of Western European culture; and of Middle Eastern, sometimes Muslim, culture. This requires dialogue, communication, open-ness.
I’ve visited the USA more than any other country, outside the UK. During my first visit there in 1989, when I was 17, I was awestruck by its vastness and enormity. During my last-but-one visit in 2001 I was quite disillusioned with America. It didn’t seem to live up to what it had previously promised to be: liberty and justice for all; I could see the cracks in the make-up. This year when I returned I had a more balanced view. As balanced as it can be in (a) California, and (b) living on Pacific Heights in a multi-million dollar complex! Our visit to Seattle I think helped.
I’m looking forward to reading the rest of this book. It, and Michael Moore’s book, has certainly encouraged me to take a closer interest in politics. Are we too apathetic about politics? or do those in power do their best to make the system so unreadable and untryable that we simply allow them to carry on because it the game is too difficult in which to get involved?
Blimey! I’ve not updated this in ages. I read a couple of books on holiday, which I’ll add soon.
I’m currently reading Michael Moore’s Stupid White Men. Now there is a book that will get you interested in politics, justice and social action.
Parts of it are funny — it’s a very well written book — but other chapters have made me mad, furious, angry, and desperate to do something about the way that us humans treat other humans, and this amazing planet on which we are living.
Following my series of books about America, I’ve also got lined up to read A People’s History of the United States (1492-Present) by Howard Zinn, and Why Do People Hate America? by Ziauddin Sardar and Merryl Wyn Davies.
I am still slowly plodding through The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien for the second time. Frodo and Sam’s journey took them about a year from the Shire and back again. It took me about a year the first time I read it in St Andrews, this time it’s taking about twice as long. But I’m still enjoying it: Frodo and Sam have just reached the Black Gates.
A friend of mine, Andrew Howie, recently gave me a book by Douglas Coupland (author of Generation X) called Microserfs. It is brilliant: a search for meaning, relationships and connection the story centres around a group of computer programming geeks at Microsoft’s Redmond base, near Seattle. It made me cry.
So I went out and bought Life After God, which I read in a couple of days on holiday. Another brilliant read with some incredible insights. Next up I’ve got his latest read Hey Nostradamus and after that Generation X is waiting for me in the wings.