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Power Politics: The Re...
 
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Arundhati Roy
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Power Politics: The Reincarnation Of Rumpelstiltskin

4.08 of 5 stars 4.08  ·  rating details  ·  778 ratings  ·  49 reviews
With reference to India.
99 pages
Published (first published September 1st 2000)
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Genine Franklin-Clark

Wow. These essays should be must reading for all Americans. They will, or should, pull you out of any narrow America-is-the-Center-of-the-Universe mindset you may have.

I've had, and will continue to have, disagreements with friends who believe that an American life is worth more than the life of anyone else. Where does that come from? How blind do you have to be not to see that America, too, has clay feet? That we aren't perfect? That we've done terrible things, and are continuing to do terrible...more
Allison Frederick
India has undergone many dam projects as have many other developing countries. Foreign investment, flood control, irrigation canals, and energy production are the cited reasons for dam construction but critics claim that the devastation to the human population living in the flood zones and the ecological damage, as well as statistics stating historical dam projects provide significantly less energy output as expected, encourage extreme resistance to dam construction.

In India, massive protests i...more
Mark
This was informative, and therefore heartbreaking the way reality is.

I got it because I had just listened to Roy's "Come September" speech and was very impressed. This book was comparatively underwhelming; Roy wonders early on why the person who wrote "The God of Small Things" is considered a 'writer' while the person who wrote these essays is considered an 'activist'. I don't disagree with her point (I have yet to read Roy's other essays, even her famed one on India becoming a Nuclear Power, by...more
Punit Soni
Arundhati Roy is pissed and rightly so. Power Politics, her book of essays deals with topics ranging from 9-11 to mega-hydroelectric projects in India providing a voice to something we all feel at one time or the other; that something is not right amidst all these economic success stories. Somewhere the stink is rising and as we sniff around trying to ascertain the cause, Arundhati points to the rotting carcasses of those left behind. We look around and hope that something could be done. Arundha...more
danah
"There is an intricate web of morality, rigor, and responsibility that art, that writing itself, imposes on a writer. It's singular, but nevertheless it's there. At its best, it's an exquisite bond between the artist and the medium. At its acceptable end, it's a sort of sensible co-operation. At its worst, it's a relationship of disrespect and exploitation."

"Isn't it true, or at least theoretically possible that there are times in the life of a people or a nation when the political climate deman...more
Komal
This book REALLY hit home for me. My family is from the Narmada Area in India originally and I can see the direct results of the Dam project...the areas look awful. My mother took me to India for the first time when I was two and pictures of them then along the banks of the Narmada in our village and now look like two different regions. I even moved to India out of curiosity for over a year and lived along the Narmada (different village than the one my family is from) until 2006 and today the re...more
Malaika
Mar 31, 2007 Malaika rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: the politically curious
This book was recommended to me by Suman. It's a collection of essays by the author of The God of Small Things, sharing her views about globalization and security all over the world, but particularly in India.

It's non-fiction and there is an excellent essay in it called The Algebra of Infinite Justice about the 9/11 attacks, global poverty and the convoluted biased media and all the spin surrounding politics.

The rest of the book was okay, although I was a little bit annoyed by the tone.... My...more
Mike Hayden
IF you ever wondered how bad dams are for India and how fucked up their politics are, here is a great introduction. Also a good read about why people ought to be suspicious of globalization and international corporations (and why GE is an asshole of a company.)
Miranda
Interesting commentary and important issues brought to light, particularly about the construction and brokering of extremely damaging hydroelectric dams in India. Not necessarily ground breaking, but certainly relevant to this day despite the relative age of the publication.

I take issue with Roy's irregular capitalization and some of the more outlandish comparisons that are not necessarily appropriate and lean towards fallacies. However I recognize their place in a world where shock value is har...more
Marilyn Mcentyre
Another superb, thoughtful set of essays on what Peter Dale Scott calls "deep politics." A reminder not to be naive about how decisions often get made behind the scenes by people who control more money and power than we like to think, and about the strenuous challenge of keeping those in power accountable. Indian politics become her lens for reflecting on global politics in ways relevant to us all. She's eloquent, intelligent, and courageous. She and Vendanta Shiva are two Indians to know about,...more
Drew Pyke
I read this within one train journey it was so short. It is an interesting read as you rarely get an insight into India's recent love affair with economic liberalisation of the 90s under Rao. The effects of the dam project and the shady bartering process behind it are spelled out well in this book and speaks wider about how locals are being bulldozed in the name of progress.
Lisa Findley
I always feel a little cowed when reading Arundhati Roy, because she knows and does so much and I know and do so little. I appreciate learning more, though, about the dams projects in India and the various movements to stop them. I enjoy her writing style, which is no less forceful for being so accessible. I do wish she'd include footnotes or some kind of notation for all the facts and quotes she uses; especially if she's one of the only people reporting on this and she's such a high-profile rec...more
Jeff
I am definitely late to the debate about most of the stuff Roy is talking about in this book--10 years late, basically. But it's still amazing to read her stuff. She has a way of being angry without letting bitterness overwhelm, and her sarcasm offers up just a little bit of humore-as-relief while discussing the horrendous power dynamics at play in the world.

-----------------------------------

Now that I've finished this, I'm going to gobble up anything else she's written, and hope to find some s...more
Mina
Refreshing and beautifully written, although not incredibly dense with information. I'd approach it as more of a primer to anyone who's just decided to move beyond the asinine, dichotomic politics of the "War on Terror." Anyone who has lived under empire or at least felt its hand around their throat, this book is, in a tortured way, cathartic. To anyone else, read with compassion.
Mark
The author of “The God of Small Things” discusses the effects of globalization on the poor of India with a particular emphasis on those who are losing their homes and land as India builds dam after dam after dam. The democratic process is either given a token nod or brushed aside altogether as bribes, money and power drive the dam decisions. Also of interest in the book is Roy’s examination of the role of writers and artists in democracy and modern society.
Arjunishankar
Judicial process and institution cannot be permitted to be scandalised or subjected to contumacious violation in such blatant manner in which it has been done by her [Arundhati Roy]... vicious stultification and vulgar debunking cannot be permitted to pollute the stream of justice... we are unhappy at the way in which the leaders of NBA and Ms. Arundhati Roy have attempted to undermine the dignity of the Court. We expected better behaviour from them...
Madison
I agreed with most of what she was saying, but she says it in such an outrageous way, it's hard to take her seriously. I had to keep reminding myself that she was blowing things out of proportion because she had been subjected the injustices described in the book for such a long period of time that she had had enough.
Worth reading.
Ruth
It's a few political essays about the negative effects of globalization, mostly from the perspective of India, since Roy is from there. I was most interested in the first chapter (about the impact of dams), and the last one (about the warmongering of the U.S.), although all the essays had something new in them.
Jodyanna
interesting.........my post and comments have been removed! at any rate..... this is a book that appears to have created some sort of controversy........otherwise....why the missing original comments???? read at your own risk and while you are at it....... forget about reading eqbal ahmed!
Ny
I think this book is 1,000 times better than the god of small things. I don't know why it's not more well-known. Roy's anger is palpable and I had to admire her ability to put together a solid argument. I can't remember specifics, just that I was wowed by it. Might read it again.
Karan Paintal
While Arundhati Roy engages the Audience with her narrative, from a purely academic point of view, not very informative. Neither does it really talk about the notion of power, might seem like a misleading title. The chapter on Rumpelslitskin, is a delight to read though
Ruthie
Roy utterly rocks my socks. She gives post-colonial super- power-bullying the ultimate dress-down, and it's succulent. I also hear that she's got (finally! glory be!) a work of fiction set to hit shelves in '09. I'll line up at Barnes 'n Noble at midnight for that shizzle.
claire
Take a deep breath and prepare yourself for a sometimes overwhelming testament/argument by one of the most articulate writers on the planet. Roy explores the notion of the "expert" and how ridiculously susceptible we all are to those deemed such by the media or the government.
Michal Wigal
Jumps from how the poor in India are made even more destitute by the construction of dams that is forced by the India government and U.S. corporations and the U.S.´destructive response to 911. It´s a pretty stinging endictment of the Indian and U.S. governments.
Steven Salaita
Fantastic work. I know lots of people have been clamoring for Roy to publish another novel (which is soon on the way), but she certainly hasn't been wasting time in the interim. Her political work is splendid, inspiring and always incisive.
Karla
Scathing and amazing writing, the last couple essays are great reads particularly for the U.S. Americans to peer into politics surrounding 9/11. I look forward to reading/listening to more of Roy's work. It's power political poetry, really.
Catherine
Eh. Roy's passionate invective against dam building in India is interesting, but her defensive discussion sounds like the railings of an obtuse and angry teenager.
katie
Jan 07, 2008 katie rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone with an impotent social conscience
okay okay okay... so I love Arundhati Roy... she can be a bit impassioned but her writing is always poignant, gorgeous, and exceedingly thought-provoking.
Bruce Martin
Dated, but important to understand how rhetoric strengthens power/empire, and is used to obfuscate history and real events for those in power.
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Arundhati Roy is an Indian writer who writes in English and an activist who focuses on issues related to social justice and economic inequality. She won the Booker Prize in 1997 for her novel, The God of Small Things, and has also written two screenplays and several collections of essays.

For her work as an activist she received the Cultural Freedom Prize awarded by the Lannan Foundation in 2002.

More about Arundhati Roy...
The God of Small Things An Ordinary Person's Guide to Empire The Algebra Of Infinite Justice War Talk The Cost of Living

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“I love the unanswered question, the unresolved story, the unclimbed mountain, the tender shard of an incomplete dream. Most of the time. But is it mandatory for a writer to be ambiguous about everything? Isn't it true that there have been fearful episodes in human history when prudence and discretion would have just been euphemisms for pusillanimity? When caution was actually cowardice? When sophistication was disguised decadence? When circumspection was really a kind of espousal? Isn't it true, or at least theoretically possible, that there are times in the life of a people or a nation when the political climate demands that we—even the most sophisticated of us—overtly take sides? I think such times are upon us.” 0 likes
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