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The Human War

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3.82 of 5 stars 3.82  ·  rating details  ·  234 ratings  ·  37 reviews
Fiction. "A terse, polemical and often violent book that follows Mark, a disaffected American everyman, through the trailer parks, bedrooms, dive bars and strip joints of humdrum Youngstown, Ohio during the final two hours leading up to the dawn of America's supposed 'War on Terror.'... America's finest literary pariah? You bet"--Dazed & Confused. "This alarmingly well ...more
Paperback, 144 pages
Published September 1st 2003 by Fugue State Press (first published January 1st 2003)
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Community Reviews

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Tao
May 19, 2007 Tao rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Richard Yates, Jean Rhys
I liked this book by Noah Cicero.

The words all have meaning that my brain can process. After I read the words I feel emotions. Each sentence makes me feel emotion.
Jasmine
Sep 29, 2010 Jasmine rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: me-ers
Recommended to Jasmine by: oh it was definitely someone I think maybe one of the bizarro authors or the zach german types.
Shelves: american
a note this book is genius. I could finish this book before I review it but I'm hungry and I have to go to class and getting a computer in the lab is a pain and I already have way too much to say. This will be a supersized greg review and I'm sorry. I am also going to quote from all parts of the story but there isn't a plot so I won't spoil anything. I am reviewing the novella the book is named after, not the two stories which I will read while I eat before my class starts. I am not eating now b ...more
Gene
i am giving this book five stars, and it is not because the words are pretty, or there is some nice story or smart plot. the human war is a good book because it is none of those things. noah cicero is an honest person.
Signe
Apr 23, 2008 Signe rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: everyone
i received this book in the mail, and it came wrapped like a christmas gift. i read it all at once. i liked this book. it made me feel very calm. should it have? i think it's very poignant without being overly dramatic or didactic.

noah cicero writes I see books as the purest representation of an era and i feel represented in that i am a young american who feels anger toward war and injustice, but i don't do much of anything about my anger except talk about it, write, and drink it away. anyway t
...more
Sam Pink
fuckin, i traded noah, thomas hobbes' LEVIATHAN for THE HUMAN WAR. fuckin, pretty good trade. i mean hobbes is cool but not once does he mention jizzing on a girl's butt. not once. not once in like four hundred pages. good job noah.
herocious herocious
So I take this book to Spin Cycle to read as I clean clothes for the upcoming work week. Most of it is dialogue. This book paved the way for sentegraphs, which are paragraphs made of only one sentence. I feel like this book showed me how writing doesn't have to be anything other than what you want it to be, and you don't have to write the same way forever. I liked this book for its xylophone sounds. I liked this book for its bravery.
Tim
Gosh.
That was different!
Reading this short story was a literary slap around the head, perhaps even more than that, a good beating.
Definitely not every one's cup of tea but for me it was a wonderful tonic.
I read this in one sitting last night. There is the main story and two other short stories. The first was excellent, the second was..good, the third was ok. All of them are useful for revealing a part of humanity.

The authors style is...unique :)
I will look out with interest for his next piece o
...more
Andrew
This is one bleak son of a bitch. Short paragraphs, one after another, like machine gun fire. This is one of the best summations of life in the darker corners of the post-industrial Midwest you can imagine. Being a young person from a shithole town a long way from anywhere, I can easily empathize with our protagonist. This almost made me wish I'd stuck around.
Matt
Noah Cicero writes like a classic writer, he focuses on the dialog rather than on wordy descriptions. Like Noah the story revolves around Youngstown Ohio but it's all about one person and how the day the second iraq war makes his world feel as meaningless as Youngstown is.
amy
made me feel sad in a new way that i haven't ever felt before. the language is really stripped so you can read it in two hours. do it before bed because you wont want to do anything else for the rest of the day probably
Black Coffee Press
What a powerful book. Cicero's short, blunt poetic sentences are like jabs to the skull, ribs and stomach. As you read, you are saying, "I know these people. I was there." What a fucking beauty!
Lisa
Jul 09, 2007 Lisa rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: schizos and normies
i don't know what the fuck is going on but i embrace it wholeheartedly
michael
Cicero knows what he's doing. This a great piece of writing.
Carl
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Caleb
The Human War by Noah Cicero was a very absorbing book, one of the books you want to savor but can't tear yourself away from. The title story, "The Human War" is about an American named Mark as he spends his night in Youngstown, Ohio thinking and talking to people about the Iraq War, which is expected to start at midnight. He talks with his family, his girlfriend, a Vietnam vet/pacifist, his friend Jimmy and others. Very philosophical and visceral. Lots of dialogue and deep thoughts on war, sex, ...more
Justin
Quick read. The dialogue is really witty and intelligent. Great idea for a story. But in the end I felt it was weakened by how polemical it got. I realize that was the intention, but it got a little obnoxious after a little while. Much like everyone else whose ever been drawn to the book (I imagine), I'm not a fan of Bush or the war. And this book, at times, sorta pushed all of that down my throat. Also, I'm getting sorta tired of this defeatest outlook on life.

Really though, I'm going to be re
...more
Ryan
Devastating take on American reaction to the Iraq war (among other things). Set up as a less civilized Beckett pastiche, a guy sees the war on TV, gets pissed off, tries to deal with the feelings of powerlessness, alienation and betrayal by indulging in every source of comfort he can find -- booze, strippers, sex, friends -- but finds that all of those things are part of the same system that brought him WAR ON TERROR on TV, and all they can do is make things worse. there is nowhere to hide, the ...more
Morgan
Two and a half stars, I guess. There's something here.
Stacey Teague
i really liked this book, i dog eared lots of pages, i found myself thinking things like "hey, yeah, yeah, fuck, yeah"

there were a lot of things that i felt and agreed with

read this sitting on my parents couch with my cat sitting on my lap

kept taking breaks from the book to put my face close to my cat's face until she got annoyed

anyway i liked the book
Darren C
here is a part i liked:

Humans seek answers constantly.
But they know there are none.
The universe is answerless.
People are victims of their psychologies.
They can never escape the truth that their mind has made for them.
The people of the world are shattering under the immense power of civilization.
Absurdity.
"Kendra touch my penis," I say to her calmly.
Jonathan
I expected to like this more, and I feel a little mean giving it only 2 stars, because the writing seems honest and heartfelt. There was some funny dialog, and I agree with many of the sentiments expressed, but in the end it felt like I had read someone's personal journal rather than a crafted piece of writing (maybe that was the author's intention?).
Michael
This reminds me of the steam of consciousness I might have had at age 20 if I were a chain smoking misanthrope. I was never a smoker and was only occasionally misanthropic; I was mostly hopeful and I do appreciate the perspective of wrestling with the world as you grow into adulthood. I like the rapid fire dialogue as well.
Seth
a lot of colorful depictions of that whole generation of adult children that i seem to be a part of. made me look at myself with detachment and think, "hah, that's a silly way of finding happiness." it looks silly when you're a voyeur but come on and be honest with yourself. you are this desperate, we all are?
Andrew Kaiser
I'm losing the ability to star books. Each deserves a quality review instead, though often I'm too pototo-like to write one.

This one in particular took maybe an hour to read, embodied a bleaker humanity than I like to believe, and I'll probably read the rest of Cicero's works.
DeWitt Brinson
This is a book. If you read it then you will have read a book. That will be a part of you. If you like this book, you will probably like that fact better. So try to like it. Why waste time? I read it and liked it. I am efficient. This book is a part of my efficiency.
Bert
It's probably an important book, but I suspect it's not as important as Cicero probably thinks it is. Cicero seems to have flaked out by being too hipsterish to actually say anything. I enjoyed it though, despite the misogny, which I guess was ironic.
Abbie
There were certainly some interesting and poignant moments, but when the circular-though-interesting conversations devolved into absurdity, I kind of lost interest.
Adam
May 21, 2007 Adam rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: people who don't have books written about them very often
These stories are about unavoidable suffering, insanity, and alienation. They make me feel powerless. I like them.
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Best Behavior Go to work and do your job. Care for your children. Pay your bills. Obey the law. Buy products. The Collected Works of Noah Cicero Vol. I The Insurgent The Condemned

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“A guy is on the radio talking about the war.
Speculating.
Speculating.
Speculating.
He says in less than two hours, we shall fight to preserve freedom.
Freedom.
America wants to give another country freedom.
That doesn't sound that bad, or does it.”
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“I have no interest in dying.
But I have to. I have to care one day about things that don't matter to me.”
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