**spoiler alert** I picked it up and it depressed me, so I put it down. I picked it up again and it depressed me, so I put it down again. I tried it a...more**spoiler alert** I picked it up and it depressed me, so I put it down. I picked it up again and it depressed me, so I put it down again. I tried it again and it depressed me.... See a pattern?
My sense of apocalypse/post-apocalyptic fiction is that it works because you see yourself as the protagonist (or at least a survivor). However, in the case of The Passage I felt hopeless. From almost page one a pervasive gloom hung over the pages. Maybe I brought that gloom as the reader, but I suspect not. The Passage is a well done novel. It's a classic road-trip apocalypse like The Stand, The Road, and others.
My main complaint isn't the pall of despair that looms over the story - it's the end of the world after all. It's that after setting up the near invincible virals, Cronin has to deus ex a bit to dial back them back. To quote Theoden from Lord of the Rings, "How shall any tower withstand such numbers and such reckless hate?"
A bolder ending would have ultimately been The End.(less)
In Dirty Wars Jeremy Scahill presents a strong case that ties the Global War on Terror to continued regional instability (Y...more**spoiler alert** Horrific.
In Dirty Wars Jeremy Scahill presents a strong case that ties the Global War on Terror to continued regional instability (Yemen, Somalia, Afghanistan, Iraq) abroad, the elimination of principles surrounding assassination, unaccountable combatants, and the abrogation of American citizen's right to due process at home and overseas. The string of policies that brought us to this place cannot be solely tied to the Bush Administration. Scahill asserts that while many of the processes in place have their roots with the Bush Administration, the Obama Administration has doubled down on those processes. "Obama had already authorized as many drone strikes in ten months as Bush had in his entire eight years in office." (p. 251)
This is a dense book that won't leave the reader feeling positive about the future. Americans are more likely to die in a car accident (1-in-108, see note 1), or via lightning strikes (1-in-126,158, see note 1) than in a terror attack (1-in-20,000,000, see note 2). Yet in the name of national security we have unleashed a global campaign of torture, indiscriminate drone strikes (see note 3), and the elimination of due process for Americans at home and abroad. Furthermore, the legal language used to justify assassination is couched in such vague terms as to render any justification given as just (see note 4).
In the epilogue Scahill leaves us with this chilling statement:
"Today, decisions on who should live or die in the name of protecting America's national security are being made in secret, laws are interpreted by the president and his advisers behind closed doors and no target is off-limits, including US citizens." (p. 520)
You have to really be interested in the end of all things to get to the end of this book. The first section of the book was dull. Though it intended t...moreYou have to really be interested in the end of all things to get to the end of this book. The first section of the book was dull. Though it intended to purposely frame the apocalypse genre within an International Relations context, I realized I could care less about that framework!
Give me apocalypse or give me...um...that isn't going anywhere....
The second section was the interesting bit, wherein a selected group of books were examined as exemplifying elements of the apocalypse genre. I gave this three stars for a couple of reasons. 1. No one else has read it and I hate to give it a low number (it's worth reading). 2. I deserve those stars - big gold ones - for reading this book.
Now off to some Zinn and Dirty Wars, those are uplifting positive tomes I'm sure.