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The Human War

3.80  ·  Rating details ·  344 ratings  ·  48 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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Average rating 3.80  · 
Rating details
 ·  344 ratings  ·  48 reviews

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May 19, 2007 rated it it was amazing
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.
Alejandro Saint-Barthélemy
I like this book very much (which I've read this very year and being an European living in China, so it being about Bush and from 2003 doesn't make it outdated nor limited).
The fresh and poetic stylistic choices in it cannot be overlooked (, not to mention the passion that you can tell Noah Cicero put into it.
This book inspired Ben Brooks and Tao Lin, and this is why they made it bigger than Noah:

1) Tao Lin's "Eeeee Eee Eeee" is better as a contemporary
Jun 14, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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 ...more
May 22, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Sam Pink
May 15, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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.
Apr 21, 2008 rated it really liked it
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
herocious herocious
May 24, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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.
Jun 06, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Cicero knows what he's doing. This a great piece of writing.
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
Sarah Crowe
Oct 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I used to have goals and dreams…Then I started reading Noah Cicero.

Now all I hope for in life is to one day meet him by chance at a Denny’s. Preferably one attached to a truck stop. I have no real reason for this preference besides the fact that my favorite Denny’s is in a truck stop in a small town in Indiana.

I went on a date there once and my date and I agreed that it was the best Denny’s that we had each ever been to.

That date was 2 weeks ago…Or maybe 3. I don’t really care about numbers
May 14, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
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.
Stacey Teague
Feb 24, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
Aug 23, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
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.
Jul 07, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: schizos and normies
i don't know what the fuck is going on but i embrace it wholeheartedly
Black Coffee Press
Apr 25, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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!
Aug 23, 2018 rated it liked it
The two short stories are definitely more interesting than the titular novella, in my opinion, although that could just be the result of how fast-paced change has been the past decade. The references seem slightly outdated (especially the comment about being a millionaire and an American Dream like "Donald Trump," definitely a reference that leaves a bitter, putrid aftertaste as opposed to eliciting a chuckling as I imagine it used to be able to do.)

Ernst Bloch writes about how there is a
Adam  McPhee
Feb 12, 2018 rated it it was ok
Recommended to Adam by: Dolan's review of Burning Babies lead me to Best behaviour lead me to this.
“I know, a lot has happened to you. But you have to go on, you have to keep trying.”
“I don’t want to try anymore, I’m done trying. I work at Pizza Hut, that’s my life now, pizza.”

A handful of short stories, told mostly in single sentence paragraphs. I liked The Human War, about the lead up to the Iraq War as experienced by a young, poor man in Ohio, looking to get drunk and have sex. The mental asylum story set during the initial phase/lead up to the Iraq War had good dialogue but I didn't get
Oct 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Most book things now (with a few exceptions) are just built around nice, safe books written for nice and safe book club readers. These are usually the books you see on display at Barnes and Noble. These internet writers are, like, literally terrorists to me. They’re training as we speak. They’re getting ready to invade. They’re building an army.
(Scott Mcclanahan)
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 02, 2007 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Jun 11, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: literature
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
Darren C
Sep 13, 2010 rated it really liked it
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.
"Kendra touch my penis," I say to her calmly.
Apr 04, 2013 rated it liked it
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.
Apr 29, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Very good book. My first read by the author. Does and impressive job of capturing the fear and anxiety of the Gulf War for his generation.

Noah has incredible sense of flow and rhythm when he writes. And narrative goes into unexpected places at times.

This book was really good. recommended for anyone who likes reflective writing. Short, too the point and memorable.
Apr 17, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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?).
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.
Zac Smith
Jun 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
pretentious beat-style conversations about the lead-up to the iraq war, depression, infidelity. the protagonist is a sad, tryhard asshole.

there were a couple good lines but mostly it's a hamfisted series of dialogues on the same couple of themes.
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.
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“A guy is on the radio talking about the war.
He says in less than two hours, we shall fight to preserve freedom.
America wants to give another country freedom.
That doesn't sound that bad, or does it.”
“I have no interest in dying.
But I have to. I have to care one day about things that don't matter to me.”
More quotes…