Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Power Politics” as Want to Read:
Power Politics
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Power Politics

4.10  ·  Rating details ·  1,084 ratings  ·  57 reviews
Arundhati Roy —"India’s most impassioned critic of globalization" (New York Times)—has expanded the compelling first edition of Power Politics with two new essays on the U.S. war on terrorism. A Book Sense 76 choice for November/December 2001 and Los Angeles Times "Discoveries" selection, Power Politics challenges the idea that only experts can speak out on such urgent mat ...more
Paperback, Second Edition, 192 pages
Published April 1st 2002 by South End Press (first published September 1st 2000)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Power Politics, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Power Politics

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.10  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,084 ratings  ·  57 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Power Politics
A good or great writer may refuse to accept any responsibility or morality that society wishes to impose on her. Yet the best and greatest of them know that if they abuse this hard-won freedom, it can only lead to bad art.

If what we have to say doesn't "sell," will we still say it?
Roy has a way with words that I'm likely never going to be capable of resisting. Couple that with commentary that cuts through some of the foggiest shores of propaganda that I swallowed whole in the tender years of
I don't think Arundhati Roy would like what Goodreads is doing.

I read this with some trepidation, after hearing some friends talk about Roy's political views. I actually found the essays about the dams in Inida to be the most interesting, mostly because of the relation to China. I also enjoyed the comments on writing.I do wish, however, some of the ideas had been a little clearer. She's aganist globization which is fine, but than suggests that the UN Commission Dams should have a say - isn't tha
May 11, 2020 rated it really liked it
In my journey through Roy’s nonfiction, India’s jobless growth now meets the era of the War On Terror (2nd Edition: articles from 2000-2001).

--“Power Politics: The Reincarnation of Rumpelstiltskin” is a continuation of Roy’s earlier critiques on India’s jobless growth (The Cost of Living) that later culminates in Capitalism: A Ghost Story. The focus here is on market and energy privatization:
a) “Market value”? But the poor value these resources the most while only the rich can afford.
Sep 27, 2019 rated it really liked it

4.5 Stars!

“The only thing worth globalising is dissent.”

“The International Coalition Against Terror is largely a cabal of the richest countries in the world. Between them, they manufacture and sell almost all of the world’s weapons. They possess the largest stockpile of weapons of mass destruction-chemical, biological, and nuclear. They have fought the most wars, account for most of the genocide, subjection, ethnic cleansing, and human rights violations in modern history, and have sponsored, ar
Genine Franklin-Clark
Aug 25, 2012 rated it it was amazing

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
Jun 07, 2012 rated it it was amazing
"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
Dec 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: india, terrorism, essays
There are five thought-provoking essays in the second edition of this small book by Man Booker winner Arundhati Roy.

The first two concern the mega dams built, being built, or scheduled to be built in India. Roy provides some devastating facts concerning the impact on rural India and its population of minorities, in which Western corporations are complicit. I was not aware of the mega dams, let alone their impact on tens of thousands of Indians. They are eye-opening. These two essays take of 2/3
Allison Frederick
Jan 03, 2008 rated it liked it
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
Mar 25, 2007 rated it liked it
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
Feb 11, 2012 rated it liked it
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. ...more
Luciana Sari
Dec 28, 2020 rated it really liked it
Roy's story focused on what happened to her and what happened in India, but her story is relevant to the third-world and developing countries elsewhere. In Power Politics she invites us to ponder about the role globalization and privatization of natural resources, as of how those concepts commonly used to deliver glittering promises of the better future and livelihoods for the people but, as she presented through the Narmada Valley Dam Project, those promises were not proven and instead it cause ...more
Oct 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is a political essay on Indian hydroelectric development, where I cannot begin to take a position and can only enjoy Roy's writing and analysis and assume it has a strong factual basis.

My edition of the 60-page essay fills out the volume with an interview with her on the subject of Ramachandra Guha, an "environmental historian", who devoted many successive Sunday opinion columns to attacking her credibility. She eviscerates him so thoroughly that one can't help but chuckle at her polemicism
Taylor Leatrice Werner
May 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Arundhati Roy is a master. And reading her water right arguments gives me a vicarious sense of vindication. She is so smart. The corruption she details in these essays could not be more plain, and her particular gift with words and ideas and social action could not be better deployed.
Dec 27, 2017 rated it liked it
Complex and heavy subject matter still relevant today. Gave me new insight on things I had never considered. Powerful book, wonderfully written.
Jane Pontiñela
May 05, 2021 rated it really liked it
Arundhati Roy writes in a clear and biting manner that would always leave me be persuaded with the strength and brevity of her power to make you look at something you don't want to see. The power issue and the national interests of the minorities in India are what at stake when she wrote this book. It's short, maybe an essay. But this is something that calls for an urgent call for her fellow citizens to take the stance in protecting lives that are destroyed, and continuously harmed by the self-i ...more
Punit Soni
Jul 12, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, indian
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
Feb 26, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Everyone
Having experienced the 1999 World Trade Organization riots in Seattle first hand: some my floor-mates were on national TV for knocking down the NIKE sign while wearing Nike's, in watching the news one night after being downtown I found that I had been less than a block away from the mass arrest of over 200 people, my campus was surrounded by a police blockade at midnight one night due to the false report of a violent mob) this book speaks greatly to me about the reasoning behind the sometimes vi ...more
Apr 09, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
Jun 21, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Lisa Findley
Nov 26, 2007 rated it really liked it
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
Apr 05, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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
Marilyn McEntyre
Feb 07, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
Apr 26, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
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.
Aug 17, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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...
Dec 28, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: politics
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. ...more
Drew Pyke
Jan 06, 2014 rated it it was ok
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. ...more
Jan 08, 2008 rated it really liked it
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. ...more
Jan 31, 2008 rated it really liked it
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. ...more
Feb 23, 2008 rated it it was amazing 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!
Jul 29, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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. ...more
« previous 1 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Bullshit Jobs: A Theory
  • Uncanny Valley
  • ADHD 2.0: New Science and Essential Strategies for Thriving with Distraction--From Childhood Through Adulthood
  • Marginalia
  • Ungrading: Why Rating Students Undermines Learning (and What to Do Instead)
  • Subcutanean
  • Creating Freedom: Power, Control and the Fight for Our Future
  • Wintering: The Power of Rest and Retreat in Difficult Times
  • The Limits of Power: The End of American Exceptionalism
  • The Day the Falls Stood Still
  • Sea of Gray: The Around-The-World Odyssey of the Confederate Raider Shenandoah
  • Haroun and the Sea of Stories (Khalifa Brothers, #1)
  • Apropos of Nothing
  • 10:04
  • Logavina Street: Life and Death in a Sarajevo Neighborhood
  • The Snow Leopard
  • Fortune Smiles
  • Baby No-Eyes
See similar books…
Arundhati Roy is an Indian writer who is also 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.

Related Articles

Twenty years after The God of Small Things, Roy's second novel arrives this month. She talks about her political activism in India and how she...
76 likes · 32 comments
No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »
“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.” 5 likes
“India lives in several centuries at the same time.” 0 likes
More quotes…