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Consumption Brand
Books of Politics and History

This list is a partial collection of books that I read during the making of my various Consumption political cartoon zines, roughly between 1999 and 2007.

Now, Yet Still Even Some More Additional Books from #11-12

1000 Americans, George Seldes, Boni & Gaer, NY 1947
This book details what famous journalist Seldes saw as wrong with America, namely that about 1000 Americans apparently set the direction for the US economy and US policy in general. Included is the following great quote from page 42: "The cartoonists of most newspapers are just plain old-fashioned newspaper prostitutes." For the most part, just change a few of the names, and this book describes current times fairly well.
9-11 Emergency Relief, 2002, pub by Alternative Comics,
A comic book to benefit the American Red Cross. Has 62 short comics from different cartoonists about the events on 9-11. The stories are a mixture of touching, bizarre, sad, funny, and personal that comics are so good at illustrating.
American Gulag, Mark Dow, University of California Press, 2004
Detailing the network of so called detention facilities for indefinitely storing people the government has decided are illegal mainly because they don't have their papers in order. These "detainees" are routinely abused and treated like crooks. There are many heartbreaking stories of people taken from their homes and thrown back to countries they have not lived in for many, many years.
Armed Madhouse, by Greg Palast, Dutton 2006,
Yet another outstanding, information rich expose by Palast. This basically collects various writings of Palast from the last few years. With chapter titles "Who's afraid of Osama Wolf", "China floats, Bush Sinks", "The Scheme to Steal '08", "No Child's Behind Left", and "Other Dispatches from the Front Lines of the Class War", how can you go wrong? One section details a fight between neocon crusaders, versus the oil companies allied with the State Department, and pointing out that OPEC fixing pumping quotas, insurgents blowing up pipes (or now the attack on Lebanon) make oil prices and therefore oil company profits jump high: $34 billion in 2002, to $81 billion in 2004, to $113 billion in 2005! One interesting section is Palast taking on what he calls the "Peak Oil" crowd, which first he dismisses outright, but then in an appendix titled "Return to Hubbert's Peak: Why Palast Is Wrong", he qualifies his remarks. He first dismissed it apparenty because he says Hubbert's 1956 paper (entitled Nuclear Energy and the Fossil Fuels) saying oil was vanishing quickly was mostly a ruse by Shell Oil to keep prices up and to promote (particularly Shell's) development of nuclear energy. He goes on to say that oil reserves are computed based on the current selling price of oil. There are large stores of heavier, more difficult to extract oil still in the ground, but that only counts when the price of oil makes it profitable to dig it up. Palast does not appear to take energy efficiency into consideration when saying that because reserves are estimated by price, higher price simply means more and more oil is available, which is only true to a point. To sum up, Palast is better at investigating and arguing political showdowns, as opposed to environmentalism. But to be fair, in the concluding paragraph of that appendix, he does say that just because oil exists, it doesn't mean we should dig it up and burn it, that real change will come when the oil men are truely out of office, and that "getting off the oil habit is an urgent working class issue."
The Assassination of Julius Caesar, A People's History of Rome, Michael Parenti, The New Press, 2003
An outstanding overview of ancient late republic Rome. Much fuss is made in popular culture today of the Roman Senate defending the Roman republic, even when killing Julius Ceasar on the Senate floor. In reality, the Senate was in many was just an outpost for the rich. There was also a Tribal Assembly that was a bit more democratic, and could in some cases veto decisions of the Senate. Another important detail I hadn't known, is that one third of the population of Rome were slaves!! Slaves could become freedmen if their price was paid, but there were strict rules about the rights of freedmen, such as that aristocrats were not allowed to marry them. Speaking of women, they were not even given individual names. Each daughter took the female version of the family name, and otherwise were only distinguished by "the elder" or "the second". Women tended to die younger than men from malnourishment, maltreatment and childbirth. Almost half of Roman brides were under 14. The city of Rome itself was composed of various government buildings, surrounded by many dilapidated slums. Many of the senators were slum lords. Most importantly, there were many democratically minded reformers in the Tribal Assembly and in the Senate. The reformers in the Senate were known as populares, and the conservatives were the optimates. The reformers, if they actually succeeded in reforming something, were mostly assassinated, up to and including Julius Ceasar. After each assassination, less and less was preserved of anything resembling democracy, finally resulting in essentially just any other another brutal, autocratic monarchy, with a Senate composed of the rich serving only the rich.
Bush on the Couch: Inside the Mind of the President, Justin Frank, Regan Books, 2004
A brilliant psychological profile of the alleged President Bush. Details the concepts of how people will protect themselves from fear by projecting bad things outside themselves and only recognizing good things for themselves. Discusses the idea that a healthy mental life can depend greatly on the relationship between the infant and the parent. There must be a balance between the experiencing of pain and having that pain resolved. If the parent provides an emotionally barren landscape by constantly either ignoring or simply not recognizing the emotional needs of the child, the child will likely not develop a whole, integrated worldview, and improperly project difficulties, rather than being able to deal with them internally. For Bush, this presents itself in his many years of alcoholism, including a couple DUIs, and a near total refusal to take responsibility for his own actions, nor to recognize the actual results of his actions. After alcohol, he found religion, which allows him further justification to think everything he does is at the personal behest of God, and he can therefore do no wrong. Any complaints he can simply deflect and ignore with a cute, offhand little joke.
Computers and the Environment, Understanding and Managing Their Impacts Ruediger Kuehr and Eric Williams (editors), Kluwer Academic Publishers 2003
This is a mildly technical book with several articles investigating just what the title says. One interesting statistic is that making 1 computer needs 530lbs of fossil fuels, 49lbs chemicals, and 3300lbs of water.
Confessions of an Economic Hitman, John Perkins, Barret Koeler Publishers, 2004,
This is a spectacular book by a former economist foot soldier in the war to strip mine the wealth and resources of anyone and anything in the world for the sake of propping up rich corporations and their supporters. The basic strategy is to convince governments to sign up with organizations like the IMF and the World Bank for massive loans that they can't really expect to pay back, and that largely go towards construction and other huge "development" contracts with largely American companies, under the trick that the benefits of these massive projects will soon trickle down to the actual people of the country. In order to convince governments to go along with this, they are showered with bogus economic forcasts, bribes, blackmail, and threats. Basically, the message is go with us, and you and your family will become very rich, otherwise there's a bullet or a bomb waiting for you, and we'll talk to your replacement. So if you place the people first, then you might end up like Omar Torrijos of Panama who died in a plane crash in 1981, and also Jaime Roldos in Ecuador, who also died in a plane crash in 1981, and Salvador Allende in Chile, killed in the coup which happened on September 11, 1973.
Dignifying Science, Stories about Women Scientists, written by Jim Ottaviani ( and illustrated by Donna Barr, Mary Fleener, Ramona Fradon, Stephanie Gladden, Roberta Gregory, Lea Hernandez, Carla Speed McNeil, Linda Medley, Marie Severin, Hen Sorensen, Anne Timmons about Marie Curie, Hedy Lamarr, Lise Meitner, Rosalind Franklin, Barbara McClintock, and Birute' Galdikas
This is a collection of comics about women scientists drawn by women cartoonists. It's kind of a shame that the writer is a man, though. In any case, these are some interesting brief biographies. The author Ottaviani has a few other comic books about scientists such as Two Fisted Science, and one called Bone Sharps, Cowboys, and Thunder Lizards, about paleontology in the Californian wild west in the 1800s. On the whole, very interesting comics docudramas.
How to Lie With Statistics, by Darrell Huff, illustrated by Irving Geis, 1954
The classic expose of statistics and how news, advertisements, and politicians regularly abuse numbers to sell you ideas, products, and candidates. Common tactics include selective sample sizes (think redistricting to get more votes), and vague descriptions ("Most people agree that...", "Sources say that...", "Your news, fair and balanced..."). Also confusing the definition of "average", which might be the median or the mean. Consider the numbers 1,2,4,8,16. The median is the middle most number, in this case 4 (2 numbers above, and 2 below). The mean is the most common type of average, in this case 6.2 (which is (1+2+4+8+16)/5). Of course, since this book was published, many of these ideas are institutionalized within the field of Public Relations, made all the more insidious with the complicity of trained psychologists in order to more subtly sell you ideas, products, and candidates.
The Long Emergency, surviving the converging catastrophes of the twenty-first century, James Howard Kunstler, Atlantic Monthly Press 2005
This is a book about the end of oil, and what humanity can look forward to. I haven't actually read this one yet, but it sounds very interesting.
A Million Little Pieces, James Frey, Doubleday 2003
Hindsight note: Frey has since been exposed as fabricating many key points in this alleged autobiography. This mini review has been updated to reflect this. This is the story of Frey going to rehab to kick his furious drug and alcohol addiction. It depicts various the gory details of his addiction, from destroying relationships, to drunken car crashes, to rehab and getting teeth pulled, to withdrawal symptoms and much more. While in rehab, he had constant conflict with the rites of passage offered by the Alcoholics Anonymous staff, which he viewed as addiction substitution, but by the end of the book, he had managed to find a path to sobriety. He claims to have stayed sober ever since. The success rates of rehab programs is usually around 15%.
Nickel and Dimed, On (Not) Getting By in America, Barbara Ehrenreich, Henry Holt and Co., 2001
A book about the working poor in America. This book spells out the excruciating, banal, deadening trivialities that all too many people in this country must go through just to survive. Ehrenreich covertly took jobs as a waitress, maid, Wal-Mart salesperson, and more, which often times she had to commute much too far. While much in this book won't come as such a surprise to many, it is a more eloquent and accurate description of the state of the union than any politician has made in living memory.
Out of Gas, The End of the Age of Oil, David Goodstein, W.W.Norton, 2004
This book by Caltech professor Goodstein discusses the state of energy production in the world today, specifically about the impending delpletion of oil. It discusses in general terms what energy is and how it is harnessed, and the catastrophe looming when oil stops coming out of the ground. Of the three end-of-oil books listed here, this one is the most comfortable, although it's main suggestion is that there should be more research into nuclear fusion.
The Party's Over oil, war and the fate of industrial societies, Richard Heinberg, New Society Publishers, 2003
Compared to the book Out of Gas, this book is a more thorough about the implications of the oil supply falling short. Most everything in the world these days is dependent on a steady supply of fossil fuels, from manufacturing to medicines to agriculture. The major challenge facing all life on earth is how to change to a way of life not so dependent on fossil fuels. Terrorists got you down? They've got nothing on global warming, chronic food shortages, and polluted water supplies.
Power Failure: The Inside Story of the Collapse of Enron, Mimi Swartz and Sherron Watkins, Random House 2003
Basically the story of Enron, but focusing on the career of Sherron Watkins, practically the sole whistleblower within Enron in its final days. This book seems to focus primarily on what the whole Enron scene was like, often times sacrificing the grittier technical details in favor of descriptions of personalities, but on the whole still an interesting read.
Portland Confidential: Sex, Crime, and Corruption in the Rose City Phil Stanford, West Winds Press 2004
Chronicles the corruption of Portland, Oregon during the bad old days of the 50s. Dirty cops, dirty politicians, drugs, guns, and prostitution ran the show. Most of the book had been published in the Portland Tribune in a series examining Portland's past. The level of corruption, including a mayor, chief of police, a DA, and various gamblers, pimps, and drug dealers. Some of the crooks were brought before the Senate Racketts Committee hearing, on which Bobby Kennedy was counsel. 115 indictments resulted, most of which were dismissed on various technicalities. Did you know that pin ball machines were outlawed in Portland for a while, since they were obviously a gateway to a life of crime?
The Smartest Guys in the Room: The Amazing Rize and Scandalous Fall of Enron, Bethany McLean + Peter Elkind, Portfolio, 2003
Information packed exposé of Enron, that great pile of macho hubris that ripped off billions from people the world over, for instance by foisting an unwanted, overpriced power plant on India, deliberately fostering the "rolling blackouts" in California just to make a few bucks, and much more. Enron is a poster child of corporate malfeasance for the new millennium, aided and abetted by many bankers, financiers, auditors, and politicians, including both Bushes.
The Spitting Image, Myth, Memory, and the Legacy of Vietnam, Jerry Lembke New York University Press, 1998
This book discusses the idea that Vietnam era protestors were spitting all over the returning vets. He found no reliable sources for such incidents occuring in real life, but plenty of that sort of thing in the movies since around 1978, such as in Rambo. The truth was more like that shown in the documentary Sir No Sir! in which vets were very much welcomed by protestors, and marched side by side, even literally throwing their medals back at the Capitol, an action that is happening again, I might add, with regard to War on Terrorism medals.
Terry Jones' Barbarians, by Terry Jones and Alan Areira, BBC Books, 2006
Based on a 4 part BBC tv show with Monty Python's Terry Jones, this book examines the accomplishments of the people conquered by the Romans, commonly known as barbarians (the conquered people, that is). Learn lots about the Celts, Goths, Persians, and the Vandals, including Attila the Hun.
Terry Jones War on the War on Terror, Terry Jones, illustrations by Steve Bell, Nation Books, 2005
This collects various articles that Jones (of Monty Python fame) wrote for various British newspapers. Articles include among others George W. Bush's Lobotomy, A Bag Over the Head is Worth Two for George Bush, and I'm Losing Patience with My Neighbors, Mr. Bush (neighbors who look at him funny, and should therefore be gotten rid of before they strike), and It Really Isn't Torture, in which he attempts to find out where his son "goes after choir practice", using the guidelines from a March 6, 2003 memo to Rumsfeld, that explains that it is not really torture if the causing of severe pain was not actually the motivation for the inflicting of the pain. The articles are kind of punctuated with cartoons by Steve Bell, which are quite biting.
What Every American Should Know About the Rest of the World, M.L.Rossi, Plume 2003
Kind of a snappy introduction to world politics. Written by someone who felt very confused by the overwhelming jumble of names and issues tossed around in America after 9-11. This book is basically her notes from trying to track down what everyone was talking about. It is arranged in sections by country, and each has major statistics, history highlights, and selected relevant issues. Overall it is one more necessary book to help make the term "stupid american" inappropriate.
Will They Ever Trust Us Again? Letters from the war zone, Michael Moore, Simon & Schuster 2004
This isn't a book by Moore so much as it is a book by soldiers and their families. It is composed of many letters that those people wrote to Moore expressing their views on the wars they are in or are directly affected by. These letters show what Bush and company never want to let get out: that there is enormous profiteering going on in Iraq and Afghanistan, and that many soldiers feel used and lied to, sent to fight a war based on a PR campaign. You can read more of this sort of thing at

Books I read while making issues #1-10

2024, Ted Rall, NBM, 2001
Graphic novel revamping Orwell's 1984 to fit the information age. Lots of funny and scarey moments. Rall was the Village Voice correspondent to Afghanistan and also wrote Revenge of the Latchkey Kids.
Attitude: The New Subversive Political Cartoons, edited by Ted Rall, NBM 2002
A collection of brief bios and interviews with a whole lot of biting cartoonists such as Tom Tomorrow, Derf, Stephanie McMillan, Matt Wuerker, and 17 others.
9-11, Noam Chomsky, Seven Stories Press, NY, 2001
A collection of interviews with Chomsky about 9-11 and terrorism
Balkan Tragedy--Chaos and Dissolution After the Cold War, Susan Woodward, Brookings Institution, 1995
A big, thick book about the disintegration of Yugoslavia.
The Best Democracy Money Can Buy, Greg Palast, Pluto Press, London, 2002
One of the best journalistic books I've read. Palast was pretty much the one to uncover and publish loads of detail about how Bush stole the 2000 election. His reporting is worth more than a million chads on the daily network news. The book essentially collects Palast's stories froma couple years over a wide variety of subjects. Apparently there is an American edition with a whole lot more stuff in it, for instance some very interesting tidbits about Barrick Mining and George Bush, Sr. that Palast couldn't put in the UK edition without making the newspaper he gets printed in fair game to certain of England's libel lawyers who are in service to, for instance, Barrick Mining. See his website for lots more.
Beyond the Storm: A Gulf Crisis Reader, Phyllis Bennis and Michel Moushabeck editors, Olive Branch Press 1991
Writings from 31 different people about the Gulf War
Blackbox Voting, Bev Harris, Plan Nine Pub 2004
So you still thought this was a democracy, especially now in the age of electornic voting? Yet another book chock full of scary information that doesn't bode well for honest folk. See the website for lots of current information on the subject. You can also read the book online.
Black Money, by Michael Thomas, Crown 1994
This is a novel depicting fast food joints and video stores as money laundering fronts for drug money, by mixing drug money with sales from each of many store outlets and manipulation of a widely used data management program to tip off criminals and cover up evidence.
Blackshirts and Reds: Rational Rascism and the Overthrow of Communism, Michael Parenti, City Lights Books, 1997
Parenti lays out what defines fascism, and how propagandized americans are so that they instantly label anything communist as diabolicallyh red without offering any definite evidence. He then offers such evidence to the contrary, as well as what he sees were the problems, a much better approach than starting and ending a discussion with "You some kind of communist?? Get outta my face!!" Also talks about people's lives in the former USSR since communism fell, who now have the freedom to be unemployed, homeless, and die of diseases they can't treat since they no longer have medical coverage. As Mike Ruppert points out, the population of Russia over the last decade has decreased by about 20 million.
The Boys on the Tracks: Death, Denial, and a Mother's Crusade to Bring Her Son's Killers to Justice, Mara Leveritt, Thomas Dunne Books of St. Martin's Press 1999
About two teenagers who had been killed, then put on railroad tracks and run over in 1987 Arkansas, and strange goings on in that area.
Calling the Shots: How Washington Dominates Today's UN, Phyllis Bennis, Olive Branch Press 1996
Discusses the history of the United Nations, its structure and the powerful forces behind it, predominately the United States.
The Cold War and the University, Andre Schiffrin editor, New Press 1997
Writings from professors and others from various disciplines. Includes Zinn and Chomsky
Compromised: Clinton, Bush, and the CIA, Terry Reed and John Cummings, S.P.I Books, a division of Shapolsky Publishers 1994
Get a dose of some high-flying ramrod patriotism of the Reagon/Bush years as told by Reed, who apparently was involved in the CIA's training of Contras near Mena, Arkansas, and helping make guns for them, first there, then almost in Mexico too, but he quit when he says he discovered it meant huge drug shipments.
The Cost of Living, Arundhati Roy, The Modern Library 1999
Two non-fiction essays by the author of The God of Small Things. One about India and Pakistan's nuclear machismo, and the other about the ruthless effects of damming thousands of sites along the Narmada River in her native India. Roy is one of my favorite authors, and has many essays on the web.
Dark Alliance: The CIA, the Contras, and the Crack Cocaine Explosion, Gary Webb, Seven Stories Press 1998
Former San Jose Mercury News reporter Gary Webb unconvering lots of dirt.
Dead Meat, Sue Coe, intro by Alexander Cockburn, Four Walls Eight Windows 1995
Paintings and commentary about slaughterhouses. Very interesting.
Dollars for Terror-- The United States and Islam, Richard Labévière, Algora, 2000
This is a very interesting book detailing the history of the Islamist terror movement, and the complicity of the CIA, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, and others in creating, training, and arming militant, violent zealots to crush the infidel communists in Afghanistan during the 1980s. A major point the book makes is that the way neoliberal economic globalization is pushing the world now is right in line with the requirements of religious, autocratic terror organizations by destroying local control, and putting all power and resources in private unaccountable entities. And all this written before September 11, 2001. Damn the french for being such know-it-alls!
Dude, Where's My Country? Michael Moore, Warner Books, 2003
The latest book by Moore, full of more facts in one page than a year of Rush Limbaugh. Disney gave Moore's movie Fahrenheit 911, which received the Palm d'Or at the Cannes film festival, some free publicity by pumping up the controversy when it refused to allow its subisidiary company Mirimax to distribute it in North America.
East Timor's Unfinished Struggle, Inside the Timorese Resistance, Constâncio Pinto and Mathew Hardine, Forward by Allen Nairn, South End Press 1997
Learn 1st hand accounts of conditions in East Timor under Indonesian rule.
Emile de Antonio, A Reader, edited by Douglas Kellner and Dan Streible, University of Minnesota Press, 2002
de Antonio made some of the best documentaries in the known univers such as In the Year of the Pig, and Point of Order, and this book has lots of recollections, and descriptions of the films. de Antonio was on Nixon's biggest enemy list, and his interview film of the Weather Underground guaranteed him constant FBI "attention" and a big fat case file.
False Profits, Peter Truell and Larry Gurwin, Houghton Mifflin Co, 1992
About the Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI), a creation of Agha Hassan Abedi, and whose clients were such as the CIA, Manuel Noriega and Saddam Hussein, who as a result are guilty of aiding an Abedi. BCCI was exposed as a money laundering bonanza and shut down in 1991.
Farmageddon--Food and the Culture of Biotechnology, Brewster Kneen, New Society Publishers 1999
Very good introduction to food issues such as genetic engineering, mono-crops, and rBGH milk, and it has one of the best book titles on the market.
The Four Horsemen:The Flames of War in the Third World, David Munro, Lyle Stuart 1987
A photo essay based on a BBC tv series. Pictures from Nicaragua, Lebanon, Eritrea, Vietnam, Cambodia, El Salvador, Mozambique, and the Thai-Cambodia border
From the Folks Who Brought You the Weekend, A Short Illustrated History of Labor in the United States, Priscilla Murolo and A. B. Chitty, illustrations by Joe Sacco, New Press, 2001
It is just this sort of book to let you know just what's being lost, or should I say violated and destroyed by the various narrow venal savages blindly howling through the White House right now.
From the Wilderness, Mike Ruppert's almost monthly newsletter, since 1998
So it's not a book, but this newsletter has quite a lot of interesting stories about the current state of the world from a former LA narcotics cop.
Funu-The Unfinished Saga of East Timor, Jose Ramos-Horta, Red Sea Press 1987
The Nobel Peace Prize winner's experiences as East Timor's resistance's diplomat.
Gabriel García Márquez's dramatized non-fiction:
Clandestine in Chile, the Adventures of Miguel Littín Henry Holt & Co., 1986
Story of a Shipwrecked Sailor,
News of a Kidnapping, Penguin Books 1996
Clandestine is about Littín who snuck into his native Chile from exile to make a movie inside Chile under Pinochet. Diary is about a Colombian sailor who survived 10 days on a raft lost at sea. News is about the kidnapping of 10 people in Colombia by Medellín drug honcho Pablo Escobar.
Gassed in the Gulf: The Inside Story of the Pentagon-CIA Cover-up of Gulf War Syndrome, Patrick G. Eddington, Insignia Publishing Co. 1997
Written by a former CIA photo analyst, detailing his experiences trying to make known the use of chemical weapons by Iraq and the Gulf War, the subsequent Gulf War Syndrome in american GIs, and the Defense Department and CIA's denying of them both.
The Globalization of Poverty, Michel Chossudovsky, Pedang, Malaysia 1997,1998
Usually wars are presented as inflamations of really old hatreds, but this maintains that usually it is the economy that falls apart, and desperate times bring drastic measures. Looks particularly at IMF and World Bank policy
Harry Potter, by J. K. Rowling
I'm almost ashamed to admit that I enjoy these books since Harry Potter's become such a franchise. However, it cannot be ignored that the books are filled with humor, love of learning, time serving bureaucrats, flacid politicians, racist bastards, big lizards, grassroots organizing, and rebellion. These are very good things to teach kids about at an early age.
The Hidden History of the Korean War, 1950-1951 I.F.Stone, originally 1952, reprinted with introduction by Bruce Cummings, Little Brown and Co., 1988
Here Stone show that radio punks like Mike Savage are not the only ones who view a full scale war with Red China as absolutely inevitable. Relying on sources like Pentagon briefings and New York Times articles, Stone depicts General Macarthur as still thinking there's a world war on, marauding up and down the Korean peninsula.
Inside the Company - CIA Diary, Philip Agee, MacMillan 1975, Bantam 1976
Written by a former CIA case officer in Latin America. This goes into very explicit detail about CIA methods and operations which end up swindling resources out of unsuspecting countries and wiping out any native opposition. Very Good.
Into the Buzzsaw, Leading Journalists Expose the Myth of the Free Press, edited by Kristina Borjesson, Prometheus Books, 2002
Contributions from journalists and ex-law enforcement types who have all had their careers dramatically altered or have been in a position to observe just how free America's free press is when certain very important issues or big money are concerned, such as drug trafficking, certain FBI investigations like TWA flight 800, and Monsanto's rBGH milk. Intro by Gore Vidal.
The Iran-Contra Connection, Secret Teams and Covert Operations in the Reagan Era, Jonathan Marshall, Jane Hunter, Peter Dale Scott, South End Press, 1987
Quite an interesting look at the shenanigans of the Reagan era, and the question of disposal: what to do with packs of trained killers when you are all done with them.
Last Chance to See, Douglas Adams and Mark Carwardine, Harmony Books, 1991, also on CD-ROM with lots more pictures
A look at various endangered species, coauthored by the author of Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, who passed away last year.
Lessons of Terror, Caleb Carr, Random House, 2002
Obviously written by a military historian, this little book has lots of little tidbits of war against civilians and why it always fails.
Mad Cow USA: Can the Nightmare Happen Here? Sheldon Rampton and John Stauber, Common Courage Press 1997
Talks about the discovery of Mad Cow Disease and other brain diseases, the outbreak and deaths in England, and public relations mechanations. Also the meat rendering industry in the USA. The authors have put the whole book on the web on their website
Main Currents in Modern American History, Gabriel Kolko, Harper & Row, 1976
Big book chock full of information, but watch out for words like "emoluments" and "parvenu".
Missile Envy: The Arms Race and Nuclear War, Helen Caldicott, 1994
From the co-founder of Physicians for Social Responsibility, this talks adamantly about nuclear things. She is quite informative and engaging.
The New Military Humanism: Lessons from Kosovo, Noam Chomsky, Comman Courage Press, 1999
Few indict like Chomsky
The New Nuclear Danger, George W. Bush's Industrial Military Comples, Helen Caldicott, New Press, 2002
An escellent unsparing and informative book about nuclear weapons, past, present and future from the co-founder
The New Pearl Harbor, David Ray Griffin, Olive Branch Press 2004
A book talking about the numerous failures of the Bush administration to have any eyes (at best) or morals (at worst) whatsoever in the face of an imminent terrorist attack, and in its aftermath, by ignoring quite a number of warnings from, for instance, intelligence agencies of several countries, not to mention investigations in America itself, and also by smearing and otherwise marginalizing a growing number of whistleblowers.
Note From a Defeatist, Joe Sacco, Fantagraphics Books, 2003
Mostly a collection of Sacco's early works, plus a coupld things previously not in book form. Anyone interested in political art should look up Sacco's work.
Orientalism, Edward Said, Vintage Books, 1994
A study of how the West looks at and has looked at the Middle East and Central Asia, usually as owner to pet. Makes a point in the introduction that a typical westerner understands a typical middle easterner about the same, that is to say not very well.
Out of Place, Edward Said, Crown 1999
Said's autobiographical account of being a sort of Palestinian raised in Egypt and educated in the US and other places. He has written many non-fiction books including Orientalism.
A People's History of the United States, Howard Zinn, Harper Perennial 1980, 1995
The Politics of Heroin, CIA Complicity in the Global Drug Trade, Alfred McCoy, Lawrence Hill Books, 1991
Goes into great detail about drug smuggling, and how the CIA uses drug proceeds to fund various covert wars usually in the name of anti-communism, such as Laos and Burma in the Vietnam War era, and against Afghanistan when the USSR invaded in the eighties. Very Good.
Power Politics, Arundhati Roy, South End Press 2001
More essays from Roy, who was recently jailed for contempt of court by the Supreme Court of India for criticizing its handling of protests (it ignored them) of the massive Sardar Sarovar Dam project in the Narmada River valley, which is sure to damage the lives of countless people there, now that the court is letting the project proceed.
The Prince, Niccolò Machiavelli, first published 1532
A handbook for those who want to take and hold power through domination and force, militarily and politically in that order. Learn such humanitarian values as killing all you vanquished foe's family to make your reign more secure. Plus, of course, it is better to appear virtuous than to really be virtuous.
Profit Over People--Neoliberalism and Global Order, Noam Chomsky, Seven Stories Press 1999
Collection of 7 Chomsky articles about the current state of the world
The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, William Shirer, Simon and Schuster, 1959, the 1990 version has an afterword by the author
Massive 1200 page book by World War II correspondent for the Universal News Service and CBS turned historian Shirer. If you don't want to read the whole thing, you can instead just watch the documentary of the same name made by MGM based on this book in 1968.
Safe Area Gorazde, The War in Eastern Bosnia 1992-1995, Joe Sacco, Fantagraphics Books 2000
Nicely drawn graphic novel style first hand journalism about conditions in Bosnia by Joe Sacco, who was drawn other good books such as War Junkie and Palestine.
Stay Free! Magazine published sometimes,
Lots of articles on interesting things.
Stupid White Men and Other Sorry Excuses for the State of the Nation, Michael Moore, Harper Collins, 2001
If you read no other politically oriented book, read this one. It is hilarious and informative from start to finish. You can't go wrong with such chapters as Kill Whitie, Idiot Nation, and Democrats, DOA. See his website at
Subersion as Foreign Policy: the Secret Eisenhower and Dulles Debacle in Indonesia, Audrey and George McT. Kahin, New Press NY 1995
Covers U.S. covert shenanigans in Indonesia from World War II until Suharto's very bloody coup in 1965.
To Afghanistan and Back: A Graphic Travelogue, Ted Rall, intro by Bill Maher, NBM, 2002
From Rall, a widely published cartoonist, who was the Village Voice's correspondent in Afghanistan for the 2002 US bombing. Very interesting first hand account of conditions for journalists in Afghanistan, and from a cartoonist, no less! And note that Maher was the host of Politically Incorrect, an almost late night talkshow with a political bent that was canceled as a result of Maher saying, "We have been the cowards, lobbing cruise missiles from 2000 miles away. That's cowardly. Staying in the airplane when it hits a building, say what you want about it, it's not cowardly.
Toxic Sludge is Good for You: Lies, Damn Lies, and the Public Relations Industry, Sheldon Rampton and John Stauber, Common Courage Press 1995
The name is accurate
Trust Us We're Experts: How Industry Manipulates Science and Gambles With Your Future, Sheldon Rampton and John Stauber, published Jeremy Tarcher of Putnam 2001
Another good book about public relations from the authors of Toxic Sludge is Good For You, and Mad Cow USA. They have a website
The War Conspiracy - The Secret Road to the Second Indochina War, Peter Dale Scott, Bobbs-Merrill Co. Inc., 1972
This talks about events leading to the Vietnam War, such as US carpet bombing in Laos, various fake attacks attributed to the North Vietnamese, heroin smuggling, and general anti-communist hysteria.
War is a Racket (1935), Brigadier General Smedly D. Butler, intro by Adam Parfey,, 2003
A reprint of War is a Racket, and a couple other writings of Butler, who was a marine for 33 years, but was later disillusioned by what the US military was being made to do. He is also notable for being one of the leaders of the march of World War I vets on Washington D.C. in May of 1932, marching to get their bonuses due them from the US Government. This march was violently broken up by Patton and McArthur. George W. Bush is certainly not the first leader of the free world to gyp the grunts! Another notable fact about Butler was to help expose a plot to take over the United States government by force, sponsored by various corporate ne'er do wells in response to FDR's New Deal. Apparently there is a book talking in more detail about that called The Plot To Seize the White House, by Jules Archer, 1973.
War on Iraq-- What the Bush Team Doesn't Want You to Know, William Rivers Pitt with Scott Ritter, Pamphlet Books, 2002
Short book with commentary by Pitt, who also wrote the provocatively titled The Greatest Sedition is Silence, and a long interview with Ritter, former head UN weapons inspector in Iraq until 1998.
War Talk, Arundhati Roy, South End Press, 2003
Several essays by Roy, who, put simply, kicks ass.
Weapons of Mass Deception -- The Uses of Propaganda in Bush's War on Iraq, Sheldon Rampton and John Stauber, Jeremy Tarcher/Penguin NY 2003
Lots of examples of the Republican PR machine in full gear. Details the various PR companies used by the administration, the Iraqi National Congress, and others. Another excellent exposé of PR, from the authors of Toxic Sludge is Good For You, and also Mad Cow, USA, which is available online for free on their site They also started another site called (formerly disinfopedia), on which are lots of war stories and other bits of information about various PR related activity.
Whiteout: the CIA, Drugs, and the Press, Alexander Cockburn and Jeffery St. Clair, Verso, 1998
An overview of CIA covert actions since its formation after World War II. It mentions a great deal, though I wish it went into more specific detail. Lists a lot of sources, though. You want conspiracies? They got conspiracies.
Whose Trade Organization-- Corporate Globalization and the Erosion of Democracy: An Assessment of the World Trade Organization, Lori Wallach and michelle Sforza, Public Citizen's Global Trade Watch,, 1999
Recounts the history of the WTO since ins formation in 1995, and goes over a majority of the cases heard by it by 2000, and how by and large the WTO's decisions suck. Quite and interesting read, though it gets pretty predictable by the end.