Reading to Get Your Blood Boiling on Cold Winter Nights!
by Alexis Harwood

While these books may not be ones you typically want to curl up with during the winter months, they are a few suggested titles to help break the winter lull and educate yourself at the same time.

The Shock Doctrine
Naomi Klein
(Canadian journalist, author and activist; also author of No Logo)

In The Shock Doctrine, Naomi Klein details what she sees as the United States government’s unsaid policy of destroying economies and rebuilding them in its mold of free market capitalism, adding wealth to the corporations that support politicians. She provides examples of this disaster capitalism, including the destruction and rebuilding of economies in Pinochet’s Chile, Bolivia after its hyperinflation of the 1980s, Poland, Russia, Argentina and South Africa, plus the war in Iraq. She also shows how the same politicians serving corporate interests take advantage of natural disasters such as Hurricane Katrina and the Indian Ocean tsunami, slowing reconstruction so the profiteers can rebuild the cities and resorts to benefit themselves.

Imperial Life in the Emerald City: Inside Iraq’s Green Zone
Rajiv Chandrasekaran
(Former Washington Post Baghdad bureau chief)

Imperial Life in the Emerald City is a no holds barred telling of day-to-day life in Baghdad’s Green Zone, the “Fortress of Solitude,” decorated with landscaped shrubbery, private villas, shopping malls, discos, bars and bright blue swimming pools, that serves as the command headquarters for the brutal US occupation of Iraq. The book paints a sickening, yet darkly comical portrait of a fantasy world where the daily revisions on the war in Iraq were put into production by Paul Bremer (the man George W. Bush appointed as administrator for reconstruction in Iraq from 2003-2004). Chandrasekaran depicts how Bremer “reconstructs” Iraq, well equipped with a team of heady politicians and officials, who, instead of restoring needed electricity and rebuilding gutted schools, concern themselves with instituting an Iraqi flat tax, selling off local government assets and ending food rationing for hungry Iraqi citizens whose lives have been shattered by war.

Hold Everything Dear
John Berger
(Art critic, novelist, painter,  and filmmaker)

John Berger, among his many talents and skills, is also a deeply thoughtful political activist. In Hold Everything Dear, his artistry and activism convene in an attempt to make sense of the world as we have come to know it post-9/11.

Berger analyzes the nature of terrorism and the profound despair that gives rise to it. He writes about the homelessness of millions across the globe who have been forced by poverty and war into lives as refugees. He discusses Afghanistan, Iraq, Palestine, Serbia, Bosnia, China, Indonesia – any place the power of corporations, the military or paramilitary elements is being exercised, depriving ordinary citizens of autonomy, healthy livelihoods or the most basic of freedoms. Both lucid and bold, Hold Everything Dear fully acknowledges the depth of suffering occurring around the world and suggests ideas and action that might finally help bring it to an end.

Alexis is the owner of 2nd Story Bookstore in Syracuse, an independent bookstore that opened in 2006. Now featuring a café, its inventory is constantly changing and expanding (see ad above).