Friday, November 7, 2008

Books That Need Some Readin'

Some cool titles hot off the presses:
I read Kerouac's On the Road at a pretty pivotal time of my life. Freshly dumped and just beginning to understand higher education for the sham it is, I read Kerouac's seminal work and have felt that nomadic urge every day since. This new one, And the Hippos Were Boiled In Their Tanks, is a previously unpublished collaboration with Burroughs.
The Likes of Us: : Photography and the Farm Security Administration by Stu Cohen comes from one of my favorite publishers, David R. Godine. This guy remains old school and refuses to worry about anything but making good quality books. So many publishers seem to worry so much about cash flow that they seem to forget why they got in the business in the first place. I get hand written letters from David, rather than e-mails. I was surprised as hell to find that he had a website, in fact.

Here's the publisher's blurb:
In 2005, Deborah Nelson joined forces with military historian Nick Turse to investigate an extraordinary archive: the largest compilation of records on Vietnam-era war crimes ever to surface. The declassified Army papers were erroneously released and have since been pulled from public circulation. Few civilians have seen the documents. The files contain reports of more than 300 confirmed atrocities, and 500 other cases the Army either couldn’t prove or didn’t investigate. The archive has letters of complaint to generals and congressmen, as well as reports of Army interviews with hundreds of men who served. Far from being limited to a few bad actors or rogue units, atrocities occurred in every Army division that saw combat in Vietnam. Torture of detainees was routine; so was the random killing of farmers in fields and women and children in villages. Punishment for these acts was either nonexistent or absurdly light. In most cases, no one was prosecuted at all. In The War Behind Me Deborah Nelson goes beyond the documents and talks with many of those who were involved, both accusers and accused, to uncover their stories and learn how they deal with one of the most awful secrets of the Vietnam War.

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