Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Quick Book Reviews: "Wilder Shores of Marx" / "Back to Blood"

4/5 - The Wilder Shores of Marx: Journeys in a Vanishing World. I've become a fan of Theodore Dalrymple after reading this and Life at the Bottom: The Worldview That Makes the Underclass. Fantastic quote from Wilder Shores,

"I came to the conclusion that the purpose of communist propaganda was not to persuade or convince, not to inform, but to humiliate; and therefore, the less it corresponded to reality the better. When people are forced to remain silent when they are being told the most obvious lies, or even worse when they are forced to repeat the lies themselves, they lose once and for all their sense of probity. To assent to obvious lies some small way to become evil oneself. One's standing to resist anything is thus eroded, and even destroyed. A society of emasculated liars is easy to control. I think if you examine political correctness, it has the same effect and is intended to."
He visited North Korea, Albania (the nutty Enver Hoxha), Romania (the evil Nicolae Ceaușescu), Vietnam, and Cuba. Another quote from one of his essays, "Le Corbusier was to architecture what Pol Pot was to social reform."

3/5 - The new Tom Wolfe novel Back to Blood. On par with the quality of his recent work (entertaining but not timeless like Bonfire of the Vanities), but very satisfying how much it upsets the left-wing critics. You can (and should) read it on a three hour airplane flight.