Saturday, July 22, 2006

Read a book, Read THIS book.

First, a quote from George Orwell that I cherish and find incredibly amusing and depressing:
If you want a picture of the future - just imagine a boot stamping on a human face forever.
Secondly, I've been thinking about books. Books that people should read. Books people should be REQUIRED to read for the betterment of themselves and society. Books people NEED to read, because without reading them, ignorance will flourish. So I've decided to start catalouging books that I've read that I think that the world would be a much, much better and longer-lasting place if everyone were magically requird to read said books.

The first book is A Problem from Hell: America and the Age of Genocide by Samantha Power. The book highlights the great and overlooked genocides and holocausts of the 20th century and discusses the how and why of American inaction in all of the incidents. It's tragic and telling and probably the most frustrating book I've read -- the book itself isn't frustrating, the truths it holds are frustrating. Power made me want to start a revolution, and I passed the book along to friends and coworkers because I wanted as many people as possible to read the book. If you want to talk genocide and Darfur or Rwanda, and you haven't read this book, then don't talk to me. The all-encompassing look at genocidal incidents and the world's action and inaction is telling, and it says a lot about our government and why it does the things it does. At the same time, Power uncovers a lot that probably 85 percent of the world population is ignorant of. This book won a Pulitzer and if you WANT to GET IT, and you DON'T ... if you THINK you understand genocide and ethnopolitical conflict and you haven't read this book, then do.

When I have more time later I intend on discussing whether Mein Kampf is a book that everyone should be -- one of those books that should be read purely for understanding. I was looking over a few lists of Must-Read Books and it hit a lot of them. I, myself, have never read Mein Kampf and I don't know that I'd feel comfortable doing so. But at the same time, how is one supposed to understand Hitler and the psyche behind the man who nearly wiped out an entire people while touting world domination? There have been few great madmen with the power he had, so how did he get it? What makes him tick? I'm curious. But curious enough to read his book? I don't know.