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Dude, Where's My Country?

Michael Moore. ISBN 0-713-99700-1. Price listed as £17.99, but available most places for £8.99.

This is a book you must read, for your enjoyment. Michael Moore's view of world affairs will be your own, so for you there will be nothing challenging in Dude, Where's My Country?. It is the sort of book you would write yourself if you had Moore's team of talented researchers checking the facts, and you were a genius in finding ways to present these awful facts about our present world in a forceful, though hilarious, way.

The main story Moore has to tell is America's war against Iraq, set in the broader landscape of malign U.S. foreign policy, and he writes with a specific purpose. Not to make money - though Dude Where's My Country? will undoubtedly do that - but to reach and influence a wide-enough audience of waverers and non-voters in his own country, so that the world will not have to suffer a second term of George W. Bush after the election of November this year.
Bush has given the rich a tax cut, and Michael Moore, after the huge success of Stupid White Men and Bowling For Columbine, is a very rich man. Moore has vowed to use every dollar of his Bush tax windfall to oppose Bush's re-election. Moore's dollars will no doubt be welcome in the campaign, but much more influential will be this hard-hitting, hilarious polemic. If you call Tom Paine's Common Sense a pamphlet, then this book is also a pamphlet, and may have as huge an influence on American public opinion at a critical time as Paine's had. In fact, the way Moore pursues an idea and throws light on dark problems in the clearest prose, reminds me of Paine. (Readers who know my great respect for Tom Paine will realise that it costs me to admit there could be a modern equivalent to Britain's greatest social reformer.)
Let's have a quote to give the flavour. 'Stop terrorising our own citizens with the Patriot Act. And while you're at it, read 1984 by George Orwell and stop naming things in ways that remind us of totalitarian dictators.'
The chapter on the real America, A Liberal Paradise, makes heartening reading for us pro-Americans who have been dismayed by Bush's America. Chapter 5 is headed How to Stop Terrorism? Stop Being Terrorists! As you might imagine, the book is full of the sort of dependable but shocking facts which make you wonder how Bush and his entourage have got away with it. Let's hope that readers hitherto ignorant of them will react appropriately when it comes to putting crosses on the ballot paper. Only one small complaint: In the analysis on Afghanistan, there was no mention of the Taliban's offer to give up Bin Laden for trial at an international court, an offer that was turned down by the U.S. in favour of dropping bombs on the entire country.
Well now, having finished this review, I am now going to give myself the pleasure of re-reading this book.