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From the world's first car bomb in 1920 (actually a horse-drawn wagon, exploded by anarchist Mario Buda in downtown Manhattan), to those incessantly exploding in Iraq, Davis shows how these "quotidian workhorses of urban terrorism" are responsible for "producing the most significant mutations in city form and urban lifestyle." Whether the product of fringe militancy or "clandestine state terrorism," Davis shows, the car bomb has a limitless capacity to create and sustain fear (largely because of low cost and technological accessibility). Given the weapon's ubiquity in modern times, a "brief history" scarcely allows room for the numerous theaters of conflict within which the car bomb has evolved, including Northern Ireland, Beirut, Israel, the U.S. and Colombia, let alone much political background on, say, the Tamil Tigers' bombing campaign in Sri Lanka. At its best, this is a gripping supplementary history, full of surprising, often contrarian facts and voices behind some of the most spectacular acts of violence on record. Despite clearly populist sympathies, Davis steers away from romanticism, keeping tight focus on the indiscriminate violence inflicted upon innocents. Packed with horrific and heartrending details, the book goes beyond the statistics to portray the human and moral costs of this gruesome political lever. Photos. (Apr.)
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“Typical of Mike Davis, this extraordinary book is a brilliant antidote to official history, allowing us to understand how the weak have fought back, ingloriously, against the onslaught of the strong.”—John PilgerSee all Editorial Reviews
Davis provides a great insight into the history of the car bomb, so much so that this book leaves me feeling terrified as I read through it.Published on April 17, 2013 by Phil
"Some people have battleships; other people have car bombs.
It kind of evens out."
-heard on the street, Beirut, 1983
The car bomb today functions as... Read more
The title is catchy. Davis' prose is lively and pithy. This book
however, does not measure up to his earlier works such as "Prisoners
of the American Dream". Read more
Car bombs are an interesting topic, especially recently. But they have made headlines for almost the last hundred years. Read morePublished on June 23, 2007 by Seth J. Frantzman