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Power Politics (Second Edition) 2nd Edition

4.6 out of 5 stars 16 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0896086685
ISBN-10: 0896086682
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

This second nonfiction book from the author of the acclaimed novel The God of Small Things returns to the subject she first explored in The Cost of Living: what she sees as the iniquity of globalization and the dangers of privatization, particularly in dam construction. In this slim yet meandering volume of three essays, Roy also criticizes an American energy company and the Indian government for allowing big business to make money privatizing electricity in a country where hundreds of millions lack any electricity. Roy's activism against the construction of dams that displace hundreds of thousands, especially the poor and low-caste, earned her a contempt of court citation from India's Supreme Court. She includes here her response, "On the Writer's Freedom of Imagination," but little context or explanation is given to help readers situate it. Likewise, Roy's other two short essays, ostensibly about the role of the writer (or "writer-activist," as she puts it) in society, criticize development, trade and global finance. Although her passion and agitation on these issues is commendable, her writing lacks analysis, and her generalized outrage and hyperbole make much of her criticism wooden. She tends to switch between issues of trade and her fame, losing the reader. The three pieces seem thrown together haphazardly, with no editorial explanation of how they originated (all are available on the Web) or in what context.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Arundhati Roy wowed critics with her writing debut, The God of Small Things, which won the Booker Prize in 1998. She has also published several collections of essays The Cost of Living, Power Politics and most recently War Talk. Ms. Roy is an outspoken critic of India's nuclear weapons testing, controversial environmental issues and the US "war on terrorism".
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: South End Press; 2 edition (April 1, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0896086682
  • ISBN-13: 978-0896086685
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.4 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #597,027 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
In Power Politics, Arundhati Roy gives us a window onto India from which we can see international corporations, the judicial and political systems of India, and most poignantly, the human beings affected by these powers. In this depiction of the opposition of power and people, those of us who are sympathetic to people will have our eyes and our hearts opened by this amazing young writer's clear, polite emphatic voice, while those aligned with the power side may find a rationale to dismiss Ms. Roy's prose with the callousness of the Enron executive who authorized $13 million to 'educate' Indian politicians about the virtues of dams that would destroy the homes of millions and shackle the people to enormous long term debt in exchange for the capacity to produce energy at prices far beyond the people's capacity to pay. Of course, the implications of Power Politics go beyond the borders of India. Preferable to The Cost of Living which is also excellent.
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Format: Paperback
This is a series of lectures and essays, similar in direction and topic to "The Cost of Living." As someone who deeply enjoyed "The God of Small Things," and who was intrigued and excited by "The Cost of Living," I found that I agreed with much of what the author had to say here. However, I fear that she may lose some of her audience, or at least some of her credibility with that audience, because of her increasingly strident tone and deliberate subjectivity.
On the other hand, I'm sure that she doesn't care. In fact, a good portion of the essays are dedicated to her perception of the role of the writer in society, and she states in them her belief that she must say what she feels must be said. Because she is unafraid of alienating her audience-- much of which must have been surprised by the unpleasant realities of the nonfiction, after the dreamy, nearly magical-realist novel that introduced her to the world view-- and because she tries as much as possible to write and speak truth without regard for the consequences, I'll read anything that she writes.
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Arundhati Roy bristles at being called a "writer-activist" (too much like sofa-bed, she says), but the rest of us should be grateful that the author of "The God of Small Things" is taking on the establishment, here and in India.
Part of Mrs. Roy's greatness is that she is not colored by the partisan debates that influence the dialogue on issues such as globalization in America. She is an equal-opportunity critic, taking on Clinton and Bush. Although other authors pledge no allegiance to either side of the aisle, Roy has a fresh perspective, and has a take on globalization that I haven't found in works by American authors.
This book is set up as a collection (a rather random collection) of several essays. The first essay gives a wonderful perspective of globalization (ie. the expansion of American business interests) from a foreign perspective. She examines the impact of the global economic movement on the actual people being affected by it at the lowest level. She reveals the influence of the privatization of the electric industry through the eyes of India's poorest citizens.
The second essay goes in-depth into politics in India, primarily addressing the enormous number of dams being built in the country, and the impacts (economic, environmental, social) that they will have. Mrs. Roy explicitly recounts how Enron scammed the Indian government into building new power generators, and how this will cost India hundreds of millions per year while lining the pockets of American business interests.
Critics will say that "Power Politics" is devoid of hard facts and analysis, but there can be no doubt that this book is worth a read. She may lack the economic background of Stiglitz, but her passion and style, in addition to her ability to articulate the important issues in the globalization debate in a readable manner, will be appreciated by anyone with an interest in global economic expansion.
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Format: Paperback
As someone who is admittedly and shamefully, completely ignorant about the current socio-political situation in India, I was nevertheless nearly moved to tears at the heroism of how so many displaced villagers gathered up the courage to protest the outrages of being forced to abandon their homes due to pointless and environmentally-harmful "big dams"
I also felt great outrage over how unfairly Roy was being persecuted by her own government and courts for simply writing what she believes in. However, through her bravery, she never even contemplates leaving her country for greater personal (or economic)security but stays on to fight the good fight. Truly commendable person. And this is a powerful book surely not to be missed.
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Format: Paperback
Roy is a great author, and she commands her energy to making us aware that we really should evolve as a race. Her insights in the "Bush Regime" are scary, I did not know how terrorizing Rumsfeld/Cheney policies were. If you are consverative or liberal, this is a book to read. It is time we (Americans) really take back our terrible (double standard) foriegn policies which are now affecting us regular Americans.
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Arundhati Roy writes with a clear and direct voice on various issues the affect India as well as what the developed or first world ( insert USA, Europe, etc.) causes the balance of world when the first world takes any action, for good or bad towards others on our interconnected world.
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