Addicted to War: by Joel Andreas, 69 pgs. By Sean Carswell

I kept seeing this book at anti-war protests and on the campus of the school where I teach, and there was even a billboard on Sunset Blvd. advertising this book, so I requested a copy from AK Press, just to see what all the buzz was about. Well, the buzz is about a pretty fucking good book. It’s only 69 pages, but the book is 8 ½ x 11 inches, and it’s full of information. It reads like a sort of Cliff’s Notes for anyone who doesn’t feel like wading through a Noam Chomsky book, or who doesn’t want to tackle all 634 pages of A People’s History of the United States. Addicted to War is written in a very direct way and illustrated with some simple (but very well done) comics. The book covers the history of US militarism, from US expansionism across North America all the way up to the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. It includes details and statistics about the US wars or military actions with various Native American tribes, with Mexico (the war in which the US snagged New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, Utah, and California, and parts of Colorado and Wyoming, from Mexico), with Spain, with the Philippines, with Hawaii, and so on. All of this history includes the rhetoric surrounding these wars, which is interesting. When you see the reasons for various wars lined up in a row, it becomes clear how bizarre and unconvincing war rhetoric is. The next chapter explains the Cold War and how, after World War II, the US economy became based upon the escalation of weapons and war. The next chapter deals with the first Bush administration, and his wars with Panama and Iraq. Apparently, these first three chapters make up what amounted to the first pressing of this book. It was originally published in 1992, and these chapters alone would make an interesting book. Addicted to War has been updated after the Sept. 11th attack and the beginning of the war on Afghanistan, though, so it takes militarism pretty much up-to-date. I know that, in this day and age of the US picking a war with any country it can find to bomb, keeping this book really up-do-date would be a full time job. Still, Andreas does a great job of demonstrating how and why war works, who profits from it, who pays for it, and why our culture is permeated by it. And probably the best thing about this book is that, while it’s well-researched and intelligent, it’s really easy to read. You could hand this book to any high school student or slack-jawed yokel and give him a quick education on the foreign policy that the mass media never discusses. Also, Addicted to War is exactly the kind of book that you want to buy multiple copies of and hand around to everyone. Highly recommended. – Sean Carswell (AK Press, 674-A 23rd St., Oakland, CA 946120)