Jonathan Raban is a writer I’ve always found worth reading. His book Bad Land was a beautiful telling of the history of eastern Montana. Passage to Juneau parallels his solo sailing trip from Seattle to Juneau, with the ‘discovery’ of the Inside Passge by Captain Vancouver in the late 18th Century and the breakup of his marriage.
His latest book is My Holy War: Dispatches from the Home Front.
He describes this insightful caricature of contemporary America:
“It’s as if America, since September 11, has been reconstituted as a colonial New England village: walled in behind a stockade to keep out Indians (who were seen as in thrall to the devil); centred on its meeting house in whose elevated pulpit stands Bush, the plain-spun preacher, a figure of nearly totalitarian authority in the community of saints. The brave young men of the village are out in the wilderness, doing the Lord’s work, fighting wicked spirits who would otherwise be inside the stockade burning down the Main Street and the meeting house. That, at least, is how the presidential handlers have tried to paint things.”
Every village needs an idiot. Any takers?