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Human Smoke by Nicholson Baker

Bookmobile: Human Smoke By Nicholson Baker

If you're browsing the bookstore this weekend, take a peek for this new one. It's called Human Smoke: The Beginnings of World War II: The End of Civilization. OK, I know it sounds heavy, but bear with! The book is set up in series of short anecdotes, newspapers clippings, and diary entries like this one that nabbed my attention pronto:

The Congresswoman Who Spoke Her Mind: Jeannette Rankin of Montana, the first woman to be elected to the House of Representatives, voted against declaring war on Germany. It was April 6, 1917 ..."‘I want to stand by my country,’ Rankin said. ‘But I cannot vote for war.’ … ‘I felt,’ she said later, ‘that the first time the first woman had a chance to say no to war she should say it.’”

Wow. That event was not captured in my US History class, at all. Now I'm excited to pick up the book. Baker is an acknowledged pacifist, so seeing the stories and artifacts he pulled together about a war that still remains pretty unblemished (by US standards anyway) stands to be wildly engrossing.

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