Review

Addicted to War
By Joel Andreas
AK Press
Softcover, 64 pp., $8

Joel Andreas has given us a valuable tool titled “Addicted To War.” This cartoon-illustrated primer depicts the ruthless history of the United States’ ruling class and its imperialist ambitions from the “Manifest Destiny” doctrine to the events shortly after Sept. 11.

With this large-format, colorful book, we can begin to fill in the gaps left by standard American history textbooks. This is not the glowing timeline of heroic exploration and battles with the enemies of freedom and democracy most are familiar with. Here, we learn how the capitalist interests twisted public sentiment and patriotism to suit their growing desire for resources. Corporate interests are shown again and again as the impetus for bloody battles around the world where America’s youth die and the poor receive no benefit.

“Addicted To War” is currently in use by hundreds of colleges and schools as a textbook, which is a testament to how well-researched this book is. Andreas, an assistant professor of sociology at Johns Hopkins University, doesn’t just relate his opinions, but carefully documents each fact and quote. The book is thus a skillful combination of research and artistry.

Andreas’ drawing style is clean and simple, which is perfect for this type of book. Hard to classify, this isn’t really a comic book or a graphic novel. This is more in the “factoid” style that anyone familiar with the great Mexican cartoonist, Ruis (Eduardo del Rio), would recognize.

Originally published in 1992 shortly after the first Gulf War, in a limited press run, “Addicted To War” was republished in 2002 by Frank Dorrel and AK Press. Since then, over 100,000 copies have been distributed. Over 70,000 have been distributed in Japan in a new Japanese-language edition. The book is also available in India in English and Korea. Soon there will be Spanish, French, German and Thai editions. A new English edition is set to be released this year.

“Addicted To War” should be on everyone’s must-have book list and should be made available anywhere rallies are held. It is sure to incite debate and even arguments with those who refuse to acknowledge the hidden truths revealed here. Luckily, it is readily available through most online booksellers or directly from AK Press (www.akpress.org) and Frank Dorrel (www.addictedtowar.com.).

The author can be reached at pww@pww.org.

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