Player Piano by Kurt Vonnegut

Rated by John Mark E.
Aug 21, 2012

Player Piano was Kurt Vonnegut's first novel, and it's a far cry from his later work, which made lavish use of humor -- including broad humor -- and unconventional narrative, including the crude drawings Vonnegut did himself for Breakfast of Champions.

The target of Vonnegut's displeasure -- and, thankfully for us, he was always displeased about something -- in Player Piano is the corporate/technological power structure, or what Eisenhower referred to as the "military-industrial complex." For the most part, the novel is very straightforward, compared with KV's other works. The style is more

Ill Fares the Land by Tony Judt

Rated by Scott V.
Aug 31, 2010

illfarestheland.jpegBritish Historian Tony Judt has written a brilliant polemic on the way we view government.  Judt’s Ill Fares the Land challenges the following notions on government: (1) government exists to aid us in getting richer, (2) public services can only be quantified by their economic value and therefore would be more efficient privatized, and (3) a free market is even possible without government regulation.  Peppered with historical examples from the late 19th century, the rise of fascism in the early 20th century, postwar-Europe, FDR’s New Deal, and LBJ’s Great Society, Judt documents how a shift