Buda's Wagon: A Brief History of the Car Bomb

Overview

In this provocative history, Mike Davis traces the car bomb’s worldwide use and development, in the process exposing the role of state intelligence agencies—particularly those of the United States, Israel, India, and Pakistan—in globalizing urban terrorist techniques. Davis argues that it is the incessant impact of car bombs, rather than the more apocalyptic threats of nuclear or bio-terrorism, that is changing cities and urban lifestyles, as privileged centers of power increasingly surround themselves with ...
See more details below
Paperback
$15.27
BN.com price
(Save 9%)$16.95 List Price
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (49) from $1.99   
  • New (12) from $3.72   
  • Used (37) from $1.99   
Sending request ...

Overview

In this provocative history, Mike Davis traces the car bomb’s worldwide use and development, in the process exposing the role of state intelligence agencies—particularly those of the United States, Israel, India, and Pakistan—in globalizing urban terrorist techniques. Davis argues that it is the incessant impact of car bombs, rather than the more apocalyptic threats of nuclear or bio-terrorism, that is changing cities and urban lifestyles, as privileged centers of power increasingly surround themselves with ‘rings of steel’ against a weapon that nevertheless seems impossible to defeat.
Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Davis creates a fascinating genealogy that raises chilling questions about the future of terrorism.”—Atlantic Monthly

“Mike Davis, long-time chronicler of apocalyptic terror, has done it again: he has made me scared ... The brilliance of Davis’s story is undeniable.”—Times of London

“Mike Davis follows the evolution of the car bomb from the Balkans to Palestine, Vietnam, Northern Ireland, Lebanon and, of course, Iraq.”—New York Times

“Brilliantly terse ... Davis writes with icily suppressed fury.”—Guardian

Publishers Weekly

From the world's first car bomb in 1920 (actually a horse-drawn wagon, exploded by anarchist Mario Buda in downtown Manhattan), to those incessantly exploding in Iraq, Davis shows how these "quotidian workhorses of urban terrorism" are responsible for "producing the most significant mutations in city form and urban lifestyle." Whether the product of fringe militancy or "clandestine state terrorism," Davis shows, the car bomb has a limitless capacity to create and sustain fear (largely because of low cost and technological accessibility). Given the weapon's ubiquity in modern times, a "brief history" scarcely allows room for the numerous theaters of conflict within which the car bomb has evolved, including Northern Ireland, Beirut, Israel, the U.S. and Colombia, let alone much political background on, say, the Tamil Tigers' bombing campaign in Sri Lanka. At its best, this is a gripping supplementary history, full of surprising, often contrarian facts and voices behind some of the most spectacular acts of violence on record. Despite clearly populist sympathies, Davis steers away from romanticism, keeping tight focus on the indiscriminate violence inflicted upon innocents. Packed with horrific and heartrending details, the book goes beyond the statistics to portray the human and moral costs of this gruesome political lever. Photos. (Apr.)

Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Foreign Affairs
Mario Buda was an anarchist who blew up a wagon full of explosivesat the corner of Wall and Broad Streets, in New York City, in 1920. Forty people were killed and 200 injured. There was immediate panic and a declaration of national emergency -- a big impact for relatively little effort, even if capitalism survived. Davis is impressed by this disproportion of effect to effort. Car bombs are stealth weapons that are a cheap and operationally straightforward way of getting explosives to a target, and they make enough noise that they cannot be ignored. For these reasons, they are the ultimate in asymmetry. But if they empower the weak, they also tend to be indiscriminate -- so they particularly empower those who are not concerned about carnage. Davis has cataloged many car-bombing episodes, showing how they have been used by groups ranging from Hezbollah and the Vietcong to the Mafia, the Stern Gang, and even the CIA. With so many grim stories to tell in a brief book, the context of individual episodes is often sketchy, the underlying political analysis shallow, and the prognosis alarmist.
Library Journal

On September 16, 1920, an Italian anarchist named Mario Buda parked a horse-drawn wagon across the street from the J.P. Morgan & Co. building in New York. At noon, the explosives in the wagon ignited, killing 40 people and injuring more than 200. This event marked the first modern use of an inconspicuous vehicle to transport explosives to a target anonymously; as Davis (The Monster at Our Door: The Global Threat of Avian Flu) puts it, this was the prototype of the car bomb. Davis traces the use of the car bomb from the 1920s to the late 1940s, when Zionist guerrillas used the device against both the British and the Palestinians during the fighting leading up to the founding of Israel, and then continues through various international conflicts from Vietnam to Ireland to Iraq. He also presents the evolution of the explosives used in these bombs, from TNT to the ammonium nitrate and fuel oil mixtures used by the Irish Republican Army and convicted Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh. Davis's well-written and well-documented account joins a list of recent books on modern weapon systems, e.g., Larry Kahaner's AK-47: The Weapon That Changed the Face of War. Recommended for all libraries.
—Stephen L. Hupp

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781844672943
  • Publisher: Verso Books
  • Publication date: 9/1/2008
  • Pages: 224
  • Sales rank: 806,206
  • Product dimensions: 5.30 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Mike Davis is the author of several books including Planet of Slums, City of Quartz, Ecology of Fear, Late Victorian Holocausts, and Magical Urbanism. He was recently awarded a MacArthur Fellowship. He lives in Papa’aloa, Hawaii.
Read More Show Less

Table of Contents


Figures and Tables     ix
Wall Street 1920     1
Poor Man's Air Force     4
Preliminary Detonations     13
Oranges for Jaffa     18
Our Man in Saigon     28
Festivals de Plastique     32
Demon Seeds     38
Welcome to Bombsville     43
"The Black Stuff"     53
Laughing at the Dead     61
Hell's Kitchen     67
The Beirut Hilton     78
Car-Bomb University     90
The Suicide Tigers     97
Soft Targets     103
Los Coches Bomba     109
Cities under Siege     116
Form Follows Fear     130
Killing Bush, Bombing Oklahoma     139
Planet Jihad     156
The King of Iraq     170
The Gates of Hell     188
Notes     196
Index     221
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(0)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)