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Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt

Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt

4.3 4
by Chris Hedges, Joe Sacco
Named a Best Book of the Year by Amazon.com and the Washington Post

Three years ago, Pulitzer Prize–winner Chris Hedges and award-winning cartoonist and journalist Joe Sacco set out to take a look at the sacrifice zones, those areas in America that have been offered up for exploitation in the name of profit, progress, and technological


Named a Best Book of the Year by Amazon.com and the Washington Post

Three years ago, Pulitzer Prize–winner Chris Hedges and award-winning cartoonist and journalist Joe Sacco set out to take a look at the sacrifice zones, those areas in America that have been offered up for exploitation in the name of profit, progress, and technological advancement. They wanted to show in words and drawings what life looks like in places where the marketplace rules without constraints, where human beings and the natural world are used and then discarded to maximize profit. Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt is the searing account of their travels.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt is a journey through contemporary American misery and what can be done to change the course, interpreted through the eyes of two of today's most relevant literary journalists…. The graphics illustrate what words alone cannot, capturing a past as it's told, where there's no longer anything left to photograph.”
Asbury Park Press

“[T]he radical disjunction between how Hedges and Sacco approach their subjects is fascinating and instructive. Hedges is at ease with the grand, sweeping Howard Zinn–moments of matchbook history…. And if sweeping, historical connect-the-dots is your cup of tea, then you will find Hedges deeply moving. But if, like Sacco, you distrust all history that does not have a face, a name, and a voice behind it, you will find more to call you to action in the voices that speak from the decimated landscapes of America's deepest poverty, which we (like Dickens's “telescopic philanthropists”) know even less well than we do the sufferings of peoples halfway around the world. Together, Sacco and Hedges might just have created a form that can speak across divides unbridgeable without the supplement of graphic narrative.”
—Public Books

“…a bleak, fist-shaking look at the effects of global capitalism in the United States.”
—Joe Gross, Austin American-Statesman

“Sacco's sections are uniformly brilliant. The tone is controlled, the writing smart, the narration neutral…. This is an important book.”
New York Times Book Review

“An unabashedly polemic, angry manifesto that is certain to open eyes, intensify outrage and incite argument about corporate greed…. Through immersion reportage and graphic narrative, the duo illuminate the human and environmental devastation in those communities, with the warning that no one is immune…. A call for a new American revolution, passionately proclaimed.”
Kirkus (Starred Review)

“[R]ead Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt to know what is happening in this country.”
—Caffeinated Muslim

“… a scorching look at communities burned out not by foreign bombs but by American capitalism.”
The Stranger (Seattle)

“When their narrative culminates in Zucotti Park, readers will feel just as outraged as the protesters portrayed on the page.”
—Barnes and Noble Review

“Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt examines how corruption and greed have shaped the history of the United States in an unfortunate way…. This is an excellent book for those who actually need a reason to revolt, and should be read by anyone seeking public office.”
—San Francisco/Sacramento Book Review

“Be prepared for an emotional experience without a happy ending. Be prepared to be defensive. Be prepared to be angry. Be prepared to be ashamed…. [T]he book is accompanied by sections that are a graphic novel approach to the individual stories of the real people interviewed in these zones of despair. What is so overpowering, and discussable, in these biographies is that they read as much like a confessional as they do a history…. Can there be anything more important to discuss?”
—Book Group Buzz, Booklist Online

“This is indeed an extraordinary, must read book.”

“[Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt] is, without question, the most profoundly disquieting (and downright shocking) portrait of modern America in recent years, and one that is essential reading for anyone wanting to comprehend the quotidian struggle of what sociologists called ‘the underclass'. To describe the book as Dickensian in its horror-show reports of frontline industrial decrepitude and socio-economic dysfunction is to engage in understatement… Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt is unapologetically combative and profoundly J'accuse. And though many a conservative think-tanker could try to punch holes in its arguments no one can remain unmoved or unsettled by its brilliantly documented reportage from the precipice of a society that prefers to turn a blind eye to its nightmarish underside.”
The Times (Saturday Review)

“[B]rilliant combination of prose and graphic comics."
—Ralph Nader

Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt (Nation) is as moving a portrait of poverty and as compelling a call to action as Michael Harrington's ‘The Other America,' published in 1962.”
Boston Globe

Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt is a gripping and thoroughly researched polemic.”

“This searing indictment of our unsustainable society is unsettling. To keep our chance for dignity, we must do our part to champion the organizers and whistleblowers, committee members and protesters. Amen. Pass the word.”
—Brooklyn Rail

"[H]arrowing descriptions…. Hedges tells the story, not only of the people but of the town, and despite the differences in setting, certain similarities show through: poverty, addiction, violence; but more than that, a long series of broken promises and mounting despair. Sacco illustrates these chapters with his distinctive, careful line drawings…. [A]n excellent piece of journalism -- engaging, troubling, and in its own way, beautiful.”

“As quixotic as the quest may seem, Days of Destruction brings the rhetoric and the reality into a nobler focus after a very disturbing tour.”
The Star-Ledger (New Jersey)

"It's rare that a book carries so much courage and conviction, forcing reflection and an urge to immediately rectify the problems."

“A powerful social and political exploration.”
—Midwest Book Review/California Bookwatch

“This is a book that should warm the hearts of political activists such as Naomi Klein or the nonagenerian Pete Seeger. And cause apoplexy among the Tea Party and its fellow travellers…. Sure, it's a polemic, but it's a polemic with a human face.”
Globe and Mail (Canada)

Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt is a harrowing account of the exploited American underclass…. It is their stories that shape Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt to be a mesmeric indictment of an America that has failed its populace…. From the title alone it is evident that neither Hedges nor Sacco remain objective or shy away from the palpable condemnation of capitalism and the American government. Regardless, they develop an accurate account of the despondency that plagues and divides American culture. This is an imperative read in an era where widespread economic depression and grief reign supreme…. Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt is powerful and remarkable, arguably one of the best publications of the year.”

“This is an important book.”
Winnipeg Free Press (Canada)

“It is a fascinating journey… This book hit me in the gut. It will move you to engage in battle.”
—Ed Garvey

Kirkus Reviews
An unabashedly polemic, angry manifesto that is certain to open eyes, intensify outrage and incite argument about corporate greed. In the proud populist tradition of Howard Zinn (whose A People's History of the United States provides a foundation for this book), a Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist and a renowned cartoonist combine their talents for an illumination of the American underbelly, as the exploitation of a perpetual (and growing) underclass makes the "sacrifice zones" of global capitalism seem like Dante's circles of hell. Truthdig columnist Hedges (Death of the Liberal Class, 2010) was a foreign correspondent for the New York Times and other newspapers, though he plainly feels that advocacy can come closer to the truth than what passes for journalistic objectivity. Sacco (Journalism, 2012, etc.) shared the American Book Award for Palestine (2002) and has subsequently earned considerable acclaim for his graphic narratives of war zones. Though the team has plenty of experience with international warfare, the war they document here is in America, where "[c]orporate capitalism will, quite literally, kill us, as it has killed Native Americans, African Americans trapped in our internal colonies in the inner cities, those left behind in the devastated coalfields, and those who live as serfs in our nation's produce fields." Through immersion reportage and graphic narrative, the duo illuminate the human and environmental devastation in those communities, with the warning that no one is immune. "The ruthless hunt for profit creates a world where everything and everyone is expendable…it has enriched a tiny global elite that has no loyalty to the nation-state," writes Hedges. "These corporations, if we use the language of patriotism, are traitors." While finding some surprising pockets of hope within communities that are otherwise steeped in despair, the pair reserve their concluding glimmer of optimism for the Occupy movement. Otherwise, they find no hope in politics as usual, depicting Democrats and Republicans as equally complicit in policies that benefit the few at the expense of the many. A call for a new American revolution, passionately proclaimed.

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Read an Excerpt


Larry Gibson was born on the mountain and spent his boyhood there.
There were once sixty families clustered around the mountain, along with a
small general store and a church. Gibson’s father was a coal miner who had his
leg shattered in 1956 in a mine collapse. The coal company did not pay any benefits.
The bills piled up. The family sold its furniture. The house was seized, and
for a few months Larry and his parents camped out under a willow tree. Gibson
remembers that as a young boy he came upon his father during this time, a man
who always seemed to him a tower of strength, sobbing.
The Gibsons—like the families of thousands of other coal miners, who in
the 1950s could no longer find work as the mines were mechanized and diesel
and oil replaced coal—were forced out of the mountains. They went to Cleveland,
where Larry’s father found work in a barrel factory. He later worked
for Ford. Gibson moved back to the mountain after he retired from General
Motors on disability.

By the time he returned as a middle-aged man, the land of his boyhood was
barely recognizable. His family’s five hundred acres had shrunk to fifty. Old
claims to mineral rights underground, many of them deeded by ancestors who
could not read or write, gave coal companies the ability to seize the land. The
spine of the Appalachian Mountains is being obliterated to gouge out the seams
of black coal. The constant, daily explosions at the edge of his property—which in
one typical week in West Virginia equals the cumulative power of the blast over
Hiroshima—rains showers of rocks down on his property. We walk among the
graves of his family cemetery on the crest of the hill. Coal operatives in the late
1980s stole more than one hundred and twenty headstones in an effort to erase
the face of the cemetery and open it up for mining. These vandalized grave sites
are now marked by simple wooden crosses. We stop at the grave for Larry’s
brother Billie, who died in 2004. His stone reads: “Back to the Mountains for
which you loved and eternal peace that had eluded you.”

Meet the Author

Chris Hedges is a Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist. He spent nearly two decades as a correspondent in Central America, the Middle East, Africa, and the Balkans, with fifteen years at the New York Times. He is the author of numerous bestselling books, including Empire of Illusion; Death of the Liberal Class; War is a Force that Gives Us Meaning; and Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt, which he co-wrote with Joe Sacco. He writes a weekly column for the online magazine Truthdig. He lives in Princeton, New Jersey.

Joe Sacco is a Maltese citizen currently residing in Portland, Oregon. Sacco received his B.A. in journalism at the University of Oregon in 1981. Sacco has gained widespread praise for the depth of his research, the sensitivity of his handling of a delicate subject, as well as for the craft exhibited in his dynamic, sophisticated layouts and bold narrative. In 2001, Sacco received a Guggenheim Fellowship to help pursue his work. Sacco's work about the southern Gaza Strip called Footnotes in Gaza, received the Ridenhour Book Prize in March 2010.

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Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
As always, Chris Hedges is on top of his game. Must read for everyone.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I've only just started the book, so I won't comment on the content. I just want to issue a gripe about the nook version. The font is too small and can't be altered. And the feature to change the background color (Day, Night, etc.) is not present--something that I normal like to use. So thumbs down to the Nook version.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Hedges adds historical fact and impregnates it in a poetic way.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago