by Kent Winslow
Category: Fiction / Politics
0 pages; ISBN: 0000000000
Rating: 9/10 (Ratings explained)
Reviewer: Paul Lappen
This novel is the tale of a lifetime of abuse that begins and ends with terrorization by the police.
As a child, Kent, the narrator, is dragged around the country by his father, a screaming psychotic who is also an itinerant radio announcer. Kent doesn't stay in one place, or school, for very long, because his father keeps getting fired. After several years of this, the father decides to stay in a town called Mormonville and start his own station. Kent gets to see organized religion, expecially Mormonism, first hand while he is forced to work at the station, every day, until he is able to escape into a local college. He does not like what he sees.
College is a place where the teachers are snitches for the military (this is during the Vietnam War). At least in math and science class, there are provable right and wrong answers (2+2=4, and nothing else). On the other hand, in classes like English and Psychology, it seems like the right answer is whatever the teacher says it is. The school is full of people who are taught, or indoctrinated, to believe whatever authority figures tell them to believe. Therefore, if war protesters are anti-American commie agitators, then, by god, that is what they are. He barely survives ROTC (a required course where nothing is more important than keeping the uniform free of even microscopic traces of dirt and making sure that all parts of the uniform are in mathematically precise alignment with all other parts). Kent also has run-ins with people who take their small bit of authority much too seriously.
Kent and several friends are arrested on trumped-up charges, and reluctantly let go several months later when the judicial farce (aided by the local newspaper) temporarily goes off the track. He is married for a while, until his wife announces that she is gay. Kent barely survives by publishing an anarchist zine, until the government bars its circulation, while most of his friends have joined The State. A new, hick landlord, who speaks barely intelligible English, triples his rent. One of the few decent people he has met is beaten to death by the police, while in police custody. In short, Kent lives in a world that seems to have lost its collective mind.
The other important thing about this book is that it intentionally does not have an ISBN (International Standard Book Number), on every other published book. A person might wonder what the big deal is about ISBNs. To the author, forcing a book to have a standard number is akin to making people have numbers. Presently, ther is no law forcing books to have ISBNs, but such a law is coming at some point.
Getting an ISBN for a book is not automatic; it has to be bought for several hundred dollars (it used to be free). Perhaps the day will come when the people who issue ISBNs will start refusing them for certain publications, or charging a selective, and very high, price for them. Without an ISBN, there is no chance of a book being bought by libraries, or picked up by the major distributors. The author feels that having an ISBN is another form of social control, and he won't be a part of it.
This book easily rates a Wow! For anyone who wonders how a person becomes an anarchist, this book gives a very good answer. It will not be found at the local mall chain store because of its lack of an ISBN. Even if it had an ISBN, it would still be vfery hard to find; read it and you will see why. Therefore, send a letter asking about the price to Fred Woodworth, The Match!, P.O. Box 3012, Tucson, AZ 85702 USA. Do it today. It is time, and money, very well spent.