Troop 142 was recently translated into Spanish by Ediciones La Cúpula. Fantastic Plastic Mag, a Spanish publication, asked me to recommend three books I’ve read recently for a Book Club series they have been running. The link is here.
For those of you who can’t read Spanish, or don’t enjoy reading the Google translation, here’s my original text:
Europeans might have noticed how heated US partisan politics are. Intense, intractable partisanship in the national conversation is something Americans have learned to live with; at least in how our media portrays it. In real life, most people aren’t the fire-breathing extremists we see on television, and people on both the Right and Left are coming at their World View from a sincere place. I’ve always leaned Left, but have been interested lately in reading books that write about Conservatism in an intellectually honest way. I am less interested in seeing The Right as The Other, and more interested in understanding that World View. These are three books that have shaped my perception heavily.
There Is No Alternative: Why Margaret Thatcher Matters, by Claire Berlinski. I am not sure what the common Spanish opinion of Margaret Thatcher is, but in the UK I know she’s polarizing. I think it’s important to understand that Thatcher came to power because of the state of the Left Wing in the 1970’s. Endless strikes and a dysfunctional society turned the population away from Labour, and to their only alternative. What is interesting about Thatcher is how hard-line and energetic she was in implementing her policies, radically remaking the country in a very short period of time. How We Got Here: The 70’s: The Decade That Brought You Modern Life – For Better Or Worse, by David Frum. The conventional wisdom in America is that the tumultuous 1960’s were the decade that changed the social fabric of the country. Frum argues that it was the conflicts and convulsions of the 1970’s that transformed the USA in ways that are more relevant to our modern era. Similarly to the Thatcher book, he convincingly shows how the American Left Wing lost its way, and made way for the rise of Reagan. This book was published in 2000, but is still a fascinating assessment of America. Culture of Complaint, by Robert Hughes. This book is even older, published in 1993. I was inspired to read it after re-watching the excellent Crumb documentary. Hughes has both Left and Right wing leanings, depending on the topic at hand, which is exactly how normal people are. The book focuses a lot on pop-culture, and the world of Fine Arts, and is also an interesting time-capsule of the “Politically Correct” nineties.
In terms of American comics I’d recommend; Hicksville by Dylan Horrocks, Berlin Books I & II by Jason Lutes, and My New York Diary by Julie Doucet are all perennial favorites of mine.