Master your Minecraft
 
 

Special Offers see all

Enter to WIN a $100 Credit

Subscribe to PowellsBooks.news
for a chance to win.
Privacy Policy

Tour our stores


    Recently Viewed clear list


    What I'm Giving | December 1, 2014

    Edward O. Wilson: IMG Edward O. Wilson: What I'm Giving



    At Powell's, we feel the holidays are the perfect time to share our love of books with those close to us. For this special blog series, we reached... Continue »

    spacer

The Cost of Living (Modern Library)

by

The Cost of Living (Modern Library) Cover

 

 

Excerpt

May 1998. It'll go down in history books, provided of course we have history books to go down in. Provided, of course, we have a future. There's nothing new or original left to be said about nuclear weapons. There can be nothing more humiliating for a writer of fiction to have to do than restate a case that has, over the years, already been made by other people in other parts

of the world, and made passionately, eloquently, and knowledgeably.

I am prepared to grovel. To humiliate myself abjectly, because, in the circumstances, silence would be indefensible. So those of you who are willing: let's pick our parts, put on these discarded costumes, and speak our secondhand lines in this sad secondhand play. But let's not forget that the stakes we're playing for are huge. Our fatigue and our shame could mean the end of us. The end of our children and our children's children. Of everything we love. We have to reach within ourselves and find the strength to think. To fight.

Once again we are pitifully behind the times--not just scientifically and technologically (ignore the hollow claims), but more pertinently in our ability to grasp the true nature of nuclear weapons. Our Comprehension of the Horror Department is hopelessly obsolete. Here we are, all of us in India and in Pakistan, discussing the finer points of politics, and foreign policy, behaving for all the world as though our governments have just devised a newer, bigger bomb, a sort of immense hand grenade with which they will annihilate the enemy (each other) and protect us from all harm. How desperately we want to believe that. What wonderful, willing, well-behaved, gullible subjects we have turned out to be. The rest of humanity (yes, yes, I know, I know, but let's ignore them for the moment. They forfeited their votes a long time ago), the rest of the rest of humanity may not forgive us, but then the rest of the rest of humanity, depending on who fashions its views, may not know what a tired, dejected heartbroken people we are. Perhaps it doesn't realize how urgently we need a miracle. How deeply we yearn for magic.

If only, if only, nuclear war was just another kind of war. If only it was about the usual things--nations and territories, gods and histories. If only those of us who dread it are just worthless moral cowards who are not prepared to die in defense of our beliefs. If only nuclear war was the kind of war in which countries battle countries and men battle men. But it isn't. If there is a nuclear war, our foes will not be China or America or even each other. Our foe will be the earth herself. The very elements--the sky, the air, the land, the wind and water--will all turn against us. Their wrath will be terrible.

Our cities and forests, our fields and villages will burn for days. Rivers will turn to poison. The air will become fire. The wind will spread the flames. When everything there is to burn has burned and the fires die, smoke will rise and shut out the sun. The earth will be enveloped in darkness. There will be no day. Only interminable night. Temperatures will drop to far below freezing and nuclear winter will set in. Water will turn into toxic ice. Radioactive fallout will seep through the earth and contaminate groundwater. Most living things, animal and vegetable, fish and fowl, will die. Only rats and cockroaches will breed and multiply and compete with foraging, relict humans for what little food there is.

What shall we do then, those of us who are still alive? Burned and blind and bald and ill, carrying the cancerous carcasses of our children in our arms, where shall we go? What shall we eat? What shall we drink? What shall we breathe?

The head of the Health, Environment and Safety Group of the Bhabha Atomic Research Center in Bombay has a plan. He declared in an interview (The Pioneer, 24 April 1998) that India could survive nuclear war. His advice is that if there is a nuclear war, we take the same safety measures as the ones that scientists have recommended in the event of accidents at nuclear plants.

Take iodine pills, he suggests. And other steps such as remaining indoors, consuming only stored water and food and avoiding milk. Infants should be given powdered milk. "People in the danger zone should immediately go to the ground floor and if possible to the basement."

What do you do with these levels of lunacy? What do you do if you're trapped in an asylum and the doctors are all dangerously deranged?

Product Details

ISBN:
9780375756146
Preface:
Roy, Arundhati
Author:
Roy, Arundhati
Publisher:
Modern Library
Location:
New York :
Subject:
General
Subject:
Democracy
Subject:
Government (non-U.S.)
Subject:
Economic Conditions
Subject:
Water resources development
Subject:
Dams
Subject:
Irrigation
Subject:
Government - Comparative
Subject:
General Social Science
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Series:
Modern Library (Paperback)
Series Volume:
23
Publication Date:
19991012
Binding:
Paperback
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
Yes
Pages:
144
Dimensions:
8 x 5.15 x .34 in .255 lb

Other books you might like

  1. Water Wars: Drought, Flood, Folly... Used Hardcover $7.50
  2. Power Politics Used Trade Paper $5.95
  3. War Talk Used Trade Paper $1.95
  4. Ecopsychology Used Trade Paper $9.00
  5. Anil's Ghost Used Hardcover $2.50
  6. The Ralph Nader Reader Used Trade Paper $9.50

Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
History and Social Science » Asia » General
History and Social Science » Asia » India » Modern
History and Social Science » Politics » International Studies
History and Social Science » World History » India

The Cost of Living (Modern Library) Used Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$6.50 In Stock
Product details 144 pages Modern Library - English 9780375756146 Reviews:
"Review" by , "Arundhati Roy's polemic is necessary and important. She combines brilliant reportage with a passionate, no-holds-barred commentary on two great Indian betrayals masquerading as progress. I salute both her courage and her skill."
spacer
spacer
  • back to top

FOLLOW US ON...

     
Powell's City of Books is an independent bookstore in Portland, Oregon, that fills a whole city block with more than a million new, used, and out of print books. Shop those shelves — plus literally millions more books, DVDs, and gifts — here at Powells.com.