AMERICAN REPAIR MANUAL $15
POLITICAL REPAIR MANUAL
and on All Things Considered
Published by W.W. Norton,
New York & London.
"Smith's book is
a toolbox for hacking a corrupt system. It is also funny as hell
. . . There are butts that need kicking in this country. . .
Sam Smith is handing out the boots." -- Alex Steffen, The
Stranger, Seattle weekly
"Must read. . .
combines laughter and trenchant critique to a degree seldom seen"
-- John Rensenbrink, Green Horizons
"The Tom Paine of
the Nineties" -- Chuck Stone
journalist" -- Patrick Mazza, Cascadia Times
. . I recommend it highly" -- Michelle Laxalt, co-host of
"You'll be enlightened,
challenged, even entertained" -- Chuck Harder on the Talk
"Lucid . . . Keep
going, Sam" -- Mario Cuomo
needed" -- Roger Morris, author of Partners in Power
UTNE READER STAFF PICK
POWELL'S BOOKSTORE STAFF PICK
in a locked-down land
to Why Bother
Why Bother, in a wonderfully
engaging and erudite manner, addresses the great question confronting
democracy, community and justice -- and that is civic motivation.
Prepare to be motivated. Sam Smith is an antidote to mindless
speed reading. He makes you pause between paragraphs in order
to mull over the captivating morsels he is placing in your imagination.
- RALPH NADER
Sam Smith puts it to us
straight in these essays about finding meaning and hope - JAY
WALJASPER, UTNE READER
An American original. .
. He's got a big old cussed independent streak that keeps you
guessing and hence keeps you reading. - CRISPIN SARTWELL
The alienated young, the over-worked 30-something,
the free-thinking 40 year-old, the downsized 55-year-old worker,
the senior who society has put out to pasture are all part of
an America that finds itself a fugitive from the law of averages
-- the tens of millions who don't fit the media-driven stereotype
of a booming, contented country. Living in a culture that has
reduced their role to that of compliance and consumption, these
Americans increasingly react with anger, anxiety or apathy.
In this highly readable short book, journalist
and social critic Sam Smith takes on this crisis not as a political
issue but as a personal one: how does the individual survive
in such a place? Drawing from a wealth of sources and experience
ranging from philosophy and anthropology to the Internet and
rock zines, from Kierkegaard and Camus to Humphrey Bogart and
Rage Against the Machine, Smith confronts directly despair and
survival, approaches to personal rebellion, speaking truth to
power, suicide and false faith, the loss of democracy, and what
to do when nobody cares whether you do it or not.
This is no glib self-help book, but rather
a brutally honest exploration by someone who, as an alternative
journalist for more than three decades, has repeatedly been out
of step with his time and culture. Yet beneath the direct, honest
language is a love letter to the individual, freedom, and life
Smith writes: "Hectored, treated,
advised, instructed, and compelled at every turn, history's subjects
may falter, lose heart, courage, or sense of direction. The larger
society is then quick to blame, to translate survival systems
of the weak into pathologies, and to indict as neurotic clear
recognition of the human condition. The safest defense against
this is apathy, ignorance, or surrender. Adopt any of these strategies
-- don't care, don't know or don't do -- and you will, in all
likelihood, be considered normal. The only problem is that you
will miss out on much of your life."