The Ongoing War

Nevil Shute is one of my favorite authors.  I’ve reread his books more than once.  Except for his most famous book “On the Beach.”  Many people think that that book, and the subsequent movie, are why we haven’t destroyed ourselves with a nuclear war.  I don’t read it because the ending is painful.  Because I’m vulnerable to depression, I need to read books with happy endings, but they also have to be well-written and meaningful for me to read them again.  My brother Jesse recommended “Trustee from the Toolroom,” and it’s a really great story. Recently I was reading “Pied Piper” again. It’s about World War II.  The story is of an elderly man crossing France while the Germans are taking over, and trying to get back to England.  During the time I was reading it, every time I put the book down, I felt that there was still a war going on.  And there is a war going on, the war of the super-rich against women, people of color, children, old people, and anyone who’s disabled or poor.  It’s also a war on the environment.  One of Nevil Shute’s themes is the reconciliation of opposites.  I’m hoping we humans all over the planet can pull this off before we destroy — not the planet, but the part of the living life-support system that we depend on.

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