[Marxism] William Vollmann's "Imperial"

jay rothermel jayrothermel at gmail.com
Tue Aug 23 21:50:31 MDT 2011

William Vollmann
free copy http://aaaaarg.org/text/25984/imperial

*An epic study of an emblematic American region by one of our most
celebrated writers*

It sprawls across a stinking artificial sea, across the deserts, date
groves, and labor camps of southeastern California, right across the Mexican
border. For generations of migrant workers, from Okies fleeing the Dust Bowl
of the 1930s to Mexican laborers today, Imperial County has held the promise
of paradise-and the reality of hell. It is a land beautiful and harsh,
enticing and deadly, rich in history and heartbreak. Across the border, the
desert is the same but there are different secrets. In *Imperial*,
award-winning writer William T. Vollmann takes us deep into the heart of
this haunted region, and by extension into the dark soul of American

Known for his penetrating meditations on poverty and violence, Vollmann has
spent ten years doggedly investigating every facet of this bi-national
locus, raiding archives, exploring polluted rivers, guarded factories, and
Chinese tunnels, talking with everyone from farmers to border patrolmen in
his search for the fading American dream and its Mexican equivalent. The
result is a majestic book that addresses current debates on immigration,
agribusiness, and corporate exploitation, issues that will define America's
identity in the twenty-first century.

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