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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Brilliant Satirical Invention in which Prejudice and Manipulation Are Revealed to Their Naked Roots, March 31 2012
This review is from: The Prague Cemetery (Hardcover)
"If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you." -- John 15:18 (NKJV)

At first, I thought I must be reading a book written by a reincarnated Voltaire who had majored in 19th century European history. As someone who did major in 19th century European history in college, I was fascinated to see how many real historical threads masterful novelist Umberto Eco tied together to one fictional character. In his cupidity, antihero Simone Simonini is a perfect reflection of the world he describes in terms of cynically fanning the flames of hate to advance some momentary interest or another. The opening pages are simply stunning in terms of their self-indictment of how little prejudice is usually based on.

From there, I'm sure you'll enjoy reading how many forged documents and "informational" campaigns were based on obscure novels that had been forgotten by many people. I almost fell out of my chair laughing in places while being reminded how many such deceptions were taken from the very same sources.

This book is so rich in history, perspective, and psychology that it could easily become the subject for a doctoral dissertation. I don't remember another modern novel with nearly this much intellectual content . . . put together in such an entertaining way. I agree that it's destined to be considered a masterpiece.

I hope that many young readers will have opportunities to read and to discuss its content in class. Such an investigation will help inoculate them against much of the cynical posturing that today's politicians and opinion makers engage in . . . for their own benefit and for the harm of most everyone else. In that sense, the book will seem at some levels as if it were also describing the 21st century.

Just marvelous! Don't miss it!
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Donald Mitchell

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