The Iron Heel is Relevant Today

An interesting book review (Game Change) from a favourite columnist of mine, Glenn Greenwald, but what particularly caught my eye was this—

“…Washington’s journalist class is poring over, studying, and analyzing its contents as though it is the Dead Sea Scrolls, lavishing praise on its authors as though they committed some profound act of journalism, and displaying a level of genuine fascination and giddiness that stands in stark contrast to the boredom and above-it-all indifference they project in those rare instances when forced to talk about anything that actually matters.” [italics, mine]

The Iron Heel Bookcover
Published 1908

—as it dovetails neatly with a book I am currently reading. The Iron Heel, written by Jack London and published first in 1908. I’ve not finished it yet, but can tell you a couple of things. It seems to be very pro-Marxist, pro-revolution, but whatever your political and economic bent, London provides a haunting picture of economic and political events that remain relevant today.

The Iron Heel is classified as science fiction, a frame story set far into the future, where the fictional author, Anthony Meredith, presents his comments about a recently found diary dating from the early 1900’s in the United States. The diary is copiously annotated with footnotes extending the reader’s knowledge of an ancient, tumultuous fictional history in the United States, as well as revealing something of life during the author’s lifetime, hinting that life in the future is very different, very Utopian from the one portrayed by the diary’s author, Avis Everhard.

I always enjoy stories like the Iron Heel. The events in the story are horrific, but the fact that somebody survives to tell the story suggests that life does, in fact, go on, and between the lines of text, implies that the future holds out for hope of better quality, more peace, less conflict and controversy. And, isn’t that what we are all striving for, during our own tumultuous times?

Here are the links again:
http://www.salon.com/news/opinion/glenn_greenwald/ ( entitled “Political reporting” means “royal court gossip” )
and
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Iron_Heel (if you want more info on London’s book)

Advertisements