Buda's Wagon: a brief history of the car bomb

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Mike Davis, Verso, £7.99

Although the very concept of this book may make some socialists flinch, Davis's book, now released in paperback, is actually a very good read. Some fascinating nuggets of history are unearthed.

For example, it was none other than Zionists in Palestine who first effectively utilised the car bomb as a weapon of urban warfare.

Davis avoids the many traps that such a book could fall into. This is not a hair-splittingly scientific look at the evolution of the bomb itself, nor does it just look at resistance groups such the Lebanese Hezbollah or the IRA and their use of the car bomb while subtly ignoring its use by more "respectable" outfits.

The CIA, white Algerian settlers and the British government all stand charged with the most barbaric use of car bombings. This is a political chronology of the development of car bombs from imperialist governments to urban guerrilla groups to the Mafia.

Davis argues that the weapon itself, described by some as the "poor man's air force", is not the issue, but the reasons for its use. This work is as much a history of oppression and imperialism as it is a study of the devastating uses of the car bomb.

Mike Davis's Buda's Wagon is a useful tool for activists fighting against the racist propaganda propping up the "war on terror" today.