Throughout the late 20th century and into the closing decade of the new millennium, the US economy went through a series of what economist Hyman Minsky referred to as "booms and busts." But what about the myriad regions in the United States that have experienced nothing but busts for the better part of a half a century? In their unflinchingly honest book Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt (Nation Books, 2012), Chris Hedges and Joe Sacco explore America's sacrifice zones, those areas that have been offered up for exploitation in the name of profit and progress. They demonstrate what life looks like in places where the marketplace rules without restrictions, where human beings and nature serve simply as a means to maximize profit.
Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt is popping up on bestsellers lists across the country. As of August 12, the book had reached #8 on the New York Times bestseller list and #7 on the San Francisco Chronicle bestseller list. Hedges' powerful reporting and Sacco's searing illustrations are garnering attention from political analysts and graphic novel fans alike.
According to the New York Times Book Review, "Sacco's sections are uniformly brilliant. The tone is controlled, the writing smart, the narration neutral…. This is an important book."
…Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt… can stand as an updated version of James Agee and Walker Evans' Let Us Now Praise Famous Men…Hedges and Sacco are at pains to emphasize that the places they have portrayed aren't anomalies or outliers, but possible previews, cautionary tales of where current trends will soon lead everywhere if unchecked. Thankfully the book doesn't end on a note of complete despair. Measured despair, yes, but not complete. A final chapter covering Occupy Wall Street offers the suggestion of a way out of the end-game shown so powerfully in the rest of the book. It's just possible, Hedges and Sacco suggest, that one day we'll look back on Occupy as the thin end of the wedge, the spur to what became a full-scale revolution.