Arundhati Roy is an Eastern sister to fellow novelist Barbara Kingsolver. They share a righteous indignation over the globalization of the world's economy in which poor people become pawns sacrificed in the economic chess game of the market. Roy is the recipient of the 2002 Lannan Foundation Prize for Cultural Freedom. In this collection of six political essays, the author laments the emergence of unbridled corporate globalization, the expansion of militarism in many countries, and the return of fascism in the form of religious and racial violence.

In her own country of India, Roy speaks out against the government for corruption in high places, the slaughter of Muslims in Gujarat, the use of nuclear brinksmanship against Pakistan, and the shabby treatment of the millions of displaced people in the country. She sees a definite link between many of these policies and the fear-based atmosphere created by President Bush in America and his War Against Terror. In all of these vituperative essays, Roy is critical of the uses of power by those who are in charge of policy. And she is appalled by the demonization of those who would challenge the reign of wealth, power, and privilege.

One of the best essays salutes Noam Chomsky for his ongoing writings about the hypocrisy and contradictions of U.S. government policy. She states:

"If I were to choose one of Noam Chomsky's major contributions to the world, it would be the fact that he has unmasked the ugly, manipulative, ruthless universe that exists behind that beautiful, sunny word 'freedom.' ....Chomsky shows us how phrases like 'free speech,' the 'free market,' and the 'free world,' have little, if anything, to do with freedom. He shows that, among the myriad freedoms claimed by the U.S. government are the freedom to murder, to annihilate, and dominate other people. The freedom to finance and sponsor despots and dictators across the world. The freedom to train, arm, and shelter terrorists. The freedom to topple democratically elected governments. The freedom to amass and use weapons of mass destruction — chemical, biological, and nuclear. The freedom to go to war against any country whose government it disagrees with. And, most terrible of all, the freedom to commit crimes against humanity in the name of 'justice,' in the name of 'righteousness,' in the name of 'freedom.' "

And just in case there are those who think that Roy overstates her case and comes across as insensitive, we direct your attention to an essay in which she laments that the media in our time never counts in its tally of the cost of war, the dead birds, fish, animals, insects, water sources, and vegetation. In this piece as well as in others, Roy is most critical of the arrogance of those who are only interested in market shares and triumph over the "evil doers." In the end, the author calls for an ongoing campaign against Empire in all of its invidious forms through creativity, prophetic criticism, and nonviolent protest.