Interesting read, Harry. Very few writers came back from The Spanish Civil War without understandingand denouncing—what they saw as political struggle. The question remains: Why do people die over conflicts that are political when they should be fought by politicians who initiate the conflicts in the first place? I’m in the middle of Margaret McMillan’s “The War That Ended Peace,” and we sadly learn that wars are practically unavoidable. Territorial interests, global presence, raw materials, state security all force political leaders to conclude that war forces decisions. How many decisions have governments failed to make? Been afraid to make? In the end, wars seem like the only alternative. Orwell understood this well and knew (as we see in Animal Farm) that personal interests of the 1% can force the rest of the population into servitude. Then come the wars, and the deaths, and the bravery, and the parades afterwards. When people spat on soldiers coming home from Vietnam, it should have been the sign of change. But now I wonder if war is unavoidable, and if people will see—as Orwell did—that we rely on people we shouldn’t, and believe people we shouldn’t, and follow the “four legs good, two legs bad” (think Trump), like this explains everything.

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I did a poor imitation of Don Draper for 40 years before writing my first novel. I'm currently in the final stages of a children's book. Lucky me.

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