An inadvertent re-read. I wanted to just look up a few tidbits from the book, but as with Annihiliation I ended up re-reading the entire thing. I think the trick of this book is that the political struggle before the war is very engaging, and so you are drawn in by that initial ~250 pages. Then, without even realizing it, you transition into reading about the military struggle of the war and before you know it, it is too late, and you are reading ~400 pages about troop positions at the second battle of Mansasses or something. Key take away from this read: It all seemed very familiar, like we are locked in some bad BattleStar Galactica writer's room. There's an 1830's version of Philandro Castille and his family, as well as an 1831 version, and so on, where each time you are just like "jesus". There's a large contingent of Americans who will practice any sort of oppression and violence, while thinking well of themselves for it, and when criticized in any way they for their violence they will respond as the aggrieved and injured party and threaten yet more violence. While thinking well of themselves. Phrased another way, these are Americans who have been only lightly dusted by the intellectual and moral achievements of the last 5000 years, leaving the thinnest patina of rationalization over what is effectively an orangutan-zombie, a creature lacking in any sort of interior life or moral life or intellectual life. Oh! Like the creatures from Blindsight, but with a beer-gut. As my favorite podcast says, "It's not good."
Oh and right and it turns that we've been trying to conquer Cuba for literally 200 years now. Maybe, as a country, it is time we gave that up? Like with Canada, we tried three times, and then we were like, "yeah, I guess you're ok mate." We should do that with Cuba too I think.