Muslim-Jewish-Christian Alliance for 9/11 Truth
"The Important Thing is, Not to Stop Questioning" –
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by Seth Sandronsky of Sacramento
Iowa Terror Meet Jesus Iowa. He's a teen from Oaxaca whose family moves to a small Iowa town. Athlete and worker, Jesus leaves his home in the U.S. heartland after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the East Coast. That move partly heats up his community's fears and hopes in Iowa Terror (Seventh Street Press, 2007), Mike Palecek's latest novel.
His narrative voices both echo and skewer the White House of George W. (MD) Bush and the kind of patriotism it seeks to spread across the U.S. This is an ambitious and difficult approach. But Palecek pulls it off with his sharp ear for the everyday language of rural folks swept up in a political and reportorial culture of apparently endless war for liberty and security. In that respect, he reminds me a bit of U.S. author Joe Bageant, who has a finger on the working-class culture of some white folks who live in Virginia and West Virginia.
A former journalist for small Midwest newspapers, Palecek's grasp of character, place, and time impresses. In 15 concise and big format chapters, he sketches intriguing portraits of fictional Iowans as they hang laundry, judge sheep, and swim, ever keen to orange-coded security alerts to repel the official terrorists, the non-white Others who are out there threatening the American people.
Along the way, sympathetic images of the hunters and hunted emerge. In Palecek's story their dialogue flashes with unintended hilarity, then swoons with a heart-rending humility. One plot twist features the politics of North America's first inhabitants, generations removed from European invasion and dispossession. Who tells past and present tales of terror matters in the hands of the author, who has done prison time for being a war resister. He is no arm-chair observer of our times.
In my view, a key virtue of Palecek’s book is to give readers, notably youth, a fictional entry into critical thinking on peace and war. And to do this with little pedantry is no small feat in a nation fed a 24/7 capitalist storm of business and war claptrap. The vibrant color illustrations of four talented artists -- Russell Brutsche, Allison M. Healy, Benjamin Heine and Ian Ward -- illuminate Iowa Terror.
About the Author...
Mike Palecek was a peace prisoner, having served time in county jails and federal prisons for civil disobedience at Offutt Air Force Base during the 1980s.
During the 1990s he was a reporter for small-town newspapers in Nebraska, Iowa, Minnesota. The small newspaper Ruth and Mike owned in southeast Minnesota was named the Newspaper of the Year for 1994 by the Minnesota Newspaper Association.
In 2000 he was the Iowa Democratic Party nominee for the U.S. House of Representatives, Fifth District, receiving 67,500 votes (29%). Mr. Palecek Lives in Sheldon, Iowa with wife, Ruth, and two children. He works at a group home for disabled adults.
His website can be found at www.mikepalecek.com
What Other Nice People Have Said About Iowa Terror
"I’ve often wondered if Mark Twain were reincarnated, what would his treatment of our modern times look like? Thanks to Palecek, I now have the answer. Tall tales steeped with irony that showcase humanity’s inclination for hypocrisy…" (Read the entire review HERE.)
— Joe Crubaugh, Hard Boiled Dreams of the World
"Mike Palecek weaves the pressing issues of our day into an enchanting narrative with verve and wit. In haunting snippets from the mind of Donald Rumsfeld and in the well-informed ravings of the 'terrorist' about the spinelessness of the Democrats, the reader gets tantalizing glimpses of the new American reality behind the propagandistic sheen of post-9/11 Iowa. A highly enjoyable read."
— Christopher Pille, Founder, WeAreCHANGE Maryland
"... a gripping and disturbing tale of small town America in the post September 11th world. Palecek skillfully weaves elements of the official lie of 9-11 into a dark story of murder, mystery, propaganda, and the American 'homeland.' Iowa Terror is both entertaining and thought provoking; a must read. You won’t be able to put it down!"
— Michael Wolsey, Host, Visibility 9-11
"These are hard times for political fiction writers. How to compete with the wierdness of the daily news? Any reader who thinks that Mike Palecek's imagination puts him 'over the top' will be challenged by the reality check quotes through out his book from former Secretary of War Donald Rumsfeld and made to wonder whose view of reality can be more trusted. Certainly, Palecek's is the better vision for the future of America."
— Brian Terrell, Executive Director, Catholic Peace Ministry, Des Moines, Iowa
"With his usual clear and concise prose, Michael Palecek's Iowa Terror is a no-holds-barred look through the glasses of rural culture at an America infected and affected with a post-9/11 fever dream. Mike remains a rare (or rarely used) voice of conscience in the heart of an American heartland that too often errs by equating patriotism with conformity and dissent with disloyalty."
— Tim Gebhart, "A Progressive on the Prairie," Sioux Falls, South Dakota