Preface

Horror and fascination mingle as we watch old films of war. Rows of men, defaced and dehumanized by gas masks, charge out of the trenches to meet uncertain fate. The front of the LST lowers and battle-clad marines storm the beaches, leaping their fallen comrades in their rush to establish a critical beachhead. Soldiers aim their flamethrowers to incinerate the enemy concealed in the island caves. Kamikaze planes wing a straight and deadly path to the aircraft carrier's tower, while tracer bullets pave the lighted way. Children emerge from a napalmed village, their ragged clothes and brown bodies burned and charred. Gaunt faces atop emaciated bodies peer from behind barbed wire fences.

The tragedy is not all history; it is found daily in the papers. Bodies lie like cordwood rotting in the hot Guyana jungle, victims of religious brainwashing and utopian delusion. Blindfolded, arms pinioned behind their backs, men give a final lurch and then slump as bullets rip these enemies of the revolution. Thieves knock the elderly to the ground, grab the purse and run.

Horror and fascination mingle as we watch disasters unfold on the theater screen. Great earthquakes rock the metropolis, shaking buildings, while thousands, screaming, crowd the streets. Like a towering inferno a skyscraper is engulfed in a crescendo of fire, flames driving the occupants ever higher. Rows of triangular white teeth sparkle as a mechanical shark sweeps clean the beaches of New England.

But these Hollywood fantasies can scarcely approach

-ix-

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