Books: Sorry Is the Hardest Word; Sorry Everybody: An Apology to the World for the Re-Election of George W. Bush by WWW.Sorryeverybody.Com, Hylas Publishing, Pounds 8.99

Article excerpt

Byline: Reviewed by Jo Ind

The concept of this book could not be simpler. It is a collection of more than 1,000 bog-standard snapshots of ordinary US citizens holding up notices apologising for the reelection of George W. Bush.

That might not sound like the most promising subject for a coffee table publication, but it works. Sorry Everybody is entertaining, enticingly flick-throughable and surprisingly moving at the same time.

There they are: a soldier, a mother, a tree-hugger, a cowboy, California teachers and Nobel prize winners, all apologising for last year's re-election of George W.Bush as President of the US.

The reasons they are sorry are not given, but it has something to do with him waging a war in Iraq and killing tens of thousands of Iraqi civilians in the process.

As the cartoonist and columnist Ted Rall says in his introduction: 'The United States had been attacked by 19 Saudis and Egyptians who were mostly trained in Pakistan and were recruited by a group in Egypt that was financed by Saudi Arabia and Pakistan.

'So what does the Great Avenger do? He invades Afghanistan and Iraq, which had little and nothing to do with 9/11 respectively.'

The Americans all have different ways of apologising.

Twowomen lie corpse-like beside a gravestone on which is pinned the notice: 'Died of shame. Sorry everybody. Orange County, NC was blue.'

Dennis in Texas is photographed with a paper bag over his head bearing the words: 'I am ashamed.'

There is a lightness to the subject matter and yet the full effect of all those apologies typed, scrawled andetched into a pumpkin is powerful. The sadness beneath the levity will resonate with any who shared the disbelief that anyone could support George Bush, who was inaugurated earlier this week, let alone 51 per cent of US citizens. …