My reviewrating: 4 of 5 stars
The book describes a dystopia with a plague, where everyone who is infected is put into concentration camps. And unknown to the general population of the U.S., they are cremated en masse. The book describes a country where the country's passions where inflamed so that this was possible by a media whose purpose became, not to inform, but to reinforce their audience's beliefs.
It is a story of a father and son, who were separated because of prejudices inflamed by the media. There is a story about how the prejudices that were grown on the outside the camp they were in came with the infected on the inside.
The big question Tracy addresses is the purpose of arts. The protagonist created a media empire that only existed to inflame people's prejudices. The end of the book has the arts enabling the the prisoners of the camp to express who they are, almost the ideal of the arts as expressing what it means to be human, especially coming from the residents of the camp who have been given up for dead before they arrived in the camp.
The ending is disappointing, as you get the idea that the administration and party that inflamed the prejudices and created the camps was overthrown as society rebelled against the practices, but Hickman spent the last chapters discussing the maintenance of the records of the artistic creation of the camp. While there is action, the new characters do not deal with the knowledge of the prejudices that lead to the camps. I would have removed the action, which is almost besides the point.
The book does not seem to be in print any longer. I got it as a free audiobook from Podiobook.com (http://www.podiobooks.com/titl.... The music that introduces each chapter gets annoying, but I liked the delivery otherwise.
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