by David Boyle
"Some might regard this book as an act of literary masochism. In the spring of 2001, I attempted to place an ad in college newspapers opposing the idea of paying reparations for slavery . . . (b)ut when my ad appeared on college campuses, the reactions were volcanic and the attacks on me were savage." With this opening passage of Uncivil Wars, author David Horowitz has taken the obvious trouble to position himself as a martyr; whether he is truly a martyr or not is another question.
Uncivil Wars relates the story, from the point of view of Horowitz, of his placing in campus newspapers an advertisement opposing payment of reparations, whether by the United States government or by anyone else, to African Americans for the slavery that their ancestors endured in this country and in the colonies which existed before the Declaration of Independence n 1776. The title of the book refers to the rancor and debate which surrounded the publication of the advertisement, including massive public criticism of Horowitz, and actions such as those of university students who destroyed, en masse, copies of the newspapers containing the advertisement. In an ironic fashion which counter poses "uncivil" to "civil," the title also refers to the American Civil War which led to the freeing of the slaves--though the war did not lead to the restitution which could or should have been theirs, or their descendants,' for the slaves' hundreds of years of unpaid or badly paid labor.