Without an understanding of our deep history, we cannot fathom our complicated present. Human beings have been roaming the earth for tens of thousands of years. We have to keep our past in mind if there’s any hope for the future.
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These places exist around the world, these “Pleasure Island” communities near current or former army installations: Bangkok, Tijuana, Saigon, Manila, Okinawa to name just a few, all with a parallel motif of booze, hookers and cheap souvenirs.
Some time in 2014 I picked this up at a yard sale. It was hard to resist, for a $1, with the day of the title coming up. Arthur C. Clarke, renowned science fiction writer, published this strange, heavy book in 1986, imagining this day in 2019 that would commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of the moon landing in 1969. It’s not, Clarke was adamant, an attempt at prophecy, but (as he said of his work generally), “An inquiry into the Limits of the Possible.”