Buda's Wagon: A Brief History of the Car Bomb

Buda's Wagon: A Brief History of the Car Bomb

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On a September day in 1920, an angry Italian anarchist named Mario Budaexploded a horse-drawn wagon filled with dynamite and iron scrap nearNew York’s Wall Street, killing 40 people. Since Buda’s prototype thecar bomb has evolved into a “poor man’s air force,” a generic weapon ofmass destruction that now craters cities from Bombay to Oklahoma City.

In this brilliant and disturbing history, Mike Davis traces itsworldwide use and development, in the process exposing the role ofstate intelligence agencies—particularly those of the United States,Israel, India, and Pakistan—in globalizing urban terrorist techniques.Davis argues that it is the incessant impact of car bombs, rather thanthe more apocalyptic threats of nuclear or bio-terrorism, that ischanging cities and urban lifestyles, as privileged centers of powerincreasingly surround themselves with “rings of steel” against a weaponthat nevertheless seems impossible to defeat.

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