November 9, 2012 7:32 pm

Impassioned and provocative

An undertow of principle fires this warm and funny collection

Here Comes Trouble: The Making of an American Agitator, by Michael Moore, Penguin, RRP£9.99, 427 pages

 

When his film Bowling for Columbine won the 2003 Oscar for Best Documentary, Moore used his acceptance speech to attack president George W Bush’s “illegal, immoral, stupid invasion” of Iraq. The first essay in his episodic memoir Here Comes Trouble records the years of death threats, intimidation and vilification that followed. Yet rather than cowing him, they hardened him in his convictions.

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Moore had form. At 17, his speech against the private-member Elks club’s segregationist practices in his native Michigan made Walter Cronkite’s national news, and at 18 he was elected to the local school board on a mandate of removing an abusive principal.

The essays here are impassioned and provocative while still managing to be warm and funny. Even when tackling lighter subjects, there remains an undertow of principle that fires this collection combined with a humanity that should resonate across political boundaries.

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