BOOK REVIEW: Robert Fisk's <I>The Great War for Civilisation</I>
- Written by Jack Kus
The New York Times Book Review put its review of Robert Fisk's new 1107-page (1384-page in the British edition) anti-imperialist history of Western imperialism in the Middle East on the cover review Sunday, but it couldn't bring itself to allow the use of the word "imperialism." -- Come to think of it, the words "oil" and "petroleum" don't appear there, either. -- The review, by author Geoffrey Wheatcroft, is a strange piece of work. -- Its opening gambit, if you can believe it, is that things are going so well right now here on Planet Earth that we have "good reasons for being cheerful when we look around the world today." -- But there's "just one" exception "that gives grounds for the deepest gloom": the Middle East. -- There, in Wheatcroft's opinion, we're at risk because of "a historically immense, pathological crisis whose character we only partly understand, although we can perceive easily enough that what is already perilous may turn catastrophic, and could yet engulf us all." -- That's right: poor North America and poor America risk being "engulfed" by a Middle Eastern "crisis." -- One can only marvel: this is psychological projection on a truly global scale. -- Wheatcroft is remarkably obtuse. -- Does he really imagine that the fact that his neighbor, who helped pull off the CIA-engineered 1953 overthrow of the Mossadegh government in Iran, is "a charming and courteous old gentleman," is evidence that contradicts Fisk's understanding of history? -- A man who has studied (and written) as much history as he has must know that charm and courtesy are utterly beside the point. -- For more about The Great War for Civilisation than can be gained from Wheatcroft's snide review, listen to this hour-long lecture by Robert Fisk about his new book, given on Nov. 19, 2005, in Berkeley....
BOOKS: <I>Financial Times</I> recommends best political books of 2005
- Written by Henry Adams
In Friday, Donald Morrison of the Financial Times of London published the names of what he considers the best political books of 2005. -- We're sorry to see George Packer's The Assassin's Gate on the list; Packer turns a blind eye to the deeper causes of a war that is really, as Harold Pinter put it on Dec. 7, "a quite clinical manipulation of power worldwide while masquerading as a force for universal good." -- We were even more disappointed to see that three books that richly deserve to be on such a list were missing: Robert Pape's Dying to Win: The Strategic Logic of Suicide Terrorism (Random House, 2005), Chris Hedges's Losing Moses on the Freeway: The 10 Commandments in America (Free Press, 2005), and Jim Wallis's God's Politics: Why the Right Gets It Wrong and the Left Doesn't Get It (HarperSanFrancisco, 2005)....
BOOK REVIEW: James Yee's <I>For God and Country</I> reviewed in the <I>New York Review of Books</I>
- Written by Madeleine Lee
Josephy Lelyveld, reviewing For God and Country (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2005), writes in the Dec. 15 New York Review of Books that Capt. Yee's memoir provides "the most coherent and detailed account that we've had of conditions inside the Guantánamo cages." -- Lelyveld's review, however, is neither coherent nor detailed, and no clear picture of Capt. Yee or his ordeal emerges from it; Lelyveld does not, in fact, give much indication of being particularly interested in his situation, resorting instead to clichés like: "Into this storm of cultural confusion and ruthless resolve walked the naive James Yee . . ." -- The NYR makes the review its lead article, however....