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Peace Kills: America's Fun New Imperialism

3.58  ·  Rating Details ·  835 Ratings  ·  71 Reviews
With his latest national best seller, Peace Kills, P.J. O'Rourke casts his ever-shrewd and mordant eye on America's latest adventures in warfare. Imperialism has never been more fun.
To unravel the mysteries of war, O'Rourke first visits Kosovo: "Wherever there's injustice, oppression, and suffering, America will show up six months later and bomb the country next to where i
Paperback, 197 pages
Published April 10th 2005 by Grove Press (first published April 19th 2004)
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Sep 12, 2007 Selby rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
P. J. O'Rourke is a real bastard. You know he is. If you think about it, it is undeniable. Unfortunately he is one of those Irish bastards that will start feeding you whiskey and telling you fantastically true stories, you laugh harder than you can remember, then you wake up next to a toilet, with a migraine, a newly registered Republican. That bastard.
Robert Isenberg
I'm grateful that I spent only 25 cents on this crap -- in the overstock section of the Lawrenceville library (which is basically just a homeless shelter without any beds). For years, friends have recommended P.J. O'Rourke, and after reading an agreeable Atlantic article (about jumbo-jets), I figured I'd give O'Rourke a shot. However he earned his reputation, it was certainly not for "Peace Kills," a collection of essays (basically) about 9/11 and its aftermath. Libertarian ethos aside, O'Rourke ...more
Apr 14, 2011 Joy rated it really liked it
Shelves: politics
O'Rourke is one of my favorite writers. He is a journalist who actually goes out and talks to people, in-depth reporting. He has a knack for hilarious one-liners. He is conservative, too, but you can't have everything, and anyway he is conservative in the least annoying way possible, more libertarian than anything.

This is a gathering of essays on war and peace, and includes a few chapters on 9-11 (O'Rourke lives in DC, or did at the time, and he actually went out to the Mall and found only a few
Mar 18, 2011 D'face added it
I had never read PJ O'Rourke before and being a weak-willed liberal decided that I needed to read at least one collection of his essays. This is it. I would have to say that I did not find it very funny or very informative.

There are some good lines in it however:

Describing shopping in Kuwait "At a children's clothing store a toddler play outfit - shirt, jumper and gym shoes - came to $140 worth of jam mop and chocolate milk sponge."

Outside his hotel in Kuwait "A bomb-sniffing police dog was digg
Melissa McShane
I read P.J. O'Rourke's books more for his first-hand accounts of traveling throughout the world than for his politics. This isn't my favorite of his books, but it does include his reactions to the 9/11 attack on the Pentagon and the months immediately following it.
Cathy Houston
May 22, 2017 Cathy Houston rated it it was ok
not very interesting
Jul 07, 2010 Phobos rated it it was ok
PJ O'Rourke is a foreign correspondent. He goes to many interesting places in the world; has been to them during interesting times as well. Unfortunately, like a lot of older men who were once leftists in their youth and middle-age, Rourke has moved on to being a Libertarian. Dennis Miller is a good example of this happening.

O'Rourke claims to be of the Hunter S. Thompson school of Gonzo Journalism. I see it, sort of, but I think O'Rourke is missing a lot of characteristics to be HST or Gonzo. H
Dec 04, 2011 F.R. rated it liked it
I think when P.J. O’Rourke finally slides off the mortal coil (no doubt with a martini in hand), he will be best remembered is one of the best and funniest travel writers of his generation. Reading older political commentary (even when it’s only a matter of eight years old) can see the reader travelling back to a different world with a different set of assumptions. (For instance, the way O’Rourke can so casually declare that the war in Afghanistan has been successfully completed). Writing of tha ...more
I never expected P. J. O’Rouke’s book to be a travel book, but it turned out to be a worth-to-mention experience. I say this for several reasons. Firstly, the book is about his travel experiences to war-torn regions of the world and he manages to stay personal rather than menacingly political. The places he visits come to life much better than in anything I read about these countries lately (not that I have read anything much apart from the daily news) and it’s always rewarding to have an inside ...more
Aug 31, 2008 Mark rated it liked it
Shelves: recentlyread
I like P.J.'s satire for the most part, in certain moods--i.e. when I feel like be brutally realistic. No one can accuse O'Rourke of romanticism or sentimentalism, and he's mostly very amusing on the subject of everyone else's romantic, sentimental views--liberal idealism and, fortunately, republican mythology too (of unconstrained private capital, "family values" and sexual morality, the "war on drugs," religious righteousness, America's global role, etc.). He's certainly more tolerant of the B ...more
Jan 10, 2014 Dale rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My first foray into P.J. O'Rourke's books (A review of the audiobook)

Duration: About 5 hours
Read by Dick Hill

I've read some of P.J. O'Rourke's columns and have heard an interview or two so I knew that I would most likely find one of his books to be most interesting.

To begin with, I found Peace Kills: America's Fun New Imperialism mostly dead-on accurate and depressing. Observations about the War in Bosnia, human nature in general and Israel were factually interesting but mostly deflating. N
Feb 06, 2008 Chris rated it liked it
Shelves: culture, politics
P.J. O'Rourke is a kind of guilty pleasure of mine - a conservative columnist. While I tend to disagree with him - a lot - he's funny and insightful and aware that most of the time, there are no easy answers to anything. While it may feel good to say, "Screw France, we do what we want," it's never quite as simple as all that.

This book is a collection of articles that he wrote from various combat zones, mostly centering around the Middle East. He writes from Israel and Egypt and, of course, Iraq.
Apr 18, 2014 Leena rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a selection of essays/articles by a foreign correspondent from some of the more troubled places in the planet from around 1999 to 2004 and other observations (Kosovo, Iraq, 9/11, Washington D.C. etc.). I had read Holidays in Hell many years ago, which was hilarious, and I was curious to read some actual political writing from this political satirist. The essays are of course funny, while tackling some grave humanitarian issues (where the US is involved in, in some way) but in the end, no ...more
Feb 13, 2010 kate added it
i lost this book in a city with the worst book karma on the planet. have to finish it, i wasn't able to enjoy it as much as i normally would. i do not always agree with him, but pj orourke is always funny and has his own perspective on everything. voices outside of talking points and blogospheres can be the wisest voices on a subject or at least offer a perspective you may never hear on tv.

applying pj orourke's 'logic' to america's rambling and snarled foreign policy is why i picked up the book
Jemez Mama
Aug 02, 2015 Jemez Mama rated it really liked it
I bought this used because I have always enjoyed his books and articles in the past. For the 20 years or so I subscribed to Rolling Stone Magazine, his article/essay was always top on my list to read. He is witty, irreverent and often cuts to the quick of any issue of the day. This book although published in 2002 does not disappoint. He takes you on a journey through Baghdad and Iraq before and after Desert Storm and before the destruction of the World Trade Center. His view on the military and ...more
Gerald Kinro
Jul 22, 2013 Gerald Kinro rated it really liked it
Satirist-humorist O’Rourke goes after America’s attempts at warfare by visiting Kosovo, Egypt, Israel, and Kuwait. “Kosovo,” he writes, “is where NATO tried to start World War III without hurting anyone. He calls attention, in his funny way, to the absurdity of our efforts and the absurdity of the reporters who cover them. One report on the soldier that threw a grenade into the tent of his fellow American soldiers stated that he had a Middle-Eastern-sounding last name but that at this time it is ...more
Dec 29, 2008 Robert rated it it was ok
I don't know whether it's me or P.J. but man, he's getting stale. Okay, it's him. Same sarcastic P.J. coming from the same center-right perspective. Nothing new here. And in this age of insta-snark from countless blogs, much of which is garbage, yes, but much of which is funny as hell Mr. O'Rourke seems...old.

If you're a fan of his older stuff it's probably worth picking up so long as you don't pay much for it. This was a $3 library sale book - about right, I'd say. If you're not already a fan
Jul 26, 2008 Jim rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction
P.J. O'Rourke's books are not single, large works, per se, but are collections of his magazine pieces compiled and bound by mirthful publishers; sort of a Xeroxing For Dollars scheme. Anecdotal by nature, O'Rourke casts his sarcastic eye upon the middle east in this collection, traveling through Egypt, Iraq etc. Part historical drinkalogue, part chumming with the local populace fiesta, O'Rourke's observations make us smile, wince, sometimes guffaw (although not nearly as much in this collection ...more
Jul 03, 2010 Bryan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shtick: A liberal goes to war and brings back horrific images of carnage and suffering. A conservative goes to war and brings back - images of bureaucratic ineptitude and ugly overstuffed couches. That's P.J. for you. This collection quickly gets tiresome, supercilious, and condescending. I'm not a conservative, but I have enjoyed P.J. before as a good writer, wickedly observant and self-aware. This ain't it, though.

Jaklak sez check it out if you're a member of the choir and want to be preached
Aug 20, 2012 Carol rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Saw this for $1, so I picked it up simply for the title. I wasn't sure if it would be sarcastic or making a serious anti-pacifist statement. It was not too bad because it was more like a memoir of a journalist on location. Did make me a gun-bearing war fanatic? Absolutely not. I am still comparatively liberal, but I like to give opposing ideas a chance to be heard. I did feel like some logical points were made, just not enough to convert me. Also he had an intelligent and humorous presentation.
Robert  Graham
May 11, 2012 Robert Graham rated it it was amazing
There may be funnier writers than P.J. O`Rourke although I can`t think of one. However, I`d be surprised if there are any who combined humour with such perceptiveness about world events. P. J. is a self-confessed republican but even his own party is not spared . He finds stupidity and pomposity as readily there as in the vast outpourings of Noam Chomsky or almost every word of Middle East politicians. His ability to be entertaining as well as educational is exemplary. I mention this book but he ...more
Skylar Burris
Dec 23, 2007 Skylar Burris rated it it was ok
Shelves: politics, humor
In this collection of essays, O'Rourke recounts his travels to such places as Iraq, Israel, and Egypt. As usual, he writes with a smirk and makes more than a few political jabs, but overall, this book is not as funny as most of O'Rourke's works. Probably the most entertaining essay is on the eclectic and often unintentionally ironic Washington, D.C. demonstrations. Overall, however, the book did not deliver the kind of high quality satire I have come to expect from O'Rourke. It was a quick and a ...more
Feb 27, 2009 Noah rated it liked it
O'Rourke offers his typically acid take on the world's various modern wars, but what's surprising is how sober his tone is at times. He proves here that he is not a gleeful humorist, but rather someone who is deeply troubled by human folly and who uses humor as a way of dealing with his outrage. What I loved most about this book was the first chapter, titled "Why Americans Hate Foreign Policy" - O'Rourke's game attempt to tie it all together with a whirlwind tour of the vagaries of 20th century ...more
Andrew Fish
Jan 23, 2017 Andrew Fish rated it liked it
Some of O'Rourke's books have a point, others a loose theme. Peace Kills, a journalistic tour of some of the world's many war zones, falls into the latter category. Reading rather like Bill Bryson at War, O'Rourke takes us from Bosnia to Egypt, from America in the wake of 9/11 to Iraq during the 2003 invasion. Sometimes his observations are witty, sometimes they are poignant. Here and there, where his politics jar, they are uncomfortable. The result is an interesting, if uneven book, worth a rea ...more
Jan 19, 2012 elizabeth rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
When someone figures out what the actual point of this book is, please be so kind as to tell me. There's simply nothing here; he's not saying a single thing. The whole book is like listening to that awkward drunk uncle at Thanksgiving who is really bad at telling stories but somehow manages to dominate the afternoon with slurred-out, half-baked but over-tired witticisms. You're just looking forward to him passing out so you can finally talk about something that won't make you wish you were the o ...more
Mar 31, 2010 Kevin rated it did not like it
A struggle to finish. Still didn't quite get the point of the book. Was basically about his experiences in war torn areas. Some satire. Some decent jokes. Ragged on most everyone, both sides of the political aisle. Most of his topics were superficial and lacked in depth analysis. Odd thing to say about a book written by a journalist. Anyway, it didn't have a point. Did I mention that already? I guess that's my point; that he didn't have a point.
Nov 28, 2008 Barney rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Perhaps not even a three star rating. More like 2.4 is how I'm feeling. I've loved O'Rourke since his days at National Lampoon - and a collection of THOSE prose pieces should be done - even if they required some cultural annotation at this point - but this seemed a bit tired and phoned in. As a quasi-conservative I don't think he could really get behind the blatant stupidity of this administration and it maybe is showing through.
Nov 12, 2010 Yvonne rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction
This book was published in 2004, so rather amusing to read some of the smart aleck comments PJ O'Rourke is famous for with the benefit of knowing how situations in Afganistan and Iraq, for instance, have panned out.

PJ O'Rourke is on the other side of the political fence to me, but he is one of the very few conservative commentators who sounds at least reasonably sane.

It's rather dated for today.

Emer Mccarthy
Sep 10, 2013 Emer Mccarthy rated it really liked it
Always entertained by his lampooning of the left & his ridicule of the right. Not as funny as 'How to drive fast while getting your wang squeezed & not spill your drink' but still funny. Meeting him was one of my high points, he autographed my book & advised me on the best ways to drink whiskey, straight & expensive
Jun 15, 2010 Lucy rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, 2007, usa
I disagree with just about everyone of P.J. O'Rourke's political leanings but I found this book hilarious!

He is wonderfully self-depricating about his truely rightwing believes. Completely different sense of enjoyment to the Anne Coulter book(which made me argumentative), but wonderful, all the same!
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Patrick Jake "P. J." O'Rourke is an American political satirist, journalist, writer, and author. O'Rourke is the H. L. Mencken Research Fellow at the Cato Institute and is a regular correspondent for The Atlantic Monthly, The American Spectator, and The Weekly Standard, and frequent panelist on National Public Radio's game show Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me!. Since 2011 O'Rourke has been a columnist ...more
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