I wanted something to accompany 'Dark Valley', something to add a little bit of map-content or visual of some kind, or alternately a different telling...moreI wanted something to accompany 'Dark Valley', something to add a little bit of map-content or visual of some kind, or alternately a different telling of the same content (always nice to have atleast two versions of anything). I saw this - heaven!
Each two-page spread is about some transition, period of time, or other concrete situation; and it goes from prehistoria to current. Certainly there are many choices built-in, and someone could differ with how they laid things out. But it seems to tie in well with 'Dark Valley'.
For instance, in Dark Valley, there is a section on Stalin and 1928-1933, and there is a two-page spread on exactly that. With one map showing who it was who fought against the Red Army (the White Army's generals, as well as foreign groups), where they started from and where they reached before they were stopped. Another map shows where in Europe other Communist groups existed for a while. Then, there's a great map about the industrialization that occurred, where each different kind of enterprise was situated, where the rail lines were put in. Also on that one is the different boundaries in different years during that period. Accompanying those three maps is text of the period, laying out with broad brush strokes the salient facts of the period. This book kinds of provides the pithy version, while 'Dark Valley' is more colorful, anecdotal, story-telling. Also there are different emphasis, this book doesn't emphasize nearly as much that the reason for the famine was Stalin actually taking the food away from the farmers. This one makes it seem more like it was a failure of farming structures.
So, exactly what I was looking for! Highly recommend for anyone interested in history/related subjects.
And it is *trying* to be not patriarchal, not biased, not from the point of view that White Europe = civilization; via inputs from the rest of the universe. But, of course, doesn't achieve a perspective fully separate from that, there are still blinders and all. Like on India, paraphrased: 'Although England brought many benefits to India, debate still continues on the overall legacy..' with no mention of the partition. etc.. But really does try to approach human activity from the onset of it to today, from an even-handedly global perspective. A great first go at it, for sure! Completely waylaid me tonite, was looking at Italy being in Somalia, then had to see before then, then before then.. fascinating.
Lots of skimming, in concert with 'The Dark Valley', highly recommend!(less)
Initially: I liked the way the protaganist was with women for the most part, a lot.
The ideas discussed in this novel are fascina...moreWill mull my review..
Initially: I liked the way the protaganist was with women for the most part, a lot.
The ideas discussed in this novel are fascinating and extremely timely. The merging of that discussion into the format of a spy novel caused me a bit of a stumble. Parts of it felt forced to me, or formulaic, or almost tv-movie-ish. There was something tv-movie-ish in general, I think the simple characterizations mainly. It so happens that a lot of what I've read lately is written from multiple characters' point-of-view, and/or has rich characterization and a lot of the internal workings of them all during the story. Coming from those experiences, I missed that in this one.
There were discontinuities that I couldn't bridge. Like the initial relationship between Jack and Toby; vs. the relationship between them during the 1953 events; vs. the way it apparently went between them after that (the book ends with Toby suggesting to Jack that they put aside their differences and work together, and apparently that's what happened?).
Also info about what Jack had done prior to the book starting, vs. what he was doing when it opened (tending bar); I don't know what was served by having that be so secret. Given that he had this great record, why was he not still involved in some way? Him being in the bar gives the impression that he had a problem with his past military involvement to a degree, but then that doesn't seem to be true. etc..
When toward the end Yari says that he was the realist and Jack the idealist, that threw me for a loop.
But most important, it's hard to grasp what the conclusion was intended to be regarding the US and the CIA: it is presented that such coups prevent war and provide stability and therefore are good; if that's not the intended message, I'm not seeing where it was countered in the book. There's some content around the role of the Muslim leaders, but it's pretty vague. And given that it was written today, with all that's gone on, more content about that would have been of interest.
So, as I said, I'll mull on an actual review..(less)
Great works resemble diamonds (one of the main characters is a jeweler) - when opened, they sparkle with intact brilliance...moreWow, highly recommend this.
Great works resemble diamonds (one of the main characters is a jeweler) - when opened, they sparkle with intact brilliance multiplied.
This book is like that. As I progressed through it, I developed a perception of each character presented as a sympathetic, very human character. Not-so-great thinks and insecurities and inadequacies about each one were revealed, but my feelings for each of them were simply deepened. At the end, no character was on a pedestal, no character was a monster. All had done/were both good and bad. All had been accessible, opened through great writing for the reader's understanding.
The author, Dalia, had experienced much of what the girl in this story did (and, by the way, her character was probably the most shocking to me, with her internal goings-on - at her age - completely undoing me.) Her father has also been imprisoned, her family had also left Iran after. But it is also fiction, the best kind of fiction: fiction rooted in the writer's reality.
This book's effects on me include: a warm feeling for the country of Iran; interest in reading Iranian writers; somewhat of an (understanding) of those who gained power during that period, and others in similar positions; a need to process a bunch of new class-struggle ideas; a new resolve to always be gentle to those who are here from elsewhere, given what all they may have gone through; and an intense interest in everything this woman has written!
Now, in June 2009, extremely timely. And from this book and others, I imagine it will remain timely, one way or another.(less)
Questions to answer about it though, from one reader on Amazon:
"The fact that the authors of Deception thank Peter Griffen in the acknowledgments of t...moreQuestions to answer about it though, from one reader on Amazon:
"The fact that the authors of Deception thank Peter Griffen in the acknowledgments of their book raises questions of credibility. In Deception, the authors quote him as saying he was duped and taken advantage of by the Khan network. Another recently released book on the subject, America and the Islamic Bomb, contradicts this portrayal and reveals that a secret British Customs paper says that Griffen was aware and involved in the network's shipments to Libya. How much did the authors of Deception rely on alleged nuclear proliferators for information?
Furthermore, the authors attribute allegations about Pakistani officials to journalist and academic Husain Haqqani, including the story that former ISI Chief Hamid Gul was in league with Osama bin Laden and Nawaz Sharif to overthrow Benazir Bhutto in 1990. Haqqani has since denied and contradicted many of these allegations in the media."
First came across because the writer of this is the nephew of Mark Harris, who wrote 'Southpaw' and 'Bang the Drum Slowly'. And then though, this just...moreFirst came across because the writer of this is the nephew of Mark Harris, who wrote 'Southpaw' and 'Bang the Drum Slowly'. And then though, this just looks completely fascinating.
1- Peeks into Iran 2- about raising one's child when one has strong political beliefs 3- multi-cultural within the mix that is the US 4- ideology w/n politics, etc...
This book is three complete contents, perfectly interspersed. One: a loving immersion into Persian literature from ancient to modern days, as well as...moreThis book is three complete contents, perfectly interspersed. One: a loving immersion into Persian literature from ancient to modern days, as well as many warm embraces to literatures of other peoples and places also. This immersion includes not simply sharing of various literature snippets, but a great deal about the effect of fiction on the human psyche: what effect it can and should have on a people. The very power it holds over the human species. Highly recommend to any who writes, or reads, or is human (ok, slightly exaggerating, but not much. Really). In fact, literature is so much a presence in this book, her first addendum after the acknowledgements (there are four unique ones) is a suggested reading list, giving details of the referred-to content: Forough Farrokhzad, Golshiri, Ferdowsi, Gorgani, so many more.. all translated. This list doesn't include all the non-Iranian fiction mentioned.. really, this book calls out for an index- between the political content and the literary content, the family content also of course.
The second content: Iran's history, 20th century. Fascinating look from the inside at the motifs and textures of the administration of Iran, from a person on the inside who herself - and/or her family - had contact with a wide range of people at the core of the country. This part was very illuminating for me. And not just about Iran, but also I imagine it can be extended to other Islam-based countries. For instance, this section, about life in Iran in the early Eighties: "Since almost all aspects of public life had been restricted or banned, out private domains took on the function of public forums. Our houses became our restaurants, bars, movie houses and theaters, concert halls, public forums on literature, the arts, and politics. True, these free zones were threatened constantly by a state that could at any time of day or night raid our houses and confiscate the alcohol, gambling cards, makeup forbidden books, and videos. They could arrest us on charges of immorality.And yet in those days there was a suppressed excitement that belied the anxiety and fear-- or, now that I think of it, perhaps the two fed off and strengthened each other. While the country was torn apart by war and besieged by repressive laws, daily arrests, and executions, beneath the surface, just underground, there were mutinous acts and shows of resistence that constantly frustrated and subverted teh powers of the state. An act as normal and mundane as having a party with men and women where drinks were serve, music was played, and perhpas a movie was watched.. had to be undertaken with caution, curtains drawn, so that it became something very special, like a stolen eclair." - I can't help but wonder if that captures a flavor that - atleast in part - is also tasted at various times in countries like Pakistan, perhaps Saudi Arabia, Iraq, etc.. Azar also made clear how various forces came together to result in the overthrow of the Shah, nearly 100% of which were disappointed by the outcomes. Almost had echoes of Hitler's rise - people not listening to the clearly-available actual plan of the Ayatollah, instead hearing only that part of his mesage that suited their needs. Very dangerous, again. The third content of this book is Azar's family: and it could be said to be the core of the book. Any female who thinks she has a difficult relationship with her mother could try this one on for size, I think she'll find trading doesn't appeal. All the members of her family and close friends are well-drawn and complex. The pacing didn't always suit me, but I believe it did serve the content well.
So, three distinct contents, knitted together into an intricate tapestry reminiscent of beloved Persian artwork. All three are present from page one to the end, all three support the other two alternating with taking their own spot in the limelight. Really a fascinating work. (less)
obviously outdated now, but seemed like a way to begin to create some tiny semblance of a hint of awareness around foreign policy. Might still be inte...moreobviously outdated now, but seemed like a way to begin to create some tiny semblance of a hint of awareness around foreign policy. Might still be interesting still as history.. (less)
I'm angry just looking at the cover.. Have had this to read for a while, along with a bunch of other anti-Bush books. The rest I finally passed along...moreI'm angry just looking at the cover.. Have had this to read for a while, along with a bunch of other anti-Bush books. The rest I finally passed along to the library so people could actually read them, this one I held on to since it's so current yet today, between the power of Oil in world affairs to the position of the contractors in Iraq to the continuing relationship between lobbyists and govt. Ugh. Now I just have to actually read the thing.(less)
This is a magnificent work of enormous importance, laying bare the multitudes and layers of errors made by all involved in the last 9 years in Afghanistan in particular, and delivering prescriptions for positive change.
‘If we can better understand what has happened before, what has gone wrong, and what needs to go right, as this book attempts to do, then we can better face up to our collective future.’ p. 404 (final sentence).
Rashid does focus throughout on the ‘what went wrong,’ within each period, within each country, within each layer of strategy. This enormous data set should be extremely useful as we here in the US all hopefully move towards a more nuanced, principled, integrity-rich practice of foreign policy.
The more you already know about Afghanistan and Pakistan and the last decade, the more easily you’ll be able to layer in all of the wealth of information contained here. Myself, I was relatively ignorant, and so felt uncomfortably overwhelmed for some periods. But it eased, and I would strongly encourage everyone to read this book. The writing is lively, engaging, fascinating (even breath-taking in parts) and flows into every nook and cranny related to the subject. So the content is wide-ranging and always rewarding of attention.
Highly recommend to everyone but especially all US citizens as - actively or passively - we played a huge role in the birthing and nurturance of the global threat of terrorism facing us today. And simply detaching is - I don’t believe - a valid option, atleast not until the significant accumulation of damage done from our last several decades of involvement is healed. (less)