(warning - graphic violence in photo at the top of the browser window on this link)
Sounds like just the sort of thing that I'll be all caught up to, after Dark Valley. Lots of the worst things going on in the world, caught up in to one neat volume. But synthesis is useful..
Oh, wait, actually reading the review, sounds like it kinds of focuses a bit much on the physical atrocities vs. their meaning in the societal context; and it lays out other weaknesses of the book as well....more
My daughter will be assigned readings from this in her history class this year. Sounds fascinating! Oddly (or not so), the teacher mentioned the kidsMy daughter will be assigned readings from this in her history class this year. Sounds fascinating! Oddly (or not so), the teacher mentioned the kids often don't like it much. Yet they'll know it's there as they get older and wiser, and they can return and appreciate it later (certainly most do). (perhaps).
The especially interesting thing about this is that it approaches these events and this period from an epistemological perspective. That is, it's all about what people thought they knew, why they thought they knew, what the differences were people the truth and what people thought they knew, the processes controlling the misinformation, etc.. And, in a nutshell, Brendon says in the intro that this period (the 30's) was marked in the vast disinformation spread and consumed, in the lack of truth actually possessed by most people, etc..
Relevance to today with the tactics in use still by many is profound.
On Hitler, speaking, early on in his quest for power (1922-1923 or so): "As Otto Strasser said, 'His words go like an arrow to their target, he touches each private wound on the raw, liberating the unconscious, exposing its innermost aspirations, telling it what it most wants to hear.'"
By the way: Marx really said 'Peasants are like potatoes in a sack.'?????
I finished it!! I finished it!! I finished it!! Woo-hooooo!!!! Yes, this is one of *those* books, when turning the last page is immensely satisfying. And also among the least satisfying, because there was so much there that I didn't get. So many words I'd honestly never heard of before, and references to things that I was oblivious to. Since I don't know what all the references were to, I can't be sure, but it seems one would need to be familiar with European & East Asian history from about 1850 forward, plus all the literature of those regions in that period as well. And then a smattering of ancient greek and roman times wouldn't hurt either. Despite that though, it was very informative. I especially liked towards the end when Piers would describe what this or that person believed, and then how totally, profoundly wrong they were. The primary example being Stalin, when he signed the pact with Hitler. Both this book and my companion text 'Concise Atlas of World History' stress that Russia lost more in resources and people than any other country. There is definitely a psychological thread that runs through this - specific cases of people knowing something, and maintaining denial of it enthusiastically, wishful thinking, manipulation, constructions of reality, etc.. Six weeks is all the time it took Hitler to take over France? Wow, no Verdun that time .. I've totally to read up on WWII itself again. The weirdest thing for me about this- hardly any mention of the Jewish people. Sure, there were brief descriptions of a few of the main points. But amazingly little, considering. And from my personal interest in India, I paid attention to all mentions of it. There were more than enough to be indexed, seems to me (but India wasn't), and unfortunately all did speak to a certain English chauvinism which I guess shouldn't surprise me. Highly recommend! ...more
Really enjoyed this, was just perfect for me at the moment! I tend to like writing with lots of detail, more often than not, and this had that in a waReally enjoyed this, was just perfect for me at the moment! I tend to like writing with lots of detail, more often than not, and this had that in a way that totally fit for me. Also great characterizations, interesting plot, a current story and lots of historical context filled in slowly in a way that really worked for me. It's also very visual, and I really liked that. I liked the map, I was visualizing scenes much more distinctly than I usually do while reading. If this sort of content often works for you as well, I'd highly recommend it! -------- Layers are one of the main thing I love about this book. There are layers of snow falling over everything on the small island of San Piedro, just east of Washington State, where this story is set. And this story is nominally about a murder trial, but that is only the most superficial layer. It is actually about what is involved in being human and having experiences and being shaped by those experiences.
How much can a person resist the effects of what happens to them, and how much is the impact of life on each person out of our control?
Race identity and race consciousness are the main vehicle for exploration of these questions.
Set in 1954, this story includes information about two main sets of people on this island - the white population and the Japanese population. Through extensive narrative on the past - mainly through the eyes of Ishmael Chambers, the one-armed newspaper man - we see the macro life of the island move forward over the decades. And we see in particular detail the period around the bombing of Pearl Harbor - which prompted an amount of hysteria against the Japanese community. The result of that hysteria was the internment of that population - that entire population, from this island - for a period. Which is something I hadn’t known too much about, was great to learn more. And then this novel’s main storyline - about a purchase of property by a Japanese family from a white family which was nearly concluded at the time of internment - is a personal layer woven into that historical reality.
The murder trial going on is that of Kabuo Miyamoto, who was the son of the man buying the property in question. He is accused of killing Carl Heine, the son of the man about the complete the sale when the internment took place. Carl was found dead on his fishing boat, and evidence (and racism) quickly directed attention to Kabuo. Kabuo is married to Hatsue, a woman of striking beauty. Hatsue and Ishmael had been close childhood friends, and were just at the threshold of becoming sexual when the internment took place. Ishmael remained completely enraptured with Hatsue yet to the current time, and plays a pivotal role in the trial as an outcome of that love.
Betrayal, jealousy, passion, racism, and other human intensities are woven into this community’s life on this small island that is built on fishing and tightly-wound relationships. I adore the details at the various levels - from the actual battlefield experiences of Ishmael in Japan to the internment camp to the fishing boats to the trial to the minute effects of the huge snowstorm that hits the island during the trial to the intimate human interaction details. And great enveloping read! ...more
Sounds very useful! I think I have a thumbnail sketch of these events, but am not even sure about that. Would be great to be so grounded in these crucSounds very useful! I think I have a thumbnail sketch of these events, but am not even sure about that. Would be great to be so grounded in these crucial goings-on.
Was especially glad to hear that it starts back in the time of Bismark - some of our relatives atleast came over to avoid his conscription..
I'll be interested to see if any US involvement is mentioned along the way as well....more
While it dragged in parts, in fact I remember kind of thinking I'd stop soon, multiple times during it; it always picked up just enough at the last poWhile it dragged in parts, in fact I remember kind of thinking I'd stop soon, multiple times during it; it always picked up just enough at the last possible minute. And since it's true, you know that the pacing was due to it being.. real life. And in fact, the pacing to me in retrospect was among the more fascinating aspects - this danger.. or this 'situation' even, that kind of recedes; might be over entirely... then it's back! And plans are made and intentions and further learning is gained and there are actions and reactions, and then- it recedes again. I think often life is like that, to an extent that isn't recognized. People think they're going through something new, when actually it's simply another iteration of a long-standing phenomena.
I also liked the guy's humility, and his average-ness, and that he rose to the challenge, in a totally average, annoyed-more-often-than-not, one-step-at-a-time way. And eventually he won.
The reader learns as he learns which is fun also. And some still relevant I believe, the notion of honeypots is quite ongoing in various contexts, for instance.
I haven't re-read this, would be entirely different to read it now. But at the time, that's how it was for me.
By the way, it isn't cool or anything, but I like to give 5 stars. It doesn't mean my entire definition as a human being changed, or that I'm going to take up such a higher magnitude of good works that human suffering will be wiped out in mere weeks; just that I liked it a lot and it was the complete entity, fully-actualized, as much effectively itself as I feel it could be. And I like to look up at skyscrapers too. So there....more
Initially: I liked the way the protaganist was with women for the most part, a lot.
The ideas discussed in this novel are fascinaWill 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.....more
Sounds really interesting as far as that subject, and racism, and voting patterns today yet even. Not sure I'll make it to actually reading it unlessSounds really interesting as far as that subject, and racism, and voting patterns today yet even. Not sure I'll make it to actually reading it unless the optimal conditions present themselves, but sure sounds like I'd like to have....more
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 tQuestions 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."
I 'read' and/or skimmed and/or saw the film and for sure talked about it a lot and totally 'got' the title concept etc.. somewhere around high school.I 'read' and/or skimmed and/or saw the film and for sure talked about it a lot and totally 'got' the title concept etc.. somewhere around high school.. but I'm definitely due for a re-reading. As someone else referred to, I believe I may have faded out before finishing it, despite the humor and all.
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. ...more