Casey's Reviews > The Spiders of Allah: Travels of an Unbeliever on the Frontline of Holy War

The Spiders of Allah by James Hider
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's review
Jun 01, 2009

it was ok
bookshelves: first-reads

I entered the giveaway for this book mainly because of I thought the cover art was by Ralph Steadman. I was completely wrong.

When I re-read the synopsis of the book after winning I thought I'd be getting a non-fiction book that would add some religious and historical context to middle eastern conflicts. I was mostly wrong.

I enjoyed the two chapters that discussed the Israeli/Palestinian conflict and some of the religious history behind it. Then the book takes a nearly 200 pg diversion into Iraq, largely ignoring religion (aside from occasional Sunni/Shiite tidbits), in favor of the standard Iraq war stuff of Saddam brutality, military embeds, translator fixers, and the general extreme-journo bravado that pops up a lot with Iraq War correspondents (I'm looking at you Lara Logan). I wasn't really interested for the same reasons I stopped watching Generation Kill after two episodes. I have information overload connected to the Iraq War. Sorry dude. Too late.

The book was ok, and it was free, but ultimately couldn't escape the "gonzo" cloud that it was branded with. Too often "new gonzo" authors (ahem, Matt Taibbi) come off as imitators rather than followers. I should probably learn to avoid books labeled this way and more generally continue to avoid war non-fiction.
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message 1: by Chris (new)

Chris Nice review, jerkface.

Casey Thanks Capt.

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