4.0 out of 5 stars Bleak – a Righteous Personal Effort,March 3, 2012
I am a huge fan of photographic books, and I find this one to be very worthwhile, but not quite a five star offering because it does not have quite the diversity — or reading clarity — that I would have liked.
Never-the-less, it is a vital contribution to the literature on Afghanistan, and what does come out from the book, a mix of photographs by one man and short novella stories by a number of invited authors, is the bleakness of what has been wrought in Afghanistan, and most especially, the human toll in “collateral damage” of children and men (mostly) who have lost one leg and all too often both legs to land mines.
NOT a Guide–A Coffee Table Book, Lots of Photos, No Stats, September 3, 2008
This book is on sale in supermarkets, and I spent time with both this book and its counterpart for Barack Obama.
I recommend both books as coffee table books, lots of great photos and general information about the individuals, but this book is NOT a guide.
There are no statistics, no tables, no comparisons, no meaningful GUIDE to who the candidate is and what they really stand for based on their actual behavior, votes, known acquaintances, etcetera.
What would be extraordinarlily valuable, if the publishers want to do a fast make-over, is a SINGLE book that compares all four candidates On the Issues and on their Values and what it all means for the federal government’s future, the budget’s future, and the country’s future.
For an idea of what I am talking about, look online for “On the Isuses,” and see especially the way they plot on a map relative differences.
Adequate Airplane Book, Not Top-Notch Fictional History,
February 29, 2004
There is a great deal of potential in fictional history books, such as the Da Vinci Code, and there is no more exciting topic for such books than the cross-over between espionage, religious conspiracy, and genocide.Unfortunately, while this book is adequate to an airplane ride, it is not as good as the author’s stunningly good earlier work, “The Unlikely Spy”, and it is disappointing in terms of its coverage of the Israeli Mossad, the Catholic Church (for a better non-fiction read, see “The Keys of This Blood”), and its over-all lack of critical detail.One small example: intelligence professionals do not throw radios (usually with embedded encryption) into the ocean because their subordinates have annoyed them. This was just one of several details that were off-putting, and that made it clear the author was rushing a book out and not doing the homework–nor being held accountable by the publisher for being serious.
Together with “Enigma” and “The Black Tulip” by Milt Bearden, and of course the George Smiley series by John Le Carre, this is one of my few really recommended fictional accounts related to espionage.The art of lying to one’s own people, at multiple levels of duplicity, some venal, much of it unnecessary, has helped to mystify, confuse, and sometimes glorify the intelligence profession.
As an intelligence professional myself, I will simply say that this is one of my top six and that it would not be called fiction if it did not depart for the pure realities as much as it does. This book captures the “essence” of duplicity within government in a time of war, and I find the whole book absolutely captivating and worthwhile.