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Posted March 31, 2008
Well, its a primer for a violent world.
Its a shame that Mr. Harris opens with his commentary on the U.S. war in Iraq (he's not a fan). A shame for him that'll he'll probably turn off a number of potential readers and lose book sales. But really its more a shame for those who forgo his book. The rest of the book is largely apolitical. Intentionally so, since he worries that the people who 'blow stuff up' may blow him up for what he writes. A bit of cowardice? He concedes as much, but after all, this book is not a brave work of investigative journalism. Mr. Harris's point in writing this book seems to be to help you out: so that the next time things go pear- shaped in a country with too few vowels for your liking, you'll have some background information other than what governments or which ever camera-friendly-media- darling -with-an-agenda tells you. And he covers a great deal of material because frankly, who knows who will kill whom next? And by the time you start getting information, one party or another has probably already won the media war and is shaping the spin to their liking. So here comes Mr. Harris, with some credible research. He's a bright guy, did well on Jeopardy and all that, and, other than on Iraq, he doesn't appear to have a bone to pick or agenda to sell. Well, he seems some what distraught about the slaughter and I guess that's an agenda of sorts. About the book, its an enjoyable read. For a student of International Relations (that's me) there's not TOO much new information, although as I said, his research is thorough and he covers a lot of ground. Mr. Harris ranges from amusing to downright hilarious, and given the subject matter, that's a small wonder. But, yes, he tends to distill complicated topics down and even left out my personal favorite conflict (which are probably the reasons he calls the book 'woefully incomplete'). For non-IR students, the book gives you some good introductory information, doesn't make you feel stupid for not knowing it and it doesn't read like a textbook. It would also make a fine gift for adults interested in current global affairs or a teen student who is thinking about international relations as a career path (urge them to reconsider - government money isn't that good and NGOs can be a bit loopy). I actually did give a couple of these as gifts and the recipients emailed me for the next few months with choice quotes. This book can be found in the Humor section of Barnes and Noble, which is a bit of shame because although its funny, its really better researched than a lot of the Current Affairs titles.
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Posted April 1, 2013
I LOVE BOB HARRIS
This was my second Bob Harris book and I loved this one as much as the first. He is entertaining, funny, informative and at times profound. I only wish he could write faster because I will soon be done with his books and will be left wanting more!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.