by Oriana Fallaci

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Civil war-torn Beirut is the setting for Fallaci's ( A Man ) latest work, a powerful, labyrinthine study of human character in apocalyptic circumstances. The novel takes place in the fall of 1983, when a barracks bombing killed dozens of U.S. Marines. At the headquarters of the Italian peacekeeping contingent, a rich cast of characters confronts the unpredictable brutality of religious conflict. The unit's general, called Condor; Charlie, a self-styled counterespionage agent; Pistoira, a swaggering killer; Sugar, the bookish munitions expert, and other uniformed misfits struggle to survive an impossible mission. Rendering the complex antagonisms of contemporary Beirut, Fallaci shows a talent for incisively capturing classic human foibles, as one beleaguered soldier after another tries to negotiate the cultural borders of a chaotic city. In the novel's climactic scenes, the Italian troops, like the well-meaning armies of other nations, are obliged to withdraw before an inferno of religious fanaticism. In prose dense with details and asides, Fallaci starkly conveys Beirut's nihilistic atmosphere; her depiction of the futility of combat is acerbic, and her narrative fully reflects the ironies that emerge when men behave like beasts. (Nov)
Mary Carroll
With Beirut as setting, Fallaci fills her broad, ambitious canvas with several dozen three-dimensional characters plus a cast of less tangible thousands to address the human dualities that neither time nor geography dispel: love and hate, war and peace, life and death, entropy and Inshallah (fate). In the drama's first act, two kamikaze trucks ram the American and French barracks, sending 400 soldiers home in body bags in a single Sunday afternoon; the Americans and French quickly withdraw. Fallaci's second act sketches several months of uneasy peace between the Italian peacekeepers and the competing factions who claim the land they so precariously occupy. The final act opens in the silence that precedes a brutal battle and closes with farce, tragicomedy, and tragedy once more. Fallaci's Italian characters are more sympathetic, on balance, than her Arab characters, but her notion of the "fundamental error. . . [of] the military trade" describes the way every soldier from prehistory to Star Wars has been trained: "to kill as a civilian is a crime . . . to kill as a soldier is a virtue which gets you gold and silver medals and laurel crowns." An award-winning European best-seller, "Inshallah" will be translated and published this year in 22 countries; strong publicity should generate requests. Fallaci's "eternal novel of Man at war," is powerful, moving, and entertaining enough to justify a multiple-copy order for many libraries.

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Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
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1st ed

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