Books of Interest

I love Naomi Klein. Strong, courageous, principled. In her latest, Doppelganger: a trip into the mirror world (2023), willing to open her life for us to see for ourselves what makes her tick. A world of doppelgangers, shadow selves of many varieties from our repressed inner Other, to an AI construct of who you are in public.


Cosmopolitan -- 'world politics', 'world citizen' -- people of many races under a world empire. The word became a meme in the 1890s as British empire blossomed, supposedly the world now united around principles of the free market. Sounds cool. The market is the proven way to run economies. It is neutral, no favorites, harsh but just, making us work hard, the state ensuring people don't cheat and undermine the sacred system. For if belief in all this wavers, the loss of faith in the market would spell doom for all, equally. We are equal before the law, and we can vote. That's what democracy and freedom are all about, right?

But is the apparent real?

In 2018, a majority of millennials said boomers had ‘made things worse’ for their generation. They tried to liberate us, and instead of freedom they left behind chaos.

In all fields touched by the six boomers profiled here---technology, entertainment, economics, academia, politics, law---what they passed on to their children was worse than what they inherited.

Andrews is senior editor at The American Conservative, and her book is a jeremiad, with the flavour of Old Testament divine justice, a call for owning up to one’s sins. The sins are many and the style is refreshingly unapologetically angry. The boomers should not be allowed to shuffle off the world stage until they have been made to regret their actions… In a just world there would be cosmic retribution for taking Jobs’s life’s work and turning it to the most boomerish purposes imaginable.

Writing this memoir has been as much about discovering my story, that is, myself as it is about telling it. That's Falk's version of Socrates' 'the unexamined life is not worth living.' Or should I say, Forrest Gump's? Falk's life reads like a storybook, starting with meeting Supreme Court judges with his father at age 9 in 1939, making friends with Claudette Colbere, Zsa Zsa Gabor, Liz Taylor (long story) at age 15, befriending and befoeing many of the dramatis personae of the Cold War throughout his long and productive life, finally landing on the shores of democratic socialism as the US charges towards the (literal) finish line.


Gene Weingarten, One Day: The extraordinary story of an ordinary 24 hours in America, Blue Rider, 2019.


Denied entry to the US (who knows why, and welcome to the club),* I must take solace as a writer, traveller, travel writer, in others’ experiences in the creaking monster to the south. In the writings of those ‘lucky’ enough in live there or at least visit at will.


Weingarten starts from literally scratch, pulling a year, month and date out of a hat with scribbled numbers on bits of paper. The only limit was in the year; between 1969 and 1989, ‘far enough in the past to feel like ‘history’ and have a future to explore, but not so far so witnesses would be hard to find.’


He landed on December 28, 1986, at first, in disappointment, as it was a Sunday (bad ‘news’ day) and worse yet, the news doldrums of post-Christmas. But he forged ahead, assuming fate had something to tell him. He started out interviewing a few HSAM (Highly Superior Autobiographical Memory) types he saw in 60 Minutes, but even they drew a blank (!)


But after 6 years of research and writing, it turns out Weingarten hit a winner, though his journalist talent alone could turn a pig skin into a gold mine.


He cleverly sketches out a full range of Americana: lots of murders, of course, but also a historic moment in medicine (longest surviving heart transplant), crazy politics of race (Koch blowing his chances at a fourth term as mayor of New York), miraculous escapes from death, a vicious lawyer turned nice transwoman, lots of ex-soldiers, corrupt police … A page-turner from start to finish.

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Canadian Eric Walberg is known worldwide as a journalist specializing in the Middle East, Central Asia and Russia. A graduate of University of Toronto and Cambridge in economics, he has been writing on East-West relations since the 1980s.

He has lived in both the Soviet Union and Russia, and then Uzbekistan, as a UN adviser, writer, translator and lecturer. Presently a writer for the foremost Cairo newspaper, Al Ahram, he is also a regular contributor to Counterpunch, Dissident Voice, Global Research, Al-Jazeerah and Turkish Weekly, and is a commentator on Voice of the Cape radio.

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Eric's latest book The Canada Israel Nexus is available here