A+ R A-

Books of Interest

Review: Belen Fernandez, Exile: Rejecting America and Finding the World

E-mail Print PDF


Fernandez's second book could be called The imperial messenger: Thomas Friedman at work Part II, or This is Not a Travel Book. The subject of her first book delightfully keeps popping up at conferences, interviewing American puppets, his spirit haunting her from the New York Times opeds exhorting Africans to tend their gardens, saluting Colombian ex-president Uribe.*

Her observations are often laced with strychnine, since, for all her revulsion at the empire, she can't avoid its footprint. It is everywhere, often ridiculous, all too often lethal, tragic,

the global superpower that has specialized in making much of the planet an unfit abode for its inhabitants via a combination of perennial war, environmental despoliation, and punitive economic policies resulting in mass migration. Despite being founded on slavery and the genocide of Native Americans, it presents itself as the global model for greatness—a position that is unilaterally interpreted as a carte blanche to bomb, invade, and otherwise enlighten the rest of the world as it sees fit.

Every few pages, a lightbulb moment.

Read more...

Review: Bergdahl: Reluctant soldier - confused peacenik

E-mail Print PDF

Matt Farwell, Michael Ames, American Cipher: Bowe Bergdahl and the US Tragedy in Afghanistan, Penguin, 2019.


Bergdahl captured the American imagination in 2009 when he disappeared from what had become his living hell. His battalion commander, Lt Baker, was not only an obnoxious tyrant (handing out Field-Grade Article 15s, just short of a court martial, supposedly for being out of uniform, but in fact for complaining about the mission to a Guardian photo-journalist in a video broadcast), but he had ordered them to build the OB (observation post) Mest on a cemetery, defiling, even defecating on gravestones near the FOB (forward operating base) Sharana.


He was as much a victim of the latest American COIN (counterinsurgency) strategy as a deserter. Taken captive by the enemy (Taliban) under the protection of an ally (Pakistan), embodying the self-enforcing illogic of the entire war.

Read more...

The Donald’s bedtime storybook: Review of Khalilzad’s ‘The Envoy’

E-mail Print PDF

Zalmay Khalilzad, The Envoy: From Kabul to the White House, my journey through a turbulent world, St Martin’s, 2016.


The art of autobiography is a slippery one, “a review of a life from a particular moment in time.”* Whatever truths are revealed here by Khalilzad in 2016, they are by definition personal truths, confessions, with lots of caveats.


The Afghan version of Horatio Alger’s Ragged Dick, Zalmay Khalilzad (ZKh) began life in a remote village, riding a horse to school. He brags of winning a race by taking a short cut through a farmer’s melon field, crushing the precious fruit but bragging to mommy upon reaching home. No remorse for collateral damage. No punishment. He would go on to repeat his success as ambassador and hitman in first Afghanistan, then Iraq, then Afghanistan, then the UN.


He is a staunch Republican, so he disappeared into private consultancyland under Obama, president of Khalilzad Associates. In September 2018 he was rehabilitated, hired by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to serve as a special envoy to Afghanistan. Good timing with the autobio, Zal.

Read more...

Review of Linh Dinh’s ‘Postcards’: Unatourism on the Yellow Brick Road

E-mail Print PDF

Linh Dinh, Postcards from the End of America, Seven Stories, 2017.


A masterly saga of a broken nation, Linh writes his Postcards from the End of America as he moves from town to town by rail and bus, with lots of walking, each one anchored by a theme, sort of, though what stands out are the deftly sketched portraits of mostly down-and-out survivors of the pressure cooker America, seething and occasionally exploding in violence and collapse.


What is powerful is the intensely personal look inside the beast. Linh calls himself "a Unapoet",* a "PayPal-buttoned, reader-supported blogger". He writes with care and at the same time, abandon, occasionally losing it with angry Unabomber** diatribes.  But given the subject matter, it’s hard to fault him. In an interview with Diacritics, he calls it "a diary of America’s ongoing collapse, and I’ve learnt much from roaming around." A kind of Unatourism.

Read more...

Review: McKinney, 'How the US Creates “Sh*thole” Countries'

E-mail Print PDF
Review Ed. Cynthia McKinney, How the US Creates “Sh*thole” Countries, Clarity, 2018.

Bravo to Cynthia McKinney, former US Congresswoman and Green Party nominee for president, for taking this offhand remark by Trump and running with it.

The Forward is by Senator Mike Gravel, an unsung hero of American democracy, whose life is colourful to say the least. McKinney’s book is worth it to rediscover some of the hopeful signs for change, with Gravel in first place.
Read more...

Page 1 of 15

Search

Purchase Eric Walberg's Books



Eric's latest book The Canada Israel Nexus is available here http://www.claritypress.com/WalbergIV.html