Saturday, September 30, 2006

Books of the day

I finished the Ruins and I think Stephen King (scroll down) is right. It's an amazingly good horror story. By that I don't mean scary. There aren't really that many surprises, twists yes, but it is the twist of the knife rather than a ghost saying boo. A group of friends, not all of whom really like each other, get in a bad, if not totally deadly, situation and react in very different ways. The horrible sense of doom creeps up on all of them and we get a great sense of what it would be like to be in such a bad position. And that's all you get. If the horribly real sense of being trapped doesn't sound fun, you probably won't like it. If like many of the reviewers on Amazon, you are looking for a mystery or an adventure, you won't like it. If you want to be scared, you won't like it. Just so you know.

I keep going back to Iraq books, but really is there a more important topic right now? This one is called Blood Money and concerns the reconstruction effort. The thesis (as I can tell right now) is that mismanagement, hubris, corruption and lack of skill ruined whatever chances the reconstruction had. It's well written and I am enjoying so far.

One item on the Iraq books is that they are all negative on the war. Now I am willing to accept an argument that the writers of these books are some combination of biased, not aware of the full story, laden with out of date information, not looking at the conflict at the right scale or some other failing of analysis. That is fine, but as Kevin Drum has asked, if that is this case, where is the detailed argument showing that the war is going well or is part of a large strategy that will reap great rewards at some point. Are there any books with this viewpoint? Saying we are in "A Long War" is so creepily Orwellian that I refuse to consider it.


Brack said...

Orwellian, you say?

"ISF death squads good. AIF death squads baaaad!"

Tripp said...

Oh yes, we made similar statements in the Cold War, which we came to regret.

I have Woodward's new one coming from the library soon. Apparently he is none too pleased with the admin in this one. Which as many commentators put it, all the high level DC types are pissed now too.