While I haven’t been writing much, I’ve definitely been reading. Books are one of the standard presents I give, and one bug – or maybe feature – is that in going to the real or virtual bookstore, I get to pick up one or two things for myself.

In this case, I saw a copy of Halberstram’s book on the Balkan Wars, War In A Time Of Peace; it was remaindered, and cheap, and I snapped it up in no small part because I thought it would help me scratch around and come to a conclusion on Wes Clark.

Because of all the work and holiday madness, I’ve only read about the first third, but I can say one thing: This. Book. Rocks.

That means I really liked it, and am finding it damn useful for looking at the complex web of forces that go into making our foreign policy.

I also saw a copy of Carville’s latest, Had Enough, and while it definitely spoke to me…I think his analysis of the impact of Bush’s economic policy is pretty spot on (kind of an Engine Charlie view of the role of government – and yes, I know that’s not fair to the real Charles Wilson), and similarly his criticism of the Democrats – summed up in his story of the “transgender amendment” – stands up pretty well. But I just glanced at it in the store, and reluctantly put it aside (sadly, no big discounts yet) until next month.

6 thoughts on “Books”

  1. I read the Halberstam book a few years ago and also enjoyed it. Interestingly, Halberstam has a high regard for Wes Clark and how he prosecuted the Balkan action and his his subsequent sidelining by the Pentagon. It is a fascinating look into the moderm machinations of State (dept.) War and diplomacy. I came away wishing Dick Holbrooke evetually gets the Secretary of State position. He’s a bulldog and a real winner.

  2. I have to admit that every time I see the cover of Carville’s latest book I think “Gee, Jimbo, I guess that we haven’t had enough yet. I mean, geez, you still have all your teeth and your nose is still unbroken. Decent of you to offer us the chance to metaphorically whale on you some more, though.”

    These are not particularly nice thoughts, I admit.

  3. My holiday reading recommendations…

    * “An Autumn of War” (Victor Davis Hanson) includes most of VDH’s columns from Sept. 11-Dec. 31, 2001. Lucid, deeply grounded in history, and still very relevant.

    * “A Perfumed Scorpion” (Idries Shah) A revealing look into the ‘how’ of Sufism, including the various ways students – esp. the New Age types – are likely to step off the path. Or just miss it altogether. Informative, entertaining (thanks to all the Sufi stories), also sobering and humbling. The title phrase refers to refer hypocrisy and self-deception, the biggest barriers to enlightenment in any context.

  4. I have ‘War in a time of peace’ by David Halberstam, and I read it over and over. Beautifully written, informative , clever, understated and funny.

  5. two great books i just recently read, which i recommend to everyone:

    Right to Exist: A Moral Defense of Israel’s Wars by Yaakov Lozowick

    Killing Monsters: Why Kids Need Fantasy Violence by Gerard Jones

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