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Peace Kills: America's Fun New Imperialismby P J Orourke
Synopses & Reviews
As the Los Angeles Times has hailed, "when it comes to scouting the world for world-class absurdities, P.J. O'Rourke is the right man for the job." In his classic best-sellers, O'Rourke has reported from the front lines of world history, braving the bad traffic, weak drinks, and less than stellar golfing of countless hot spots of war, poverty, and repression. Now with his latest collection, Peace Kills, P.J. casts his ever-shrewd and mordant eye on America's latest adventures in warfare. Imperialism has never been more fun.
To unravel the mysteries of war, O'Rourke first visits Kosovo, where "NATO tried to start World War III without hurting anyone." Talking to KLA veterans, Albanian refugees, and peacekeepers doing their best impression of Santa Claus, he confronts the paradox of "the war that war-haters love to love." P.J. also tackles the Middle East, a region he finds as confusing as the algebra they invented. He travels from Egypt, "the cradle of tourism," to Israel and to Kuwait, where he witnesses citizens enjoying their newfound freedoms — namely, to shop, eat, and sit around a lot.
After September 11, O'Rourke turns his attention to a country gripped by change, from the absurd hassles of airport security; to the strange ways of "post-modern protesters"; to the hideous specter of anthrax (luckily the only threats in his mail are from credit card companies). P.J. covers the fighting in Afghanistan, a war that was even briefer than the news theme jingles, and then forges on to Iraq, where he witnesses both the start and finish of hostilities (touring a presidential palace, P.J. notes that the war was justified for at least one reason: felony interior decorating). Peace Kills is P.J. O'Rourke at his most incisive and relevant — an eye-opening look at a world much changed since he declared in his number-one national best-seller Give War a Chance that the most troubling aspect of war is sometimes peace itself.
"O'Rourke has made a career out of telling people off. As a foreign correspondent for the Atlantic Monthly and Rolling Stone, he has demonstrated a flair for sarcasm and an aptitude for making people laugh. In his 11th book, however, this provocateur par excellence presents a more sober and, alas, less funny, take than usual, this time in essays on American foreign policy, including visits to several important countries on the international scene. Starting with Kosovo, he comments on the Serbian-Albanian conflict, then makes his way to Israel, Egypt, Kuwait and Iraq. Other entries look at the effects of September 11 on the U.S. home front, which includes poking fun at airport search techniques and a clever deconstruction of a 2001 statement on peace and social justice signed by 103 Nobelists. O'Rourke's book does many of the things a conservative bestseller is supposed to do: it's irreverent, in-your-face and often offensive (Hillary Clinton: 'the furious harridan on the White House third floor'). Yet O'Rourke, the funny man of foreign politics, seems less interested in humor here than in slightly skewed reporting. His articles on Israel and Egypt, for example, are basically descriptive, a diary account of where he went, what he saw, the hotels he stayed in, the food he ate, interrupted every so often by O'Rourke's trademark non sequitur humor. The author's fans probably won't mind the slight shift in direction, though they will wish for more laughs; O'Rourke is one of the most popular conservative authors around and this book, like his others, should find a happy nest on national bestseller lists." Publishers Weekly (Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"The senior satirist of the right returns to dissect foreign policy and — Lord help us — he seems to have moments of distinct sanity." Kirkus Reviews
With his latest collection, O'Rourke casts his ever-shrewd and mordant eye on America's latest adventures in warfare. Imperialism has never been more fun.
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