Synopses & Reviews
Alexander Cockburn was without question one of the most influential journalists of his generation, whose writing stems from the best tradition of Mark Twain, H.L. Menchken and Tom Paine. Colossal Wreck
, his final work, finished shortly before his death in July 2012, exemplifies the prodigious literary brio that made Cockburn’s name.
Whether ruthlessly exposing Beltway hypocrisy, pricking the pomposity of those in power, or tirelessly defending the rights of the oppressed, Cockburn never pulled his punches and always landed a blow where it mattered. In this panoramic work, covering nearly two decades of American culture and politics, he explores subjects as varied as the sex life of Bill Clinton and the best way to cook wild turkey. He stands up for the rights of prisoners on death row and exposes the chicanery of the media and the duplicity of the political elite. As he pursues a serpentine path through the nation, he charts the fortunes of friends, famous relatives, and sworn enemies alike to hilarious effect.
This is a thrilling trip through the reefs and shoals of politics and everyday life. Combining a passion for the places, the food and the people he encountered on dozens of cross-country journeys, Cockburn reports back over seventeen years of tumultuous change among what he affectionately called the “thousand landscapes” of the United States.
Alexander Cockburn was famous as a Marxist political commentator inthe US, combining an educated British voice and an expatriate's independence of systems with a penchant for taking a similar role toRush Limbaugh on the opposite end of the political spectrum. This book collects his last writings on life in the US. It is organizedchronologically from 1995 to 2012, divided into three sections. With dated entries, the text reads like a journal or a collection of dailynewspaper editorials. It has the informality of a diary but the subject matter most often focuses on public life and politicalanalysis. Presidential campaigns and Obama's presidency are a frequent topic. However, the author traveled widely, and subjectsvary from being stopped by police in rural Humboldt County, California to events in Germany and India. The time period covered isnot distant enough for most definitions of history but not immediate enough to focus on events still in the news; the book serves most toshowcase Cockburn's writing style and political viewpoints, and to preserve them for future readers. There is an afterward by his daughter Daisy Cockburn.Annotation ©2014 Ringgold, Inc., Portland, OR (protoview.com)
"Cockburn, a radical journalist and Nation columnist who died in July 2012, casts a jaundiced, jolly eye on passing scenery in this stimulating if erratic miscellany. In these short, sharp pieces, Cockburn (Corruptions of Empire) covers 18 years of U.S. politics and history, from Monicagate through Occupy Wall Street; recounts travels through America; eulogizes family and friends (and damns nemesis Christopher Hitchens for 'constant public drunkenness and brutish rudeness'); and expounds his idiosyncratic version of left-wing politics. Cockburn issues his usual scabrous denunciations of American military adventures, Wall Street, every Democrat from the Clintons to the 'slithery' Obama, and of anyone who was spineless enough to vote for them. Meanwhile he embraces gun culture and conservative populism, which he finds more temperamentally congenial than the politically correct left in the U.S. Cockburn's stylish prose is full of erudition, ribald gossip, and pithy insight, but under hard scrutiny, it's not always convincing, reliable, or coherent. He calls Gerald Ford 'America's greatest president' and swats down dubious conspiracy theories only to float his own. (He blames ex-New York Governor Elliot Spitzer's call-girl scandal on a right-wing plot.) No matter, Cockburn's gleefully contrarian punditry makes for an entertaining read. (Sept.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Alexander Cockburn was one of the most influential journalists of his generation. As the Atlantic
noted, he was a towering figure who "would say all the outrageous things his bland counterparts lacked the wit, courage, erudition, or épater
-spirit to utter on their own."
In A Colossal Wreck, written prior to his death in July 2012, Cockburn reveals his great literary spirit, incisive reading of the situation, and campaigning vim into a single volume that will undoubtedly be seen as his masterpiece. Whether ruthlessly exposing the hypocrisy of Washington from Clinton to Obama, pricking the pomposity of those in power, or tirelessly defending the rights of the oppressed or silenced, Cockburn was the most gifted contrarian of his generation.
Alexander Cockburn (1941–2012) was the coeditor of CounterPunch and the author of a number of titles, including Corruptions of Empire, The Golden Age Is in Us, Washington Babylon (with Ken Silverstein), and Imperial Crusades. One of three brothers, all journalists, he was the son of the journalist and author Claud Cockburn. Born in Ireland and educated in Scotland and England, he moved to America in 1972, soon establishing himself as a radical reporter and commentator, writing for the Village Voice, the New York Review of Books, Esquire and Harpers. He also wrote regular columns for the Nation, Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, New Statesman, and his influential newsletter CounterPunch. In 1991 he settled in Petrolia, a rural hamlet in Humboldt County, Northern California, where he remained until his death.
About the Author
Alexander Cockburn was the co-editor of CounterPunch and the author of a number of titles, including Corruptions of Empire, The Golden Age Is in Us, Washington Babylon and Imperial Crusades. Brought up in Ireland, he moved to America in 1972 writing for the Village Voice, the Nation and many other journals. He died in July 2012.