Books by David Harris

BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Oct. 27, 2004

"A slow read—sometimes those 444 days seem to pass in real time—but full of thought-provoking insights on one of the world's preeminent trouble zones."
The first shot in the current war between Wahhabis and Westerners, suggests veteran political journalist Harris (Shooting the Moon, 2001, etc.), was fired in Teheran a quarter of a century ago. Read full book review >
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: May 21, 2001

"It's too bad Harris didn't take the trouble to document his sources, because if everything he says can be supported, he's written an accessible, eye-opening account of one of the murkiest episodes in recent history. But it's hard to take him seriously on his own merits."
A rollicking but slippery rendition of the prosecution of the pockmarked potentate of Panama. Read full book review >
HISTORY
Released: Sept. 1, 1996

In an ostensible effort to promote social healing, noted '60s activist Harris presents a first-person account of the American war in Vietnam, its lingering consequences, and his role in opposing it. Harris, who went to jail in protest over American participation in the war, remains proud of his strident antiwar activity and retains the anger that fueled it. He says that this brief book is intended as an ``honest self-examination'' that he hopes will lead readers to help heal ``what the war left behind.'' But it's difficult to believe that Harris's impassioned screed will foster any sort of healing. The book is filled with his still- boiling rage at individuals he considers responsible for the misbegotten war: John Wayne, Robert McNamara, Dean Rusk, Richard Nixon, Lyndon Johnson, and Henry Kissinger. Harris, calling McNamara ``the architect of the machine that manufactured corpses,'' says he ``cannot fathom how he manages to live with himself. Were I he, I suspect I would have blown my own brains out years ago.'' Nixon ``was as evil a man as any who has ever partaken of the apex of American power.'' Harris also indicts the US military and foreign-policy establishments, the mass media, and even the American populace in general for pursuing what he believes was an immoral war. Harris backs up his accusations with a sketchy accounting of the conflict that is long on generalizations and short on documented fact. One example: his shrilly exaggerated view of the American military in Vietnam as having abandoned ``all notions of fairness and mercy.'' He excoriates American-supported torture but never mentions our former adversaries' un-Boy-Scout- like conduct and tactics. This after-the-fact J'accuse is a strident attack on those Americans who prosecuted the Vietnam war and an unreflective defense of those who spoke out against it—particularly David Harris. (Author tour) Read full book review >
NON-FICTION
Released: Jan. 1, 1996

A mesmerizing, blow-by-blow account of Pacific Lumber's hostile takeover by Charles Hurwitz, and the ecological battles it engendered, from journalist Harris (The League, 1986, etc.). Scotia was a drowsy company town in northern California, the pride of Pacific Lumber and its owners, the Murphy family. The company took care of its own—it educated the kids through college, nursed the sick, provided work and security and entertainment (though the whorehouse did close in the 1920s). It also practiced two unusual lumbering techniques: sustainable yield (cut never to exceed growth) and selective cutting (never cut more, and often less, than 70% of a parcel). There may have been a dark side to company life, though Harris doesn't identify any, and regardless, PL was no chop-and-flee operation; they were in it for the long haul. Enter Hurwitz, corporate raider, buyout artist, general sleazeball. Harris gives a detailed account of the vile doings behind the stock takeover (with such creatures as Ivan Boesky, Michael Milken, and Dennis Levine involved, it had to be ugly); the stunned then angry response of company millhands, fellers, and buckers; and the actions taken by local environmentalists to try to stop Hurwitz once he had jettisoned PL's sustainable yield and selective cut traditions. (Of course, Hurwitz needed to cull all the most ancient groves to pay for the junk bonds. He also grazed lustily on the pension fund.) Harris tells the story with the sly, creeping urgency of a good thriller, shot through with the shame of this willful destruction of a thriving community. And Hurwitz is still at it, somehow avoiding the tube ride that sent Boesky et al. to the slammer, though many of his old-growth cuts are stymied by lawsuits. Arresting, first-rate reportage from the deep woods. Read full book review >