Books by Georgie Anne Geyer

Released: Sept. 23, 1996

Despite its serious deficiencies, an alarming report on the decline of citizenship and cultural unity in America, and its causes and possible consequences for the country. A syndicated columnist and respected foreign policy analyst, Geyer (Waiting for Winter to End, 1994, etc.) brings her well-honed conservative journalistic instincts to bear on domestic America and the current crisis over what she calls the ``death of commitment to the whole . . . the weakening of the citizenship bond.'' This crisis, she argues, is merely an extension of the decline in nationalism around the world. But after plotting the decay of the American ideal of citizenship set forth by Thomas Jefferson and the ``blessed founding fathers,'' Geyer's attention focuses less on the society at large than on the effect on the nation of waves of recent immigrants. Well-documented chapters discuss such matters as our porous borders, through which millions of illegal aliens slip each year, and the ill-conceived campaigns to give non-citizens the right to vote in local elections. Geyer fingers the causes of such woes, including an overwhelmed and underfunded immigration service, politically correct forces which have handcuffed the institutions that foster assimilation, and liberal endowments like the Ford Foundation, which indiscriminately fund pro-immigration activists unrepresentative of minority communities. More liberal readers, however, may find themselves alienated by the conservative line Geyer takes on these controversial issues. There is also a streak of exaggerated pessimism running through the book, which borders on old-fashioned grumpiness: The author repeatedly announces the decline of America and at various times attributes it to '60s rock, youth culture, Elvis sightings, even the Internet (whose users, she generalizes absurdly, are replacing national allegiance with faith in an electronic global village). Such excesses cloud the effectiveness of an otherwise provocative analysis of a critical problem. (Author tour) Read full book review >
Released: Oct. 1, 1994

A veteran foreign correspondent undertakes here what she calls a ``consummately unfashionable'' journey through what used to be called Soviet Central Asia. Actually, the journey is both consummately fashionable and somewhat glibly undertaken. But Geyer (Guerrilla Prince, 1991, etc.) does convey the sense of penetrating an alien, volatile, and sometimes threatening society. In Moscow, we see an eerie ``holy fool'' gibbering at a corner of Red Square—and a suave businessman genuflecting before him. And so it is with some trepidation that our valiant correspondent dons her money belt and heads for remote Tatarstan. The Tatars she sees as the key to Russian identity, their oppression of Muscovy in the Middle Ages having turned Russia against outsiders. Today, in the peeling, hallucinatory city of Kazan she finds a resurgent nationalism that is almost touching in its naãvetÇ as a people submerged by Russian power since Ivan the Terrible's conquest in 1552 is budding once more—and thumbing a nose at its former master. Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan: It's an enjoyable trek, all in all, but a pervading superciliousness dims Geyer's larger ambitions. For example, in Uzbekistan, she visits the Shah-i-Zinda complex of mausoleums, where Qasim ibn Abbas (who brought Islam to Central Asia) is buried. The episode is thrown in touristically, simply because it happened and because one of the self-described ``stock-brokers'' who had come with her from Samarkand suddenly goes into a kind of trance. It is a strange and curious moment, but Geyer cannot rise to it. She simply says ``I actually began to tremble'' and casually mentions the ``awe'' of the event. This is a good book, but it also reminds the reader that a certain kind of self-importance blunts an otherwise receptive mind, and that travelogues and journalism require different sensibilities that are hard to sew together. (Author tour) Read full book review >
Released: Feb. 25, 1990

In this important and evenhanded book, longtime foreign correspondent and syndicated columnist Geyer (Buying the Night Flight, 1982, etc.) provides unequalled insight into the decline of Fidel Castro from national hero to increasingly desperate dictator of a despairing little country. Much of Geyer's success comes from her careful investigation of aspects of Castro's life that, in the tradition of the charismatic leader, he has sought to conceal: his origins as the son of a landowner with ten thousand acres; his time at the Univ. of Havana, in which he alternated study of the methods of Hitler, Mussolini, and Falangist leader Primo de Rivera with episodes of sheer gangsterism; and his marriage and liaisons and affairs. Geyer argues persuasively that the West has asked the wrong questions about Castro: it is less important to know when Castro became a Communist than how he used the Communist Party to achieve his overriding ambition: power. With his demonic energy, his uncanny instinct for the direction of events, his gift for self-dramatization, and his almost mystical ability to express the yearnings and passions of the Cuban people, he ultimately attained it; but, once attained, his brutality, his overmastering egotism, and his consuming hatred of the US transformed him into a caricature of the Latin American caudillo, and his country into one of the poorest in the hemisphere. The scrupulousness, the experience, and the balance Geyer brings to this portrait will not easily be improved upon. A notable achievement. Read full book review >