A thoughtful set of well-expressed recommendations, deserving of a wide audience among those charged with making big...



White paper from a knowledgeable civilian on how to reconstruct Iraq in the aftermath of war.

Debut author Braude brings solid credentials to bear on the advice he offers here to governments and nongovernmental organizations alike. Holder of a graduate degree from Princeton in Islamic studies, fluent in Arabic, Hebrew, and Farsi, the 28-year-old Iraqi-American also has close connections to the dissident and exile community. All of these capabilities come into play here, as Braude impresses upon his readers that Iraq is far more than Saddam Hussein. Not only is it the long-ago birthplace of civilization, but until very recently, at its best and most thriving before Saddam’s Ba’ath Party set about its years-long campaign of suppression, Iraq was a multicultural nation, its people well educated and tolerant—all key ingredients, the author suggests, for the good state that can and should follow Saddam’s ouster. Many elements must be brought into the work of reconstruction, Braude writes, from the Iraqi army (which would be trimmed substantially to numbers that “ultimately depend on the level of American commitment to Baghdad’s security,” especially in the face of potential threats from Turkey and Iran) to the deprogrammed agents of the secret police, from teachers to lawyers and judges to expatriates, who will introduce “an inflow of ideological capital” that should serve to further the cause of democracy. Braude predicts good things: the flowering of a culture that has been driven underground, expressing itself in forms ranging from pop music to journalism; the reemergence of a civil society; the establishment of peace and prosperity in the region. All of which, in his optimistic view, could serve to prove “that the hell Iraqis have endured in recent years may mean very little in the grand scheme of things.”

A thoughtful set of well-expressed recommendations, deserving of a wide audience among those charged with making big decisions about the world.

Pub Date: May 1, 2003

ISBN: 0-465-00788-0

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Basic

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2003

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For Howard Zinn, long-time civil rights and anti-war activist, history and ideology have a lot in common. Since he thinks that everything is in someone's interest, the historian—Zinn posits—has to figure out whose interests he or she is defining/defending/reconstructing (hence one of his previous books, The Politics of History). Zinn has no doubts about where he stands in this "people's history": "it is a history disrespectful of governments and respectful of people's movements of resistance." So what we get here, instead of the usual survey of wars, presidents, and institutions, is a survey of the usual rebellions, strikes, and protest movements. Zinn starts out by depicting the arrival of Columbus in North America from the standpoint of the Indians (which amounts to their standpoint as constructed from the observations of the Europeans); and, after easily establishing the cultural disharmony that ensued, he goes on to the importation of slaves into the colonies. Add the laborers and indentured servants that followed, plus women and later immigrants, and you have Zinn's amorphous constituency. To hear Zinn tell it, all anyone did in America at any time was to oppress or be oppressed; and so he obscures as much as his hated mainstream historical foes do—only in Zinn's case there is that absurd presumption that virtually everything that came to pass was the work of ruling-class planning: this amounts to one great indictment for conspiracy. Despite surface similarities, this is not a social history, since we get no sense of the fabric of life. Instead of negating the one-sided histories he detests, Zinn has merely reversed the image; the distortion remains.

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 1979

ISBN: 0061965588

Page Count: 772

Publisher: Harper & Row

Review Posted Online: May 26, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 1979

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Buffs of the Old West will enjoy Clavin’s careful research and vivid writing.



Rootin’-tootin’ history of the dry-gulchers, horn-swogglers, and outright killers who populated the Wild West’s wildest city in the late 19th century.

The stories of Wyatt Earp and company, the shootout at the O.K. Corral, and Geronimo and the Apache Wars are all well known. Clavin, who has written books on Dodge City and Wild Bill Hickok, delivers a solid narrative that usefully links significant events—making allies of white enemies, for instance, in facing down the Apache threat, rustling from Mexico, and other ethnically charged circumstances. The author is a touch revisionist, in the modern fashion, in noting that the Earps and Clantons weren’t as bloodthirsty as popular culture has made them out to be. For example, Wyatt and Bat Masterson “took the ‘peace’ in peace officer literally and knew that the way to tame the notorious town was not to outkill the bad guys but to intimidate them, sometimes with the help of a gun barrel to the skull.” Indeed, while some of the Clantons and some of the Earps died violently, most—Wyatt, Bat, Doc Holliday—died of cancer and other ailments, if only a few of old age. Clavin complicates the story by reminding readers that the Earps weren’t really the law in Tombstone and sometimes fell on the other side of the line and that the ordinary citizens of Tombstone and other famed Western venues valued order and peace and weren’t particularly keen on gunfighters and their mischief. Still, updating the old notion that the Earp myth is the American Iliad, the author is at his best when he delineates those fraught spasms of violence. “It is never a good sign for law-abiding citizens,” he writes at one high point, “to see Johnny Ringo rush into town, both him and his horse all in a lather.” Indeed not, even if Ringo wound up killing himself and law-abiding Tombstone faded into obscurity when the silver played out.

Buffs of the Old West will enjoy Clavin’s careful research and vivid writing.

Pub Date: April 21, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-21458-4

Page Count: 400

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: Jan. 20, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2020

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