An engrossing account of the author’s own experiences written to justify questionable foreign policy that many readers will...

TOUGH SELL

FIGHTING THE MEDIA WAR IN IRAQ

A controversial defense of the 2003 military intervention in Iraq that overthrew the regime of Saddam Hussein.

Basile—a Forbes opinion contributor, faculty member of Fordham University, and principal of the New York–based strategic communications firm Empire Solutions—combines a vivid account of his on-the-ground experience in Iraq as senior press adviser to the Coalition Provisional Authority from 2003 to 2004 with an exploration of the political issues that were involved in the Bush administration’s decision to remove Hussein from power. “The coalition wasn’t merely engaged in a fight to build a more participatory society against incredible odds,” he writes. “It was also in a constant clash with forces that affected public perception about the mission.” The author contends that the need to shape public opinion is one of the most important lessons to be learned from the Iraq mission. Although the ostensible justification of the military intervention—the claim that Hussein had acquired weapons of mass destruction and the existence of a link between his regime and al-Qaida—proved to be false, Basile believes that the war was justified, a wake-up call that alerted us to the danger posed by terrorist groups. However, as the author writes, the “failure to win the media and communications war in Iraq” has left the U.S. more vulnerable “against ISIS and its affiliates.” The merits of the author’s argument are debatable, but his personal account of his experiences reporting the war is gripping. The author rightly points out that confidence in government and media reporting are near all-time lows, creating “a toxic blend that leads to the erosion of citizen-controlled government in the United States.” Basile faults President Barack Obama for downplaying the role of Islamic terrorism and failing to make “the tough sell” needed to maintain a foreign policy that would guarantee “our ability to lead on the world stage.”

An engrossing account of the author’s own experiences written to justify questionable foreign policy that many readers will question.

Pub Date: May 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-61234-900-8

Page Count: 328

Publisher: Potomac Books

Review Posted Online: March 20, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2017

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

NIGHT

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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A Churchill-ian view of native history—Ward, that is, not Winston—its facts filtered through a dense screen of ideology.

AN INDIGENOUS PEOPLES' HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES

Custer died for your sins. And so, this book would seem to suggest, did every other native victim of colonialism.

Inducing guilt in non-native readers would seem to be the guiding idea behind Dunbar-Ortiz’s (Emerita, Ethnic Studies/California State Univ., Hayward; Blood on the Border: A Memoir of the Contra War, 2005, etc.) survey, which is hardly a new strategy. Indeed, the author says little that hasn’t been said before, but she packs a trove of ideological assumptions into nearly every page. For one thing, while “Indian” isn’t bad, since “[i]ndigenous individuals and peoples in North America on the whole do not consider ‘Indian’ a slur,” “American” is due to the fact that it’s “blatantly imperialistic.” Just so, indigenous peoples were overwhelmed by a “colonialist settler-state” (the very language broadly applied to Israelis vis-à-vis the Palestinians today) and then “displaced to fragmented reservations and economically decimated”—after, that is, having been forced to live in “concentration camps.” Were he around today, Vine Deloria Jr., the always-indignant champion of bias-puncturing in defense of native history, would disavow such tidily packaged, ready-made, reflexive language. As it is, the readers who are likely to come to this book—undergraduates, mostly, in survey courses—probably won’t question Dunbar-Ortiz’s inaccurate assertion that the military phrase “in country” derives from the military phrase “Indian country” or her insistence that all Spanish people in the New World were “gold-obsessed.” Furthermore, most readers won’t likely know that some Ancestral Pueblo (for whom Dunbar-Ortiz uses the long-abandoned term “Anasazi”) sites show evidence of cannibalism and torture, which in turn points to the inconvenient fact that North America wasn’t entirely an Eden before the arrival of Europe.

A Churchill-ian view of native history—Ward, that is, not Winston—its facts filtered through a dense screen of ideology.

Pub Date: Sept. 16, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-8070-0040-3

Page Count: 296

Publisher: Beacon Press

Review Posted Online: Aug. 18, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2014

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