47 of 55 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Will you like it? Take this quick half-paragraph test.
It's easy to find out if you'll like this book. Read the following half paragraph from the end of chapter one:
"But as frightening as terrorism is, it's the weapon of losers. When someone detonates a suicide bomb, that person does not have career prospects. And no matter how horrific the terrorist attack, it's conducted by losers. Winners don't need to hijack...
Published on October 7, 2004 by Billy Hollis
6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A little thin
I've enjoyed PJ's books before - he is often incredibly funny and informative even if you disagree with his politics. But this work is a bit thin, both in terms of length, information and humour. Rather than a detailed look at something (eg. O'Rourke's brilliant Parliament of Whores) this is a selection of snapshots. There is less humour and even less politics - the...
Published on January 7, 2007 by Frikle
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47 of 55 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Will you like it? Take this quick half-paragraph test.,
"But as frightening as terrorism is, it's the weapon of losers. When someone detonates a suicide bomb, that person does not have career prospects. And no matter how horrific the terrorist attack, it's conducted by losers. Winners don't need to hijack airplanes. Winners have an air force."
If you think that's funny and on target, you'll like the book. If you fail to see the humor, or think he's off in the weeds on his opinions, try something else.
I've been reading P.J. since his early National Lampoon days, and I think this is as funny as anything he's done in a long time. It's certainly better than his last two efforts ("Eat the Rich" and "CEO of the Sofa"). It's more comparable to "Give War a Chance". I'm glad to see him regaining his edge.
21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Another fine mess,
O'Rourke is something of a gonzo journalist in the Hunter S. Thompson tradition in that the story is his adventures in getting the story. The fault is not as grievous with O'Rourke, however, in that he is both far less pretentious and far funnier. (He mentions the personal effect of 9/11 on him of driving his prior book off the medium well sellers list, for example.) We travel with O'Rourke as he watches the well intentioned fail to bring order out of chaos while delivering free food to the semi-starving, while he dickers up the cost of buying what he thinks is alcoholic beer in dry Iraq, and while he visits Holy Land, or is it the holely land?
There are certain insights here although the book is played primarily for laughs. It is difficult to dislike the people O'Rourke meets in his travels eventhough they dislike ech other to the point of killing. There is no strong political message in this book and O'Rourke does not burden us with any proposed solutions. Rather, he describes the scenes and the people in such a way as to recall to mind Oliver Hardy saying to Stan Laurel, "This is another fine mess you've gotten me into."
I might mention that this is not a book for the ages. Although there will be no problem for the reasonably well informed now, in ten years you won't be able to get the jokes without reference to footnotes.
Less bitter than Ann Coulter, far funnier than Al Franken, this is a book with an eye for the absurd that has chosen to laugh rather than to cry.
23 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wickedly Funny,
By A Customer
61 of 79 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A thinking persons writer,
And if you get the chance to ever catch him speaking on C-Spans Booknotes you will not be disappointed and may well spend some hard earned dollars ordering the VHS tape of the show, if you are to lazy to record it.
And I agree 100% with Amazon.com reviewer rexferal from Grand Junction, CO who notes ' Less bitter than Ann Coulter, far funnier than Al Franken, this is a book with an eye for the absurd that has chosen to laugh rather than to cry'. And as others have noted do a google.com search for his pieces in both Rolling Stone and The Atlantic publications.
28 of 35 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars O'Rourke strikes again,
16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars This is Classic O'Rourke!,
O'Rourke is a self-described "trouble tourist," and in a world where trouble means something more serious now than, say, Presidential grand-jury testimony, the arrival of a new book on "America's Fun New Imperialism" is more than welcome. Even more welcome than that, because O'Rourke's previous book dealt with manners domestic --- really, really domestic; a work in which the author's three-year old daughter predominated. One got the opinion that P.J. really needed to get out of the house a bit, which he does here.
Like most books in the O'Rourke canon, PEACE KILLS is largely a collection of magazine articles tied together with some common theme. The most logical common theme would, of course, seem to be the war on terror, but O'Rourke's journey starts well before that --- with prewar trips to Kosovo and Israel. In Kosovo, the author witnesses the post-invasion of the Balkans by international peace organizations, and ponders how American forces can achieve a stable, multicultural society when similar efforts have failed, and failed badly, in places like, well, Detroit. He finds that Israel is, surprisingly, a lot like New Jersey --- that is, if there were barbed wire all across the Delaware River, with dispossessed Pennsylvanians holding a nearby intifada.
Then September 11th happens (and no one familiar with the O'Rourke public persona will be surprised that there's at least one stop to a bar in his narrative of that day). His first stop is Cairo, the cradle of modern civilization, now exhibiting only bits and pieces of it --- NASCAR-scale traffic jams, ugly sofas, pyramids, the "Pizza Hat" restaurant, and the Arab-language version of the Conan O'Brien show.
There is then a brief return to American cultural and social issues. ("How come I've never heard of anyone --- Linkin Park, Ludacris, OutKast --- on the Billboard Top 50?" O'Rourke asks. "Why can't they spell?") He deconstructs a document opposed to the American war effort signed by a variety of Nobel Prize laureates (and that, for some reason, does not include Yasser Arafat), thereby demonstrating that very, very smart people can write some very, very stupid claptrap now and then.
But the home of claptrap has always been Washington, and the best part of PEACE KILLS is that O'Rourke rarity --- straight reporting. O'Rourke attends a peace rally on The Mall and does absolutely nothing but relate what he sees there --- because some things, like middle-aged women dressed up as fairies and wearing Rollerblades, are simply beyond the capacity that ridicule has to address such things.
PEACE KILLS ends with a behind-the-scenes --- well, behind the curtains of a fancy Kuwait hotel, at least --- look at the kick-off of the Iraq war. Readers aren't necessarily supposed to support the O'Rourke view here --- sow the ground with salt, sell the population into slavery, roast the Baath party over a slow fire --- but, having gotten this far, will be treated to the cutting rhetoric, quick wit, and outrageous conduct of America's greatest gonzo journalist currently in captivity.
--- Reviewed by Curtis Edmonds
15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Riot,
This review is from: Peace Kills: America's Fun New Imperialism (Paperback)O'Rourke delivers some of his best stuff in Peace Kills: America's Fun New Imperialism. In this book, long time traveler and heavy drinker turned fake family man P.J. O'Rourke writes about his visits to Terrorist hot spot Egypt, he discusses nation building in Kosovo, he walks in recently conquered Baghdad, and he takes on hippie protestors marching in Washington D.C.
P.J. O'Rourke has authored numerous works of this kind; they're basically the observations of a storied traveler pretending to be a serious journalist in some of the most dangerous places on the planet. Some of his other work in the arena includes "Holidays in Hell" and "All the Trouble in the World." It almost makes the reader wonder what P.J. did to make his assignment editors so angry. That's what also makes most of his works so much fun, O'Rourke approaches deadly situations with humor and pith.
In the funny department, this is O'Rourke's best work. His opening essay discusses why American's hate foreign policy. This essay has got to be the best work ever for P.J. It is so dense, nearly every sentence brings either a thought or a laugh, and despite how funny the essay is, O'Rourke finds truth. American's do hate foreign policy, and we should. O'Rourke also dissects that the stances of other nations, and makes a humorous case for unilateralism.
However, O'Rourke doesn't live up to expectation. The final essay of the book, the climax, his description of conquered Iraq, is a huge letdown. I doubt it's for any fault of O'Rourke's. he just wasn't exposed to anything more exciting than aid truck queues. This is still a must read, and it beats any of O'Rourke's other travel tails of mayhem.
23 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars PJ at the top of his form. Don't miss!,
On 9-11: "Winners don't need to hijack airplanes. Winners have an air force."
On terrorist losers: "When someone detonates a suicide bomb, that person does not have career prospects."
PJ's suggested chant, for pointless protest marches:
"Five, four, three, two.
We don't have a doggone clue!"
Very entertaining stuff, some with quite a bite to it. Don't miss, if you like PJ. Not a bad place to start, either.
9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I love PJ's wit...,
Ok, I am a fan, despite the fact this book so far is not hitting the spot for me.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars P.J. isn't for everyone.,
This review is from: Peace Kills: America's Fun New Imperialism (Paperback)He goes out of his way to take radically un-PC, illiberal viewpoints that will truly offend many people, and present them as absolutely his own with no reservations or apologies. Thus the title of this book, for example.
The thing is, even when I disagree with him (or at least his stated opinion, possibly presented merely as a thought excercise to present a new and different perspective on a subject generally treated only in banalities) (which is frequently) I have to admit that he makes many good points, in an acerbically witty way that can elicit a chuckle even from subjects that JUST AREN'T FUNNY.
If you are of the liberal persuasion, and can't stand reading somebody who disagrees with you, and worse, who doesn't take your positions seriously, who has a smart mouth and is quick to mock anything and everything that he finds foolish (including, to be fair, those on his own side of the political spectrum, when he feels they have it coming) you will not enjoy this book, or any other of P.J. O'Rourke's books. But if you tend to the conservative side of the spectrum, and can tolerate a bit of irreverence toward your own sacred cows from somebody who seems to be more or less on your own side, or if you can tolerate even snide disagreement from someone who writes well, is witty, and has some very interesting insights from some very odd perspectives (and perhaps best of all, who doesn't take himself any more seriously than he takes anyone or anything else) you may like this book, even if you find many of his apparent opinions appalling. If you've read other of his books, and liked them, you'll doubtless like this one. If you've read one or two of his other works, and not enjoyed them, it may mean that you wouldn't care for this one, or it may mean that your previous experiences are not his best work; "Enemies List" is appallingly not funny, "Modern Manners" is pretty useless, "Age & Guile Beat Youth, Innocence, & A Bad Haircut" was basically a self-indulgent bit of fluff written for no better reason than to get a paycheck. But if you've read "Parliament of Whores", "Give War A Chance", and/or "All The Trouble in the World", and not liked them, you definitely will not care for this one, either.
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Peace Kills: America's Fun New Imperialism by P. J. O'Rourke (Paperback - April 10, 2005)