Fisk’s passionate coverage of the Middle East for London’s Independent has earned him a global following; unhesitant to blame the powerful for the region’s many injustices, his columns have also drawn intense flak (and, in the blogosphere, caused his last name to be used as a verb). This selection collects about 115 of Fisk’s weekly columns, most penned since 9/11. Many, if not all, of these columns are archived and available for free online, but when bound together in a book and organized by theme and not chronology, they provide unique insight into Fisk himself as well as the historic tumult that is his beat. Each column is, of course, imbued with Fisk’s characteristic urgency; many, especially those dealing with the war in Iraq, seethe with exasperation. There are some delightfully barbed movie reviews. But this gathering’s most compelling moments may be when Fisk steps back to grapple wistfully with the cumulative effects of being a 30-year witness to unrelenting violence. And a few moments, in which he aches for the loss of close friends, are downright haunting. --Brendan Driscoll
'500 pages of his truthful scorn left me wanting more. O brave old world, that has such journos in it.' The Independent 'What Fisk writes, in his often brilliant, highly authoritative prose is a wake-up call. Read 'God damn that democracy' and 'Gold-plated taps' back to back and you have, in a nutshell, the brutal truth of the Middle East problem succinctly expressed, together with proof that Fisk at his best is a hard act to match.' Scotsman From reviews for 'The Great War for Civilisation': 'Brilliant...this powerfully-written book is filled with accounts of horror, pain and injustice. His triumph is that he has turned a slightly dubious and over-romanticised craft into a honorable vocation.' Independent 'His forte is straight reporting, such as his three interviews with Osama bin Laden. At least as good are his meetings with Saddam Hussein, Khomeini and Sadeq Khalkhali, the hanging judge of the Iranian revolution, and his close-ups of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, the launch of Saddam's war against Iran, an ambush by Islamists of an Algerian police patrol, and a lift into trouble in an Apache attack helicopter on the Iraq/Turkey border.' Guardian 'A stimulating and absorbing book, by a man who speaks Arabic, who has known the region better than most, and has met the leading players, from Bin Laden to Ahmad Chalabi. A formidable production.' New York Times 'Full of furious, vivid and highly personalised writing...An important book by an intrepid and talented writer.' Literary Review '500 pages of his truthful scorn left me wanting more. O brave old world, that has such journos in it.' Frank McLynn, The Independent
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