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Who Hates Whom: Well-Armed Fanatics, Intractable Conflicts, and Various Things Blowing Up A Woefully Incomplete Guide Paperback – September 25, 2007


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Three Rivers Press; 1 edition (September 25, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307394360
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307394361
  • Product Dimensions: 7.9 x 5.1 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #891,245 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“The geopolitical equivalent of scorecards that get hawked at ball games. Only Bob could make a user’s guide to our increasingly hostile world this absorbing, this breezy, and—ultimately—this hopeful.”

Ken Jennings, author of Brainiac

“It takes deft touch to combine this much-needed research with a razor-sharp wit... You’ll laugh ‘til you cry, but at least you’ll be one step ahead of CNN.”

Gus Russo, author of Supermob and The Outfit

“If you read one book this year, be like me and choose this one.”
Emo Philips

“Bob Harris, perpetual Jeopardy underdog, now turns his polymathic curiosity to the subject of GLOBAL CONFLICT—the result: this handy history of violence that is at once surprising, fascinating, enlightening, and surprisingly: NOT TOTALLY DEPRESSING. A gimlet-eyed look at the world we endure that’s also suitable for enjoying with a gimlet.”
John Hodgman, author of The Areas of My Expertise and correspondent for The Daily Show with Jon Stewart

About the Author

BOB HARRIS is the author of Prisoner of Trebekistan: A Decade in Jeopardy!, and has written for media ranging from National Lampoon to the television show CSI: Crime Scene Investigation. He lives in Los Angeles.

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Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
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Who Hates Whom, sadly, will come in handy more often than you can guess.
Steve Bishakis
I love his writing style, and the rock heavy content material is lightened a touch by his humorous tone.
ambiguator
I only bought it a few weeks ago, but I've read it cover to cover twice already.
gobrowns

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

35 of 35 people found the following review helpful By R. Hardy HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on September 26, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
"You can't tell the players without a program!" Thus shout the program sellers to the crowd entering the baseball stadium. If your eye is not on the small-stadium game, but rather on the biggest stadium of all, the globe and its international power plays, you can't tell the players without _Who Hates Whom: Well-Armed Fanatics, Intractable Conflicts, and Various Things Blowing Up: A Woefully Incomplete Guide_ (Three Rivers Press) by Bob Harris. This is an exceedingly useful book, consisting of many three or four page chapters devoted to hot spots around the world, each chapter with a map, a summary of who the players are on both sides (if the conflict is limited to two sides, but many are far messier), the history of how they got into the current mess (a history going back millennia at times), and prospects for the future. The topic is vital, but it is bloody and can provoke a disgust with one's fellow humans. Harris, however, won't let the violence get in the way of getting his points across in a jaunty, humorous vein. He has, after all, been a comic, and he reminds us that his degree is in electrical engineering, and also he has been "... a TV writer, a memoirist, a TV debunker of urban legends, and the voice of a cartoon penguin, all of which qualifies me for squat." He is a big time winner at _Jeopardy!_ (chronicled in his entertaining _Prisoner of Trebekistan_), so he has a broad realm of knowledge, and he is also a world traveler. You won't get a comprehensive picture of any of these conflicts here, but that's not the book's purpose. "This book is meant to be handy when you see something explode on CNN but they switch to Anna Nicole Smith still being dead before you're sure what went kaboom.Read more ›
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25 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Lucas Gerhart on September 28, 2007
Format: Paperback
This is the kind of book that's been needed for a long time. It's a quick, surprisingly funny guide to all those things on the news that you know you ought to know about but don't. You get the history of the conflicts in a given area, who the main players are, and what they're fighting about. Suddenly, things get a lot clearer.

It's not a book you feel like you need to read cover-to-cover, either, although you might find yourself doing that anyway, getting pulled along by the humor. Instead, you can use it as a quick reference the next time you find yourself wondering about what the deal is in Burma, for example. You're going to want to keep it next to your television or newspaper.

The maps are great too. I found that a lot of times I got a sense of what the main thrust of a conflict was just by looking at the map. Harris has done a good job -- in the maps and in the text -- with boiling things down to the essential points, so you can see the situation for yourself.

The book is more than a painless way to educate yourself -- it's a funny way to educate yourself.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Tim Johnson on October 6, 2007
Format: Paperback
Despite what we're constantly told, we don't live in the Age of Information. We live in the Age of Crappy, Useless Information. TV continuously shows us pictures of things blowing up all over the world. But they never provide any context, so you end up with the impression Planet Earth is simultaneously boring, confusing and extremely dangerous.

That's why "Who Hates Whom" is such a wonderful and useful book. Read it, and suddenly the uprising in Burma (now all over TV) isn't just a morass of random violence, but the next chapter in an ongoing drama that ACTUALLY MAKES SENSE. Suddenly the NY Times story today (October 7, 2007) about mass rape in Congo isn't just about hideous human depravity springing out at us from nowhere, but hideous human depravity that grows out of a 130 year-long history of extreme violence. Likewise with Iraq, Colombia, Kashmir, and 28 other chapters.

Of course, this much horrible information in one place would normally be unbearably depressing. But Bob Harris is such a clear, succinct, hilarious writer the whole thing is, amazingly enough, a genuine pleasure to read. You will never laugh more about worldwide human suffering. (Or rather, about the universal human behaviors that lead to worldwide suffering -- Harris' humanity and decency come through more clearly in 200 short pages than the World Bank can manage in 10,000 stultifying reports.) And he closes with a believable case for why everything you've just read should actually make you optimistic about human potential. Maybe.

So get this for yourself, and for anyone you know with the least interest in the outside world. Your brains and souls will thank you.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By a reader in brooklyn on September 28, 2007
Format: Paperback
Bob explains everything, fairly and honestly, probably getting something wrong or not to your political taste, but not for lack of trying to get it right, considering, you know, he's a gameshow contestant. And he's funny. Which is saying something, considering most of the time he's describing genocide.

Even better, just like in his memoir Prisoner of Trebekistan (which you should read if you haven't), you get to the end, and somehow, this wise-guy know-it-all ends up sneaking past you and becoming very moving and wise. Go figure.
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