13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
Well worth reading,
This review is from: Things Worth Fighting for: Collected Writings (Hardcover)Michael Kelly, Things Worth Fighting For: Collected Writings, is a compilation of works written by Kelly over a period of about fifteen years. I had not read any of his columns or essays before reading this book and, indeed, barely paid much attention to the announcement of his death covering the Iraq War as an embedded journalist. That was to my own detriment, as I think, after having devoured these essays, I would have enjoyed following his witty, sometimes graphic, occasionally grim, and always insightful writing.
The book is divided into sections generally covering periods such as the Clinton Administration, the Gulf War, the Palestine/Israel peace accords, the War on Terror and the Iraq War. There are also pieces on culture and society (including some short biographical works on Jesse Jackson and Chicago Mayor Richard Daley Jr.), and even some emails he sent to his family while in Iraq. Publication date and original source for each essay and column are at the end of the book ? I would rather that that information been included in the headings for each. There are enough of his writings collected in the book to get a sense of the man and even some hints of the evolution of his thoughts and attitudes. His writing style is fluid and succinct. I could just barely stop reading the book when it was time to go to sleep each night.
The most poignant, and graphic, of his writings included in this book are those covering the Gulf War. He started it having never seen the human and material costs of war first-hand and ended it believing that there truly are things worth fighting, and dying, for. Kelly describes the torture and murder that the Iraqi regime visited on Kuwaiti civilians sparingly but with enough detail that you are left wondering how such evil could have been allowed to survive the war without proper punishment. When reading his coverage of the Iraq War it is apparent that his experiences during the Gulf War informed his reporting and his attitudes.
Kelly?s writings about the Clinton Administration are interesting for the analysis of Bill Clinton the man. Clinton?s childhood environment explains, though it doesn?t excuse, some of his behavior. His mother?s outlook, ?taught, ultimately, that people are not to be judged by their actions, but are endlessly free to reinvent themselves?.Since ?what-ifs? do not exist,, one needn?t worry that the promise of the moment cannot be met in the future?.[and] Since the ?irrelevant? past does not really exist either, the actions of the moment cease to exist once the moment becomes the past, and cannot be held against one later.? As with his war reporting, the selections included in the book give a sense of the change his viewpoint underwent during Clinton?s terms in office ? going from a somewhat neutral analytical tone to weariness from, what he felt was, the incessant lying and prevarication of a man who should be impeached.
This collection is particularly interesting to me because I lived through all of the events covered ? as a spectator perhaps, but lived through it nonetheless. In some sense, Kelly helped me to look back and articulate what it was I felt during Bill Clinton?s terms as President of the United States, the Persian Gulf War, and September 11th. This book is well worth the time spent reading it. I didn?t always agree with his assessments, but I found much to think about. And it is a fitting memorial for a journalist that I wish I had known during his lifetime.