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The Age of the Warrior: Selected Essays by Robert Fisk Hardcover – July 29, 2008

4.2 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

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

About the Author

Robert Fisk is the Middle East Bureau Chief for The Independent (UK) and has reported from Belfast, Lebanon, Iran, and Iraq. He is the world’s most-decorated foreign correspondent, having won the British Press Awards’ International Journalist of the Year award seven times. The author of two previous books, Pity the Nation and The Great War for Civilisation, Fisk lives in Beirut and Ireland.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 544 pages
  • Publisher: Nation Books; 1st edition (July 29, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1568584032
  • ISBN-13: 978-1568584034
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.4 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,758,918 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
This book is a selection from Robert Fisk's Saturday columns in the Independent from 1998 to 2007. These writings cover films and novels, the World Wars, the first British war of occupation of Iraq, the wars in Iraq, Lebanon and Afghanistan, the Turkish genocide of Armenians, and many other themes.

He sums up this period as the age of the warrior, describing how Bush changed the US Army's official `Soldier's Creed' to "I am a warrior" whose sole mission is `to destroy the enemies of the United States of America'. An American veteran wrote that the new creed "allows no end to any conflict except total destruction of the `enemy'. It ... does not allow one ever to stop fighting (lending itself to the idea of `the long war'). It says nothing about following orders, it says nothing about obeying laws or showing restraint. It says nothing about dishonourable actions ..." Change the word American in the creed to Muslim and it could be bin Laden's creed.

The American veteran wrote that this new creed encouraged the committing of atrocities. For example, the CIA had videos of prisoners being waterboarded, recently admitting that it had destroyed them. Americans in authority believe, wrongly, that `Torture works', as one Special Forces major put it.

Fisk notes how politicians impose policies against our national interest and against all morality, and how they use power to terrorise us. But our consent is not unthinking or automatic; the thought is that `authority is trustworthy', despite the evidence. He noted that some of his fellow journalists refuse to see cruelty and use the notion of `balance' to avoid the truth. He also notes the growing efforts to censor criticism, whether of Israel or of Islam.
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Format: Hardcover
It's unfortunate that the people who really should read this book won't. The truth,as seen through the eyes of an eyewitness,is what too often is missing from the news we read or see or hear. As painful as it is, the stories of everyday people must be told. Mr. Fisk is a master at separating fact from fiction. This book is a chronicle of history in our time and exposes those who have turned their backs on our world. As a species, we can't continue to be led by our self-inflicted ignorance and continue to repeat the mistakes of the past. This book is an excellent means to achieving awareness of the world we live on.
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Format: Hardcover
How does one review a book by a man who has spent the past three decades reporting on the world's bloodiest conflicts, who has interviewed Osama bin Laden and who, by Air France calculations, travels more frequently than any Air France crew member? Robert Fisk's journalistic resume is impressive, from the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan to Israel's own invasion of Lebanon, Iran after the overthrow of the Shah to the US-led invasion of Iraq, as well as the killing fields of Algeria, Syria, the Occupied Territories and other trouble spots in the Arab world.

The sum total of his death-defying forays into the Middle East is contained in his excellent Pity the Nation, which covers the Lebanese civil war, and The Great War for Civilization, a monumental, 1,300-plus page catalogue of man's inhumanity to man which, Fisk tells us, will eventually be followed by a second volume.

The Age of the Warrior departs from the blood-soaked pages of his previous books and offers more personal insights into Fisk the man. In it we find the ponderings, through a decade or so of editorials he wrote for the Independent, of a man who probably has seen more dead bodies than any reporter alive today. The 116 entries can be read as hiatuses, "a foreign correspondent's thoughts amid war, a corner of the journalist's brain that usually goes unrecorded," recorded here for our benefit.

Some entries, such as "The forgotten art of handwriting" or "The cat who ate missile wire for breakfast" -- a true story, by the way -- are light in tone, but underlying the whole volume is the same anger we have come to expect from Fisk in the face of injustice, double standards and Western complicity in the suffering that finds such fertile ground throughout the Middle East.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Fisk is brilliant and frank about a wide range of subjects he covers in this book. It is a collection (more than 100 as I recall) of his editorial pieces from work at the Independent Magazine. Each is a little gem. A thesis (in the preface) is that a reporter's supposed lack of bias is something he regards as a 'great sickness of our Western press and television'. (Of course he makes you well aware of his own but with compelling logic and facts.) I have long agreed with that sentiment but have not the resources, nor time and talent, to analyze reality behind news releases or journalistic commentary on contemporary international 'incidents'. Long since I have concluded we do not have truly objective news services needed to impel action by speaking 'truth' or at least presenting unedited facts. The pieces in this book cover a range from family and schooling experiences when young, through favorite movies, the Rumblin' Tum cafe in his home town, war, travels, and many other brief but pointed reflections on issues of our times. Another theme in the book is contemporary journalism treatment of reality changes fundamental meaning of words leading to erroneous conclusions. (Fisk's education included Chomsky and meaning in language.) An example is "There is something repulsive about this vocabulary (i.e. as found in the news), an aggressive language of superiority in which `key players' can `interact' with each other, can `think outside the box', `outsource' their business, or `downsiize' the number of their employees'." Words with implied and ambivalent meanings. The title is a little misleading since these reminiscenses are from a man of incredibly broad experience in the world. Not least are those observed while residing for 30 years in Beirut, Lebanon. A complementary view of Mideast reality for a reader, than simply cruising through short pieces, is to travel with him in the Near East in his book "The Great War to Save Civilization".
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