- Paperback: 1136 pages
- Publisher: Vintage; Reprint edition (February 13, 2007)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1400075173
- ISBN-13: 978-1400075171
- Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.9 x 9.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 2.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 219 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #15,645 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Great War for Civilisation: The Conquest of the Middle East Reprint Edition
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From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. Combining a novelist's talent for atmosphere with a scholar's grasp of historical sweep, foreign correspondent Fisk (Pity the Nation: The Abduction of Lebanon) has written one of the most dense and compelling accounts of recent Middle Eastern history yet. The book opens with a deftly juxtaposed account of Fisk's two interviews with Osama bin Laden. In the first, held in Sudan in 1993, bin Laden declared himself "a construction engineer and an agriculturist." He had no time to train mujahideen, he said; he was busy constructing a highway. In the second, held four years later in Afghanistan, he declared war on the Saudi royal family and America.Fisk, who has lived in and reported on the Middle East since 1976, first for the (London) Times and now for the Independent, possesses deep knowledge of the broader history of the region, which allows him to discuss the Armenian genocide 90 years ago, the 2002 destruction of Jenin, and the battlefields of Iraq with equal aplomb. But it is his stunning capacity for visceral description—he has seen, or tracked down firsthand accounts of, all the major events of the past 25 years—that makes this volume unique. Some of the chapters contain detailed accounts of torture and murder, which more squeamish readers may be inclined to skip, but such scenes are not gratuitous. They are designed to drive home Fisk's belief that "war is primarily not about victory or defeat but about death and the infliction of death." Though Fisk's political stances may sometimes be controversial, no one can deny that this volume is a stunning achievement. (Nov.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
"A magisterial report from the shifting front lines of the Middle East. It deserves to be read by all those concerned with what is happening in Iraq today." —The Boston Globe“A stimulating and absorbing book, by a man who . . . has met the leading players, from bin Laden to Ahmad Chalabi. . . . A formidable production.” —The New York Times Book Review“Vivid, graphic, intense. . . . A book of unquestionable importance. . . . [Fisk’s] experience of war is unmatched, [as is] his capacity to convey that experience in concrete, passionate language.” —The Washington Post Book World“Fisk’s magnum opus. . . . Seals [his] place as a venerable, indispensable contributor to informed debate in and about the Middle East.” —The Nation“Powerful . . . Mr. Fisk is a gifted writer and an accomplished storyteller . . . his love affair with the region and the glamorous profession of being a foreign correspondent finds expression on every page.” —The Economist
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Each chapter of the book reveals one or many "surprising" facts. "Surprising" to me because I didn't know about it, I didn't hear about it or I didn't explore it enough before, in large part because of my ignorance, but also because our traditional media outlets are incredibly deficient or subscribed to a particular view of the world. Fisk talks about the terrible consequences of the First World War, the history of aggression to the Afghan people by Brits, Russians and Americans, the conflict between the urban and rural sides of Afghanistan, the Western-sponsored coup d'etat that overthrew the only Iranian President ever elected in a fair democratic process, the world support to the invader and user of chemical weapons in the Iran-Iraq war, the gruesome history of the Algerian civil war, the conversations between the Nazis and the Palestinians during World War II, the massacres at the Palestinian refugee camps of Sabra and Chatila in the Lebanon, the contamination of water and soil and increased cancer rates in Iraq due to depleted uranium, just to name a few terrible facts. This is definitively not a "feel good" book, but rather a raw description of the events in an area of the world ravaged by war and vengeance. You will feel sad. You will feel frustrated. You will feel anger, especially at the intervention of the foreign powers in the region (UK, France, US, Russia, even Germany and Italy). But suddenly, you will realize that the marathon effort of going through more than 1,300 pages is one of your best investments of time. Very highly recommended.
If the world possessed more journalists with his caliber, the world would be a better place and perhaps the West can snap out of its ZOMBIE state of mentality. Instead, we have bunch of bought and sold weasels running around satisfying specific agendas. You all know which media systems I am talking about!!!
Mr. Fisk, as a born and raised Middle Easterner who has lived in the hottest spots, I tip my hat to you fine chap, and wish you the best in continuing your noble work to free the oppressed from the evil of the oppressors.
Live long n prosper
Whilst reading the book I felt angry and at other times my eyes welled up. People’s lives were ripped apart by cruel self-serving dictators, megalomaniacs, half-wit imbeciles and murderous thugs whose fanatical displays of religious fanaticism and political ideology affected millions. There were very strict standards and little tolerance for contrary ideas or opinions and little or no regard for human life.
The western world is incapable of making reparation for war crimes against humanity and are not much better than the group I listed above. The countries that declare war lack all conviction to follow-through for a variety of reasons and justifications not to support the rebuilding of the region delusional in their thinking that Sunnis and the Shiites will work in harmony. Full of hate for each other which is deep rooted in their DNA the split goes back to events in the 7th century: After Mohammed's death in 632.
The only way to deal with the legacy of war is to keep looking forward. I see no hope for the Middle East until education is compulsory for all children, free from religious bondage, dictators removed without decent into chaos, and from that point forward it will take 100 years or more for peace to come to the region.
“There is only one way in which one can endure man's inhumanity to man and that is to try, in one's own life, to exemplify man's humanity to man.”
' Alan Paton
Most recent customer reviews
If you are looking for a book condemning the West, especially America, for all the ills in the Middle East this is the book for you.Read more