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The Hunter, The Hammer, and Heaven: Journeys to Three Worlds Gone Mad Hardcover – January 1, 2002
"Neverworld Wake" by Marisha Pessl
Read the absorbing new psychological suspense thriller from acclaimed New York Times bestselling author Marisha Pessl. Learn more
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Unfortunately, there are numerous typographical and grammatical errors, by far the most I have ever seen in any book.
Exactly the kind of guy you'd always want to meet for a beer at an expat bar.
The topics are intriguing; stories of the chaos and nonsense that come of policymaking by the corrupt, small-minded, evil, or uninformed are nearly always good reading, and Pelton's tales of mercenaries being hired by sovereign governments and indigenous revolutionary movements in the sunny South Pacific are no exception. He is clearly capable of winning the trust of some unsavory and fascinating characters. But the output is marred by what seems to be an almost willful lack of editing, on either the macro or micro scale. The stories do not hang together, events occuring out of chronological sequence with little narrative justification. And the sentence structure, grammatical mistakes, and typos made me literally angry; I believe that when I pay full price for an expensive hardback book part of what the publisher owes me is decent copy editing.
In the end, neither Pelton nor Lyons Press should be rewarded for producing this kind of slipshod material. "The Hunter, The Hammer, and Heaven" was clearly output to capitalize on Mr Pelton's fame as the creator of the World's Most Dangerous Places, but the gratuitous low quality of the book is an insult to readers. With another week or two of editing and review this could have been a solid if unremarkable product; as it is, "The Hunter..." is merely an exercise in frustration.
Pelton's "The Hunter, the Hammer, and Heaven" chronicles the author's fearless journeys into three separate hearts of darkness: Sierra Leone, Chechnya, and Bougainville. Each is a place where surely angels would fear to tread, but Pelton, with careful persistence, deftly tiptoes through each, and not only comes back alive, but brings the raw, gritty truths of modern war with him. Places that are usually just a few lines buried in the back page of the Sunday paper spring to hair-raising life as Pelton gets to know the people in each place, and their motivations for fighting.
There is a lot of excellent material here for anybody who is trying to sort out all the players in these hellholes without benefit of a scorecard, and reading this book will impart a much deeper understanding of how and why such conflicts occur.
Another impression the reader will get is that the media outlets of the world are hopelessly out of touch, far more concerned with the color of Hillary Clinton's underwear than with the chaos, death and destruction that they are too lazy or corrupt to see. In my case, Pelton's reporting served only to underscore what I already knew - the media giants are completely out of touch, but in ways I never realized until I read this gutsy man's words.
The book also serves as a window into the shadowy private military operations (like Sandline International and Executive Outcomes) that have superseded the mercenary armies of the 60's and 70's. The book makes (in my opinion) a convincing argument for supporting such actions, rather than condemning them as has been done over and over in the mainstream media. Upon reading this book, you'll come away with a much better understanding of each hot-spot, and a profound respect for Pelton's awe-inspiring courage in seeking out and telling the truth. Highly recommended.
Unfortunately, the book was poorly edited. Repeated sentences, mis-used words, "they" turned into "the" so often that it became expected...all of these mistakes took away significantly from the story and interrupted the flow of reading, sometimes as often as every two pages. Sometimes a story can escape its flaws and sometimes it cannot. Too bad that this is one time that the story could not stand on its own.