Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Peace Kills: America's Fun New Imperialism Hardcover – April 19, 2004
|New from||Used from|
"Children of Blood and Bone"
Tomi Adeyemi conjures a stunning world of dark magic and danger in her West African-inspired fantasy debut. Learn more
Customers who viewed this item also viewed
What other items do customers buy after viewing this item?
From Publishers Weekly
O'Rourke has made a career out of telling people off. As a foreign correspondent for the Atlantic Monthly and Rolling Stone, he has demonstrated a flair for sarcasm and an aptitude for making people laugh. In his 11th book, however, this provocateur par excellence presents a more sober and, alas, less funny, take than usual, this time in essays on American foreign policy, including visits to several important countries on the international scene. Starting with Kosovo, he comments on the Serbian-Albanian conflict, then makes his way to Israel, Egypt, Kuwait and Iraq. Other entries look at the effects of September 11 on the U.S. home front, which includes poking fun at airport search techniques and a clever deconstruction of a 2001 statement on peace and social justice signed by 103 Nobelists. O'Rourke's book does many of the things a conservative bestseller is supposed to do: it's irreverent, in-your-face and often offensive (Hillary Clinton: "the furious harridan on the White House third floor"). Yet O'Rourke, the funny man of foreign politics, seems less interested in humor here than in slightly skewed reporting. His articles on Israel and Egypt, for example, are basically descriptive, a diary account of where he went, what he saw, the hotels he stayed in, the food he ate, interrupted every so often by O'Rourke's trademark non sequitur humor. The author's fans probably won't mind the slight shift in direction, though they will wish for more laughs; O'Rourke is one of the most popular conservative authors around and this book, like his others, should find a happy nest on national bestseller lists.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Another Bush was president and another war was on in Iraq when O'Rourke's first smart-alecky, frat-boy dissection of public policy, Parliament of Whores (1991), was a best-seller. It seems a symptom of our polarized political discourse that, whereas that screed entertained even readers who opposed its libertarian grumpiness, O'Rourke's more recent works are more likely to annoy than amuse anyone left of Milton Friedman. There are few surprises in this volume's commentary on foreign policy: Kosovo, Israel, 9/11, Egypt, Kuwait, Iraq, a 2001 statement by Nobel laureates, a 2002 Palestinian solidarity march in Washington, D.C., the current war, and in an epilogue, a visit to the island of Iwo Jima. The print media have long included publications tailored for the political Right and Left; Air America gives talk radio a liberal response to the conservative chat shows. Increasingly, political books aim to reinforce the attitudes of readers who already agree with the author rather than to change the minds of others. Peace Kills will circulate best where readers are already committed to the I-hate-liberals humor of O'Rourke and his ideological brethren. Mary Carroll
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
I read his previous book "Give War a Chance", which I thought was awesome. Awesome, but a tad outdated as it centered around the 1st Gulf war. So I purchased this book to see the author's take on current events. The critics of the previous Gulf War I think were a little easier to make fun of.
The author, P.J. O'Rourke doesn't really disappoint when it comes to making fun of peace protesters. They tend to be a stupid bunch, I have noted that myself when I witnessed a protest march in DC. The book is awesome hilarious when the author makes fun of Nobel prize winners and their illiterate and easily disprovable political assertions about poverty.
What I wanted to read about when I read this book is how if at all the author modified his opinions from the fist book. In the fist book he talked about all the evil things the Iraqi army did in Kuwait when they invaded. And at the time just after Gulf War 1 it seemed that the cost of the liberation of Kuwait was easily worth it, restoring freedom to the Kuwaitis, keeping the lion's share of the world's oil out of the hands of an evil dictator.
I wanted to see, now that it seems that the situation we are in now is the direct, perhaps inescapable result of the 1st war, how the author judged the cost effectiveness of the 1st war. Was it still worth it? Was it still the right thing to do? I like the author's style and I admire his logic, and I would have liked to read him having written either for or against the conflict in its entirety. But in this book he does neither.
Still the book was entertaining. The author makes fun of homeland security (I would have liked him to be more cruel in making fun of the incompetent joke and waste of taxpayer money that organization is). He makes fun of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which is both funny and tragic. He is entertaining but goes on a little too long about his travels in Egypt, and he has some interesting insights into the Arab mindset. He also poses an interesting theory about why the Arabs have not been successful at freedom or wealth, despite the fact that Mohammed said something to the effect of "it is not governments place to set prices". Even the small Arab countries that are simply a plot of land sitting on a spigot of liquid money offer little in the way of opportunity or freedom.
(My theory is that the spigot of liquid money is counterproductive because it creates a welfare nation. And a welfare nation is a nation that has no incentive to produce anything, and when the government is your provider you have no moral grounds to ask the government to leave you alone. The author's theory has something to do with initial wealth being derived from taxing commerce of the trade routes that went through their countries, thus there is a history of taxation and government regulation without visible consequences. As my theory does not account for the Arab countries that have no oil, and are still poverty ridden dictatorships, I think that the real answer is both and then some. Maybe it is something about no legitimate government power in Islam, so the most ruthless ones that don't care about legitimacy are the ones that gain power.)
Perhaps the funniest part of the book was the mocking of the peace protesters. A protest march of many different groups of protesters, all protesting together. Many of the groups with no clue, many others whose goals were in direct opposition to each other. Gays, Communists, Militant Islamists, Vegans all together, and some other groups with whose demands were uncertain, either because of the poor English in their signs, or because their message was a contradiction. None of the various groups seeming to grasp that, if any of the individual groups in the protest were actually in charge of our government; it would be pure hell for everyone in the other groups.
It may be that the subject matter is closer to home or more serious than his other books.
He comes across as too old physically to do what he needed to do for his profession. That would be to have been imbedded with troops in Iraq for 2003 and if possible in Afganistan for 2001 and 2002, he does neither. What he does do is wander around luxury hotels in Kuwait. When stateside he makes no unique observations. Many people in NY or Washington on 9/11 could have written the same essays.
Ever since 9/11 I have been waiting to see his take, and there is little insight and zero inspiration.
Actually, John Stewart is the Democrat’s belated answer to P.J. O’Rourke, because PJ has been skewering left-wing pravda's with his trademark iconoclastic writings long before Stewart was even allowed out of training pants, doing MTV to peddle fake news.
O’Rourke has a worldly, cynical view of our modern earthly monkey house, tinged with a libertarian sensibility informed by, if nothing else, decades of chemically induced self-abuse and what must have been many close calls with the cops, but also tempered by an older-but-wiser celtic resignation to fate and an acceptance of the persistent limitations of the human race.
His writing style is two-Mick's-in-a-pub conversational, launching into a free-form monologue with his readers, painting pictures and demolishing cherished beliefs with comedic but nonetheless cogent jabs loaded with the Ring of Truth, aimed at the almost limitless opportunities for ridicule presented by the currently reigning politically correct establishment worldview.
This particular book concerns various American efforts to police the world, beginning in 1999 with Kosovo and concluding shortly after the fall of Baghdad in 2003. 'Peace Kills' offers the reader not only Mr. O'Rourke's extremely entertaining anecdotal accounts of that experience, but also, having been published in 2004, presents a perspective free from all the baggage which has accumulated since the good old days of ‘Mission Accomplished’.
Most recent customer reviews
Read by Dick Hill
I've read some of P.J. O'Rourke's columns and have heard an interview or two so I knew that I would most likely find one of...Read more