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Things Worth Fighting for: Collected Writings Hardcover – Bargain Price, March 30, 2004
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From Publishers Weekly
Atlantic Monthly editor Kelly, who covered Operation Desert Storm in 1991, Arafat's return to Gaza in 1994, and Bosnia in 1995, was killed in the Iraq war in April 2003. Although he'd considered himself a dove in the Vietnam years, "I am certainly now a hawk," he declared in 2002, his war coverage having convinced him "of the moral imperative, sometimes, for war." "There are things worth dying for, and killing for," as "every twelve-year-old" in Bosnia already knows. While Kelly's war reportage dominates this collection of his columns (mostly published in theWashington Post, the New Yorker and the New Republic in the 1990s), the volume also covers domestic culture and politics. Kelly's signature format was the character (or lack of character) sketch, where he'd reduce larger-than-life politicians to a decidedly human scale. Jesse Jackson "jets around the world as secretary of his own state of mind." Ross Perot was America's "first fusion-paranoia candidate for the presidency." When Bob Dole makes a speech, his phrases interrupt each other "like a call-waiting system gone awry." Beyond mere Beltway-insider cleverness, Kelly argued for a return to core American values like courage, honesty and love of country. We can't go back to being "square"-it's quite as impossible as "revirginizing"-but being patriotic and conservative could be cool again, Kelly suggests. The book's strength lies in the impact of having Kelly's war essays in one place, in chronological order, giving them a power they didn't have when sprinkled weekly in the press.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Kelly, the award-winning journalist who was killed in 2001 while on assignment in Iraq for the Atlantic Monthly and the Washington Post, compiled an incredible body of work that reflected on American life from the mundane to the monumental. This collection, with a foreword from Ted Koppel, offers a sampling of Kelly's blistering wit and penetrating observations. Topics focus on American life, including the Catholic Church's cover-up of child abuse by priests; social stylings back and forth between square and cool culture; the game of politics that seems less about objective realty than virtual reality, including portraits of Ted Kennedy and Ross Perot (with a separate section devoted exclusively to Bill Clinton and troubling questions about his administration); the perils and absurdities of covering war; and Kelly's own life as a husband and father. An epilogue includes e-mails from Kelly to friends, family, and colleagues that evoke the personality of the man, his zest for his work, and his belief that all of us are in search of things worth fighting for. Vanessa Bush
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top customer reviews
We will never read the book he would have written about the war. I have no doubt it would have given us the real story, unvarnished and without an agenda. Because that?s what Kelly was about. His loss is not just a tragedy for his family, it is a national tragedy because a vital voice has been lost at a crucial time in American history. A reading of this brilliant collection of Kelly?s writings will attest to just how great the loss is. This book is a collection of Mike?s writings from 1990 through his death in 2003. The book is organized, not chronologically but by section. There is a section on ?Visions of America? in which Kelly?s columns and articles on American culture in the nineties is collected. These writings display the wit and satire for which he was well known. In sections on politics and the ?Age of Clinton? Kelly skewers the emptiness of ?spin? politics, when elections become nothing more than winning a game and where image and perception are more important than substance. His more lengthy personality profiles are brilliant examples of the genre and reading his profiles of Jesse Jackson in middle age, Ross Perot, Louis Farrakhan, Hillary Clinton and many others will bring back memories of a time that seems long distant now. His descriptions of the results of Sadaam?s tyranny against Kuwait will churn the stomach more than a decade later. His account of the first Gulf War brings home the reality of modern combat brilliantly. He also wrote bemusedly, in a section on family, about the world of his toddler and pre-school sons who he obviously loved dearly.
It is in his post 9/11/01 writings, however, that Mike really found his voice. As the stark reality of the struggle we face was brought home, Kelly remembered, less than fondly, the profound emptiness of the Clinton age, and looked forward to a time of newly found resolve. I am sure he would be horrified at the breakdown of the national consensus, along party lines. As the argument began for action against Iraq, Kelly?s most eloquent essay, ?Immorality on the March?, demonstrates the profound immorality of the protesters who would doom the Iraqi people and the World to a permanent Hussein tyranny. In ?Who Would Choose Tyranny? he reveals the absurdity of the argument that Iraqi?s would choose the jackboot of Sadaam to liberation by America.
The final section has some columns Mike filed during the early days of the war and personal E-Mails to his family and friends sent from Kuwait just before he left to meet his destiny with the Third Infantry Division. Even in these simple E-Mails, Mike?s profound skill with words is obvious. I know if Michael Kelly were alive today, no journalist would be better situated to write on the war?s justification and in eloquent support of the larger war on terror. No one would be better able to ridicule the fools on the left, the Michael Moore?s who spout absurdities and hurt our morale and resolve. Most importantly, no one would better shame the politicians and pundits who condemn the Bush administration without offering alternatives, who place electoral expediency over the national interest. Mike fought this his whole career. He would not refrain from criticism where such criticism is warranted but he would be believable, because he would place it in the context of the larger events that shape the direction of the world. No one did it better than him. Please buy this book, not only as a way of supporting Michael Kelly?s young family but because it represents the final legacy of a career cut tragically short. I am no fan of Maureen Dowd but she is absolutely correct in this assessment of Michael Kelly ?Michael died for two things he believed in: journalism and ridding the world of jackboots.? It will be small comfort to his beloved wife, children and parents but it may be of some consolation to fans of his writing.