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Who Hates Whom: Well-Armed Fanatics, Intractable Conflicts, and Various Things Blowing Up A Woefully Incomplete Guide Paperback – September 25, 2007
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—Ken Jennings, author of Brainiac
“It takes deft touch to combine this much-needed research with a razor-sharp wit... You’ll laugh ‘til you cry, but at least you’ll be one step ahead of CNN.”
—Gus Russo, author of Supermob and The Outfit
“If you read one book this year, be like me and choose this one.”
“Bob Harris, perpetual Jeopardy underdog, now turns his polymathic curiosity to the subject of GLOBAL CONFLICT—the result: this handy history of violence that is at once surprising, fascinating, enlightening, and surprisingly: NOT TOTALLY DEPRESSING. A gimlet-eyed look at the world we endure that’s also suitable for enjoying with a gimlet.”
— John Hodgman, author of The Areas of My Expertise and correspondent for The Daily Show with Jon Stewart
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Top Customer Reviews
It's not a book you feel like you need to read cover-to-cover, either, although you might find yourself doing that anyway, getting pulled along by the humor. Instead, you can use it as a quick reference the next time you find yourself wondering about what the deal is in Burma, for example. You're going to want to keep it next to your television or newspaper.
The maps are great too. I found that a lot of times I got a sense of what the main thrust of a conflict was just by looking at the map. Harris has done a good job -- in the maps and in the text -- with boiling things down to the essential points, so you can see the situation for yourself.
The book is more than a painless way to educate yourself -- it's a funny way to educate yourself.
That's why "Who Hates Whom" is such a wonderful and useful book. Read it, and suddenly the uprising in Burma (now all over TV) isn't just a morass of random violence, but the next chapter in an ongoing drama that ACTUALLY MAKES SENSE. Suddenly the NY Times story today (October 7, 2007) about mass rape in Congo isn't just about hideous human depravity springing out at us from nowhere, but hideous human depravity that grows out of a 130 year-long history of extreme violence. Likewise with Iraq, Colombia, Kashmir, and 28 other chapters.
Of course, this much horrible information in one place would normally be unbearably depressing. But Bob Harris is such a clear, succinct, hilarious writer the whole thing is, amazingly enough, a genuine pleasure to read. You will never laugh more about worldwide human suffering. (Or rather, about the universal human behaviors that lead to worldwide suffering -- Harris' humanity and decency come through more clearly in 200 short pages than the World Bank can manage in 10,000 stultifying reports.) And he closes with a believable case for why everything you've just read should actually make you optimistic about human potential. Maybe.
So get this for yourself, and for anyone you know with the least interest in the outside world. Your brains and souls will thank you.
Even better, just like in his memoir Prisoner of Trebekistan (which you should read if you haven't), you get to the end, and somehow, this wise-guy know-it-all ends up sneaking past you and becoming very moving and wise. Go figure.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I couldn't finish it.
I'm really interested in this sort of thing. I've read several books on conflicts around the world, both non-fiction and fiction. Read more
I highly recommend this book to everyone. If I were still teaching high school, it would be on my required reading list.Published on October 7, 2013 by Linda Dykwel
What started out as a casual read ended up enlightening me a whole lot. Its hugely informative, despairing and entertaining at the same time. Read morePublished on January 12, 2013 by Jay
It is a laugh or cry kind of book. The author is very flip and glib, but it is still quite an educational book. Read morePublished on September 23, 2012 by B. Falk
Using a light touch, well-traveled author Bob Harris delves into the grimmest statistics on the planet: its ongoing conflicts. Read morePublished on April 26, 2012 by Nick Howes
Readable, & well-written.
Good thumbnail guide to world strife.
Uses political humor to deal with what would otherwise be a emotional trainwreck, but... Read more
Subtitled "Well-Armed Fanatics, Intractable Conflicts, and Various Things Blowing Up: A Woefully Incomplete Guide," this book gives short essays on the various "little wars" going... Read morePublished on November 23, 2008 by Paul Lappen
Think the mainstream media is going to keep you up to date on all this stuff? No. In fact, I sometimes wonder if they prefer to keep you in the dark. Read morePublished on August 25, 2008 by Shooshie