Posts Tagged 'War on Terror'

Absolute Friends, by John le Carré

Despite being a Cold War author who successfully reconfigured his writing for the post-Soviet era, John le Carré doesn’t always remain as sharp in his contemporary storytelling. Such is the case in Absolute Friends, a book whose shifts in time and place sharply juxtapose the le Carré of old with his modern approach. The best of this book is the tension built around our protagonist’s adventures among Cold War double agents but the narrative is far weaker in other places, especially the finale – intended as an indictment of “war on terror” politics and subterfuge – which is bewildering and unconvincing. SS

Coronet Books; 2004; 338 pages

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Saviors and Survivors: Darfur, Politics, and the War on Terror, by Mahmoud Mamdani

Mamdani’s is an ambitious endeavour: to challenge the dominant narrative on Darfur, to offer an alternative explanation of the conflict and to associate its representations with the “war on terror”. He meets his objectives but the scope of the book makes it rather disjointed. The first section is the most interesting: he forensically demonstrates the deceit and exaggerations of the Save Darfur organisation. Later sections devoted to how colonial policy constructed ethnic categories which still frame internal conflicts – despite their inaccuracy – are familiar from elsewhere, while his account of Sudan’s history is detailed but confusing to the non-expert. SS

Pantheon Books; 2009; 416 pages


Language ought to be the joint creation of poets and manual workers. George Orwell

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