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review 2018-06-28 21:27
Review: Safe Area Goražde
Safe Area Goražde: The War in Eastern Bosnia, 1992-1995 - Joe Sacco,Christopher Hitchens

Safe Area Goražde gets four stars because it covers a war that doesn't get enough attention. It earns its four stars for giving voice to many who would not have otherwise been heard. It gets four stars for not shying away from the horror of the war. And it gets four stars for trying to educate a people.

As an annal of the Bosnian War as told through graphic novel, Safe Area Goražde succeeds. It could be better. It tells about only a fragment of the conflict, but this is to be expected, I guess, in a work of journalism by a solo observer. But, Sacco does not remain an impartial observer as one would expect from this style of journalism. My complaints about Sacco do not end there.

Sacco's gross misrepresentation of self was horribly distracting. It's not that Sacco is a fabulous artist, particularly in regards to the human face, but no character is portrayed as cartoonish and malformed as Sacco's own. Having finished the book, I did a search for the author's photo, half expecting to find a monstrous facsimile of the Sacco character. Nope, Sacco's a pretty normal looking guy.

Perhaps this is a reflection of his character, which is also unappealing. Sacco comes off as sort of an invasive creeper, in my opinion. I could not trust the guys intentions. And if this is how the author himself presents his character, I have to wonder how much worse it might have truly been.
Safe Area Goražde is a good graphic novel almost entirely because of its subject. The authorial intrusion was unnecessary though. Was Sacco's character needed at all? Sure, it helps place the journalist in the conflict, but I would've been more invested in the story at the heart of the book with his inclusion kept to an absolute minimum. It's the promise of his presence in his other works of journalism that will likely keep me away.

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review 2018-06-08 19:03
Our Man In Havana by Graham Greene
Our Man in Havana - Graham Greene,Christopher Hitchens

Graham Greene is one of those authors that I've always meant to read - and following along with BrokenTune's Greene-land Adventures project increased my desire to dip into his books. The Summer of Spies gave me a perfect opportunity to check out one of his "espionage" books.

 

I wasn't expecting the level of farce contained in this book. It's not really a spy story - it's a story about a reluctant vacuum-salesman-turned-spy who has no intelligence to provide, but who needs to make the money he is getting for his dispatches worth the while of the British Intelligence service. So, he starts making stuff up.

 

There are some very funny parts of this book - the "missile drawings" that were obviously based on a vacuum cleaner is hysterical. The conversation between Hawthorne and his boss where the boss convinces himself that Wormold is actually some sort of a merchant king is bitingly funny, and also quite a propos of current politics, where, apparently, 49% of America can be convinced that a lying moron with inherited money is actually a brilliant strategist worthy of being President. 

 

When it is in your interest to believe something, this book points out, reality is of little import.

 

And, as it is in life, when delusion collides with truth, someone is probably going to die. The ending is a brilliant illustration of what happens when human beings are confronted with an inconvenient and embarrassing reality - sometimes maintaining the lie is easier than acknowledging that you've been fooled.

 

So it goes...

 

 

 

 

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review 2017-10-05 22:12
Arguably
Arguably: Selected Essays - Christopher Hitchens

I miss Hitch.

 

I may not agree with everything he wrote, but I really miss reading his reviews and articles. There have been few other columnists that made me start lists of other books to look out for while reading the review for a new book release.

 

Hitchens was to the point, but always got there by intelligent discussion which sometimes brought out aspects that may not have been apparent from the start. 

 

Arguably is a well chosen selection of his book reviews and opinion pieces. Some may now seem a bit dated, but I rather enjoyed reading (or, in some cases, re-reading) his thoughts about current affairs of the time.

 

I really miss his columns.

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quote 2017-07-24 22:22
How dismal it is to see present day Americans yearning for the very orthodoxy that their country was founded to escape.

—Christopher Hitchens

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text 2017-06-08 12:10
8th June 2017
Animal Farm & 1984 - George Orwell,Christopher Hitchens

Perhaps one did not want to be loved so much as to be understood.

 

George Orwell

 

June 8, 1949: George Orwell's dystopian classic, Nineteen Eight-Four, was published 68 years ago today. The popularity of the book led to our adoption of the term "Big Brother" as shorthand for a surveillance state.

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