Sunday, January 01, 2006

Christmas brought the usual familial frustrations, but also some excellent presents, including Robert Fisk's The Great War for Civilisation. At 1300 pages in large paperback format, it's not exactly light reading, and I mean that literally: I got 200 pages in and had to put it aside while I underwent physiotherapy on my upper arms. Still, it's worth the effort, being a satisfying read on a number of levels. I was expecting a fairly dry run through recent Middle Eastern history. What Fisk actually delivers is an engaging, unapologetically subjective account of the region's many ups and downs (mostly downs), by a skilled foreign correspondent who writes better than many novelists, let alone reporters. The history and politics are there, but so too is passionate polemic and the occasional spot of boy-own adventure, which is a nice touch. I'll post a review once I'm done with it, most likely some time in July. (It is a big, big book.)

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