ACCLAIM FOR ROBERT FISK'S The GREAT WAR Great War for Civilisation include the Good, the Bad and the Ugly. Can I place a. The great war for civilisation: The conquest of the Middle East for Civilisation. epub ( MB); medical-site.info ( MB). At over pages Fisk's The Great War for Civilisation: The Conquest of the Middle East requires a considerable investment of time and energy to read.
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Editorial Reviews. From Publishers Weekly. Starred Review. Combining a novelist's talent for atmosphere with a scholar's grasp of historical sweep, foreign . The Great War for Civilisation: The Conquest of the Middle East [Robert Fisk] on medical-site.info *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. A sweeping and dramatic. The Great War for Civilisation by Robert Fisk, , available at Book Depository with free delivery worldwide.
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Logged in users: Trico - A victory to remember. R Totale - Three impossible things before breakfast: Twenty Years On. Fisk speaks as a pacifist and as one who has acquired his pacifism from direct experience of the horrors of war and the excesses of power through dehumanization. For 30 years at the time of writing this book, Fisk lived in the Middle East and was witness to some of the most horrific wars of the past years.
Fisk's perspective is equally critical of all sides in violent actions. Be it oppressed or oppressor, no one is safe when it comes to his criticism of injustices committed upon innocent human victims. He will call out the Palestinian for acts of violence as quickly as he will the Israeli soldier.
Violence does beget violence, but Fisk attempts to show us that violence has a life of its own even without immediate reciprocal violence. It shapes the formative years of children who hear and see the realities of its after-effects, and conditions attitudes, minds, traditions, and narratives of foreign cultures and unfamiliar beliefs.
This is part of the universal law. Given this, Fisk comments at one point about how remarkably restrained the Muslim world has been considering the violence and occupation inflicted on it by colonialists. Fisk's love for human life comes through in his passion for telling us of atrocities.
This passion is not meant simply to shock, it's meant to tell the truth as much as possible in a profession that cannot escape bias.
Fisk's attempt at objectivity takes the form of valuing human life above all else, and from that equality of the human he will focus on the atrocity itself and speak against the motives of death.
To Fisk, nothing justifies killing. It can be explained, but not justified. That is one of the central messages of this work. Another is the thread of hope that he sees in the small actions of others - beginning with his father's refusal to execute an Australian deserter in WWI, and continuing with the Iraqi Shiite soldier who comments: Religion, like anything else, becomes co-opted and distorted for the purposes of power. Ten years after this writing we see greater effects of the disregard of the human in favor of the ideological.
Was religion created by the divine for its own sake, or for the sake of the All-Merciful? If the All-Merciful, how can it be interpreted in such a violent way? Ostensibly "religious" conflicts in places such as Syria, Iraq, Palestine, Egypt and Lebanon are at base about human failure and the growth of unjust historic actions and not about religion.
Religion is a cultural cover - a language - in a part of the world where religion permeates every area of discourse. The distortion begins where the language becomes mixed up with personal human failures and shortcomings.
The ideological becomes confused with ultimate truth, with the essence of the divine message. Fisk is not a religious man per se, but his passion for justice gets to the core of all legitimate religious truth and purpose. This book is the statement of his career. I imagine the editor of this book thinking once every two pages "hm I guess I'll just let him ramble on. Which is too bad, because at pages or so this would have been an amazing, amazing book.
Without the subtraction of pages, it's just really good. It's also not reall I imagine the editor of this book thinking once every two pages "hm It's also not really a book--it's a series of short books.
There are very boring short books about Fisk's grandfather, Fisk's own massive sense of self-righteousness and self-doubt, and the invasion of Iraq really? The problem for Fisk is that he quite rightly believes in bringing individuals to the reader's attention, so we don't get all abstract about the slaughter and carnage: But when you pile on more than two or three names, the individuals become just as abstract, and my anger, at least, started to dissipate.
Once we got back to narrative history, my anger picked up again. And surely that's the purpose of this book--to make Westerners angry at our governments and ourselves. Mission accomplished, as the President once said.
Mar 30, Alex rated it it was ok Shelves: While I agree with many facets of his argument, I was distracted by how disorganized his writing was. At pages, this book is pages too long. Furthermore, some of the stuff Fisk brought up, particularly the belabored connection he was trying to make between his father - a WW1 Vet- and the current situation in the Middle East, was irrelevant to his argument.
Additionally, the veracity of his argument is at times hindered by flagrant historical inaccuracies. Mind you, these inaccuracie While I agree with many facets of his argument, I was distracted by how disorganized his writing was.
Mind you, these inaccuracies are mostly minor things the number of U. At times, I felt like this book was rushed, and that he really didn't spend much time editing it. Furthermore, I was curious as to why a writer who constantly lambasts the New York Times would place its praising review first on the back of his book.
On message alone, the book merits four stars; however, his organization is extremely distracting. Therefore, I only felt it appropriate to give it a two. I'd love some day to settle into this behemoth and accompany Fisk through a decades-long recollection of futility, hope, hatred, bravery, cynicism, and internecine strife and betrayal as it uniquely existed, and exists, in the forlorn Middle East.
However, I've yet to make that lengthy commitment - in part due to the sheer size of Fisk's monstrosity of a book and in another because of my younger brother's antipathy to TGWFC , which he perceived as a questionably accurate encomium to the British j I'd love some day to settle into this behemoth and accompany Fisk through a decades-long recollection of futility, hope, hatred, bravery, cynicism, and internecine strife and betrayal as it uniquely existed, and exists, in the forlorn Middle East.
However, I've yet to make that lengthy commitment - in part due to the sheer size of Fisk's monstrosity of a book and in another because of my younger brother's antipathy to TGWFC , which he perceived as a questionably accurate encomium to the British journalist rife with endless self-reference and egotism.
Said brother is one of those somewhat rare Eastern Ontario right-wing hawks, and so his dislike of Fisk could be appropriately discounted; yet he has a taste in books very similar to mine and I take his negative reviews seriously. Add to that the fact that reading about the endless and rampant bloodshed, bad faith, hatred, propagandizing, and righteousness that has blighted this unfathomably tormented corner of the world is an exercise in weary despair and it's perhaps more understandable why Mr.
Fisk's great affair stands, firm but forlorn, in a corner shelf off of the far window. Thus, I've been reduced to flipping through chapters that intrigue me, while leaving this hefty beast mostly unread. May 17, Kym Robinson rated it it was amazing. This is a book that is about Fisk himself as it is about the events that he has witnessed and reported on inside the Greater Middle East. It is not a good book, by that I mean it does not leave the reader feeling pleasant or even satisfied. That is why it is in many ways a great book.
Fisk has lived in Lebanon and reported on the events of the Middle East since the late s, he was on the ground when the Soviets invaded Afghanistan, he was there when they left and the nation was wracked with ca This is a book that is about Fisk himself as it is about the events that he has witnessed and reported on inside the Greater Middle East.
Fisk has lived in Lebanon and reported on the events of the Middle East since the late s, he was on the ground when the Soviets invaded Afghanistan, he was there when they left and the nation was wracked with calamity and marred in tribal tragedy.
He was there to interview Osama Bin Laden, when he was a freedom fighting hero to when he was a relatively unknown dangerous man of some interest. Reporting with constant wariness, warning not only from Afghanistan but throughout the Middle East, that something big was coming.
He reported on the terrible crimes of the Taliban, the Northern Alliance and the murderous operations of the United States as they blew innocent human beings apart in their pursuit of Bin Laden and self-righteous justice. Though it was written in , it is as still relevant. It foreshadows what we are now witnessing and what those inside the Middle East are suffering, now is history and the future is unfortunately horribly inevitable.
Especially so long as we continue to see the same patterns of intervention and despotic leaders both government and tribal use religion, nationalism and ethnicity to sow further seeds of violence. Fisk, though a journalist has the command of an interested and well informed historian. He does narrate and impose his opinions as he reveals facts and dates and while some facts have been slightly ajar, he gives extensive sources and notes to make this a comprehensive and important read.
Because of that it is a dense book. A book filled with names of actual human beings, not merely the great men of history. Those significant heroes and villains of the world stage who seem to take up so much attention and focus when depicting events and regions. This is a book that painfully tells, however briefly, the stories of the many dead. The people who were tortured to death, blown to pieces, beheaded, gunned down or shot out of the sky. Soldiers, journalists, women, children and old men.
Those beings that make the bloody tapestry of history, it is with their sinews and flesh that the fabric of life is bound and yet it is easy to forget this. Fisk however does not let the reader forget so easy. This is not the case. He is anti-atrocity, anti-murder, anti-abuse. The book has as much criticism for Iraq and Iran under both the Shah and Ayatollah, and when Saddam was an important friend to the West to when he was a pariah ruler. It calls to attention the violence of both Hamas, Hezbollah and the PLO while also recounting the Israeli violations and the terrible conduct of their South Lebanese militia allies.
It is anti-West in the sense that it depicts the many crimes against individuals from the early days of colonial supremacy, whether this was in gassing tribesmen from aeroplanes, to the many massacres in the streets of Arab towns, deceit of politics as was the case at Versailles to the more recent support of tyrants and terror groups up to the invasions of Iraq and bombing of Lebanese towns during its civil war.
It reports on the events as they horribly are. Western narrative be damned. It is unflattering to the murderous Assad regimes of Syria, the torturers of Abu Gharib both pre-American invasion and post , it criticises Yasser Arafat and his many Israeli counter parts with as much objectivity. Is it empathetic to the Muslim world? In so much that Fisk lives among Shia, Sunnis, Maronite, Jew alike and sees them as human beings with unique perspectives and understandings of their own cultures and theologies.
It does not tar Islam as the harbinger of global misery nor does he praise it as being a complete philosophy absent of some condemnations, especially when its holiest living men can so easily brutalise their fellow man. This goes for all religions, both theological and worldly. The problem lies in Man.
Not in whatever ideology they claim to murder for. Fisk portrays this simply with the events of the real world. Robert Fisk perhaps loves the Middle East as much as he despises it. He is honest with it. Such honesty is painful and important. We cannot live without truth and facts, at least not for the long run. I highly recommend this book as a historical read for those interested in the region.
In some ways it is very prophetic, that comes as no surprise as journalists such as Fisk, shop keepers and taxi drivers along with peasants and hair dressers who live in the world that the pages depict all are in some ways all the prophets of now. Seeing then, what we now know now They see and feel the World as it thrives into perpetual chaos around them, while experts and elites dribble on and on with self-importance the mortals of common pain actually understand.
Unfortunately, those of us living in the powerful nations surround ourselves in the experts of failure, absorb ourselves in the lies or self-empowering narrative and elect rulers that revel in rhetoric and ply the craft of war and occupation.
Imperialism is not dead, it is rebranded and has adapted. Its consequences are now far worse. Fisk has in this book and continues to do so from his minor pulpit at the Independent to tell the stories of real people as war and tyranny bludgeons on.
For those brave enough, those moral enough, those respectful enough give Fisk your eyes and ears, it is the least we can do for our victims. Aug 05, emma rated it it was amazing. Before reading this, I had a very limited knowledge of the history of the Middle East, or the issues that still affect it today.
I feel I have a much better although of course not comprehensive understanding now. This book had me alternating between rage and tears on numerous occasions, and as other reviewers have said, it's not easy to read: I've been growing progressively more cynical in relation to the media as I've Before reading this, I had a very limited knowledge of the history of the Middle East, or the issues that still affect it today.
I've been growing progressively more cynical in relation to the media as I've got older, and this book confirms a lot of what I already suspected; it certainly makes me see the news I've watched in recent weeks in a different light Operation Moshtarak was reported as "going well" on Sky News this evening, despite the deaths of numerous civilians.
This should be compulsory reading for everyone everywhere.
Feb 25, Andrew added it Shelves: I'm not the type to read massive tomes by grand old lions of journalism, with their self-aggrandizing, bullet-dodging tales, but I made an exception for this one. It is by no means a complete history, but it's an excellent sent of dispatches from the Middle East and reports on the grim fruits of the imperial endeavor in Iran, Iraq, Syria, Armenia, Afghanistan, Algeria, Palestine, and other parched and unhappy places much abused by the Balfour Declaration and the machinations of Messrs.
Rumsfeld I'm not the type to read massive tomes by grand old lions of journalism, with their self-aggrandizing, bullet-dodging tales, but I made an exception for this one. Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz. Throughout, Fisk's tone is cynical but humane, which is probably the best way you can be after decades of working as a foreign correspondent.
View 1 comment. Jan 31, Mark Mouse rated it really liked it. Very long but very informative. I particularly appreciated the fact that Fisk visited all the places he wrote about and interviewed important political figures personally. A really good journalistic overview of the conflicts in the middle east, with detailed background infos.
Dec 07, Socraticgadfly rated it really liked it Shelves: Very good info, but First, let me say that Fisk is a very good journalist, and it shows through in the personal details he records. He knows how to both write well and ask good questions. He also knows how to connect the dots well.
And, he has stuck his head out -- a lot -- to get real war stories while refusing to "embed," whether with American troops, British ones, or any other forces. Second is that he has what will probably seem to most Americans to be a Very good info, but Second is that he has what will probably seem to most Americans to be a refreshing, if not challenging, take on both Arab-Israeli issues and how the U.
Third, while, while his take on modern Israel could be called "anti-Zionist," it's a canard and a red herring to call it anti-Semitism. It's a canard because equating criticisms of the nation of Israel with attacks for ethnic reasons on the Jewish people is a simple lie, one propagated by intensely pro-Israel vs.
And, it's a red herring because it's designed to divert people's attention from Israel's legitimate human rights and international law problems, and the U.
Related to that, he's not "anti-American" just against much of current American foreign policy in the Middle East. That said, the book is open to legitimate criticism. First, 1,plus pages is too long. About would have been plenty; increase the type size 1 point and you're at That said, better editing would have achieved that, plus tried to get more organization on the book.
Fisk's reminisces about his father, while nice, should have been moved to another book. For organization, either a clearer chronological structure, or a tighter country-by-country structure, might have helped. Jun 12, Jack Radey rated it it was amazing. A big honking thick tome, not pleasant reading. Author is a war correspondent, of the non-embedded type, covers from Algeria to Afghanistan, with stops in Lebanon, Palestine, Iraq, Iran, and a little expedition in time to cover the Armenian genocide in Turkey.
No noticeable good guys. Except maybe the US sergeant who, after a State Dept or CIA type told him to turn back refugees fleeing Saddam's repression following King Bush I's first Gulf War, told the suit to go fuck himself and let the peopl A big honking thick tome, not pleasant reading. Fisk is one hell of a writer, and war correspondent. At first it is hard to get past his being sort of center stage in the book, he is not shy about his accomplishments, but his reporting I have come to know well, and trust.
His thesis, that much of the trouble in the Middle East can be traced back to WWI and the parceling up of the Ottoman Empire by the British and French Empires and the assumption of Britain's part by Uncle Sugar , and his stuff from the Iraq war of , where the Brits chose to use massive air bombardment and gas to keep the people down, is telling.
May 06, Liam Howley rated it it was amazing. I was watching what is sometimes called "the news" earlier today when I was reminded of having read this book. A life lived! I remember being invited by a friend to an amnesty lecture. Robert Fisk was the speaker. He spoke eloquently for sometime, his primary message being a journalists obligation to speak truth to power.
There are some in his profession, who fulfill this obligation with courage and conviction, but unfortunately they have become an ever smaller exception. This book is a monument. A testament to an extraordinary life and extraordinary man, and veritable treasure of information to historians. It is a number of years since I have read it and I still feel the indignation. I also still remember the humour.
Of his advice to would be war correspondents not the embedded kind , be good at running. I cannot recommend this book enough. Mar 08, Michael rated it it was amazing. Could not put it down. I want to declare that this book gave me a complete re-awakening in my thoughts about global geo-politics.
For a few years, I had grown utterly contempt with global politics.
I focused inward, to my job, the meaning of life. This book hit me like a lightning bolt, and has ignited that spark in me, as I once had it. The phrase, "truth is stranger than fiction" comes to mind to describe this masterpiece of reporting. Thats what it is. A reporters journey through the chronicles of suffering, the great human tragedy of the Middle East. All one has to do is to read about the history of Iran in this book. You will realize that the US government, and its Chronies, are goodamn lying bastards.
What we have done in the name of oil and strategic maneuvering is an abomination. After experiencing Fisk's accounts, fiction no longer shocks me. The truth and reality portrayed in this book has left me shaken. History, as humans have made it, has a ironic way of repeating itself over and over.
Though this book seems like a monumental task to get through, at the end, I was begging for more! A dark and savage journey through the region, and the conflicts, finally giving a human face to the tragedy.
He highlights such events, like the shooting down of the Iranian Airbus A, which murdered civilian passengers. I remembered seeing this on the news when I was 8 years old. Recalled seeing corpses in the ocean. Too young to understand. After reading that section of the book, I realized that the US made not one damn apology. Not one ounce of remorse.
Or maybe not. What I can say, is that this has to be one of the most important books ever written about the Middle East, and in fact, about the dark failure of war and political treachery. Why read any fictional book when real life is a thousand more times horrifying and sad. I don't quite know what to say. It's taken me absolutely ages to read this book, because I had to stop every couple of pages so as not to break down in tears or fly into an - and this is quite important - impotent rage.
It's as close as you can get to an unbiased source of the history of the conflict in the Middle East. Small disclosure: I'm in my early twenties. I never had much interest in the American wars in the Middle East prior to September I bought this book because I wanted to learn more of the conflict between Palestine and Israel.
And I must say, what a find. It covers literally every modern conflict in the Middle East, from the famous ones - Iran vs Iraq, Iraq vs Kuwait America , Soviets vs Afghans - to ones I'd never heard of before - the Armenian genocide.
What is so important about this book is that it humanises the conflict. It is so difficult for people in a democracy to understand why we're the target of all of this rage; I knew it had something to do with oil and politics, but I never contemplated the scale of the evil there really is no other word for it that has been perpetrated by America and the UK in these countries. I don't have any words to explain how necessary it is for Americans or Brits to read this book, to understand how much damage our countries have done and why the people of that region are so - justifiably - angry with us.
Read about how Americans and Brits drop depleted uranium shells in Iraq, and then impose sanctions on the cytotoxins require to treat the cancer the cause and medical textbooks that doctors can use to find alternative therapies, and then deny that depleted uranium causes cancer despite not having conducted any tests to find out.
Meanwhile Iraqis die painful deaths. And then read on about how not one single person was disciplined or had to pay any price for the suffering of the Iraqi people.
That's what is called an atrocity. The most eye opening book to the horrors that exist in this supposed democratic world. It has changed my understanding of not only the Middle-East but of how the West has raped, pillaged and bullied its way into the dwindling finances and boarders of the Middle-East and how a constant spiral of betrayal and false promises is inflicted upon the Jew, Christian and Muslim public.
It has made me sick and angry at my own governments U. K treacherous policies from as far back as the First World War. I The most eye opening book to the horrors that exist in this supposed democratic world. In the media today I can now see the prejudice that is strategically placed to create a silent disgust and anger towards those that are portrayed as 'mindless terrorists' Fisk writes from not only a well detailed historic perspective but of a personal and unbiased one.
His reporting is so detailed with dates, times and names that it can be at times hard to grasp all of the individuals he meets. The reporting is visceral and shocking, and yet his countless dispatches have often been censored by governments to hide the embarrassment of disastrous foreign policy and to prevent potential pressure from guilty regimes. This is a man who has lived and breathed Middle-East life and after reading this book I am struck with amazement that he is not consulted by governments around the world.
It is hard to cliche, but this book has changed the way I see the world, and this is mainly due to his un-biased, honest and bravery when reporting events.
download this book, read it, study it, learn from it and the next time Fox news or the BBC issues a report you will laugh and then cry at how many lies are stil being told to the public and how naive the politicians are.
Feb 17, Lars rated it it was amazing Shelves: I bought this book many years ago when I first started reading non fiction literature. I started and stopped twice Its sheer size and the density of information daunted me. But third time's a charm and I finally read this staggering work and am better for it. Fisk has condensed 30 years of jou I bought this book many years ago when I first started reading non fiction literature.
Fisk focusses on the human toll, the civilian victims of these conflicts but also analyzes the political machinations. If there's a recurring theme, it's that the people living in the Middle East have for decades been victims of the cruelty of dictators, corrupt regimes and now violent occupations by foreign armies. And that during the political powerstruggles of the past 50 years the western world has profitted while the people of the Middle East have lost everything.
Fisk's insightful, thoroughly researched and often angry analysis make this a riveting read. Jun 20, Cassie Allen rated it really liked it. I am about halfway through this book. Had to step away from it for awhile after reading the chapter about Algeria. Robert Fisk is a war correspondent and this book consists mainly of dispatches he has filed over the years regarding conflicts in the Middle East. There are no heartwarming human-interest stories in here although a number of the people he encounters during travels through conflict zones stand out as examples of humanity sometimes rising over brutality.
This book is hard to read but I am about halfway through this book. Overall it is a well-balanced and well-written account of events that are to often conveyed though a distorted lens. There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Readers Also Enjoyed. About Robert Fisk.
Robert Fisk. Robert Fisk is an English writer and journalist. As Middle East correspondent of The Independent, he has primarily been based in Beirut for more than 30 years. He has published a number of books and has reported on the United States'war in Afghanistan and its invasion of Iraq. Fisk holds more British and International Journalism awards than any other foreign correspondent.
Fisk has said that journalism must "challenge authority, all authority, especially so when governments and politicians take us to war. Other books in the series. Books by Robert Fisk.
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