Culture & Criticism Since 2003
In this balls-out reportage by acclaimed journalist Jeremy Scahill (Blackwater), the reader is allowed to taste the corpses in the belly of the world’s endless “War on Terror.” Moving through Afghanistan and Pakistan to Yemen and Somalia, Scahill guts the story by interviewing the CIA agents, mercenaries and soldiers who lead a daily assault on anyone and anything perceived to be a threat to the United States. In the course of Dirty Wars, Scahill infiltrates al Qaeda-held territory to provide a first-hand account of the rubble and the devastation: Introducing us to the random survivors of U.S. night raids in an attempt to put a human face on the death toll. And while former President George Bush Jr. is noted as the ‘director’ of these horrible theatrics, Scahill is quick to point out that President Barack Obama has conveniently forgotten his many campaign promises to end the carnage; instead, according to Scahill, our current president has widened the breadth of the battlefield by creating a secret cadre of fighters who serve at his pleasure. In Dirty Wars, Scahill writes with a brutal mud-dark honesty that mirrors the subject matter: dirty wars fought on a clandestine battlefield by an army that answers to no one. If there’s an indispensable read for 2013 – this is likely it. Tom Weiner’s narration stands-out, extending the ‘take-no-prisoners’ attitude of the author.
In this study by best-selling author Colin Campbell (The China Study), the listener is urged to re-think his diet and convert to a regimen that features plant-based foods untouched by processing (including fruit, raw nuts, seeds and whole grains). As Campbell outlines, making dietary changes on this level (while simultaneously developing the discipline to make healthy eating a habit and not a whim) will forestall the onset of debilitating illness. Hagen’s narration is on point – commanding the listener with a style that urges without ever assaulting.