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14-08-2006, 16:11   #16
Generic_Dave
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I can recommend quite a few political books that brush upon the Middle East, nothing direct but "The Cold War" by John Lewis Gaddis, it gives a background to the division of the Middle-East between East and West during the Cold War, of course the book is mainly about The Cold War but the Middle was an important theatre for the cold war, for the same reason it's so important to America now, oil.

Also Al-Jazeera by Hugh Miles, although technically not political since it deals with the birth of a tv station, it's nonetheless right in the middle, and it's an interesting read.

Why Europe will run the 21st century by Mark Leonard is interesting especially when read alongside Not Quite The Diplomat by Chris Patton, since Mark tends is a tad optimistic and Chris Patton from his time as an MEP points out the failings and weaknesses of European policy.

And while I'm at it there's a book on Chairman Mao, Mao The Unknown Story by Jung Chang and Jon Halliday, it's huge but I couldn't put it down and there's also a book on Africa, can't remember the author, but it's got a black brown cover that looks kinda like a parched desert with a tiny read flower on the cover, I'm not ashamed to admit that parts of it made me cry.

And I found a book recently Speeches that Changed The World, again can't remember th author but it's really interesting to compare the villians of the piece, say Hitler to the heroes, say Churchill. The simpler the language, the more truth they seem to hold. There's also one from Stalin that's just incredible, ploting a new world order around the time of the Nazi-Soviet pact that sliced Eastern-Europe in two. He had a plan no matter who won.

That's all I can think of at the mo...
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15-08-2006, 16:42   #17
 
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You should check out Tariq Ali's, The Clash of Fundamentalisms. It gives as good an overview as you'll get on how we got where we are today, from the birth of Islam to Bush's Jihad. Ali is of Muslim heritage, but is a self-declared Atheist, which makes his an interesting position to read. He understands and exposes well, the fundemantalist leanings within both Islamic and Neo-con dogma.

ff
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15-08-2006, 18:00   #18
 
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Thanks for the recommendations! I found this book in my house, The Near East Since the First World War, by M.E.Yapp, and it looks like it's exactly what I was looking for! Going to Spain tomorrow, so I'll give it a read while I'm lying on the beach
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16-08-2006, 09:28   #19
 
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I thought Six Days: How the 1967 War Shaped the Middle East by Jeremy Bowen gives a good idea of what's going on today. It is specific to the Six Day War but a lot of modern day Palestine is ruled by this event IMHO.
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16-08-2006, 16:52   #20
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Akrasia
Gandalfs avatar has just reminded me that the movie V for Vandetta is just out on DVD. I know it's not a book, but if the leaving cert can call films a 'text' then so can I.
Surely you should recommend the comic rather than the film. The film is a mess imo. Instead of it being a story about anarchism vs fascism as Alan Moore intended in the comic, the Wachowskis turned it into a clumsy attack on the Bush administration. It's narrow minded democratic party propaganda. And worst of all, it's got Stephen Fry in it.

My book recommendations:

1: Arturo Barea's autobiographical trilogy The Forging Of A Rebel. The first book (The Forge) is about his growing up in turn of the century Madrid, the second (The Track) is about early adulthood and experiences in the Spanish army in Morocco, and the third (The Clash) is his account of the Spanish Civil War.

2: Anarchy's Cossack by Alexandre Skirda. A biography of Nestor Makhno, the Ukrainian who set up an all-volunteer anarchist guerrilla movement which against enormous odds fought successfully against austro-german occupying forces, the white russians, and the red army during the russian civil war, until disease and persecution finally destroyed them.

3: Modern Ireland 1600-1972 by Roy Foster. The definitive Irish history book.
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17-08-2006, 11:16   #21
 
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Readingy things I like a lot are
  • Multitude by Antonio Negri and Michael Hardt - a fascinating theority of globalisation and social change
  • The Decline of American Power by Immanuel Wallerstein - old white dude predicts the decline of the capitalist system as we know it
  • Reinventing Ireland edited by Peadar Kirby, Luke Gibbons and Michael Cronin - Irish boffins critically, and chillingly deconstruct the social and cultural legacy of the Celtic Tiger
  • Models of Democracy by David Held - boring but it'll set you right about democratic theories of the past 2,000 years
  • Lipstick Traces by Greil Marcus - amazing 'hidden history of the 20th century' that links politics, culture, world events and music, weaving together the Paris Commune, Dadaist art, Situationism, Punk, McCarthyite America, Thatcher, Reagan and Daniel Johnston.
  • Disciplining Democracy: Development Discourse and Good Governance in Africa by Rita Abrahamsen - smart woman uncovers the existing linkages between democracy and development in the context of Africa and explains how Africa is still being colonised, but in different ways to the past
  • Contemporary Politics in the Middle East by Beverly Milton Edwards - amazing political account of the recent history of the Middle East
  • We Wish to Inform You that Tomorrow We Will Be Killed With Our Families by Philip Gourevitch - New York jew tells the incredibly sad story of the Rwandan genocide through the eyes of those who lived through it
  • The Globalization of World Politics edited by Baylis and Smith - great introduction to international relations
  • Africa Works: Disorder as Political Instrument by Chabal and Daloz - amazing historical and theoretical explanation of politics in Sub-Saharan Africa
  • The State in Africa: Politics of the Belly by Jean-François Bayart - see above
  • Modern Movements in European Philosophy by Richard Kearney - best place ever to read summaries of really complex and fascinating stuff
  • The Social Construction of Reality by Berger and Luckmann - interesting account of how people acquire knowledge, acquire identities and roles in modern life

I dunno, loads more.
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17-08-2006, 12:30   #22
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DadaKopf
[*]We Wish to Inform You that Tomorrow We Will Be Killed With Our Families by Philip Gourevitch - New York jew tells the incredibly sad story of the Rwandan genocide through the eyes of those who lived through it
Also gets two thumbs up, details the geoncide and it's time line, explores the history that led to the geoncide starting, even argues about the scale (considering it was carried out using machetes, the mass of the population must have been involved) and it looks at the ramifications and fall out of the murders.
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17-08-2006, 19:31   #23
 
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But doesn't mention that President General Paul Kagame is a war criminal.
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18-08-2006, 13:39   #24
 
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John Pilgers' book entitled "Freedon Next time"

http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/0...lance&n=266239

Very apt given the ongoing crisis in the Middle East and some very surprising insights into India and South Africa
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18-08-2006, 18:57   #25
 
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At the Moment I’m reading;

George Galloway : I’m not the only one. Its a really fascinating and funny book with a very biased view of the middle east.

George Stiglitz : Globalisation and its discontents. Former chief economist of the world bank criticises the world bank!

Fintan O'Toole : After the Ball. Another great book about the Celtic tiger and where it came from and who it benefited but most who it disadvantaged or were left behind.

These three books are enjoyable to read, I'm stufying politics in trinity and many of the academic books are pretty boring just good for reference etc if anybody want to know them just pm me.
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03-09-2006, 20:51   #26
 
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'Six days: how the 1967 war shaped the middle east' by Jeremy Bowen. A detailed hour by hour account of events, accurately understood by only a few insiders at the time and mythologised since. Remarkable for the large number of Thucycides-style first person accounts gathered from a wide range of sources. For the english language reader it is a great contribution to what we know.
'I didn't do it for you' by Michaela Wrong (sic). Sometimes blackly hilarious history of 130 years of foreign tyranny ( relieved by a few years of the home-grown kind) by a variety of powers in a small African country. I hope this book stays in print for a long time as it should be recalled by those who would reinstute colonialism in Africa ('temporarily, for their own good, of course, as stepping stone to democracy'.)
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03-09-2006, 23:59   #27
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DadaKopf
But doesn't mention that President General Paul Kagame is a war criminal.
Well no, but it does allow that neither side has exactly a clear conscience in Rwanda, neither side was the oppressed noble minority behaving honourably it paints a picture of a complex situation accurately and emotively.

By the way, there are some excellent suggestions on your list Dadakopf, skimming amazon at the moment and trying to get a running order working of what I can afford and want to read first. Keep em coming.

In a politics junkie late lite summer read I endorse War Reporting for Cowards by Chris Ayres. The London times, new media correspondent, who accidently through incompedence bad luck and a astonishing ability to run terrified into the jaws of danger found himself in the front lines of a US artillary unit in operation Iraqi freedom. With a tent with a giant red "X" on the roof of it (Courtsey of a camping goods store in Beverly Hills).Its a funny light dry and witty look at war reporting from a guy who found himself in the one job in reporting he never wanted. Like I said for people who enjoy reading about the news and media its a light funny very British, kinda Daily Show look at war reporting.
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19-01-2007, 12:24   #28
oscarBravo
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The Green Flag: - A History of Irish Nationalism, by Robert Kee. I've just started re-reading it for the third time. It's an interesting, detailed and objective look at how the concept of Irish nationalism evolved from Brian Boru to 1925.
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19-01-2007, 12:41   #29
 
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Party Animals

If you're looking for something light but interesting try
Party Animals by Olivia O'Leary. Interesting portraits of the of some of our senior political figures.

Extract here
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28-01-2007, 16:10   #30
 
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Anyone familiar with the following books......

'The State of Africa', by Martin Meredith

'The New Penguin History of the World', by J.M. Roberts

What did you think of them?
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