New review online

January 25, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

For my money, Gwynne Dyer’s book The Mess They Made is one of the most perceptive, sensible reckonings with the American post-9/11 adventure in Iraq. Dyer’s dispassionate analysis of American and Islamist interests in the Middle East is a welcome relief from the overwrought and self-interested polemics many commentators resort to.

Dyer’s latest, Crawling from the Wreckage, is a collection of newspaper columns, and as such, is more diffuse in its subject matter. Despite some repetition and general bagginess, the book showcases the author’s virtually encyclopedic knowledge of international affairs, and proves once again that his analysis of trouble spots such as Iran, Kenya, and Sudan is among the best currently being produced for a general audience.

My review of Crawling from the Wreckage, which originally ran in the December 2010 issue of Quill & Quire, is now online. A taste:

Gwynne Dyer is the author of books with titles like Future: Tense and The Mess They Made, so it comes as a surprise to open his new volume and read that, in 2010, the author’s “sense of sliding out of control towards ten different kinds of disaster has gone.” Dyer admits that, from a global geopolitical perspective, “we still have a long way to go,” but “the prospects have improved considerably.”

These relatively sunny statements occur in the introduction to Dyer’s new collection of newspaper columns, written between 2004 and 2009. In what follows, Dyer spans the globe to analyze the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, the economic ascendancy of China, Iran’s nuclear ambitions, and many other topics. In the process, he ends up convincing his readers that his introductory statements were meant ironically.

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