Friedman is a gifted observer, but a flawed analyst of energy and environmental policy. This book is without thorough critical analysis in addressing this vital subject. Friedman's research was an exercise in venturing forth to interview interesting people and uncritically report on their claims. The book is simply a rant; internally inconsistent, flawed by wavering objectives (here addressing global warming, there demanding renewables as if they were the same), railing against petroleum fuels with only an afterthought mention of the fact that natural gas is cleaner (natgas vehicles are available in much of the world, cheaper than gasline and about 90% cleaner). Moreoever, Friedman never draws the vital distinction between commercially viable technologies and remote technologies that require significant scientific breakthroughs. Friedman's unrelenting nag to undertake the politically correct is a thoughtless, tiresome waste of good paper.
Charlie Wilson's War is a fun and informative listen in current events, richly woven with heroism, political power, Cold War global politics, bizarre political characters of the American left and right, and human frailty. However, the book strains to make Wilson the central character, erring by minimizing the involvement of others. This weakness no doubt makes for better story telling, but limits the book's contribution to understanding of the role of the U.S. support for the Afghan freedom fighters in the closing years of the Cold War. The book is about the great role of Charlie Wilson in this effort, not about the effort.
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