Love the O'Brian series, and this reader is phenomenal. This just isn't the best example. Bogs down in places. Dark. Killing off characters who are long-time "friends" made me think more of the author's own darkness at the time of writing was making its way into the book. Possible. Understandable. Don't let it keep you from reading, but don't expect the dashing tales of old.
A little confused. I couldn't figure out his structure until the end. But he made a good story out of an enormous library of information. And he made it interesting, in bites you can follow. He colors some of his narrative with editorials parading as facts. This cheer leading got heavy handed and tiresome in the era and chapter on rural electrification and continued into the modern era and public television. Too bad. It detracts from an otherwise pleasant story. I've enjoyed two of this author's other books immensely. This one has its moments but is a little frustrating to read.
Kaplan's excellent overview takes you into places you didn't know existed on the map of American influence. While the myriad and diversity of military missions are interesting, Kaplan tells a deeper story of the gamut of human characters who do this work. It's their stories that make you unable to put down the book. Highly recommended.
I could hardly put it down. No problem with the unfamiliar names - look up one or two online if you need to. Reads like a top thriller novel, except for the tragic end.
This book shows the folly of what happens when it's easier to concentrate power than knowledge -- social engineering that backfires.
"Intellectuals" "who romanticize cultures which leave the world in poverty, disease and chaos, trash cultures that lead the world in prosperity, medical advances and law and order." They look the other way when masses flee societies they romanticize. They look away when tough stances against aggression may nip war in the bud and wait until the bombs are falling on them to act. They encourage the poor to blame poverty on the rich, a tragically detrimental view that discourages the self-examination that might lead them to make fundamental changes in their own lives instead.
The group he focuses on are the people whose narrow view is limited to the wrongs they see around them and attribute to some evil in the American system. Yet they ignore the broad perspective of human behavior and cultures in their context. This leads to seriously flawed thinking and social experiments we're better off without.
Well supported and thoughtfully presented.
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