Weekend Bookchat

August 30, 2008

Veteran military journalist Joseph L. Galloway, one of the most penetrating and clear-eyed critics of Bush’s imperial sandbox game in Iraq, has re-teamed with retired US Army Lt. Gen. Harold Moore to write We Are Soldiers Still: A Journey Back to the Battlefields of Vietnam, the follow-up to their celebrated Vietnam memoir We Were Soldiers Once . . . And Young. In the earlier book, Moore and Galloway described the battle of Ia Drang Valley in November 1965, the first major engagement between American and North Vietnamese troops. After three hellish days of fighting, including hand-to-hand combat with bayonets, over 300 Americans and several thousand Vietnamese were dead and many more wounded. Though he was there as a journalist, Galloway was no passive observer — he was later decorated for helping to rescue wounded soldiers in the midst of withering fire.

In the new book, Moore and Galloway describe their return to the old battlefield and their meetings with former foes, including the near-legendary General Vo Nguyen Giap. Moore was one of the few Army officers who studied the history of the French disaster in Indochina before he went into Vietnam, and his knowledge of history pervades all of his work with Galloway.  “Most wars are a confession of failure – the failure of diplomacy and negotiation and common sense and, in most cases, of leadership,” Moore and Galloway write. In the closing chapter, “On War,” Moore describes his sinking feeling when Bush and company lied America into the Iraq fiasco: “My instincts told me … that another American president was marching us off into the quicksand even as his lieutenants made the rosy and ignorant predictions – which come easily to those who have never worn a uniform and never heard a shot fire in anger – of just how swift and successful it was going to be.”

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Sidney Blumenthal, a grizzled survivor of the anti-Clinton jihad in the 1990s, has a new book out about what he calls the end times of the GOP: The Strange Death of Republican America: Chronicles of a Collapsing Party, in which he argues that the Republicans are “doomed to be a minority party for some time to come.” In this video, Blumenthal talks about the book at a talk hosted by the New America Foundation. Blumenthal shares the dais with Michael Lind, whose book about Bush, Made in Texas, deserves to be more widely read. You can talk to Blumenthal via the magic of the Internets this afternoon by joining the Firedoglake Book Salon talk about The Strange Death of Republican America.

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Worried about money? Don’t like your job? Feeling a little pinched in numerous big and small ways? You have plenty of company. Peter Gosselin’s High Wire: The Precarious FInancial Lives of American Families documents the ways in which economic risk has been transferred from employers and businesses to employees and householders. Here’s a review. Steven Greenhouse’s The Big Squeeze: Tough Times for the American Worker shows how globalization, the “Wal-Mart effect” and corporate rapaciousness have combined to push down wages and increase labor woes. He also looks at some of the corporate good guys. Read more here. The Firedoglake Book Salon hosted a recent chat on The Big Squeeze.

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Conservative columnist Jason Riley breaks ranks with Let Them In: The Case for Open Borders. Howard P. Boyd writes about one of the most unique (and threatened) ecosystems in America. John Scalzi talks about the future of publishing and writing. Elias Khoury mourns the death of poet Mahmoud Darwish. Robert Chaplin shows us the world’s first nanoscale book. Jeff Sypeck looks to medieval Iceland for comparisons with the political campaign season.

One Response to “Weekend Bookchat”


    I learned a great deal from the discussions on this site…..wonderful guests both knowledgable and compelling… I.was referred to Opinion Mill through Crooks and Liars. Could you send me information on Opinion Mill every day or however often you publish this site, Thank you for your excellent work.

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