From Publishers Weekly
American readers admire Weinberger (Words on Paper
; Karmic Traces
) as a literary essayist and for his indefatigable, influential translations from Spanish and Chinese. Many Europeans and Mexicans know him as a political writer, explaining U.S. events from a clear (and clearly appalled) left-wing perspective. Inspiring in its integrity, but grim in some of its conclusions, this brief volume collects 12 essays, a speech and an interview offered to overseas audiences between December 2000 and January 2005. (A preface dates from the first Gulf War.) Weinberger compiles a hymnal-sized chrestomathy of outrages, an elegantly acrid summary of all that he believes has gone badly wrong in the past five years, including "the first coup d'état in American history" (the Supreme Court's 2000 presidential decision) and the awful lessons of 9/11 (he lives in lower Manhattan). He argues that the Bush administration, rather than learning those lessons, has used them as excuses for large-scale carnage in Iraq. Weinberger has nothing like the American name recognition of thinkers whose critiques he echoes—he does, however, have a superb prose style: both far-left skeptics and worried moderates might appreciate his work once they find it, and New Directions' unusual pocket-sized format may help the collection get into those readers' hands. (Sept.)
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With the perspective of a writer who writes for foreign publications, Weinberger offers a view of the Bush presidency from a slight remove. This collection of essays and articles that have been translated into 16 languages begins with the inauguration of George W. Bush and the actions and policies that presaged an invasion of Iraq even before the terrorist attack of 9/11. Weinberger includes an account of downtown Manhattan, where he lives, on the day after the attack, and the feeling of lost innocence in a nation that, since the Reagan presidency, had come to be referred to as the Republic of Entertainment. In the aftermath of 9/11, Weinberger excoriates the Bush administration for its panic peddling and massive and secret arrests of "suspects," as well as the contrived "intelligence" that led to the war on Iraq. He ponders what geopolitics would look like if Europe stopped playing the "American game." Weinberger offers fresh perspectives in a thought-provoking and witty style. Vanessa BushCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved