Suskind seems to wander the globe, seeing the war on terror from all sides. Most of his characters are extra-smart, extra-connected, or extra-powerful, but they represent the world quite well. All of them are complicated, multi-sided individuals, even the Islamic fundamentalists and the Bush administration officials. It's a study in human response to danger, and the options people choose.
In some of these well-drawn stories, people seek safety by keeping secrets from the enemy, in hope of winning a contest for predominance. In others, they bet on relating to outsiders person to person and building an open relationship. I think the best parts of the book are about Pakistani people caught in the crossfire, choosing what to bet on for their future. But whether in Pakistan, America, England or Afghanistan, Suskind shows two kinds of intelligence in contention. I think his stories indicate which kind is smarter.
on September 20, 2008
In this complex web of narratives, Pulitzer Prize winning author and journalist Ron Suskind navigates the paradoxes of democracy and globalization, multiculturalism and patriotism.
A lot of discussion has taken place since "The Way of the World" was released regarding what the CIA did or didn't do. Agents have since come out to dispute Suskind's inference of "the fake letter from Habbush". In my opinion, what was or wasn't done is not important, it's the overall philosophy that is flawed. It's an indictment of Bush's misplaced faith and his false doctrine of preemption.
This is a highly enjoyable read. Suskind remarks that it was one of the most challenging book projects he's ever worked on. This is much more than a Bush bashing book, it's about ordinary people and how we and others view America.