5.0 out of 5 stars Important Reading
Mr. Pelton feeds us information that the mainstream media cannot, or is unwilling to, relay. In a time where the term "terrorism" is thrown around like an old patato skin, it's important to realize the complexities of conflicts outside the United States. Mr. Pelton sheds light on a world where mercanaries bring peace to Sierra Leone and jihad fighters are...
Published on Nov. 16 2002 by hmsconsulting
3.0 out of 5 stars Dangerous Journeys, Average Book
Give Robert Young Pelton credit for having the courage to go where few journalists are willing to go and report on stories that most of the world is completely indifferent about. In this case, he traipsed to Sierra Leonne, Chechnya and the island of Bougainville in Papau New Guinea to cover three vastly different war zones where people were dying and little attention was...
Published on Nov. 7 2002 by Brian D. Rubendall
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2.0 out of 5 stars Intriguing topics; Awful writing and editing,
This review is from: The Hunter, The Hammer, and Heaven: Journeys to Three Worlds Gone Mad (Hardcover)I don't think much of the World's Most Dangerous Places, but I was surprised to find that this book was so astoundingly poorly written. Mr Pelton is clearly a better adventurer than he is a writer, and in fact these stories would have been far better if they had been ghost-written.
The topics are intriguing; stories of the chaos and nonsense that come of policymaking by the corrupt, small-minded, evil, or uninformed are nearly always good reading, and Pelton's tales of mercenaries being hired by sovereign governments and indigenous revolutionary movements in the sunny South Pacific are no exception. He is clearly capable of winning the trust of some unsavory and fascinating characters. But the output is marred by what seems to be an almost willful lack of editing, on either the macro or micro scale. The stories do not hang together, events occuring out of chronological sequence with little narrative justification. And the sentence structure, grammatical mistakes, and typos made me literally angry; I believe that when I pay full price for an expensive hardback book part of what the publisher owes me is decent copy editing.
In the end, neither Pelton nor Lyons Press should be rewarded for producing this kind of slipshod material. "The Hunter, The Hammer, and Heaven" was clearly output to capitalize on Mr Pelton's fame as the creator of the World's Most Dangerous Places, but the gratuitous low quality of the book is an insult to readers. With another week or two of editing and review this could have been a solid if unremarkable product; as it is, "The Hunter..." is merely an exercise in frustration.
4.0 out of 5 stars First-Class Journalism in Places the World Forgot,
This review is from: The Hunter, The Hammer, and Heaven: Journeys to Three Worlds Gone Mad (Hardcover)I stumbled across Robert Young Pelton's comebackalive.com website while researching the topic of mercenaries in Africa, and paused to take a look at one of his books. The time was well spent, numerous typos and grammatical errors notwithstanding. Let's hope his next manuscript gets better proofreading.
Pelton's "The Hunter, the Hammer, and Heaven" chronicles the author's fearless journeys into three separate hearts of darkness: Sierra Leone, Chechnya, and Bougainville. Each is a place where surely angels would fear to tread, but Pelton, with careful persistence, deftly tiptoes through each, and not only comes back alive, but brings the raw, gritty truths of modern war with him. Places that are usually just a few lines buried in the back page of the Sunday paper spring to hair-raising life as Pelton gets to know the people in each place, and their motivations for fighting.
There is a lot of excellent material here for anybody who is trying to sort out all the players in these hellholes without benefit of a scorecard, and reading this book will impart a much deeper understanding of how and why such conflicts occur.
Another impression the reader will get is that the media outlets of the world are hopelessly out of touch, far more concerned with the color of Hillary Clinton's underwear than with the chaos, death and destruction that they are too lazy or corrupt to see. In my case, Pelton's reporting served only to underscore what I already knew - the media giants are completely out of touch, but in ways I never realized until I read this gutsy man's words.
The book also serves as a window into the shadowy private military operations (like Sandline International and Executive Outcomes) that have superseded the mercenary armies of the 60's and 70's. The book makes (in my opinion) a convincing argument for supporting such actions, rather than condemning them as has been done over and over in the mainstream media. Upon reading this book, you'll come away with a much better understanding of each hot-spot, and a profound respect for Pelton's awe-inspiring courage in seeking out and telling the truth. Highly recommended.
5.0 out of 5 stars Important Reading,
This review is from: The Hunter, The Hammer, and Heaven: Journeys to Three Worlds Gone Mad (Hardcover)Mr. Pelton feeds us information that the mainstream media cannot, or is unwilling to, relay. In a time where the term "terrorism" is thrown around like an old patato skin, it's important to realize the complexities of conflicts outside the United States. Mr. Pelton sheds light on a world where mercanaries bring peace to Sierra Leone and jihad fighters are what's left of the last stand to protect innocent civilians in Chechnya. You won't find that sort of reporting in USA Today, and Mr. Pelton simply tells it like he sees it. This book is critical reading for anybody who wishes to think outside the box, outside the US borders and outside the current mainstream and simplistic views of world conflict.
3.0 out of 5 stars Dangerous Journeys, Average Book,
The Sierra Leonne piece, which kicks off the book, is by far the weakest. The guerilla conflict there was essentially over by the time Pelton arrived and he neither witnessed any of the atrocities committed there first hand nor has much luck providing real insight other that the obvious: namely that the diamonds buried beneath the soil provided the income to keep the rebel forces going.
Pelton has better luck in Chechnya, where he entered Grozny shortly before the 1999 Russian offensive and barely escaped the advancing forces. This is war reporting at its best, immediate and chilling. This part is particularly relevant in providing understanding to the recent Russian hostage crisis.
The back story of the Bougainville section was the most enlightening part of the book. I'm sure very few people outside of the south Pacific region are even aware that the large, mineral rich island has been the site of a terrible insurrection for more than a decade. Once again, however, Pelton doesn't arrive until after the shooting stops and his attempts to interview the elusive Bougainville rebel leader Francis Ona are only interesting to a point.
Overall, an interesting if uneven work that will appeal most strongly to those who like real life adventure tales and those with a curiosity about the world's most dangerous places.
5.0 out of 5 stars I can't wait for his next book...,
By A Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars Wow! Mr. Pelton, next time can I go along?,
5.0 out of 5 stars Helpful in Understanding a World Gone Mad,
This is not a "tough guy" or thrill seeker. Robert Young Pelton is an unassuming gentle person who created a niche for himself with his annually updated "World's Most Dangerous Places" and the related Discovery TV program "Come Back Alive," and in the process discovered that most Embassies and most journalists don't look for the truth, much less find it.
In this book, he has done something useful that could not be achieved with his more focused and fragmented country by country almanac of world dangers. He has chosen three representative renditions of hell on earth--one dealing with the greed and corruption of diamond mining in Sierra Leone; another dealing with religious intolerance and government terrorism in Chechnya; and the third dealing with massive environmental as well as economic issues in Papua New Guinea.
Each of the three stories combines a rather matter of fact but most interesting story of exactly how he gets in and out of places and who he sees and what they say; with his insights on where the various parties are clashing and how they are doing. Each of these "case studies" is distinct, but taken together, they give one the sense of dispair that comes from reading Robert Kaplan, or William Shawcross, or Ralph Peters.
Robert Young Pelton is as close as I have found to a true global "intelligence minuteman" capable of getting at ground truth using only legal and ethical methods. He is unique for having traversed the earth and seen it all, as well as for putting such knowledge in the hands of the taxpayers who fund our government's continuing exclusion of such places from the public debate over the future of our peace and prosperity.
If we are ever to get a grip on foreign policy and national security spending, it will be authors such as Robert Young Pelton that make it possible for "the people" to take back the power over how we spend taxpayer funds.
3.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating but Flawed,
I would have liked more information regarding the timeline of each journey. Although I'm sure these travels took place within the past few years, and the postscripts helped, I had to guess about when each journey actually occurred. I admit that without reminders from the media, these conflicts do not remain on my "radar," and it is difficult to keep these events in historical perspective. These conflicts are often longstanding, and dates would help immensely. I would like to know when these wars first came to Mr. Young's attention, how long it took him to arrange his travel, and when the travel took place.
I found the typographical errors and obvious lack of proofreading unprofessional and distracting. But all of the editorial shortcomings notwithstanding, the book offers important insights and is worth the reading effort.
4.0 out of 5 stars Enlightening, if slightly less than perfect,
Pelton offers a refreshing alternative view to biased reportaganda that often originates from war zones, especially in "The Hammer" where he puts his life on the line to get the true story of Russia's brutal war in Chechnya. The best part about Pelton is that he tells it like it is, and he's not afraid to get his hands dirty: interviewing key players that most sane people would not want to meet in a dark alley...never mind a third world war zone.
Criticisms? Some may find the author's "tough-guy" persona to be hard to relate to, and there are numerous typos and grammatical errors in the text that can cause frustration. I hope that in future books RYP and his editors can do a better job proofreading.
Overall I found this book to be extremely valuable and thought provoking.
5.0 out of 5 stars A must-read...,
By A Customer
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The Hunter, The Hammer, and Heaven: Journeys to Three Worlds Gone Mad by Robert Young Pelton (Hardcover - Jan. 1 2002)
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