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A Foreigner Carrying in the Crook of His Arm a Tiny Bomb Paperback – Jun 10 2010
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"[A]n essential book for our times." - Nilanjana S. Roy, "Business Standard"
"[A]n essential book for our times."--Nilanjana S. Roy, "Business Standard"
""Foreigner "is part contemporary history, part investigative journalism, part political treatise, part memoir - and an absolute must-read. . . . Kumar is an excellent storyteller. He's also immensely convincing. Drawing on his vast, voracious knowledge of literature, film, television, and breaking headlines, Kumar makes a case that post-9/11 fear has created a not-so-brave new world of bullies and fools."--Terry Hong, "Christian Science Monitor"
"[A] perceptive and soulful . . . meditation on the global war on terror and its cultural and human repercussions. . . . "A Foreigner Carrying in the Crook of His Arm a Tiny Bomb "carries in the crook of its own arm Mr. Kumar's plaintive appeal. If we're to bridge the perilous divide that separates us from those poor and unnamed people who resent us, we first need to see them, to look into their eyes. We need, Mr. Kumar writes, 'to acknowledge that they exist.' This angry and artful book is a first step."--Dwight Garner, "New York Times"
"After you read ["A Foreigner Carrying in the Crook of His Arm a Tiny Bomb"], you will never look at the global war on terror in the same way again. You will, also, finally know how to look at the war on terror, especially as it is fought here. . . . [S]tunningly researched, brilliantly thoughtful, boldly imagined and courageously executed. I can't think of a more urgent, important and necessary book for us this year. You should rush to read it."--Pradeep Sebastian, "The Hindu" (review of the Indian edition)
"Full of sublime narratives and subtle descriptions, it is a thoroughly fantastic book. The best thing about Kumar's writing is that seldom does he allow his personal prejudices to creep into the text. He acts more like a cameraman of a documentary film showing you a plethora of images. He also knows what to focus on, and when to zoom in or out. Then he leaves you free to reach your own conclusions. Like his earlier book "Husband of a Fanatic," it is a must buy. And, of course, a must read too."--Abdullah Khan, "Star Weekend "(review of the Indian edition)
"More than a piece of reportage, "A Foreigner Carrying in the Crook of His Arm a Tiny Bomb" illuminates the dangers to civil liberties from extraordinary governmental powers and torture's questionable effectiveness. . . . Whatever one's views on 9/11 and its accompanying legal changes, the use of torture, or the war on terror, A" Foreigner Carrying in the Crook of His Arm a Tiny Bomb" is a worthwhile read. Kumar's perspective is one not often seen in American writings on similar subjects. That alone would recommend the book; the high quality of the writing should secure its place on any library shelf."--J. G. Stinson, "ForeWord"
"Moving fluidly between his adopted U.S. home and his birthplace of India - another country altered by concerns over terrorism - Kumar carefully exposes what he sees as the senseless abuse of power justified by the so-called 'war on terror.'"--Terry Hong, "Bloomsbury Review"
From the Back Cover
"Amitava Kumar has written a unique book. It is ultimately a book about neoliberalism, about the public interest defined as militarism rather than as well-being. It is a book about the imagination reduced to suspicion and fear rather than hope and liberty. It is a book that swells from India to Indiana, depicting the global ecology of antiterrorism."--Vijay Prashad, author of "The Darker Nations. A People's History of the Third World"See all Product Description
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amitava Kumar's new book zeroes in on some of these specimens of the Global War, and in fine-grained detail examines their deeds, their cases and their role in this ongoing drama. What we learn is depressing-- both for the punishments (and often torture) meted out on individuals whose crimes usually amount to talking big to the wrong people-- and for the mounting evidence that this war is in no way closer to achieving its initial goals than it was on September 12th, 2001.
Kumar's discussion is balanced (he is not always sympathetic to the subjects of his narration) and written in an engaging and accessible style. As in his previous books, Kumar mixes different narrative styles, especially reportage and memoir, and quotes at length from portions of the court documents associated with the various cases.
For anyone wishing to understand the War on Terror in greater detail than what is generally available in the press, this book is essential reading.
Amitava Kumar's book is a brilliant and very accessible transnational study of the victims on both sides of manufactured wars. Connecting imperialism, colonization, insurgency, and growing fascism around the world, Kumar carves out a book that is a deeply personal study of innocent strangers swept up and ensnared in globalized net of entrapment, racism, blind rage, and hatred. Kumar is never a distant observer; instead, he meets with almost everyone he talks about, covering events related to the "war on terror" from the U.S. to India to Kashmir. This is a remarkable book.
His book turns terrorism into a problem of brainwashed, provincial little guys, hapless entrapped merchants, and bureaucratic bunglers. He concedes that some terrorists are dangerous, but bracketing that entire issue, he concentrates on his little guys. Turns out Kumar is fascinated that one of the terrorists in the Mumbai attacks is awe-struck by the opulence of the five-star hotel in which he carries out the killings. This detail preoccupies Kumar and is offered to us as a major revelation about terrorists. What he leaves out is what horrified most others about this attack--that the terrorists used drugs to keep themselves awake so they could maximize the destruction and killing of men, women, and children, that in a huge city like Mumbai they meticulously hunted and killed members of a tiny Jewish community, that they unflinchingly killed children at point-blank range. Given the enormous moral and political complexity of the problem of terrorism, Kumar is entirely disingenuous to suggest that looking at the little guy, the accidental terrorist, we will have understood better what we confront.
I wonder if he had talked sympathetically about one of the "little guys" involved in the 9/11 attacks, instead of the Mumbai attacks, whether his book would have been reviewed in the mainstream press.
If we are getting our legal analysis and "reportage" of the global war on terror from an English professor at Vassar, it shows just how bad things have become. The mainstream coverage of the war on terror has its flaws, but who can seriously say that this is an alternative? The book's claim to offering a "humane" account of the events covers over the superficiality and flawed reasoning in this book. The writing is patchy, the reasoning is flimsy, and the book is simply not worth its cost.