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Essays/Book Reviews

Review of 'India: A Portrait' by Patrick French (Sunday Telegraph Jan 2011)

Essays/Book Reviews, South Asia Comments Off on Review of ‘India: A Portrait’ by Patrick French (Sunday Telegraph Jan 2011)

It is no small undertaking to attempt a ‘portrait’ of contemporary India in all its dazzling complexity. Still more a book that is simultaneously ‘an intimate biography’ of its vast population. To achieve either of these grand, not easily combined tasks in a single readable volume would require an author to provide representative accounts of the [Read more…]

The WikiLeaks War on America (Commentary Jan 2011)

Essays/Book Reviews, Media, Military/Defence Comments Off on The WikiLeaks War on America (Commentary Jan 2011)

The indefinable international organization known as WikiLeaks was relatively unknown between its setting up in 2006 and the April 2010 premiere it staged at the National Press Club in Washington of the “Collateral Murder” video—a selection of stolen and decrypted gun-camera footage that purportedly shows the unlawful killing of Iraqi civilians and two Reuters journalists by [Read more…]

A few years ago, I was hiking up to an observatory in Georgetown on the Malaysian island of Penang. On the steep, winding road to the top, I fell into conversation with a well-dressed middle-aged man, a Malaysian Chinese, who told me about the problems his daughter faced getting into university because of the regime’s nastily [Read more…]

The British writer Howard Jacobson was so astonished when his latest novel The Finkler Question won the Man Booker Prize—the most prestigious award for fiction in the English language—that he asked the BBC interviewer who introduced her segment on the award if she could please repeat her opening phrase, “Howard Jacobson has won the Man Booker [Read more…]

The Western media, wittingly or not, are aiding our enemies.   Islamabad — The week I was in Afghanistan this winter, two big stories hit the international press. The first involved the publication of photographs of German NATO troops apparently “desecrating” the remains of dead Afghans. The second was about the accidental killing of up to [Read more…]

Booby Prize Aravind Adiga was born in India but grew up in Australia and America; Rohinton Mistry was born in India but emigrated to Canada. Both have written novels that take a hard look at modern India. Mistry was shortlisted for the Booker Prize in 1991 for Such a Long Journey, in 1996 for A Fine [Read more…]

In the spring of 2005, I watched two U.S. Army units training Iraqi National Army soldiers at a base in Baghdad. One Iraqi brigade was in the care of a 100-man company belonging to an armor battalion of the Third Infantry Division. The company’s officers and men lived on the base with the Iraqis, went on [Read more…]

The wind has changed in India’s capital, though not in a way that might disperse the ever more noxious smog produced by the thousands of new cars that hit the streets each week. Since the November terrorist attack on Mumbai, India’s richest and most populous city, magazine and newspaper headlines have called for the country to [Read more…]