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Wednesday, July 21, 2004

Summer reading

Inspired by Chris at Explananda, I just bought Evelyn Waugh's Scoop at Some years ago, probably in The New Republic, I read a comprehensive bibliographic essay that made me want to read Waugh.

So now I can -- and will.

Of course, this discount bookseller has a coupon that saves the buyer $5 on every $35 order (enter code habit with password bookcloseouts). Thus, I simply had to shop around for some additional purchases. My soon-to-be-11-year-old wanted some book giveaways for her party, so this was readily accomplished.

While searching around, I couldn't help but notice that the book sales lists provide some interesting sociological insights about Iraq and the wider war on terrorism.

For example, the neocons (and other hawks) have apparently saturated their market. Consider this:
Christopher Hitchens, A Long Short War: Remaindered.

Donald Kagan and Frederick Kagan, While America Sleeps: Remaindered.

Laurie Mylroie, The War Against America: Remaindered.

Laurie Mylroie, Bush vs. the Beltway: Remaindered.

Judith Miller, Germs: Biological Weapons and America's Secret War: Remaindered.

Also for sale is an odd-looking book by the NRA's Wayne LaPierre about gun ownership and his version of "homeland security." It sounded scary.

For the conservative non-reader, Miller's book is also available in audio cassette.

They also had plenty of books by Sean Hannity and Ann Coulter, but I won't link to them.

Before my readers shout in triumph about the failure of these conservative books to sell, note that there are also plenty of books for sale by Bush critics.
Norman Mailer, Why Are We at War?: Remaindered

Scott Ritter, Endgame: Solving the Iraq Crisis: Remaindered.

Gore Vidal, Dreaming War: Remaindered.
Ritter was treated unfairly by his former weapons inspector colleagues, but Mailer and Vidal are novelists writing about public affairs. Yawn.

If the hawks and doves aren't selling, what about the owls?

Um, not so good:
Peter Bergen, Holy War, Inc: Inside the Secret World of Osama bin Laden: Remaindered.

General Wesley Clark, Winning Modern Wars: Remaindered.

Alan Dershowitz, Why Terrorism Works: Remaindered.

Philip B. Heymann, Terrorism and America: Remaindered.

Mark Jeurgensmeyer, Terror in the Mind of God: Remaindered.

Kenneth M. Pollack, The Threatening Storm: Remaindered.

Shibley Telhami, The Stakes: Remaindered.

Strobe Talbott, The Age of Terror: Remaindered.
I don't know that it means anything, but there are 100s of copies of the neocon books and only 14 of Talbott's (though there are also 14 in paperback). Then again, there are plenty of copies of Vidal too.

Many would list Pollack with the hawks since his book helped convince many liberals to support the Iraq war. And Dershowitz has been criticized by the left for supporting torture, so he might not belong on this list either.

Telhami is a first-rate scholar and Jeurgensmeyer won the 2003 Grawemeyer Award in Religion, so don't make too much of their places on this list. And I used Heymann's book for my US Foreign Policy class in spring 2002.

Now, of course, this list proves that there are plenty of pertinent and cheap books available for my courses.

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