Monday, August 4, 2008

Reviews I wish I had written

Alan Brinkley, at the New York Times, reviews The Dark Side: The Inside Story of How the War on Terror Turned Into a War on American Ideals, by Jane Mayer.

Brinkely does a terrific job summarizing Meyer's new book - and if his review doesn't make you want to order it right now, Doubleday, $27.50, well, nothing will - and it's actually $16.50 at Amazon, right now.


One thing I'd like to note:  Brinkley describes the US Military's SERE (Survival, Evasion, Resistance, and Escape) course as a "secret military program," designed in the 1950's to teach high-risk personnel to withstand torture.  While Brinkley is correct overall, there is nothing secret about SERE itself.  It's a well known program, and has been since Vietnam. All pilots, flight crew, and special forces - i.e. folks who operate over or behind enemy lines and are therefore likely to face capture - are required to attend SERE. Now, the particulars of the program are confidential, because we'd rather our enemies not know in detail exactly how our forces are trained, but the program itself and the broad details of what each attendee goes through are well known. 


Anyway, Brinkely's review is detailed and terrific - and Meyer's book even more so. So, if you're looking for something to add to that stack of books sitting next to your easy chair, well, you could do a whole hell of a lot worse than this one.

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