Thursday 26 Nov 2020 | 01:05 | SYDNEY
Thursday 26 Nov 2020 | 01:05 | SYDNEY

Lowy staff talk about the year in books (part 2)


Bill Bowtell

17 December 2007 16:44

The war in Iraq is being accompanied by an equally vicious intellectual battle to lay the blame for the multiple disasters of the Bush Administration.  Last year, the heavy artillery was all one way from the representatives of the permanent government – Defense, the CIA and the State Department – as their interlocutors laid blame for the war at the feet of the Bush-Cheney crowd.

This year, however, two remarkable books laid bare the deep dysfunction within the two gigantic bureaucracies at the heart of the American system of government – the CIA and the Department of Defense.  As James Carroll in House of War: The Pentagon and the Disastrous Rise of American Power and Tim Weiner in Legacy of Ashes: The History of the CIA  powerfully argue, these two massive systems of patronage and power have radically reshaped the American republic and debauched the principles on which it was founded.

But all is not lost. In his masterful work, Conscience of A Liberal, New York Times columnist Paul Krugman makes a compelling case for the liberal renewal of American politics and society.The joy of reading End Games, the latest instalment of the adventures of Italian police inspector Aurelio Zen was tempered by the news of the death of his creator, Michael Dibdin. The Inspector Zen series shone a bright light into the underworld of modern Italy.

NB: Part one of this series, with Allan Gyngell's selections, is here.