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Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Peace Kills: America's Fun New Imperialism (audiobook) by P.J. O'Rourke

My first foray into P.J. O'Rourke's books

Published by Brilliance Audio
Duration: 5 hours, 48 minutes
Read by Dick Hill

I've read some of P.J. O'Rourke's columns and have heard an interview or two so I knew that I would most likely find one of his books to be most interesting.

To begin with, I found Peace Kills: America's Fun New Imperialism mostly dead-on accurate and depressing. Observations about the War in Bosnia, human nature in general and Israel were factually interesting but mostly deflating. Not that I am overly optimistic about human nature (being both a history major and a Lutheran has given me a fairly low opinion about the character of humanity) but P.J.'s account was even getting to me.

But, in the middle it picks up - ironically with his description of 9/11 and the days that followed in Washington, D.C. I found his observations to be keen, interesting and, in an odd way, hopeful. His descriptions of the pro-Palestinian/anti-war protests was a hoot. Laugh out loud funny.

His commentary on the Nobel Prize winners' open letter about the state of the world issued in mid-2001 was so good that I almost felt sorry that 100 of the smartest people on the planet were up against O'Rourke. He makes mincemeat of their poorly written logic-defying declaration and along the way he had me laughing so hard I nearly cried.

O'Rourke traveled to Iraq during invasion in 2003. Wonderfully observant (his comments on the looters are interesting and make me wonder if they were masterminded in some way) and sometimes laugh out loud funny, especially the scene with the case of beer.

He bookends the book with another very dark, depressing chapter with a visit to Iwo Jima. It was a good and fitting ending, but not at all humorous. But, let's face it, war is tragic, not funny and O'Rourke's good even when he's not being funny.

Expertly read by Dick Hill, who is one of the best audiobook narrators in the business.

I rate this audiobook 4 stars out of 5.

This audiobook can be found on Amazon.com here: Peace Kills: America's Fun New Imperialism by P.J. O'Rourke.

Reviewed on October 27, 2009.

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