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The Villages

Date: 2008-03-11 22:31
Subject: books
Security: Public
Location:the utility room in the sky
Music:husker du
And next up we have Charlie Wilson's War, by George Crile. The late George Crile, I see, having just googled him.
Anyway, you all know the story by now. Wastrel libertine Texas Congressman finds the purpose in his life in supporting the Aghan resistance to the Soviet invasion. Aided and abetted by a kindred-spirit CIA man, he forces through billions of dollars in aid and mountains of weaponry, the mujaheddin drive the Russians out, beginning the collapse of the Soviet Empire. And incidentally bringing training and high-tech weaponry and techniques to what would later become the Taliban and al-Quaeda.
It's not a wildly well-written book - Crile seems too enamoured of his subject and it can't quite decide whether to be a romp or a serious heavyweight history - but it is insanely detailed in its depiction of Washington and CIA infighting in the mid-to-late 1980s. How accurate this is, I can't tell of course.
It's a long book, but it hustles along and I can't deny it builds up a fair momentum and drags you with it. I was finishing it on the train this evening and a little girl and her mum were standing opposite me and the little girl suddenly piped up, "That man's really enjoying his book, mummy." She was right, too. I was.
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