I Wouldn't Start from Here : The Twentieth Century and Where it All Went Wrong Paperback
With considerable skill, Mueller skids around the globe from failed state to ravaged warzone to desolate no-man's-land, from Beirut to Basra via Belfast and Bihac to try to unpick why we humans seem so prone to plucking war from the jaws of peace, why so much that can go wrong does go wrong, over and over again, and how and why some conflicts suddenly, quietly, inexplicably seem to find themselves solved.
It's a surprisingly sunny book given the mire in which he finds himself. And it is a notably entertaining and eye-opening tour of the world's moral basements in the vein of Holidays in Hell or Emergency Sex.
- Format: Paperback
- Pages: 496 pages
- Publisher: Granta Books
- Publication Date: 01/08/2008
- Category: True war & combat stories
- ISBN: 9781846271519
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Review by dtw42
A liberal rationalist Anglo-Australian rock journo goes to the world’s trouble spots to try and get his head around why, in some places, differing groups just won’t stop hating each other, while elsewhere they have worked out that there are more worthwhile things to be doing with their lives, and are content to rub along together.Each trip is described in a chapter, and they are interesting, insightful, and in places, funny. You might find his point of view irritating if you are right wing or ultra-religious, but as the chapters on the Netherlands (and England) in the wake of the Mohammed-cartoons debacle point out, that’s your problem to get over.If I have any quibbles, they are two: first, that his style of long, complex sentences (and yes, I am susceptible to the same habit myself) sometimes slips from his control, requiring you to go back and re-read the previous sentence, adding mental punctuation, to make sense of it. And second, that there are a very few places where dodgy grammar has slipped through the editorial net. For example (from Chapter 22), “When it became too dark to take pictures, Amir took Alan and I home to meet his family.” I? Argh. Still, a couple of those in 450-odd pages aren’t too bad.