At the Point of a Gun by David Rieff
Democratic Dreams and Armed Intervention

No critic rating

Waiting for minimum critic reviews

See 2 Critic Reviews



Veteran journalist David Rieff’s essays draw a searing portrait of what happens when the grandiose schemes of policymakers and human rights activists go horribly wrong in the field.

Writing for publications ranging from the Wall Street Journal to The Nation to France’s Le Monde, David Rieff witnessed firsthand most of the armed interventions since the Cold War waged by the West or the United Nations in the name of human rights and democratization. In this timely collection of his most illuminating articles, Rieff, one of our leading experts on the subject, reassesses some of his own judgments about the use of military might to solve the world’s most pressing humanitarian problems.

At the Point of a Gun raises critical questions we cannot ignore in this era of gunboat democracy. When, if ever, is it appropriate to intervene militarily in the domestic affairs of other nations? Are human rights and humanitarian concerns legitimate reasons for intervening, or is the assault on sovereignty a flag of convenience for the recolonization of part of the world? And, above all, can democracy be imposed through the barrel of an M16? This is not an optimistic report, but the questions Rieff raises are of the essence as the United States grapples with the harsh consequences of what it has wrought on the ground in Afghanistan and Iraq.

About David Rieff

See more books from this Author
David Rieff is the author of five books, including the acclaimed Slaughterhouse: Bosnia and the Failure of the West. He continues to cover wars and humanitarian emergencies in many parts of the world. He lives in New York City.
Published June 4, 2013 by Simon & Schuster. 293 pages
Genres: Political & Social Sciences, Law & Philosophy, History, Education & Reference, Professional & Technical. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for At the Point of a Gun

Kirkus Reviews

See more reviews from this publication

It doesn’t help, Rieff provocatively adds, that the UN is useless: “There is nothing in its founding documents or institutional structures that are relevant to the current crisis” anywhere but Africa, where a junkyard of failed states provides a setting in which “a derelict institution like the U...

Jan 01 2005 | Read Full Review of At the Point of a Gun: Democr...

The New York Times

See more reviews from this publication

he provocative title of David Rieff's provocative book "At the Point of a Gun" refers to "armed intervention in the name of democracy, human rights and humanitarian need," a phenomenon that the author says has won growing support from both the United States and Western Europe, despite the fallout...

Mar 29 2005 | Read Full Review of At the Point of a Gun: Democr...

Rate this book!

Add Review