Theater of War by Lewis Lapham

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A critical look at America's new war by the author Annie Dillard calls "one of our most brilliant writers and thinkers."

Nothing will be the same after September 11. This is the wisdom offered and widely received since the announcement of the war on terrorism, a permanent war declared on both an unknown enemy and an abstract noun. But in Theater of War, Lewis Lapham shows with customary intelligence and wit that the recent imperial behavior of the United States government is perfectly consistent with the practice of past administrations.

Finding skeptics in the battle against evil has been a rare achievement. For example, as Lapham points out: "Ted Koppel struck the preferred note of caution on November 2 when introducing the Nightline audience to critics of the American bombing of Afghanistan: 'Some of you, many of you, are not going to like what you hear tonight. You don't have to listen.'" Unpopular opinions seldom make an appearance on the network news, and during the months since the destruction of the World Trade Center, the voices of dissent have been few and far between. Lewis Lapham is an exception. Almost alone among mainstream political commentators, he has had the courage to question the motive and feasibility, as well as the imperial pretension, of the Bush administration's infinite crusade against the world's evildoers.


About Lewis Lapham

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Lewis Lapham is the editor of Harper's Magazine.
Published September 1, 2002 by New Press. 202 pages
Genres: History, Political & Social Sciences, Education & Reference. Non-fiction

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The Guardian

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Theater of War by Lewis Lapham New Press £9.95, pp208 Here, in 20 graceful, witty, prophetic essays, is everything that's good about American journalism (and a rich slice of American society, too).

Sep 18 2005 | Read Full Review of Theater of War

Publishers Weekly

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But such moments are difficult to pick out of the often diffuse text, and while criticism of the president has been somewhat muted, readers sympathetic to Lapham's point of view will wish he had gone even further out on a rhetorical limb.

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