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"THEY KNOW, THEY JUST DON'T CARE. " Carmen Boullosa and Mike Wallace interviewed in This Is Hell

July 6, 2015
THIS IS HELL: Since 2000, one hundred thousand people have been killed in the US-Mexico drug war. We have tens of thousands of people who have disappeared. Also, I believe in your book, you talk about roughly two thousand people who have been decapitated. As you know, here in the US when the Islamic state decapitates somebody, that gets a ton of press. Yet I only discover from your book that thousands of people have been decapitated within Mexico. CARMEN BOULLOSA: More than two thousand. THIS IS HELL: What explains to you that kind of disconnect here in the United States? Sure, we'll report on the brutality of what the Islamic state might be doing, but even when that occurs to a much larger degree within Mexico we're not reporting on it. MIKE WALLACE: It's a terrific question and it goes to the heart of your larger question about the relations between the U.S. and Mexico. I teach a course on the history of crime in New York City, and in one session I was offering some comparison with the drug war in Mexico and what has happened in the U.S. in earlier days. And I said, you know, it really is remarkable that we're at war again, because there are true atrocities, and there were a handful of people who were decapitated. How do we account for this? Maybe people just don't know. And then one kid raised his hand, hadn't said a word all semester, clearly Hispanic, and said "no, professor, it's not true. They know, they just don't care."
To read the rest of the review, visit This Is Hell.

THE JIHADIS RETURN reviewed in The Baffler

July 6, 2015
Iraq, its frontiers inscribed by British colonialism, had not known democracy since the dawn of civilization. Now it offers a second home to ISIS. Was this, too, inevitable? Cockburn’s narrative suggests otherwise. As a somnambulist march toward disaster, America’s invasion and occupation of Iraq was a tour de force. After the ill-conceived initial conflict, the by now familiar drama unfolded with America’s dismemberment of the country’s overwhelmingly Sunni army and Baath party, paving the way for a Sunni rebellion. The White House, as if cued by Iran, organized elections won by the Shiite majority, installing in power an incompetent if ruthlessly sectarian Shiite government, aided by Shiite militias allied with Tehran. America’s “surge” only delayed the looming catastrophe. Then came U.S. military withdrawal in 2011, by which time ISIS was on its way. Given the repression by militias and the U.S.-backed government, Sunnis, as Cockburn notes, “have no alternative but to stick with ISIS or flee, if they want to survive.”
To read the rest of the review, visit The Baffler.

SYRIA BURNING excerpted on Who What Why

July 1, 2015
In introducing the excerpt, the editor writes:

News coming out of the Middle East is nearly always bad, so bad, it’s like a road accident. You just want to look away, and keep on going. There’s nothing you can do. How did it all come to this? Keep reading. Below is an excerpt from Syria Burning by Charles Glass, a book that is so beautifully written that reading it is more like seeing. And you will not want to look away. You will see—better than what any photograph could show—little fragments of history explode before your eyes, as you fly through time and space, now and then swooping down for a close-up of some detail that brings the larger truth into focus. This book is about much more than Syria or the Middle East. It may be what the poet William Blake meant when he wrote “To see a world in a grain of sand.” Or a drop of oil.

To read the excerpt, visit Who What Why.

CHAMELEO excerpted on The Logger

June 29, 2015
To read the excerpt, visit The Logger.

"SYRIA BURNING reveals a great deal more than the reports that track the minutiae of this battle and that battle" SYRIA BURNING reviewed in Frontline

June 24, 2015
Old-style journalists, Erlich and Glass know Syria well. They have spent long periods drifting about, making friends, and enjoying the social worlds that they encounter. Neither feel the lash of a corporate media industry, pushing them to file breaking news and ignoring the density of social life and the passions of the people. ... Khalifa tells Glass, “Stop the war. Stop the blood. The Syrian people are tired now. You can play revolution for some time. But not for a long time.” This is the attitude captured by Erlich and Glass. It reveals a great deal more than the reports that track the minutiae of this battle and that battle.
To read the full review, visit Frontline.

LEAN OUT reviewed in The Hindu

June 24, 2015

The biggest takeaway of this collection is a direct contradiction of the Sandberg principle: it asks women to ‘lean out’ and be true to themselves instead of trying to ‘lean in’ or fit into a system designed and controlled by men. This could mean speaking out rather than keeping mum, seeking confrontation rather than avoiding one, and striking out on your own rather than trying to be one of the boys.

To read the rest of the review, visit The Hindu.

"An important glimpse into our future" Lobster Magazine reviews CHAMELEO

June 23, 2015

Whether Dion was an experimental subject or merely one of the first people to experience the full range of the new technology which the US military have in store for dissidents in the near future isn’t clear. Either way this is an important glimpse into our future as ‘democratic’ states gear up for their coming task of defending our ‘freedom’ from threats – some real but mostly imaginary – within.

To read the rest of the review, visit Lobster Magazine.

"The weirdest & funniest book of 2015" CHAMELEO named one of Flavorwire's top books of nonfiction in 2015

June 23, 2015

Guffey’s Chameleo, a paranoiac nonfiction techno-thriller and the story of a friendship, is by many miles the weirdest and funniest book of 2015. It tells the story of an oft-recovering heroin addict named Dion Fuller who is believed by the Department of Homeland Security to have stolen a pair of night vision goggles from a military base. From there it becomes a sui generis exploration of conspiracy as a form of art. — Jonathon Sturgeon

To view the rest of the list, visit Flavorwire.

YASH TANDON joins This is Hell! to discuss TRADE IS WAR

June 15, 2015

Author and policy maker Yash Tandon challenges the West's ideas of both free and fair trade, and explains how colonialism's newest form is a consolidated, intergovernmental apparatus with the same goals as ever - resource extraction and labor exploitation.

To listen to the interview, visit This is Hell!.

"Western Civilization Has Produced a God" JULIAN ASSANGE speaks about the religious aura of surveillance on The Huffington Post

June 15, 2015
In the end it doesn't matter whether Google is a completely willing participant [with U.S. surveillance efforts], a partly willing participant or a not at all willing participant. All that matters is that it is Google's business model to collect as much information about the world and people as possible and store it and index it and compile virtual dossiers on everyone and predict their behavior, and sell it to various organizations and advertisers and so on. For any organization that does that and is based in the United States, the U.S. National Security Agency and other intelligence agencies will make sure that they get hold of that information. It's simply too easy to do so and too attractive. It is very valuable information that gives the U.S. deep state an edge.
To read the rest of the interview, visit The Huffington Post.

Cuba Counterpoints praises CUBA IN SPLINTERS

June 15, 2015
Starting with the editor’s preface, these eleven stories constitute a way of being honest, or at least less dishonest. They are irreverent; experimental in ways that seem more rebellious than transcending. And yet, much like Miller’s, these are the sort of stories that create a world of their own and, as George O. once wrote, leave a certain flavor behind them. For the characters in these stories, and I venture say, for the writers, he’s one way of breaking off—albeit like splinters—into the future.
To read the rest of the review, visit Cuba Counterpoints.

"[A] perfectly crafted memoir" Jerry L. Wheeler reviews NIGHTS AT RIZZOLI

June 15, 2015
Picano was not the only employee of Rizzoli, though, and his characterizations of his fellow employees–the manager, Mr. M, and head clerk Armando in particular–are wonderful example of the fine detailing he embellishes his people with. They jump out of the book at you, nearly overshadowing the celebrities they all serve. By the end of the book, you know them as well as if you’d worked with them yourself. Nights at Rizzoli is perfectly crafted memoir, as evocative of the time in which it is set as it is of the celebrities which populate it. Highly recommended.
To read the rest of the review, visit Out in Print.

"We have turned higher education into the cruelest of debt traps." VICE interviews ANDREW ROSS

June 15, 2015

VICE: What kind of political results do you think is actually feasible, if millions of students stop paying their loans? ANDREW ROSS: A strike of any kind is a tactic. It's not a solution. It's a tactic towards a goal, and the goal here ultimately is for the US to join the long list of industrialized countries around the world that make it their business to offer a free public higher education system. None of these other countries are as affluent as the US; there's no question that this country could afford to do so.

To read the rest of the interview, visit VICE.

"Assange is a world-class muckraker" The Monthly does an in-depth review of WHEN GOOGLE MET WIKILEAKS

June 9, 2015

Google, a flag-bearer of the new Californian “free market” ideology of digital capitalism, is an accomplice of the American state, Assange insists. He reminds me that early Google search technology was seed-funded by the NSA and CIA “information superiority” programs. Since then, the family integration of Google and the government has tightened. Assange rattles off a string of cases. Each runs well beyond the politics of personal connections, and each connection is damaging to Eric Schmidt’s claim that Google has clean political hands.

To read the rest of the article, visit The Monthly.

"[A] valuable overview" Nomadic Press highlights the usefulness of A NARCO HISTORY

June 9, 2015

Boullosa and Wallace, by condensing a vast amount of material into a relatively short book, have provided a valuable overview of the way the US and Mexico constructed the War on Drugs.

To read the rest of the review, visit Nomadic Press

"An enjoyable, provocative treatment of a timely topic" WATCHLIST praised in Shelf Awareness

June 8, 2015

In this diverse and daring fiction collection, writers of all stripes deal with the act of watching and being watched, subverting and challenging surveillance's obvious connotations and raising questions about our intricate dance with privacy and transparency.

To read the rest of the review, visit Shelf Awareness

CHARLES GLASS discusses Syria with The Monocle

June 7, 2015
To listen to the interview, visit The Monocle.

The Guardian reviews @HEAVEN

June 5, 2015
The era of the cancer memoir began towards the end of the 20th century. Susan Sontag’s incandescent Illness as Metaphor, published in 1978, broke the taboo on discussing the disease, using her own diagnosis as fuel for a furious treatise on how we think about illness and the body. And in 1997, the British journalists Ruth Picardie and John Diamond documented their respective struggles with breast and throat cancer in national newspaper columns. Like these predecessors and descendants, Mandel’s posts chart an intelligent individual’s battle with pain, semi-comprehensible encounters with medics and a rapidly diminishing life expectancy. What makes @heaven unique, though, is that it also documents the responses of a community in some way generated by his illness.
To read the full review, visit The Guardian.

"Ornate in detail yet refreshingly concise" LA Times reviews A NARCO HISTORY

June 4, 2015

The authors do a wonderful job explaining how Mexico's ordeal grew out of the seven-decade rule of the Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, a nationwide Tammany Hall that suffocated the best in the country while exalting the most inert, before Mexicans voted it out of power in 2000. (It has since returned to the presidency but without the political monopoly it once enjoyed.) Boullosa and Wallace connect the savagery as well to our war on drugs. Their binational tale includes U.S. drug prohibitions, Americans' appetite for illegal dope and our childlike refusal to do anything serious to limit the flow of arms south, even as those guns and bullets have daily bathed Mexico in blood. Their overview — a century of history in a few hundred pages — emerges ornate in detail yet refreshingly concise.

To read the full review, visit The Los Angeles Times.

"The World Trade Organization is a war machine." YASH TANDON interviewed on Arise News

June 1, 2015

I discovered that the World Trade Organization provided a set of regulations worked out by the United States, Europe and Japan to their advantage. [Africans] were not party to the making of those regulations. The decision making in the World Trade Organization is by consensus. That means even one state can object, and there is no decision. Yet, [the United States, Europe and Japan] were able to manipulate the entire decision making process, year after year, to bring about decisions that favor the big countries and disadvantage the smaller countries.

To read the rest of the review, visit Arise News.