Sebastian Junger's gripping reportage from the frontlines of Afghanistan is adrenaline-fused war reporting at its best. Shaun Randol reviews the harrowing account of a platoon of American soldiers battling a ferocious enemy in the Korengal Valley, the most dangerous part of the war-torn country. A philosophical rumination on war it is not, but War is as addictive as the fighting it portrays.
For the first time, the American National Security Strategy will focus on homegrown extremists "radicalized" on American soil. The focus represents a key plank of the country's global security policy. The White House would do well, then, to read Ed Husain's The Islamist, a memoir of a London Muslim who nearly became "radicalized," only to see the error of his ways. Lisa Allen reviews this timely portrait.
Necessity is the mother of all invention, so the saying goes. In a rural village in Malawi, William Kamkwamba needed electricity. So, he figured out how to build a windmill to generate power. It's a small idea, but the results were huge. Ed Hancox reviews William's story, as told in The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind.
In Half the Sky, the husband-and-wife team of Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn team up to shed light on the plights of many women around the world. Along the way, they offer up stories of courage and success, while also dishing out solutions to help those less fortunate. In this review, Ruthie Ackerman draws on her experiences working with women in Africa, applying doses of reality to the well-intentioned, often sunny outlooks presented by the authors.
Paul Collier is an optimist. Following the contrails left in the wake of The Bottom Billion, Wars, Guns and Votes examines baser elements of society (poverty, violence and more) to bolster his conclusion that the spread of democracy is a sure way to lift billions out of the muck and mire of destitution and political turmoil. Robert Spain takes a look at the provocative hypothesis to find that, despite some misfires here and there, Collier appears to be onto something.