Category Archives: book reviews

A strange book: how lawyers helped justify torture.

John Rizzo was the second-highest lawyer in the CIA for much of the 1990s and early 200os. On several occasions he was acting chief counsel, when the top job was unfilled. Rizzo’s book Company Man (published by Scribe) describes how the … Continue reading

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Is religion the major cause of wars? Karen Armstrong argues “No.”

One only has to turn on the TV these days, or go to any internet news feed, to be confronted by horrific images of religious violence in the Middle East.  For those who saw the images of the Charlie Hebdo … Continue reading

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How do we deal with loss? Review of ‘The Fault In Our Stars’

The Fault in Our Stars is a well-written, superbly-acted film that deals with some of the big questions in life: how does loving someone with a terminal illness affect our own life and theirs, how do we want to be … Continue reading

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Yossarian slept here: when your father betrays you

Would you feel betrayed by this? Imagine that your father, a famous author, wrote a novel that was clearly based directly on your own family, that it was negative in tone, that it described all his dissatisfaction with his wife, and that … Continue reading

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Crazy Japanese religious cults: how I got the idea for my first book

Today I thought about why I used the Japanese religious cult “Aum Shinrikyo” as the starting point for my first novel. My ex-wife and I stopped in Japan on our way back from Europe in 1985, and we visited Tokyo, … Continue reading

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Why is John le Carre such a good spy / thriller writer?

I first came across John Le Carre’s novels 30 years ago. The first book of his I read was “The Spy Who Came In From The Cold.” It dealt with a theme that recurs constantly through the remainder of le … Continue reading

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Passing as another race – what I’m reading this week

Passing as another race: what I’m reading this week. The book-reading group I belong to is going to be talking about Philip Roth’s “The Human Stain” next month. This deals with a topic I’ve only seen mentioned in one other … Continue reading

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