Digging Deeper Into the News of the Day

If you’re like me, you want to keep up with what’s going on in the world. You follow the latest discoveries from outer space. You look for the most recent health tips. And, of course, you can’t get enough breaking news from the study of ornithology.

There are many valuable periodicals that provide cursory information on these and many other subjects. But for my money, there’s no substitute for the breadth and depth of knowledge one acquires while reading a well-researched book on a given topic.

fiasco.jpgAs you may have heard, these days the Middle East is a caldron of important and world-altering news. During times like these readers often want to get their arms around the issues at hand by turning to scholars and experts who know the subject better than the rest of us. To that end, the other day I took a stroll around River City Books’ nonfiction sections and found several current titles that might broaden your perspective on the current state of affairs. A sample:

Fiasco: The American Military Adventure in Iraq by Thomas E. Ricks

The definitive military chronicle of the Iraq war — and a searing judgment on the strategic blindness with which America has conducted it — draws on the accounts of senior military officers giving voice to their anger for the first time.

From Beirut to Jerusalem by Thomas L. Friedman

Winner of the 1989 National Book Award for nonfiction, this extraordinary bestseller may still be the most incisive, thought-provoking book ever written about the Middle East.

Guests of the Ayatollah: The First Battle in America’s War with Militant Islam by Mark Bowden

A detailed and suspenseful account of a crisis that gripped and ultimately changed the world.

cobra.jpgCobra II by Michael R. Gordon

Informed by unparalleled access to still-secret documents, interviews with top field commanders, and a review of the military’s own internal after-action reports, “Cobra II” is the definitive chronicle of America’s invasion and occupation of Iraq.

The Lemon Tree: An Arab, a Jew and the Heart of the Middle East by Sandy Tolan

The tale of a simple act of faith between two young people — one Israeli, one Palestinian — that symbolizes the hope for peace in the Middle East.

I haven’t read every one of these books; they all just looked interesting and potentially useful. Of course, there are many more to consider. If you’re looking for these or other related titles, stop by RCB. If a book is in print, it’s either on their shelves or it can be ordered promptly.

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