Monday, September 25, 2006

The Wake of War by Anne Nivat

The Davies book group met last week to discuss Anne Nivat's The Wake of War which has been translated from the French and published by Beacon Press, a publishing house of the Unitarian Universalist Association.

Unfortunately, only one in the group had finished the book due to shipping and library issues. (Dear Amazon, you stink. Hugs and kisses. The Rev.) However, we were all stopped in our tracks by this work, so the discussion was lively and deep.

Nivat travelled around the Fertile Crescent and Afghanistan doing first person interviews for months. She wore veils and modest attire. She ate and co-habitated with families, and she just talked. Every day talking. She talked to radicals and conservatives, men and women, young and old, rural and urban, formally and self-educated. She then tried to give as much of their first person accounts as possible. The result is dissatisfying only if you are looking to be told what to believe. For the rest of us, it is stunning, eye-opening, and, naturally, very sad at times.

We all agreed that this book is a must read for all Americans. The book is overflowing with what we don't see this on network news or in most local papers. We are all unlikely to tavel there, much less immerse ourselves into the many sub-cultures of the region. As long as our sons and daughters, sisters and brothers are being sent to these countries, the very least we can do is learn a bit about the people who inhabit the land and their feelings and beliefs about war.

This was an amazing and emotionally complex book with which to begin this group's discussions. Next month we move from global politics to the human body and medicine when we discuss Atul Gawande's Complications. There are still some spaces in this book group if you are interested.

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