Non Fiction

After Paris: The importance of names

November 17, 2015

Category: Non Fiction

After Paris, there is now an endless debate now over whether ISIS are "really" Muslims or whether Muslims are somehow covert supporters of ISIS, and whether a strict reading of the Koran actually supports their insanity. So why not just call them what they really are, and that is fascists: fascists hate anything that is not them, basically, and want to exterminate anyone who doesn't adhere to their own strict narrow ideology. That ideology can come from Christianity, Islam, or even a warped misunderstanding of science and philosophy, as in Nazi Germany. There is no easy cure for it, because it preys on all sorts of human weaknesses -- fear of the other, hatred, tribalism and insecurity about who you are and where you fit in. You stamp out personal insecurity with mass hatred, and back it up with appalling acts of violence to bind you to your fellow believers. Europeans indulged in it by the millions 70 years ago, Americans have flirted with it, and it has landed in all sorts of other places, from Latin America to Cambodia. ISIS is only its latest manifestation, and for sure won't be its last


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ethical dilemma

September 18, 2014

Category: Non Fiction

I had a piece of shrapnel go straight through my left arm during one of the many, endless battles for Fallujah a decade ago. The wound left almost no scar tissue at all. Three months ago, a vicious but very small bee stung me on almost exactly the same spot on my right arm, and there's still a big red mark there. So should I tweak the truth and present the bee sting as the battle scar when...
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Come to the Dark Side

August 21, 2014

Category: Non Fiction

I haven't blogged on this site for a while, partly because I was so busy -- covering the Arab Spring, having a kid and then moving to Brazil, after a brief stint in Miami -- but now I am returning to it. I had hoped, standing on Tahrir Square and then covering the frontline battles with Libya's rebels, or talking to Syrians standing up to their terrifying government, that the Arab Spring might...
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Booklist Editors Choice 2009

January 15, 2010

Category: Non Fiction | 2 comments

"Spiders of Allah" was picked this month as an Editors Choice for 2009 by Booklist Magazine, the publication of the American Library Association. Every year, they pick 100 books published in the United States and recommend them to US libraries.http://www.booklistonline.com/default.aspx?page=show_product&pid=3928202
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Huffington Post review

August 19, 2009

Category: Non Fiction | 1 comment

Flying Rabbis, Lady Gaga and the "Spiders of Allah"Fifty flying rabbis recently took to the sky in an aircraft, blowing on sacred ram's horns in an effort to purge swine flu from the airspace over Zion. And now Lady Gaga has arrived in Israel, wearing a spiked Star of David on her black leather fetish gear. Truth can be far weirder than fiction on the frontlines of holy war, whether the fight...
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Mother Jones review

July 28, 2009

Category: Non Fiction

Having spent the last month travelling in South America, I have missed posting some of the latest reviews that accompanied the US launch of Spiders in June, most notably this from the July/August edition of Mother Jones magazine:"It's a bloody miracle James Hider isn't dead. But then, Hider, the Middle East bureau chief for the Times of London, doesn't believe in divine intervention. Dumb luck...
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Time Out review

April 23, 2009

Category: Non Fiction

Time Out magazine has published a review of the book, calling it "gripping" and "required reading". Here is the full review:As the cyberpunk author William Gibson once said, 'the future is already here, it's just unevenly distributed.' The past, on the other hand, writes Times Middle East bureau chief James Hider, 'seems to be mostly squeezed into a narrow belt of hot lands between the eastern...
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US rewiews

April 17, 2009

Category: Non Fiction

Time Magazine has reviewed Spiders on their Middle East blog:The Spiders of Allah Strike AgainBy Tim McGirk/JerusalemHow do you end a conflict when everybody fighting thinks that God is on his side? It's impossible, especially when the line between faith and superstition wobbles and breaks apart. Shortly before I came to Jerusalem, Israel's seemingly indestructible Prime Minister Ariel Sharon...
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South African Review

April 17, 2009

Category: Non Fiction

First review of Spiders from South Africa, published by The witness, the country's oldest newspaper.On the frontline in the Middle East15 Apr 2009David PikeIf you want to know what has really been going on in the Gaza Strip and particularly in Iraq for the past few years — indeed, for the past few 1 000 — this is the book for you. It is also rivetingly absorbing, a page-turner,...
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New Zealand review

March 15, 2009

Category: Non Fiction

The book came out this month in Australia and New Zealand, and has its first Antipodean review courtesy of the Otago Daily Times.  This one comes with a health warning:  "This is a book those of delicate disposition should avoid...As well as writing stylishly about the complicated fabric of Middle East quarrels, this brave author also dips into the past history of a region which is...
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