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Books I have read and loved

The product of a pathological need to categorise and remember every book I've ever read, and my only creative outlet being critiquing others' creativity.

Currently reading

Tomatoland: How Modern Industrial Agriculture Destroyed Our Most Alluring Fruit
Barry Estabrook
Where I'm Calling From: New and Selected Stories
Raymond Carver
To Say Nothing of the Dog
Connie Willis
Flying Too High
Kerry Greenwood
The Luminaries
Eleanor Catton
High Conflict Personalities: Understanding and Resolving Their Costly Disputes
Bill Eddy

The Thin Blue Line: How Humanitarianism Went to War

The Thin Blue Line: How Humanitarianism Went to War - Conor Foley I'm not sure what this book was trying to say. It took a long time to go nowhere, and left me staring at it, dumbfounded. Perhaps it's my fault for waiting until the last sentence of the last page to give up on expecting to be enlightened. Or challenged, informed, entertained .. or .. something.

'The Thin Blue Line' is essentailly split into an introduction, a 'case study' type section with chapters on a number of countries, and what I expected to be a discussion and conclusion. Unfortunately, the discussion is sorely lacking, the case studies are recounts of peacekeeping escapades and some general statements about what the book is supposed to have demonstrated are tacked on at the end. The argument or line of thinking is absent for most parts of the book though - I kept re-reading the blurb to remind myself of what I was meant to be reading about.

I think I expected the thesis of the book to provide insight into the way that humanitarian interventions have been co-opted by intervening countries' political interests. Or some critique of humanitarian interventions, or an exploration of their worth or consequences; some kind of insight into how better to think about and analyse them. Something.

In some ways the book reads like a tale of woe, wanting to go back to the golden age of peacekeeping. I'd love to believe there was one, and that humanitarian intervention was ever untouched by the whims and wants of interventing coutries' foreign policy. In other ways it reads like like a diary, by someone who finally thinks they've lived through enough to justify writing a book, with the detail and the 'point' to be fixed at some point in the process.

As a result of the book I've decided that I don't ever want to work for the UN after all. I suppose that kind of clarity is a good thing. Overwhelmingly, though, a very disappointing book.