Beach readings for the summer!
Here is a story. Peter Maguire, with whom you fell in love two weeks ago on Dirty water, lived, for a time, in Mokuleia, on the north coast of Oahu.
Really quiet, very nice little place you go when you want to get away from the crowds of the Seven Mile Miracle. Head west from Pipe towards Kaʻena Point etc.
And Pete, with his ninemm pistol loaded on a desk, and his sinister … serenity… Scared all the heavyweights so much that they kept a really wide spot.
I thought it was a ghost, the CIA, maybe.
When he’s not teaching Chas Smith to grab, hit, choke, he’s a surfer, a war crimes investigator and, among others, the author of the seminal. Law and War: American History and International Law.
Recently, Peter answered thirteen questions in Pensive Quill’s “A Booker’s Dozen”.
Namely, which books you might want to read and which ones you should within a mile.
What are you reading now?
I have never read a single book at a time. I am reading Worth defending, the new book by Richard Bressler and Scott Burrs on Gracie Jiu Jitsu, Fashionable nonsense, Alan Sokol and Jean Bricmonts’ book on the postmodern claptrap, Peter Dimmock’s remarkable novels on US imperialism Daybook From the Sheep’s Meadow and George Anderson: Notes for a love song in imperial times, and that of Joseph Conrad Heart of darkness to remember what good writing looks like.
What are the best and worst books you’ve ever read?
I loved George Orwell’s Farm animal for his spartan and biting characterization of Stalinism. The brilliant story of Edmund Morgan American slavery, American freedom articulated America’s central historical contradiction for me in a way that no other book has. Morgan has forgotten more than any of the authors of the New York Times 1619 biased project will ever know. by Voltaire Candid is also a favorite because it shows that good intentions don’t necessarily work well. C. Wright Mills The power elite is also a favorite because Mills was so prophetic when it came to America’s fame at all costs. Hi Rubé, one of Hunter S. Thompson’s last books, was also notable because no one had predicted more accurately where America’s “downward spiral of silence” would take us after 9/11.
The worst book? There are so many choices.
Cheerleader Neocon Max Boot’s Savage wars for peace was appalling, just like that of David Frum and Richard Perle The end of evil. Both provided the pseudo-intellectual foundation for America’s ill-fated global war on terrorism. A hell of a problem by journalist-turned-politician Samantha Power was not only grossly overrated, but also utterly devoid of originality. Like Boot and Frum, Power provided neoliberals and “humanitarian hawks” with their intellectual rationalizations when the Obama administration’s turn came to play the cop of the world.
Most expensive book when I was a child?
I grew up on boats and in the sea so The Dove by Robin Lee Graham was extremely inspiring to me as a child. At 16, Graham left my home port of Marina Del Ray, California, and sailed around the world with his 24ft sloop, The Dove. He was the youngest to tour the world and did so without Loran or GPS. He made me want to do similar things.
Favorite childhood author?
Margret and HA Rey Curious georges series and the many authors of The World Book Encyclopedia. I probably spent more hours reading the encyclopedia (AZ) than any other book when I was a kid.
The first book that really belongs to you?
that of Daniel Defoe Robinson Crusoe Where Swiss family Robinson by Johann David Wyss. I have always been fascinated by stories of survival and self-sufficiency.
Favorite male and female authors?
George Orwell and Joan Didion.
A preference for fact or fiction?
In fact, I don’t read a lot of fiction.
Biography, autobiography or memory that marked you?
I loved that of Charles Bukowski Rye ham because it was in Los Angeles where I grew up and explained Bukowski’s deep loneliness and sadness so much. Gore Vidal Palimpeste was a revelation to me because I knew little about the American ruling elite of the 20th century. Vidal was an American aristocrat and his memoir provides a very uncensored account of so many eminent people. I never looked at the Kennedys the same after reading it.
An author or a book that you categorically refuse to read?
Everything written by the neocons who applauded America’s disastrous Global War on Terrorism – William Kristol, David Frum, Max Boot, the ubiquitous Kagans, Thomas Friedman and many more. I also try to avoid anything written by neocons that have become “Never Trumpers”. If they think their hatred of Trump somehow absolves them of their intellectual dishonesty and colossal misjudgments, they should visit the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.
A book to share with someone so they can understand you better?
My book Facing death in Cambodia and my introduction to my book Thai stick.
The last book you gave away?
I gave the novel to Harry Crews A feast of snakes to a Yankee friend. He was talking nonsense about Southern and Southern writers, but had never been south of the Mason-Dixon Line. I prefer the fiction of the South and the West to the many well-publicized New York tales of anxiety and neurosis.
Which book would you most like to see turned into a movie?
My Thai Stick book.
A must-read that you plan to read before you die?
Edward Gibbon Volumes 1-7 The decline and fall of the Roman Empire and that of Hans Delbruck Barbarian invasions, medieval warfare and the dawn of modern warfare. I nibbled on them all, but I haven’t read them systematically yet.