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Posts tagged ‘Jon Ronson’

“We have pierced the veneer of outside things”: Four books about Antarctica

Frank Hurley, Aurora alongside the ice off Western Base, 1911-1914

I’ve just finished a long review of Alasdair McGregor’s excellent new anthology, Antarctica: that sweep of savage splendour. The review will appear in the September Australian Book Review, but in the meantime I thought I’d post a link to a review I wrote back in 2005 of four books about Antarctica (including McGregor’s very impressive biography of Frank Hurley, A Photographer’s Life) which may be of interest, as well as pointing to my review of Jon Ronson’s rather fab The Psychopath Test, which appeared in last week’s Weekend Australian.

Dr Strangelove eat your heart out

Some of may have noticed this story in The New York Times, detailing the CIA’s outsourcing of a secret program to locate and assassinate Al-Quaeda leaders to that most gloriously sinister of private security contractors, Blackwater (never heard of them? Then read Jeremy Scahill’s book, or for the crib sheet, James Meek’s review). Now I don’t want to get into a debate about the rights and wrongs of the War on Terrorism, or the implications of devolving military and intelligence work to private companies, but it’s always oddly comforting to be reminded that no matter how paranoid the Left’s fantasies about the military-industrial complex, they only ever seem to scratch the surface. Secret torture and rendition programs? Check. Psychic assassination? Check. Black magic and remote sensing? Check.

Of course all this talk of mercenaries and private armies puts me in mind of Elvis Costello (and yes, that is The Kenny Everett Video Show in the background) . . .

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