Monday, September 25, 2006
Over the weekend I finished both Londonistan and The Ghost Brigades. Both are excellent within their respective genres.
Londonistan, by British journalist Melanie Phillips, is a crisp and well-crafted examination of the spread of radical Islam in the United Kingdom and the complete failure of the British governing class to recognize and contend with the threat it poses. The cause, according to Phillips, is a collapse in cultural confidence among the British elites, few of whom are willing to defend traditional national values for fear of being accused of racism or the "incitement" of the large and restive Muslim population in that country. Phillips fears and indeed documents the systematic subversion of British culture, and warns that the UK may not long remain a reliable ally for the United States in the defense of the West. Londonistan is a scary book for Americans, who have regarded British character and steadfastness as central to the defense of American interests for as long as any living American can remember. There is a second warning, too: this is where we will end up if we fail to appreciate the great strengths of American civil society and defend them from their enemies.
The Ghost Brigades is the better sequel to the John Scalzi's excellent Old Man's War. Both books are hard, military science fiction of the first order -- if you liked Starship Troopers, The Forever War and Ender's Game, you will delight in Scalzi.
It will be interesting to see whether enough readers buy both Londonistan and The Ghost Brigades to trip up the Amazon "readers who bought" algorithm. Somehow I doubt it, but feel free to give it a shot by clicking through the links above...