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  #1  
January 19th, 2010, 06:18 AM
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I have become absolutely engrossed in this book as of late, and now I am making it my personal mission to convince as many people as possible to read it. It's called Where Men Win Glory, and it's by Jon Krakauer. It's about Pat Tillman, the NFL football star who gave up his NFL career to enlist in the army after 9/11, was made into an icon of patriotism by the right-wing media, then was killed by friendly fire in Afghanistan. Tillman's story is very compelling (far more so than I was would have expected, given the fact that I have absolutely zero interest in football), but what's even more compelling is all of the back story about Afghanistan, Iraq, and the War on Terror. With each new page I am shocked to find out just how much of the war narrative that has been reported on the American media is an outright, baldfaced lie. I mean, I knew that the Bush administration had engaged in deception, but I always thought it was a little bit more -- I don't know, subtle, than that? It wasn't. It was brazen. I would try to summarize the highlights for you here, but they're not the kind of thing that can be bullet-pointed. You really need to read the story from start to finish.

It also makes me very sad to think that MOST of the people who actually will read this book are probably already opponents of the Bush administration. Krakauer is preaching to the choir. But the people who need to read it most are the Bush sympathizers.

Seriously! Go read this book! You will kick yourself later if you don't!

Also, come discuss it with me once you're finished.
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  #2  
January 19th, 2010, 06:30 AM
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I love Jon Krakauer and this sounds like such a fascinating story. I'd love to read this, thanks for the heads up.

(Of course, I need to finish reading the trashy Jonathan Kellerman mystery I'm reading out of desperation of not having any other new books to read )
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  #3  
January 19th, 2010, 07:20 AM
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Let's just say this: the book has made me BOTH more sympathetic to the troops than I ever have been in my life, and more critical of the Bush administration (though I didn't think the latter was possible). Go figure.
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  #4  
January 19th, 2010, 08:08 AM
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Originally Posted by brui77 View Post
Actually, it should be required reading for anyone who still has a modicum of trust in the American media. You won't once you're finished.
I hope you're not talking about the hundreds of reporters who have been fighting (and dying, like Daniel Pearl) to keep America and the rest of the world aware of what is actually going on in the Middle East.
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  #5  
January 19th, 2010, 08:35 AM
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Originally Posted by Jess is Write View Post
I hope you're not talking about the hundreds of reporters who have been fighting (and dying, like Daniel Pearl) to keep America and the rest of the world aware of what is actually going on in the Middle East.
Read the book, then come talk.
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  #6  
January 19th, 2010, 08:44 AM
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Read the book, then come talk.
No thanks. There are channels like Fox News that were happy to swallow whatever the Bush Administration fed them, but I have zero interest in reading blanket statements that imply the American media in its entirety is lying about Afghanistan. The Associated Press came under a lot of fire for its decision to publish the photo of Joshua Bernard, and that included having the Secretary of Defense breathing down its neck. The fact is there are hundreds of American journalists in the Middle East right now risking their lives in order to tell the truth, rather than just passing on press releases from the White House. To hear Krakauer is twisting facts in order to make a more interesting story is pretty disappointing. He's supposed to be a non-fiction writer.
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  #7  
January 19th, 2010, 09:44 AM
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Originally Posted by Jess is Write View Post
No thanks. There are channels like Fox News that were happy to swallow whatever the Bush Administration fed them, but I have zero interest in reading blanket statements that imply the American media in its entirety is lying about Afghanistan. The Associated Press came under a lot of fire for its decision to publish the photo of Joshua Bernard, and that included having the Secretary of Defense breathing down its neck. The fact is there are hundreds of American journalists in the Middle East right now risking their lives in order to tell the truth, rather than just passing on press releases from the White House. To hear Krakauer is twisting facts in order to make a more interesting story is pretty disappointing. He's supposed to be a non-fiction writer.
Lordy, Lordy, I must be having trouble communicating today because you are reading waaay too much into what I wrote. Of course there are brave journalists doing good work! Of course! Let's say it again: in any career, any profession, anywhere the world over, there are good people and bad people. Of course. You were making this very point just the other day when we were discussing whether or not to 'support the troops,' and you said that you resented the societal taboo against levying any criticism against them, because clearly there are some bad people in the military. I agree with you there, and I think the same principle applies in the news media. There are honorable journalists, of course, but the fact is that the mainstream American media as a WHOLE did the American public a huge disservice during the first three years of the war by engaging in sensationalism and succumbing to the Bush administration's rhetoric rather than scrutinizing the things that were being told to them (which is their job as journalists). And this includes the Associated Press (if you'd like I can quote you the excerpts). The Daniel Pearl story is certainly tragic, and I have no doubt that he was a hero, but that has almost NOTHING to do with the book I am recommending. Heck, the book isn't even strictly about the media, that's just the main point I am taking from this current chapter.

Please, please, don't walk away from this thread thinking Jon Krakauer is twisting the facts. Seriously. You haven't even read the 'facts' in his own words, only my poor summary of them, so I don't see how you can pass judgment on him. You can think whatever you like about me, you can question my communication abilities, whatever. I'm unfazed. But HIS work is praiseworthy and deserves reading -- by everyone.
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  #8  
January 19th, 2010, 09:58 AM
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I was responding to this:

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Actually, it should be required reading for anyone who still has a modicum of trust in the American media. You won't once you're finished.
I was actually interested until I read those two sentences. If that's the message Krakauer is spreading, then I'll pass. He's known for glossing over facts and twisting reality to sensationalize his books, anyway. When people have called him on it, he gets defensive and insulting toward his critics. He can tell a good story, it's just not always the truth.
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  #9  
January 19th, 2010, 10:08 AM
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Originally Posted by Jess is Write View Post
. He can tell a good story, it's just not always the truth.
I've always wondered this. I figured he wasn't so lucky finding all the stories that are made perfectly into books
When I read the comment in the OP, I assumed it was referring to the people who do in fact trust sources like Fox News but I also wouldn't find a chapter bashing all news media an enjoyable read. I'll still read it but I'll be putting it down if it comes down to that.
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  #10  
January 19th, 2010, 10:12 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jess is Write View Post
I was responding to this:



I was actually interested until I read those two sentences. If that's the message Krakauer is spreading, then I'll pass. He's known for glossing over facts and twisting reality to sensationalize his books, anyway. When people have called him on it, he gets defensive and insulting toward his critics. He can tell a good story, it's just not always the truth.
Can you please share with me any info that you have about this? I'd be very interested in reading it. He's one of my favorite writers.

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Originally Posted by LorieB View Post
I've always wondered this. I figured he wasn't so lucky finding all the stories that are made perfectly into books
When I read the comment in the OP, I assumed it was referring to the people who do in fact trust sources like Fox News but I also wouldn't find a chapter bashing all news media an enjoyable read. I'll still read it but I'll be putting it down if it comes down to that.
It doesn't come to that. He tells the story of one of the first battles in Iraq that Pat Tillman was involved in, and of how that battle was reported in the mainstream media. The two accounts are wildly divergent. From this, I inferred that I need to stop relying on the mainstream media and start getting all of my news from Al-Jazeera English. Other people would probably walk away from the book with different inferences.

Jess, I will go back and delete the offensive sentence out of my original post, if it means that much to you.
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  #11  
January 19th, 2010, 10:27 AM
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His version of what happened in Into Thin Air has been heavily disputed. He also received quite a bit of criticism for the sensationalism in Under the Banner of Heaven. Just do some searching for criticism of the books. It's not hard to find.
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  #12  
January 20th, 2010, 06:37 PM
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I love books!

Everyone MUST read The Hunger Games. You simply MUST.
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  #13  
January 20th, 2010, 07:30 PM
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I am a fan of Out of Thin Air and because of the controversy of his "lies" I ended up reading more books about that event, watched tapes and learned all about it. I don't think he was omitting "facts" about the event, just telling his perspective. Prior to having a baby, I was involved in scuba diving so I understand the desire to show how a sporting industry contributes to death in that sport, which I thought was the controversy. (Diving is the same way.. some people think you pay an instructor to take you down while others think you should be trained enough to be able to handle yourself.) At any rate, I thought the critics of Jon Krakauer were off based.

I will for sure pick up the book now! (Jess, if you read the book, I'd love to understand why you're so mad at his points so I can understand your point better. I don't think there are jabs at media so much as at the Bush Admin.)
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  #14  
January 20th, 2010, 07:50 PM
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I will probably pick it up just to see what she was talking about. I am guessing the criticism is likely toward the Bush administration and not the media, as well. Krakauer is a journalist, and now that I've had time to think about, I can't really see him selling out all of his colleagues in that manner. I reacted too strongly to the statement in the OP that the American media purposefully perpetuates lies, probably because of some of the sentiment toward journalists that has been on the board lately. I need to grow a thicker skin in that regard. The false ideas about how the media functions are frustrating, especially to someone who has been working very hard to establish a career in that field.
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  #15  
January 20th, 2010, 07:57 PM
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Originally Posted by Jess is Write View Post
I will probably pick it up just to see what she was talking about. I am guessing the criticism is likely toward the Bush administration and not the media, as well. Krakauer is a journalist, and now that I've had time to think about, I can't really see him selling out all of his colleagues in that manner. I reacted too strongly to the statement in the OP that the American media purposefully perpetuates lies, probably because of some of the sentiment toward journalists that has been on the board lately. I need to grow a thicker skin in that regard. The false ideas about how the media functions are frustrating, especially to someone who has been working very hard to establish a career in that field.
No worries, I totally get it. I do get mad sometimes when people say bad things about teachers, too, even though I know firsthand that there are some truly terrible ones out there. And I'm sure this is a large part of the reason that some people get very defensive about comments that go against the soldiers or the military. It's very hard to separate the academic from the personal. But I would really love to hear what you think about this issue if/when you finally do decide to read it. I was generalizing, perhaps hyperbolically, but there is certainly a lot about the media in this book, and much of it surprised me.

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I love books!

Everyone MUST read The Hunger Games. You simply MUST.
Who is it by? What is it about?
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  #16  
January 20th, 2010, 10:16 PM
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Under the Banner of Heaven was considered sensationalism? That was an amazing book, I really enjoyed it. Of course, my grandparents are also friends with a woman who has helped women like Flora Jessop because she grew up in the FLDS and left it after dealing with all the crap they put women and young boys through, so perhaps my own viewpoint is tainted by that. Nearly all of the research I have done on the polygamy topic, ESPECIALLY the FLDS, after reading the book (and my grandparents' friend's book) supported his viewpoints and research. Jess, can you elaborate? I'm genuinely curious, I had never heard of such criticisms and I'd love to reevaluate his book with new info (I haven't read it in awhile, perhaps I should). Of course, I'm sure you hear more of those rumblings than I would.

ETA: As to the OP, I really want to read this book; my stepdad is reading it right now and told me it's really good, after he's done he's going to let me borrow it.
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  #17  
January 21st, 2010, 07:45 AM
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This is kind of the general consensus among both the journalism and literary communities:

Quote:
The message that fanaticism -- be it political or religious, or even worse, a combination of both -- leads to extremism is clear to thinking people. And certainly, in a post-9/11 world where jihad has become a part of the average person's vocabulary, there is a desperate need for serious and objective books on the subject of faith-based violence. All 'cults' do share striking similarities, but the book fails, for the most part, to get beyond the sensationalist details of a ghastly crime and take the theme of "extreme religion" to a level higher than the tabloids. Regrettably, it appears the author -- despite the fact he does tell a darned good story -- opted for a shrewd marketing strategy instead of doing what he set out to do.

In conclusion, I'd simply offer two suggestions: 1) To the Mormon leadership disgruntled over the treatment your church has received at the hands of this author: Get over it. Every denomination has skeletons in their closet -- you're in good company; and 2) To the author: try writing the book you originally had in mind. It won't be a bestseller, but well -- like I said -- get over it.
Under the Banner of Heaven: The Story of Violent Faith by Jon Krakauer | PopMatters Book Review
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  #18  
January 21st, 2010, 07:56 AM
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The Hunger Games looks GOOD! I added it to my wishlist on Amazon for when I have some extra cash!
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  #19  
January 21st, 2010, 08:07 AM
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Melissa, The Hunger Games and Catching Fire were two of the best books I read last year. I can't wait for the third one.
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