After a mildly shaky start (in my uninformed, only-read-10-books-in-the-last-5-years view), which seemed a bit "over-written" at times, this book evened out into one of the most thought-provoking, entertaining and interesting things I've read in ages.
I actually find myself caring about the guy, which is odd for a journalist-written travelogue around the world's warzones and trouble spots. I even felt for him as he described his break up with his girlfriend. I want to take him out for a beer.
Andrew Mueller is a genuinely interesting, no-bulls**t guy, who never over-dramatises, never forgets who he is and where he is, and never makes the mistake of not questing the rationale of everyone he meets. It's made me realise what a lipstick leftie I am. Every single "opinion" I have comes from reading the Guardian, and whilst I have no doubt that a healthy bit of self-loathing is appropriate for the Western World (given the state of the rest of it) it never occurred to me to say: "Hold on. Maybe if you people would stop being such irrational twats you might have a chance of talking your way out of the mess you're in? You can't blame everyone else for everything all of the time!". You'd think, coming from Northern Ireland, that my sense of the preposterous when it comes to sovereignty and politics would be suitably developed.
Anyway - read it - it's chunky to the point that it's taken me a plane ride and two weeks of commutes and I am only just over halfway through. However, being a pint-half-empty man, I am already trying to make myself read it more slowly, whilst wistfully looking at the size of the remaining chunk of pages as they dwindle away. I have an awful gnawing feeling that the next book I pick up won't be a patch on it.... although, to be fair, I think that every time. I am either blessed with lucky book choices, or else a slut for the written word after 30 years of abstinence.