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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Who said Republicans can't do satire?
Peace Kills is the latest book from the pen of P.J. O'Rourke. Here O'Rourke returns to the topic of security and international politics in the post-modern world through a series of funny but thought provoking essays based on his travels both before and after 9/11 to Kosovo, Egypt, Israel, Iraq and elsewhere.
O'Rourke is a Republican with a fine eye for the...
Published on 19 Nov 2004 by neilschroeder

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Poor Product from an Otherwise Fine Writer
Generally, I really like the books of PJ O'Rourke, even if I don't share his world view, but this particular opus is not worth the paper it is written on.

This book just reeks of smugness. The writing is dull, repetitive, neocon drival and contains none of the razor sharp wit and biting critisism of mindless libralism that I rather hoped it would. I don't like...
Published on 30 April 2007 by Jon D


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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Who said Republicans can't do satire?, 19 Nov 2004
This review is from: Peace Kills (Paperback)
Peace Kills is the latest book from the pen of P.J. O'Rourke. Here O'Rourke returns to the topic of security and international politics in the post-modern world through a series of funny but thought provoking essays based on his travels both before and after 9/11 to Kosovo, Egypt, Israel, Iraq and elsewhere.
O'Rourke is a Republican with a fine eye for the absurdities of the situations and places he finds himself, delivering witty lines in almost every paragraph, but each essay also has serious political points to make underneath. His analysis comes from the libertarian right of centre (the well meaning but naïve come in for a particularly hard time) with a strong anti-ideological (right or left) slant, but this is not a theoretical political tract. O'Rourke's pragmatism and humanity comes through from his technique of getting to know different individuals in each country and listening to what they say, often bonding with them in the task of finding, acquiring and consuming alcohol. His companions range from harassed peace keepers in Kosovo, to world weary tour guides in Israel, to lecturers in post-Sadam Iraq. Throughout the book he looks to people finding the workable solution, not the utopian ideal.
O'Rourke is not, therefore, simply a right wing version of Michael Moore, though he shares with Moore the willingness and ability to poke fun at himself. Moore is a polemicist; O'Rouke's writing in general, and particulary in this book, is calmer, subtler, and frankly more informed about the wider world outside the USA. He allows the absurdity of his targets' language and actions to sink in before hitting the reader with a wry one-liner. It is the difference between being constantly bludgeoned with a sledgehammer and being subtly skewered by a rapier.
This is both a serious, intelligent book and very funny. A little more subdued than his pre 9/11 books, I believe he is still the wittiest Republican around and the most accessible to non-Americans. You may not agree with his politics, but all but the most narrow-minded should find plenty in this book to amuse and, perhaps, ponder over.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Back on form..., 16 Dec 2004
I wasn't that impressed by 'CEO of the Sofa' - his last. I am a massive PJ fan and while I thought that it was good by anyone else's standards, it wasn't his best. This marks a return to form - it's not the greatest but a relief to read as once again his particularly pointed diatribes against all and sundry lend a refreshing blast of reality to abounding PC views...
Definitely a great read, and good to have him back.
As a footnote, "Peace Kills" is what he wrote in my autographed copy of 'Age & Guile' a few years ago after my girlfriend explained that I was abroad with the Army so couldn't attend the signing in person... ;)
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Poor Product from an Otherwise Fine Writer, 30 April 2007
By 
Jon D "Jon in France" (South Vendée, France) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Peace Kills (Paperback)
Generally, I really like the books of PJ O'Rourke, even if I don't share his world view, but this particular opus is not worth the paper it is written on.

This book just reeks of smugness. The writing is dull, repetitive, neocon drival and contains none of the razor sharp wit and biting critisism of mindless libralism that I rather hoped it would. I don't like to leave a book unfinished (I'm not made of money!), but I turned over the page at the end of the penultimate chapter and left it on the kitchen table after breakfast. Returning at lunchtime, steeled and ready to wade through the last treacle-like chapter, I was not entirely unhappy to discover that the dog had saved me the trouble by eating the book.

Leave this one on the shelf and seek out the excellent "CEO of the Sofa" or "Eat the Rich" by the same author instead.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Overall very witty and thought provoking - if it only wasn't for some clunky chapters, 6 Mar 2010
By 
AK (London) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Peace Kills (Paperback)
In this book the author comes across as a bit of a cross between Terry Prachett, Jeremy Clarkson and Kurt Vonnegut (in the Breakfast of Champions sense). While a lot of the writing is bordering on the surreal, the points are both generally funny and often thought provoking. The fact that he is a Republican does not come through particularly strongly, or put differently, it does not diminish the enjoyment of the book overall.

He manages to portray the futility of war, the relative lack of understanding and patience of Americans, when it comes to foreign policy, and to provide pages of witty commentary from various hotspots around the world.

Where the book lost the fourth star for me is in the chapter on Nobel Prize winners and their attempt at a peaceful message. While nothing in the chapter was wrong per se, I felt the author lost his detached cool, which makes him funny and endearing and appeared relatively shrill. This chapter was of such markedly different (lower) quality in my eyes that it definitely lowered my appreciation of the book overall - not that it was in any way essential to it, either.

While the author definitely does a good job of political satire, I personally enjoy him more when he is writing about cars and driving - something which is exactly the opposite with Jeremy Clarkson, who really should write about anything but cars.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I Like The Places I Write About, 1 July 2004
By 
prisrob "pris," (New England USA) - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Peace Kills (Paperback)
"I like the places I write about. I enjoy the people. I have had a good time where ever I've
gone, Iraq included. My subject in a way is pleasure. This is a book about pleasantness which is why I have dedicated it to Mike Kelly", so says PJ O'Rourke in his new book "Peace Kills: America's New Imperialism. Mike Kelly was the editor of "The Atlantic" until he was killed in an accident in Iraq. Mike Kelly is the kind of person you want as a friend, funny, irreverent, kind, a family man who adored his wife and children- sounds like P.J.O'Rourke as a matter of fact.

I have adored P. J. O'Rourke for several years. P.J. O'Rourke is an admitted Libertarian, as am I. P. J. lives in New England, he moved here after 9-11. He found the kind of simple life he wanted for his family and himself. but, he also has a home in the city, Washington, D.C. so he meet and greet old friends and do his job as a writer/reporter. P.J. also appears on NPR's "Wait, Wait Don't Tell Me" on a semi-regular basis. All in all a man to be admired.
In this new book, he has put together some of his articles from "The Atlantic" and "The Wall Street Journal". He talks about the start of the Iraq War. He was in Kuwait and was awakened by his wife in the US who called to tell him the war had started. He finally arrives in Baghdad and as he visits one of Saddam's palaces he says "If a reason for invading Iraq was needed, felony interior decorating would have sufficed." Now, do you understand why I love this guy's wit? He goes on to discuss his visit to Kosovo and Israel after 9-11. But the largest portion of the book is devoted to Iraq and Kuwait. He bargains with a local for a case of beer starting at $20 and ended up paying $24.50. What a country! He concludes that we will never have Peace but we will have a war where we talk about our soldiers we can say "They are our Heroes".

P.J. O'Rourke is never dull. I search for his articles in "The Atlantic" first- they are always informative, entertaining and irreverent. This is my kind of book. He doesn't clear up my confusion but then, it's mine, anyway.

Recommended. pris rob
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4.0 out of 5 stars Maybe he is an annoying git, but a damned witty and perceptive annoying git!, 13 Jan 2007
By 
Mr. Kevin Hargaden (Maynooth, Ireland) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Peace Kills (Paperback)
Great, insightful, infuriating series of articles by the Atlantic Monthly correspondent, PJ O'Rourke. O'Rourke's schtick is well known by now- he is a white right wing American who does a great job of travelling the world and pointing out how crazy everyone is.

I don't think anyone could fairly call this arrogant however because of his unique style. You can't even start to dislike him because he has you laughing out loud so often. His chapters on America post-9/11 and Israel are two of the funniest things I read this year bar none. He is obviously a deeply educated and very thoughtful writer and this lands a second punch on the reader; in the moment you stop laughing you realise he has made a really good point. Superb collection of articles. Don't buy it if you are uncomfortable with everyone on the morning train staring at you because you can't stop laughing.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing, 1 Sep 2007
By 
Miran Ali "I don't like anonymous reviewers" (Dhaka, Bangladesh) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Peace Kills (Paperback)
I'd found 'Give War a Chance', 'Holiday's in Hell' and 'Eat the Rich' works of genius. Compared to his older work, this one is just sad. If you have any awareness of current events, then don't buy this book.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Another P J O'Rourke!, 16 Oct 2013
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This review is from: Peace Kills (Kindle Edition)
I am a huge PJ fan: he has never written a word that I didn't enjoy.

This book is one of his best, enjoy!
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4.0 out of 5 stars A informative read, 21 Mar 2013
By 
J. M. Young (Bucks UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Peace Kills (Paperback)
Interesting insights into difficult situations in war torn parts of the world. Written with humour and an insight into life on the ground in areas of conflict.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Some parts dated; some parts vintage, 27 Aug 2012
I think when P.J. O'Rourke finally slides off the mortal coil (no doubt with a martini in hand), he will be best remembered is one of the best and funniest travel writers of his generation. Reading older political commentary (even when it's only a matter of eight years old) can see the reader travelling back to a different world with a different set of assumptions. (For instance, the way O'Rourke can so casually declare that the war in Afghanistan has been successfully completed). Writing of that kind is rarely going to have any kind of longevity, as outside its specific context it really has no life.

However the travel writing in this volume - the author's visits to Israel, Egypt, and with the US army to Iraq - still feel fresh and funny, (even with the occasional - from the view these years later - misjudgement.) O'Rourke has a great eye and a fantastic way of evoking a place. He also has great sympathy with people, so that everyone he meets has the chance to become a memorable character in his work. The original `Holidays to Hell' is one of my favourite travel books, and I'm sure there will come a day when all of O'Rourke's travel writing will be collected together and will be one of the best guides to how tumultuous and scary, but still basically friendly and colourful, our age was.
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Peace Kills
Peace Kills by P. J. O'Rourke (Paperback - 23 Sep 2004)
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