A Foreigner Carrying in the Crook of His Arm a Tiny Bomb
Part reportage and part protest, A Foreigner Carrying in the Crook of His Arm a Tiny Bomb is an inquiry into the cultural logic and global repercussions of the war on terror. At its center are two men convicted in U.S. courts on terrorism-related charges: Hemant Lakhani, a seventy-year-old tried for attempting to sell a fake missile to an FBI informant, and Shahawar Matin Siraj, baited by the New York Police Department into a conspiracy to bomb a subway. Lakhani and Siraj were caught through questionable sting operations involving paid informants; both men received lengthy jail sentences. Their convictions were celebrated as major victories in the war on terror. In Amitava Kumar’s riveting account of their cases, Lakhani and Siraj emerge as epic bunglers, and the U.S. government as the creator of terror suspects to prosecute. Kumar analyzed the trial transcripts and media coverage, and he interviewed Lakhani, Siraj, their families, and their lawyers. Juxtaposing such stories of entrapment in the United States with narratives from India, another site of multiple terror attacks and state crackdowns, Kumar explores the harrowing experiences of ordinary people entangled in the war on terror. He also considers the fierce critiques of post-9/11 surveillance and security regimes by soldiers and torture victims, as well as artists and writers, including Coco Fusco, Paul Shambroom, and Arundhati Roy.
An indispensible report on the war on terror
By lapata - August 7, 2010
Since 9/11/01, the War on Terror has served up no major players in the attacks that occurred in the US on that day. Instead, our intelligence gathering systems have produced a string of inadept wannabes, their files released to the press as major coups in the global war. Within days of each arrest, we begin to learn that each of these characters was not the Big Bad that we were originally given to understand.
Amitava Kumar's new book zeroes in on some of these specimens of the Global War, and in fine-grained detail examines their deeds, their cases and their role in this ongoing drama. What we learn is depressing-- both for the punishments (and often torture) meted out on individuals whose crimes usually amount to talking big to the wrong people-- and for the mounting evidence that this war is in no way closer to achieving its initial goals than it was on September 12th, 2001.
Kumar's discussion is balanced (he is not always sympathetic to the subjects of his... read more
A Humane Look at the Inhumanity and Theatre of War
By AZNmovieFan - April 15, 2011
Many post-9/11 and "War on Terror" books have attempted to explain the zeitgeist of the world, but most have been superficial, like Amis's and Updike's novels, or polarizing.
Amitava Kumar's book is a brilliant and very accessible transnational study of the victims on both sides of manufactured wars. Connecting imperialism, colonization, insurgency, and growing fascism around the world, Kumar carves out a book that is a deeply personal study of innocent strangers swept up and ensnared in globalized net of entrapment, racism, blind rage, and hatred. Kumar is never a distant observer; instead, he meets with almost everyone he talks about, covering events related to the "war on terror" from the U.S. to India to Kashmir. This is a remarkable book.
A nuanced and complex book
By sepoy - August 9, 2010
Amitava Kumar's book takes the pulse of American response to 9/11 at home. His writing is at times lyrical, at times reportage but always precise, focused. He pays as much attention to himself as a subject and object as he does to the people and circumstances he is describing. In alternate chapters, he discusses the prosecution (via sting operations) of two domestic terrorism cases, the response of Indian army to Kashmir, the attempts by artists and thinkers to contextualize the domestic sphere of the global War on Terror. This is a rich, wonderfully written book, deserving of a sustained, deep reading - perhaps one of the best non-fiction treatment of the post 9/11 apparatchik.
A discussion of German historiography from around 950 to 1150, through a close examination of six works. In contrast to most earlier scholarship, it focuses on the narrative as an expression of the ...