Peter Maguire 🔖answers thirteen questions in Booker's Dozen. 

TPQ: What are you currently reading?

PM: I never read just one book at a time. I am currently reading Worth Defending, Richard Bressler and Scott Burrs’ new book on Gracie Jiu Jitsu, Fashionable Nonsense ,Alan Sokol and Jean Bricmonts' book on postmodern claptrap, Peter Dimmock’s remarkable novels on American imperialism Daybook From the Sheep’s Meadow and George Anderson: Notes For a Love Song in an Imperial Time, and Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness to remember what great writing sounds like.


TPQ: Best and worst books you have ever read?

PM: I loved George Orwell’s Animal Farm for its spartan and bitingly precise characterization of Stalinism. Edmund Morgan’s brilliant history American Slavery, American Freedom articulated America’s central historical contradiction for me in a way that no other book has. Morgan forgot more than all of the authors of the tendentious The New York Times 1619 Project will ever know.  Voltaire’s Candide is also a favorite because it shows that good intentions do not necessarily yield good results. C. Wright Mills The Power Elite is also a favorite because Mills was so prophetic when it came to the America's fame at any cost culture. Hey Rube, one of Hunter S. Thompson’s last books was also remarkable because nobody more accurately predicted where America’s “downward spiral of dumbness” would take us after 9/11.

Worst book? There are so many to choose from.

Neocon cheerleader Max Boot’s Savage Wars For Peace was dreadful as was David Frum and Richard Perle’s An End to Evil. Both provided the pseudo intellectual underpinnings for America’s ill fated Global War on Terror. A Problem From Hell by journalist turned politician Samantha Power was not only grossly over rated, but also totally unoriginal. Like Boot and Frum, Power provided the neoliberals and “the humanitarian hawks” with their intellectual rationalizations when the Obama administration’s turn came to play world cop.

TPQ: Book most cherished as a child?

PM: I grew up on boats and in the sea so The Dove by Robin Lee Graham was extremely inspiring to me as a child. At 16, Graham left my home port of Marina Del Ray, California and sailed his 24 foot sloop, The Dove, around the world. He was the youngest person to circumnavigate the globe and did it without Loran or GPS. He made me want to do similar things.

TPQ: Favourite Childhood author?

PM: Margret and H.A. Rey’s Curious George series and the many authors of The World Book Encyclopedia. I probably spent more hours reading the encyclopedia (A-Z) than any other book as a kid.

TPQ: First book to really own you?

PM: Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe or Swiss Family Robinson by Johann David Wyss. I was always fascinated by stories about survival and self sufficiency.

TPQ: Favourite male and female author?

PM: George Orwell and Joan Didion.

TPQ: A preference for fact or fiction?

PM: Fact, I don’t read much fiction.

TPQ: Biography, autobiography or memoir that most impressed you?

PM: I loved Charles Bukowski’s Ham on Rye because it was set in Los Angeles where I grew up and explained so much about Bukowski’s deep loneliness and sadness. Gore Vidal’s Palimpest was an eye opener for me because I knew little about America’s 20th century ruling elite. Vidal was an American aristocrat and his memoir provides a very uncensored expose of so many prominent people. I have never looked at the Kennedys the same way after reading it.

TPQ: Any author or book you point blank refuse to read?

PM: Anything written by the neoconservatives who cheer led America’s disastrous Global War on Terror - William Kristol, David Frum, Max Boot, the ubiquitous Kagans, Thomas Friedman, and many others. I also try to avoid anything written by neocons turned “Never Trumpers.” If they think their hatred of Trump somehow absolves them of their rank intellectual dishonesty and colossal errors of judgment, they should visit Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.

TPQ: A book to share with somebody so that they would more fully understand you?

PM: My book Facing Death in Cambodia and my introduction to my book Thai Stick.


TPQ: Last book you gave as a present?

PM: I gave Harry Crews novel A Feast of Snakes to a Yankee friend. He was talking nonsense about the South and Southern writers, but had never been south of the Mason-Dixon Line. I prefer southern and western fiction to the many well publicized New York centric tales of angst and neurosis.

TPQ: Book you would most like to see turned into a movie?

PM: My book Thai Stick.
 
TPQ: The just must - select one book you simply have to read before you close the final page on life.

PM: Volumes 1-7 of Edward Gibbon’s The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire and Hans Delbruck’s The Barbarian Invasions, Medieval Warfare, and The Dawn of Modern Warfare. I have nibbled at all of them, but have yet to read them systematically.

⏩ Peter Maguire has taught The Law and Theory of War at Columbia University and Bard College and presently teaches The History of Surfing at the University of North Carolina, Wilmington. He is the author of Law and War: American History and International Law, Facing Death in Cambodia, Thai Stick: Surfers, Scammers, and the Untold Story of the Martijuana Trade, and the New York Times bestseller Breathe: A Life in Flow.

Booker's Dozen @ Peter Maguire

Peter Maguire 🔖answers thirteen questions in Booker's Dozen. 

TPQ: What are you currently reading?

PM: I never read just one book at a time. I am currently reading Worth Defending, Richard Bressler and Scott Burrs’ new book on Gracie Jiu Jitsu, Fashionable Nonsense ,Alan Sokol and Jean Bricmonts' book on postmodern claptrap, Peter Dimmock’s remarkable novels on American imperialism Daybook From the Sheep’s Meadow and George Anderson: Notes For a Love Song in an Imperial Time, and Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness to remember what great writing sounds like.


TPQ: Best and worst books you have ever read?

PM: I loved George Orwell’s Animal Farm for its spartan and bitingly precise characterization of Stalinism. Edmund Morgan’s brilliant history American Slavery, American Freedom articulated America’s central historical contradiction for me in a way that no other book has. Morgan forgot more than all of the authors of the tendentious The New York Times 1619 Project will ever know.  Voltaire’s Candide is also a favorite because it shows that good intentions do not necessarily yield good results. C. Wright Mills The Power Elite is also a favorite because Mills was so prophetic when it came to the America's fame at any cost culture. Hey Rube, one of Hunter S. Thompson’s last books was also remarkable because nobody more accurately predicted where America’s “downward spiral of dumbness” would take us after 9/11.

Worst book? There are so many to choose from.

Neocon cheerleader Max Boot’s Savage Wars For Peace was dreadful as was David Frum and Richard Perle’s An End to Evil. Both provided the pseudo intellectual underpinnings for America’s ill fated Global War on Terror. A Problem From Hell by journalist turned politician Samantha Power was not only grossly over rated, but also totally unoriginal. Like Boot and Frum, Power provided the neoliberals and “the humanitarian hawks” with their intellectual rationalizations when the Obama administration’s turn came to play world cop.

TPQ: Book most cherished as a child?

PM: I grew up on boats and in the sea so The Dove by Robin Lee Graham was extremely inspiring to me as a child. At 16, Graham left my home port of Marina Del Ray, California and sailed his 24 foot sloop, The Dove, around the world. He was the youngest person to circumnavigate the globe and did it without Loran or GPS. He made me want to do similar things.

TPQ: Favourite Childhood author?

PM: Margret and H.A. Rey’s Curious George series and the many authors of The World Book Encyclopedia. I probably spent more hours reading the encyclopedia (A-Z) than any other book as a kid.

TPQ: First book to really own you?

PM: Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe or Swiss Family Robinson by Johann David Wyss. I was always fascinated by stories about survival and self sufficiency.

TPQ: Favourite male and female author?

PM: George Orwell and Joan Didion.

TPQ: A preference for fact or fiction?

PM: Fact, I don’t read much fiction.

TPQ: Biography, autobiography or memoir that most impressed you?

PM: I loved Charles Bukowski’s Ham on Rye because it was set in Los Angeles where I grew up and explained so much about Bukowski’s deep loneliness and sadness. Gore Vidal’s Palimpest was an eye opener for me because I knew little about America’s 20th century ruling elite. Vidal was an American aristocrat and his memoir provides a very uncensored expose of so many prominent people. I have never looked at the Kennedys the same way after reading it.

TPQ: Any author or book you point blank refuse to read?

PM: Anything written by the neoconservatives who cheer led America’s disastrous Global War on Terror - William Kristol, David Frum, Max Boot, the ubiquitous Kagans, Thomas Friedman, and many others. I also try to avoid anything written by neocons turned “Never Trumpers.” If they think their hatred of Trump somehow absolves them of their rank intellectual dishonesty and colossal errors of judgment, they should visit Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.

TPQ: A book to share with somebody so that they would more fully understand you?

PM: My book Facing Death in Cambodia and my introduction to my book Thai Stick.


TPQ: Last book you gave as a present?

PM: I gave Harry Crews novel A Feast of Snakes to a Yankee friend. He was talking nonsense about the South and Southern writers, but had never been south of the Mason-Dixon Line. I prefer southern and western fiction to the many well publicized New York centric tales of angst and neurosis.

TPQ: Book you would most like to see turned into a movie?

PM: My book Thai Stick.
 
TPQ: The just must - select one book you simply have to read before you close the final page on life.

PM: Volumes 1-7 of Edward Gibbon’s The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire and Hans Delbruck’s The Barbarian Invasions, Medieval Warfare, and The Dawn of Modern Warfare. I have nibbled at all of them, but have yet to read them systematically.

⏩ Peter Maguire has taught The Law and Theory of War at Columbia University and Bard College and presently teaches The History of Surfing at the University of North Carolina, Wilmington. He is the author of Law and War: American History and International Law, Facing Death in Cambodia, Thai Stick: Surfers, Scammers, and the Untold Story of the Martijuana Trade, and the New York Times bestseller Breathe: A Life in Flow.

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