Tuesday, February 09, 2016

The American Civil War and Current Events, Essays by Christopher Dickey

My New York Times Journey in May - Grant and the Unexpected Victory at Shiloh

I'll be on this New York Times Journey, talking about the roles of Grant and Sherman, Beauregard and Nathan Bedford Forrest, but also the tactical and strategic intelligence battles that played a vital, if largely neglected, role in this first truly bloody confrontation of the American Civil War. It was supposed to end the conflict. What it did in fact was give a taste of the horrors to come.

OUR MAN IN CHARLESTON: Civil War History and Contemporary Events: Essays ...

OUR MAN IN CHARLESTON: Civil War History and Contemporary Events: Essays By Christopher Dickey -  After the publication in July 2015 of Our Man in Charleston, which, by pure coincidence, came just after the tragic murders at Emanuel A.M.E. Church, I wrote several essays drawing on the research for the book and suggesting what it might tell us about current events...

Thursday, January 28, 2016

My latest: An exclusive interview with Bob Gates about Obama, Trump and Madman Theory, plus other columns from the last three months

Dear Friends, 

The columns, stories and essays below run from last November to this week.

I found fascinating Gates's take on the bully, Trump, and on the role of emotion in international affairs that No Drama Obama seems to miss. (On that score, also take a look at the obituary for Benedict Anderson, whose writings about Indonesia may hold the real key to Obama's personality.)

I am also quite proud of the "Have Terrorists Won" story, which centers on an interview with Gilles Kepel (the answer is no, but the West could still lose); and the stories in the aftermath of the November 13 attacks. 

I think the articles about Le Pen go a way toward helping us understand the woman who may be the next president of France, and the essay on guns and slavery in America, which grew out of solid research for my book, Our Man in Charleston: Britain's Secret Agent in the Civil War South, surprised and shocked many readers. 

All the best, Chris

Sunday, December 13, 2015

"Actually, Trump is a wet dream for ISIS" and other Trump tweets last week

Friday, December 11, 2015

Some Provocative Christmas Presents: Christopher Dickey's Books on Amazon.Com

New York Times Bestseller

New York Times Book Review Editors' Choice
"Our Man in Charleston is a joy to discover. It is a perfect book about an imperfect spy."
—Joan Didion

"Thoroughly researched and deftly crafted. [Our Man in Charleston will] introduce people to a man who should be better known, one who cannily fought the good fight at a fateful moment in history."
Wall Street Journal"Dickey tells Bunch’s story with aplomb and a good deal of fine wit. On one level, Dickey has written a spicy historical beach read, chock-full of memorable characters and intrigue. But into this page-turning entertainment, Dickey has smuggled a thoughtful examination of the geopolitical issues of the day...splendid."
Boston Globe
"A fascinating page-turner that takes on special relevance as South Carolina fills our thoughts in the summer of 2015...[Dickey] brings to life a feverish Southern city, an un-united nation of states, and the 'lively and indiscreet, indefatigable and thoroughly British' man in the middle. Dickey...clearly understands the dance of diplomacy that evolves day by day as personalities and priorities change."
Christian Science Monitor

Elizabeth Hardwick: A heartbreaking, eloquent memoir by the son of the heartbreaking, eloquent poet, James Dickey.

David Kirby, The New York Times Book Review: Angry, affectionate...both gut-wrenching and hypnotic. A father-son conflict worthy of the pen of Sophocles.

Joseph P. Kahn, The Boston Globe: As unsentimental a father-son memoir as one can imagine. James Dickey may have died a broken man, but he was given a tremendous opportunity to get at least one thing right. By the evidence of this book, he succeeded, too.

David Bottoms, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution: An exquisite balance of blistering candor and healing grace....Writing so wonderful that it simply transcends the limits of the genre.

Securing the City:

Inside America's Best Counterterror Force—The NYPD

"A fascinating, and frightening, look into the world of antiterrorism. Securing the City kept me riveted." — Kathy Reichs, author of Devil Bones

"If you're concerned about a terrorist threat to America, you need to read this eye-opening and extraordinary book. Dickey reveals the little-known existence of the New York Police Department's counterterror force, the first line of defense against another 9/11. This book should be read by the FBI, the CIA, and by every cop in America. An essential addition to the literature on global terrorism." — Nelson DeMille, author of The Gate House

"The United States needs a new counterterrorism strategy -- one that is vigilant, creative, sustainable, and aligned with the country's constitutional values. Securing the City is not only a fascinating inside portrait of the New York Police Department's response to the terror threat after 9/11, it is also an important contribution to public policy. The federal government has much to learn from the leadership culture and street work of the NYPD, as Christopher Dickey's penetrating reporting makes clear." — Steve Coll, author of Ghost Wars and The Bin Ladens

"Dickey offers a rich inside account of the most extensive antiterrorism effort in any American city. A long-time expert on extremism and the Middle East, Dickey offers amazing detail as well as a broad history of the threats to U.S. national security. There are many important lessons to be learned in Securing the City." — Robin Wright, author of Dreams and Shadows: The Future of the Middle East

"Christopher Dickey has written a work of meticulous reporting that reads like a John Le CarrĂ© novel, illuminating the shadowy world of terrorists, and that of the New York City cops who hunt them down. A terrifying, and yet reassuring, read." — Michael Korda, author of Ike and With Wings Like Eagles

"Revealing and nerve-rattling." — The New York Times

Once the familiar thriller trappings are out of the way ... we are left with a narrative that asks what it means to be an American, alone and rootless, at the end of this, the American Century. The New York Times Book Review, James Polk
Vividly authentic. . . .Mr. Dickey's first novel moves like lightning through a sophisticated plot and lands with a direct hit in the gut." —The Dallas Morning News 

"Dickey writes about war with authority." — Los Angeles Times 
Newsweek's Paris bureau chief offers a fictional expression of the evolution of a midwestern American into a Muslim terrorist. The narrator, ex-army ranger Kurt Kurtovic, explores his spiritual metamorphosis, the chrysalis of which is his father's ethnic background, Bosnian Muslim. But combat, in Panama, Kuwait, and Bosnia, propels the narrative. In the Gulf War, Kurtovic encounters Rashid, a Kuwaiti resister who kills without compunction; another factor in Kurtovic's development is the anti-Muslim attitudes of his fellow soldiers, who don't realize his increasing curiosity about the Koran. Scene-shift to Bosnia, where Kurtovic visits his father's home village (destroyed), and enter Rashid, out of the blue--it's a small, small world, after all. Rashid recruits Kurtovic for the Muslim side of the war and later for a terrorist act in New York. — Gilbert Taylor, Booklist

The Sleeper: A Novel

David Ignatius, Washington Post columnist and author of Agents of Innocence and A Firing Offense: Here's a promise: The Sleeper will keep you up late at night. Chris Dickey takes readers inside an operation to destroy deadly Al-Qaeda terrorist operations. He claims it's all imaginary, but it feels as real as the morning newspaper. For thriller readers, this is solid gold.

Gilles Kepel, author of Jihad: The Trail of Political Islam and The War for Muslim Minds: Christopher Dickey's The Sleeper is a breathtaking thriller that takes you deep into the hearts and minds of those who fight on both sides of the 'War on Terror,' a universe where many have lost all moral balance and would use any means to achieve their ends. It captures the psyche of the radical Islamists and of their hunters, based on the author's intimate knowledge. A tour de force -- and great reading from cover to cover!

Bruce Hoffman, author of Inside Terrorism and Senior Fellow, Combating Terrorism Center, U.S. Military Academy: In The Sleeper, Dickey paints a compelling and gripping picture of terrorists prepared to unleash the ultimate horror in order to destroy America. The story he tells is not only engrossing but also accurately depicts the challenges and choices we face in fighting the real war on terrorism.

Denver Post: Plenty of action as Kurt uses all his military muscle and wiles in an attempt to thwart al-Qaeda.

Baltimore Sun: It was inevitable that the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, would produce, for better or worse, a literature, and equally inevitable that one of the genres would be the thriller. Fortunately for readers, Christopher Dickey has produced in The Sleeper one that is both sophisticated and compelling...Dickey, a Newsweek reporter and editor, has the background to draw a convincing picture of the network of international terrorism, colorful detail in the novel's locales, and the cross currents of rivalry among the intelligence agencies. He also has the heritage, as son of the poet James Dickey, to produce vivid language. This is a quick-moving novel, exciting and disturbing.

Bookpage: The Sleeper is a tense and persuasive thriller, timely as today's headlines, of a world in the throes of chaos and panic, and one man's efforts to restore some semblance of order.

The New York Times: Christopher Dickey's first-rate thriller...Dickey, a Newsweek correspondent who has reported widely on terrorism, has the facts to make this novel chilling as well as engrossing.

Expats came out in 1990, but continues to be available in paperback from The Atlantic Monthly Press. The most handsome edition was the one published in Britain in 1991 by The Fourth Estate. 

"Without question one of the best travel books of this or any other year." — David Rieff, Los Angeles Times 
"In his engaging book, laced with humor, pathos and sensitivity, Mr. Dickey unveils this new Arabia, shaped by the sometimes creative, always skeptical tension between the Arab and the expatriate." — Sandra Mackey, The New York Times Book Review 

"Succeeds better than any account I have seen in capturing the sordid climate of the undeclared war. ... Most valuable on the American role in organizing, directing and selling the not-so-secret 'secret war' to Congress and the American people."
—New York Times Book Review

"Reads like a thriller, and carries the authority of solid reporting."
—Washington Journalism Review 

PLUS, Death, and the Day's Light, my father's last poems, for which I wrote a preface; and The Best Science Writing 2002, which picked a piece I wrote about a mix of science, art and hucksterism—a bunny that was supposed to glow in the dark.