Michael Ignatieff is a London-based writer who has traveled to various war zones of the world. In this latest book the author presents four themes. The first theme explores the new culture of human rights and the moral connection we have to human beings beyond our national borders. The second theme deals with the new architects of modern war, the warlords and thugs. Ignatieff examines the lack of a soldier's code of honor in these new irregulars and how this lack leads them to savagery and atrocity. The third theme involves the disintegration of states and institutions and how this disentegration robs people of an overall protecting civic identity and frightens them into the protection of a particular identity or group. The final theme is about how a society overcomes war and savagery and how a people can put the memory of a vicious past behind them.
Ignatieff has not written a dry collection of essays. Because he interviewed subjects in actual situations in war zones, he was able to give life to the themes he addressed. This is a thought-provoking book and is highly recommended by this reviewer.
Reviewed by sc, 7/98. Other reviews by sc.