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A master not only of fiction but also of fiercely controversial political engagement, Martin Amis here gathers fourteen pieces that constitute an evolving, provocative, and insightful examination of the most momentous event of our time.
At the heart of this collection is the long essay “Terror and Boredom,” an unsparing analysis of Islamic fundamentalism and the West's flummoxed response to it, while other pieces address the invasion of Iraq, the realities of Iran, and Tony Blair's lingering departure from Downing Street (and also his trips to Washington and Iraq). Whether lambasted for his refusal to kowtow to Muslim pieties or hailed for his common sense, wide reading, and astute perspective, Amis is indisputably a great pleasure to read—informed, elegant, surprising—and this collection a resounding contemplation of the relentless, manifold dangers we suddenly find ourselves living with.
“Powerful and prescient. . . . Behind the endlessly inventive language [is] an intellectual rigor based on an unwavering belief in the power of reason.” —Financial Times
“The Second Plane bristles with intelligence [and] snaps and snarls.” —The Washington Post
“A walking tour of the motley post-September 11th mind-its fears, madnesses, misapprehension and insights.” —New York Observer
“A choreographer of imagination and ideas, [Amis] is bracing and morally brave.” —Los Angeles Times