Purple Patch

Robert Fisk is on the trail of an impostor:

Needless to say, I noticed one or two problems with this book. It took a very lenient view of the brutality of Saddam, it didn’t seem to care much about the gassed civilians of Halabja – and it was full of the kind of purple passages which I loathe.

As distinct from the kind of purple passages ‘which’ he loves, if The Great War For Civilisation is anything to go by.

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3 Responses to “Purple Patch”


  1. 1 KevanB February 1, 2008 at 9:48 am

    The Great War For Civilisation was not only full of purple prose but downright factual innaccuracy. He should have bought a decent history book before he started writing. Fisk just goes to show that you can wander a region for decades discovering sod all. Thank God he didn’t cover the North much.

  2. 2 WorldbyStorm February 3, 2008 at 11:07 pm

    Got to say, TGWFC defeated me, and usually I’ll read anything. It’s so long and so ponderous.

  3. 3 Hugh Green February 4, 2008 at 8:19 am

    You’re both right. I bought the paperback, and it was stuffed with blurbs from the great and the good recommending it, yet the prose was turgid and florid, if both adjectives can coincide, and his powers of political and historical analysis are on a par with my powers of stained-glass window design. The big error I think was trying to frame his recollections as a journalist in a broader historical narrative. It could have been two or even three good books if he’d sharpened his focus on the particular events that he’d covered, because he’s clearly seen a lot, and left the historicising to one side.


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