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A Foreigner Carrying in the Crook of His Arm a Tiny Bomb

by Amitava Kumar

A Foreigner Carrying in the Crook of His Arm a Tiny Bomb Synopsis

Part reportage and part protest, A Foreigner Carrying in the Crook of His Arm a Tiny Bomb is an inquiry into the cultural logic and global repercussions of the war on terror. At its center are two men convicted in U.S. courts on terrorism-related charges: Hemant Lakhani, a seventy-year-old tried for attempting to sell a fake missile to an FBI informant, and Shahawar Matin Siraj, baited by the New York Police Department into a conspiracy to bomb a subway. Lakhani and Siraj were caught through questionable sting operations involving paid informants; both men received lengthy jail sentences. Their convictions were celebrated as major victories in the war on terror. In Amitava Kumar's riveting account of their cases, Lakhani and Siraj emerge as epic bunglers, and the U.S. government as the creator of terror suspects to prosecute. Kumar analyzed the trial transcripts and media coverage, and he interviewed Lakhani, Siraj, their families, and their lawyers. Juxtaposing such stories of entrapment in the United States with narratives from India, another site of multiple terror attacks and state crackdowns, Kumar explores the harrowing experiences of ordinary people entangled in the war on terror. He also considers the fierce critiques of post-9/11 surveillance and security regimes by soldiers and torture victims, as well as artists and writers, including Coco Fusco, Paul Shambroom, and Arundhati Roy.

A Foreigner Carrying in the Crook of His Arm a Tiny Bomb Press Reviews

Moving fluidly between his adopted U.S. home and his birthplace of India - another country altered by concerns over terrorism - Kumar carefully exposes what he sees as the senseless abuse of power justified by the so-called `war on terror.' -- Terry Hong * Bloomsbury Review * More than a piece of reportage, A Foreigner Carrying in the Crook of His Arm a Tiny Bomb illuminates the dangers to civil liberties from extraordinary governmental powers and torture's questionable effectiveness. . . . Whatever one's views on 9/11 and its accompanying legal changes, the use of torture, or the war on terror, A Foreigner Carrying in the Crook of His Arm a Tiny Bomb is a worthwhile read. Kumar's perspective is one not often seen in American writings on similar subjects. That alone would recommend the book; the high quality of the writing should secure its place on any library shelf. -- J. G. Stinson * ForeWord * Full of sublime narratives and subtle descriptions, it is a thoroughly fantastic book. The best thing about Kumar's writing is that seldom does he allow his personal prejudices to creep into the text. He acts more like a cameraman of a documentary film showing you a plethora of images. He also knows what to focus on, and when to zoom in or out. Then he leaves you free to reach your own conclusions. Like his earlier book Husband of a Fanatic, it is a must buy. And, of course, a must read too. -- Abdullah Khan * Star Weekend (review of the Indian edition) * After you read [A Foreigner Carrying in the Crook of His Arm a Tiny Bomb], you will never look at the global war on terror in the same way again. You will, also, finally know how to look at the war on terror, especially as it is fought here. . . . [S]tunningly researched, brilliantly thoughtful, boldly imagined and courageously executed. I can't think of a more urgent, important and necessary book for us this year. You should rush to read it. -- Pradeep Sebastian * The Hindu (review of the Indian edition) * [A]n essential book for our times. -- Nilanjana S. Roy * Business Standard * [A] perceptive and soulful . . . meditation on the global war on terror and its cultural and human repercussions. . . . A Foreigner Carrying in the Crook of His Arm a Tiny Bomb carries in the crook of its own arm Mr. Kumar's plaintive appeal. If we're to bridge the perilous divide that separates us from those poor and unnamed people who resent us, we first need to see them, to look into their eyes. We need, Mr. Kumar writes, 'to acknowledge that they exist.' This angry and artful book is a first step. -- Dwight Garner * New York Times * Foreigner is part contemporary history, part investigative journalism, part political treatise, part memoir - and an absolute must-read. . . . Kumar is an excellent storyteller. He's also immensely convincing. Drawing on his vast, voracious knowledge of literature, film, television, and breaking headlines, Kumar makes a case that post-9/11 fear has created a not-so-brave new world of bullies and fools. -- Terry Hong * Christian Science Monitor * Amitava Kumar has written a unique book. It is ultimately a book about neoliberalism, about the public interest defined as militarism rather than as well-being. It is a book about the imagination reduced to suspicion and fear rather than hope and liberty. It is a book that swells from India to Indiana, depicting the global ecology of antiterrorism. -Vijay Prashad, author of The Darker Nations. A People's History of the Third World Foreigner is part contemporary history, part investigative journalism, part political treatise, part memoir - and an absolute must-read. . . . Kumar is an excellent storyteller. He's also immensely convincing. Drawing on his vast, voracious knowledge of literature, film, television, and breaking headlines, Kumar makes a case that post-9/11 fear has created a not-so-brave new world of bullies and fools. - Terry Hong, Christian Science Monitor [A]n essential book for our times. - Nilanjana S. Roy, Business Standard Full of sublime narratives and subtle descriptions, it is a thoroughly fantastic book. The best thing about Kumar's writing is that seldom does he allow his personal prejudices to creep into the text. He acts more like a cameraman of a documentary film showing you a plethora of images. He also knows what to focus on, and when to zoom in or out. Then he leaves you free to reach your own conclusions. Like his earlier book Husband of a Fanatic, it is a must buy. And, of course, a must read too. - Abdullah Khan, Star Weekend (review of the Indian edition) After you read [A Foreigner Carrying in the Crook of His Arm a Tiny Bomb], you will never look at the global war on terror in the same way again. You will, also, finally know how to look at the war on terror, especially as it is fought here. . . . [S]tunningly researched, brilliantly thoughtful, boldly imagined and courageously executed. I can't think of a more urgent, important and necessary book for us this year. You should rush to read it. - Pradeep Sebastian, The Hindu (review of the Indian edition) More than a piece of reportage, A Foreigner Carrying in the Crook of His Arm a Tiny Bomb illuminates the dangers to civil liberties from extraordinary governmental powers and torture's questionable effectiveness. . . . Whatever one's views on 9/11 and its accompanying legal changes, the use of torture, or the war on terror, A Foreigner Carrying in the Crook of His Arm a Tiny Bomb is a worthwhile read. Kumar's perspective is one not often seen in American writings on similar subjects. That alone would recommend the book; the high quality of the writing should secure its place on any library shelf. - J. G. Stinson, ForeWord [A] perceptive and soulful . . . meditation on the global war on terror and its cultural and human repercussions. . . . A Foreigner Carrying in the Crook of His Arm a Tiny Bomb carries in the crook of its own arm Mr. Kumar's plaintive appeal. If we're to bridge the perilous divide that separates us from those poor and unnamed people who resent us, we first need to see them, to look into their eyes. We need, Mr. Kumar writes, 'to acknowledge that they exist.' This angry and artful book is a first step. - Dwight Garner, New York Times Moving fluidly between his adopted U.S. home and his birthplace of India - another country altered by concerns over terrorism - Kumar carefully exposes what he sees as the senseless abuse of power justified by the so-called `war on terror.' - Terry Hong, Bloomsbury Review

Book Information

ISBN: 9780822345787
Publication date: 10th June 2010
Author: Amitava Kumar
Publisher: Duke University Press
Format: Paperback / softback
Pagination: 232 pages
Categories: Terrorism, armed struggle,

About Amitava Kumar

Amitava Kumar is a novelist, poet, journalist, and Professor of English at Vassar College. He is the author of Husband of a Fanatic, a New York Times Editors' Choice ; Bombay-London-New York, a New Statesman (UK) Book of the Year ; and Passport Photos. He is the editor of several books, including Away: The Indian Writer as an Expatriate, The Humour and the Pity: Essays on V.S. Naipaul, and World Bank Literature. He is also an editor of the online journal Politics and Culture and the screenwriter and narrator of the prize-winning documentary film Pure Chutney. Kumar's writing has appeared in ...

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