My friend David Charles calls a soon-to-be-released book to my attention:
“Soon after the World Trade Center towers fell on 9/11, it became clear the United States would invade Afghanistan. Writer and ‘This American Life’ radio producer Scott Carrier decided to go there too. He wanted to see for himself: who are these fanatics, the fundamentalists, the Taliban and the like? What do they want?
“In his new book, Prisoner of Zion, Carrier writes about his adventures, but also about the bigger problem. Having grown up among Mormons in Salt Lake City, he argues it will never work to attack the true believers head-on. The faithful thrive on persecution. Somehow, he thinks, we need to find a way—inside ourselves—to rise above fear and anger.
“Prisoner of Zion is Scott Carrier’s second collection of dramatic tales and essays.
“Scott Carrier is a writer, photographer, and radio producer. He was born, raised and still lives in Salt Lake City, Utah, and he teaches journalism at Utah Valley University in Orem, Utah. His print articles and photos have appeared in Harper’s, Esquire, GQ, Rolling Stone and Mother Jones. His radio stories have been broadcast by NPR All Things Considered, NPRDay to Day, APM The Story, Savvy Traveler, Hearing Voices from NPR, and PRI This American Life.”
He appears to be a remarkably courageous man, to still be living in Salt Lake City. And he works right in the very belly of the beast! (Utah Valley University is only a few blocks from my cave!)
“In the aftermath of 9/11,” says Publishers Weekly, “Carrier, a journalist and radio producer, sought to make sense of the terrorism that caused the great loss of American life and triggered the Afghan war. In a series of remarkable essays, Carrier, raised among Mormons, noted similarities in the beliefs and practices of the Taliban and the Utah church, stressing the fundamentalist pledge of obedience to authority, and revelations and visions from God to a ‘Chosen people.’ Carrier is alternately humorous and serious about the reports from Afghanistan, its people, its culture, and the heavy fighting. Journalists on the front lines fascinate us when they get this close: Carrier gathers opinions from some Afghans who believe that Osama bin Laden was a U.S. creation and that the real goal of the war was capturing oil reserves. Chatty but provocative, Carrier’s critique of the true believers teaches us options for reconciliation. (Apr.)”
I can scarcely wait.
And, surely, comparing Mormons to the Taliban is a promising first step toward reconciliation. I think I speak for all of my tribe when I say that we crazed fanatics find such overtures simply irresistible.
In a similar vein, Gd Crocker has brought the following important item to my attention: