What We Are Reading Today: Pity the Nation by Robert Fisk

Updated 01 May 2018
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What We Are Reading Today: Pity the Nation by Robert Fisk

  • The book is about the civil war that ravaged Lebanon, a country splintered by factions, bedevilled by betrayal from within and without
  • Author Robert Fisk, an award-winning foreign correspondent, not only reported on the conflict, he lived through it

As Lebanon holds its first elections for a decade, the civil war that ravaged the country from 1975 to 1990 is far from forgotten.

Fisk, an award-winning foreign correspondent, not only reported on it, he lived through it, so this account of that conflict is not simply a historical and political analysis by a detached, scholarly observer.

Context is given but this is history recorded as it happened by a reporter who not only finds many witnesses but also was a witness himself.

This is a tale of a country splintered by factions, bedevilled by betrayal from within and without and by the West’s limitless ability to ignore what it finds inconvenient or does not wish to know.

By definition, it is a personal testament of the savagery of those 15 years.

Some have criticized the author for putting too much of himself in it, accusing him of self-aggrandizement.

But despite its faults (and it does have them) it has become a classic of its genre and is widely regarded as required reading for anyone wanting to understand the Middle East — especially if you are not from the Middle East.

The title is from the poem of the same name by the Lebanese-American writer Khalil Gibran (1883-1931), who is revered in Lebanon.

As a title for a war memoir, it could not be more apt. 


What We Are Reading Today: The Seven Deadly Sins of Psychology by Chris Chambers

Updated 27 June 2019
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What We Are Reading Today: The Seven Deadly Sins of Psychology by Chris Chambers

  • Chris Chambers shows how practitioners are vulnerable to powerful biases that undercut the scientific method

Psychological science has made extraordinary discoveries about the human mind, but can we trust everything its practitioners are telling us? In recent years, it has become increasingly apparent that a lot of research in psychology is based on weak evidence, questionable practices, and sometimes even fraud. 

The Seven Deadly Sins of Psychology diagnoses the ills besetting the discipline today and proposes sensible, practical solutions to ensure that it remains a legitimate and reliable science in the years ahead, says a review on the Princeton University Press website. 

In this unflinchingly candid manifesto, Chris Chambers shows how practitioners are vulnerable to powerful biases that undercut the scientific method, how they routinely torture data until it produces outcomes that can be published in prestigious journals, and how studies are much less reliable than advertised.  Left unchecked, these and other problems threaten the very future of psychology as a science—but help is here.