cover image Turning Back the Clock: Hot Wars and Media Populism

Turning Back the Clock: Hot Wars and Media Populism

Umberto Eco, . . Harcourt, $27 (369pp) ISBN 978-0-15-101351-7

Internationally renowned novelist and philosopher Eco (Foucault's Pendulum ; The Name of the Rose ) delivers a provocative and enlightening ride in this collection of essays first published in two leading Italian newspapers. He delves deeply into such subjects as Mideastern and European politics, myth, prejudice, globalization, The Da Vinci Code , magical thinking, rhetoric, religion, intelligent design and Harry Potter. The friction between his imagination, interpretation and reflection makes for pyrotechnic prose, springing from abundant facts and carefully constructed theories. He dissects war as a bloody game where “we did everything possible to ensure that our adversaries did not achieve their goals,” proclaiming that “neowars” like those in Afghanistan and Iraq cannot be won by the military. While the flow of his reasoning can be serpentine, Eco challenges us to reconsider the power of the media, the right of privacy, the sometimes disturbing manners of foreigners, the poison of anti-Semitism and September 11. The resulting book details fresh approaches to wrestling with some of the most complex issues of our time. (Nov. )