Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Tycoon's War

Tycoon's War tells the story of William Walker. I was working on my review of the book as the details of the Mumbai terror attack were first being reported, and I was struck by the way the Mumbai shooters' arrival on the beach echoed Walker's landing in Nicaragua with his army of mercenaries. Walker, too, had an ideology that justified his violence, an ideology that was not so different from the one George Bush used to invade Iraq. You can label a pirate any way you like: Filibuster, terrorist, liberator. He's still a pirate.

Tycoon's War actually features two pirates, Walker and Cornelius Vanderbilt (the tycoon of the title.) If the idea of reading military history gives you the vapors, then Tycoon's War is probably not the book for you, but it's deftly written, and the story is pretty fascinating. Like The Wordy Shipmates, it reveals the roots of American imperialism. My review in the Scene is here.

Tycoon's War at

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