Gwynne Dyer
January 5, 2005 9:39 AM   Subscribe

Gwynne Dyer. Canadian journalist, military historian, and syndicated columnist to some 200+ newspapers worldwide, has recently released a new edition of his seminal work War with 70% new content. You may remember him as the host of the series War which ran in the early 1980s, one episode of which was nominated for an Academy Award. He has also written two other recent books, Ignorant Armies and Future : Tense, focusing on the conflict in Iraq and the recent changes in U.S. foreign policy . His website collects his syndicated articles, and recently posted his traditional year-end comments (more inside).
posted by stinkycheese (18 comments total)
Please note that the new edition of Dyer's book "War" was released in Canada last October, but won't be released in the U.S. until the spring. I decided to post this anyways as his webmaster has recently updated the articles section (including the always interesting year-end capper).
posted by stinkycheese at 9:45 AM on January 5, 2005

I've caught a few of his speaking engagements and they've been thoroughly enjoyable (well, as much as they could be given the content).

I keep meaning to pick-up some of his books, but haven't. Which is a shame. Hopefully this FPP is the kick-in-the-ass that was sorely needed. Thanks!
posted by purephase at 9:48 AM on January 5, 2005

(Oh, and his year-ender was a great read.)
posted by purephase at 9:56 AM on January 5, 2005

I've also attended a Gwynne Dyer talk, back in 1991. I remember him saying as soon as China starts living like The West, the world's going to start running out of everything pretty damn quick. As China's demand for commodities soared last year, I couldn't help but to think, 'damn-- ol' Gwynne Dyer was right again.'
posted by Fuzzy Monster at 10:38 AM on January 5, 2005

The year ender was a great read, indeed, though it was a bit worrying to see him mention "Indira Ghandi's Congress Party" - it was in fact Sonia Ghandi who led Congress (Indira was her assassinated mother-in-law.)
posted by pascal at 10:54 AM on January 5, 2005

The year-end piece was indeed a good read. Nice post, stinkycheese. I wasn't familiar with Gwynne Dyer so thanks for the pointers.
posted by madamjujujive at 11:24 AM on January 5, 2005

I picked up Ignorant Armies in the bookstore and was impressed by how quickly he broke it down: The US is going to lose in Iraq and the whole world better hope it happens sooner rather than later.
posted by Paddle to Sea at 11:36 AM on January 5, 2005

From the late 80’s to the mid 90’s friends and I attend a number of Gwynne Dyer’s speaking engagements. He was always engaging and informative and a great guy to have a beer with. However, we noted that in all his magazine photos and each time in person, he wore the same old leather jacket. I wonder if he still does?
posted by arse_hat at 12:01 PM on January 5, 2005

Dyer is great, full-stop. I've read him off and on now for near 15+ years. the 1st edition of War was very influential to me, looking forward to the next edition.
posted by edgeways at 12:18 PM on January 5, 2005

arse hat: I saw Gwynne Dyer speak in Lindsay, Ontario (very small town) this past summer & indeed he was wearing The Leather Jacket. Maybe he has a closet full of them, a la Einstein? For anyone that's never seen him speak, he has the most unbelievably laid-back, wry, even droll style. It makes everything he's saying sound sort of 'pulled out' of him, and I suspect it had no small part in how well-received the original "War" telecast was. Wonderful speaker.

pascal: I assume he meant that it was the party *of* Indira Gandhi. According to Wiki, the Congress Party was started by her father.
posted by stinkycheese at 12:19 PM on January 5, 2005

stinkycheese: well, no - because he then goes on to say "although Mrs Gandhi, being foreign-born, chose to make Manmohan Singh prime minister".
posted by pascal at 12:42 PM on January 5, 2005

pascal: In re-reading what Dyer has written, I must agree with you. It looks as though he ought to have said Sonia Gandhi. Also, I must note that, again according to Wikipedia, the Indian National Congress Party has its roots going back as far as 1885.

Please don't let this dissuade you from investigating Gwynne Dyer further. I wish more people were aware of his arguments and world-view; his is a rare voice of reason in these often hysterical times.
posted by stinkycheese at 1:06 PM on January 5, 2005

stinkycheese - Lindsay used to be the home of Star records. Best bootlegged vinyl ever.
posted by arse_hat at 1:08 PM on January 5, 2005

Ditto for the leather jacket after seeing him interviewed on TVO before the new year.
posted by disgruntled at 1:09 PM on January 5, 2005

arse_hat: I can't believe I am derailing my own thread in this way, but this just too much. Do you refer to the Star Records which has operated for many years in Oshawa, under the auspices of Mike Star?

Because I was born & raised in Oshawa & that store had a HUGE effect on me growing up, too much to go into here certainly. His brother runs a Star Records in St. Catharines too. Freaky deaky. He put out vinyl by the Forgotten Rebels, and Durango 95 and stuff. I had no idea there was a Lindsay connection.

The main thing I noticed about Lindsay was that the main strip is unbelievably w-i-d-e. Like old western movies wide. Also there used to be good punk shows at their Boys & Girls Club.

/derail over
posted by stinkycheese at 1:18 PM on January 5, 2005

stinkycheese - Probably the same. From about 8 to 12 years old when I was visiting TO an older cousin would take me to Star. A whole new world.
/end derail
posted by arse_hat at 1:28 PM on January 5, 2005

Hey guys, get a room already! ;)
posted by bardic at 2:05 PM on January 5, 2005

It's also best to read the articles straight from his site, and not in any of the print publications that carry his work. That's because print editors remove portions of his articles to save space. Its not an uncommon practice. Dyer is even provides editing advice on his originals. Some paragraphs marked for deletion from his 2004 year end summary included this gem:

"Elsewhere in the region, Libya's loony dictator Muammar Gadafy
formally renounced the nuclear weapons programme that he never really had
(allowing the US and Britain to claim that their invasion of Iraq had
scared him out of it), and Iran was persuaded at the end of November to put
its uranium enrichment programme on hold for the moment. But it will not
have escaped Tehran's notice (or Pyongyang's, or Damascus's, or anybody
else's) that the main reason Iraq got invaded was its failure to develop
and deploy weapons of mass destruction."

It's better from the unvarnished source. Dyer is well-respected and his articles are available in print all over the world. That's why he can include things that make Americans uncomfortable. In most places, his work is edited to fit the allotted space on the page. In the States, it might be to fit the space allowed inside the head.
posted by AaronO at 4:38 PM on January 5, 2005

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