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Charlie Wilson's War

Discussion in 'Anything goes' started by novelist_wannabe, Dec 25, 2007.

  1. novelist_wannabe

    novelist_wannabe Well-Known Member

    Went and saw it yesterday while the rest of the country was at Wal-Mart and found it fascinating. Lotta stuff I didn't remember about the Russo-Afghani war. I dunno if it's Oscar-caliber, but it was well worth the six bucks I paid to see it. Phillip Seymour Hoffman was, as always, particularly good.
     
  2. hockeybeat

    hockeybeat Guest

    Thanks for the head's up. I have been jonesing to see it.
     
  3. terrier

    terrier Well-Known Member

    I'd love to hear about the research for this film, since Wilson apparently carried on with Diane Sawyer (AKA Mrs. Mike Nichols) at one point.
     
  4. The Big Ragu

    The Big Ragu Moderator Staff Member

    NOTE: SOME OF WHAT I JUST TYPED MIGHT BE CONSTRUED AS SPOILERS, EVEN THOUGH I AM READING THE BOOK RIGHT NOW AND HAVEN'T SEEN THE MOVIE. READ AT YOUR OWN RISK

    I haven't seen the move. I am about a third a way through the book right now. It is not great writing and it is a bit disjointed at times. But the writer, George Crile, managed to do a ton of research, talk to a lot of people and untangle a lot of info about what was going on at the CIA during that time. It reads like fiction. It was a weird set of circumstances that really brought together some unlikely characters (some of whom were buffoons or very sophisticated -- more likely a combination of both, depending on who he talked to). I'll report back when I finish the book, but so far it is fascinating. It covers s0 much ground and gives food for thought regarding a number of policy decisions dating back to Carter and before. I find it hard to believe that a Congressman could totally ignore his legislative mandate, and single-handedly set up his own one-man State Department/CIA operation, in which he was determining U.S. Foreign policy in so many arenas on his own. Add in the fact that he was a a total putz in his personal life (a womanizer, loud brash, prone toward trouble, a bit corrupt, embroiled in a drug usage scandal, etc.) it is really kind of scary to think what an even more misguided Congressman (at least Wilson seemed to have a feel--so far in the book--for the ramifications of what he was doing) could have done during that time when oversight was much more loose than I believe it is today. But damn, this story so far is reading as ubelievable. The parts about the CIA--and the insider/outsider culture in Clandestine Services, and the role that Gust Avrokados played, are fascinating too. I wish the writer had a bit more skill. He was working with prime A material and could have organized it better. But it's really a minor gripe. It's a fantastic book so far.
     
  5. shotglass

    shotglass Guest

    Went tonight, and the movie kept me enthralled for 90-plus minutes.
     
  6. 2muchcoffeeman

    2muchcoffeeman Active Member

    As I mentioned on the movies thread, I thought this was an excellent movie.

    Ragu, here's another book covering much the same territory:

    http://worldcat.org/oclc/52814066&referer=one_hit

    Won the Pulitzer for general non-fiction in 2005 (the second Pulitzer for author Steve Coll), but doesn't have the flawed Congressman who beat the Russkies as the central hook.
     
  7. sportschick

    sportschick Active Member

    Is Charlie Wilson the guy that Molly Ivins once wrote about going overseas with some beauty queen (Miss World, IIRC)?
     
  8. Ragu...

    You're right on the mark. It doesn't read all that well, but the research he did was phenom, something that will be missing when we look to read books 20 years from now about Iraq, Sept. 11th etc. The movie was impressive considering the amount of information they had. The only thing left out, that in the end really had little to do with what happened but I thought it was incredibly lucky or unlucky was the fact that the night before the Junket to Paris/Afghanistan with Doc Long was that Wilson got pissed drunk and slammed into another car on a bridge and DC...forget which one. He convinced Virginia State Police that they had no jurisdiction and DC police allowed him to go on the trip...wonder what would have happened had he missed it.

    After that one...try The Shock Doctrine...another well researched book.

    Good reading.
     
  9. mike311gd

    mike311gd Active Member

    I'm going to try and see the movie tomorrow. I don't go often, so I hope this is a good one.
     
  10. Brooklyn Bridge

    Brooklyn Bridge Active Member

    Was on A and E or History channel last week. Told the same story, only it didn't star Tom Hanks and you didn't have to shell out ten bucks to see it. But otherwise, a facinating story.
     
  11. Moderator1

    Moderator1 Moderator Staff Member

    Taking my family tonight.
     
  12. novelist_wannabe

    novelist_wannabe Well-Known Member

    The movie covered this, though it's tough to discern how much, if any, creative license was taken. Charlie basically says he's the only member of congress who doesn't have a legislative mandate.

    Not really much to refute this; that's the premise of the movie. The impression I got, though, was of a man who found ways to cut through red tape and do what he felt was the right thing. In the current political environment, I wonder if that possibility even exists.
     
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