"Tales of the Tyrant" was definitely impressive. The scope of the reporting and the history that it covered was... well, impressive. I think the beginning was brilliant. Seven and a half pages of an intimate look into Saddam's life, personality, and psyche. I wish Bowden had continued down that track. Instead, he digresses into these 'tales' of Saddam's cruelty, impulsive violence, troubled past, and the fear he strikes into every heart in Iraq. I already know those things. I'm not saying it wasn't a good story, because I think it was. And I'm not saying go easy on the guy, because he would be a hard person to 'go easy on.' But I do think the most fascinating thing Bowden offers is the personal stuff. Who is this guy? We already know he's a monster. Don't pound it into our heads with stories about his mass executions. What does he do in his free time? What is he afraid of? What does he talk about with his close friends? The article does give us some of that, and that's why I wish it would give more-- it was so intriguing that I wasn't satisfied to then be taken on a tour of Iraqi politics. On another note, the editing section was incredibly helpful. My favorite tips were "Love the subject, not your rendering of it (Hull on 207)," and Hiestand's comment that language is not the conveyor belt carrying the idea, but is itself part of the idea (page 199).
Saddam Hussein and the world of editing
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