Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Paradise Poisoned Blurbs

Some readers may be aware that I recently completed my sixth book, the end of an overlong seventeen year project. The book, entitled Paradise Poisoned: Learning About Conflict, Terrorism and Development from Sri Lanka’s Civil Wars is presently in production.

Did you know that the invariably complementary comments on the back cover of a book are called “blurbs”. For the past several weeks, I have been soliciting and then editing blurbs for the back cover of my book. I completed the editing earlier this evening and this seems like an appropriate time to share them (you will be reading much more about this book, later).

John Richardson spent a great deal of time over the past two decades living and working in Sri Lanka with people on both sides of the persistent conflict there. From his exhaustive work has emerged the definitive reference on the morphology of violence in Sri Lanka and a breakthrough theory of links between development and deadly conflict.

Dennis Meadows, Professor Emeritus at the University of New Hampshire and President, Laboratory for Interactive Learning; author of ten books including The Limits to Growth (in 1972) and Limits to Growth - the 30-Year Update.

At a time when statesmen and scholars are concerned with failed states, the rise of radicalized minorities and protracted deadly conflict, John Richardson’s study of Sri Lanka is a timely, provocative contribution. His analysis draws lessons from Sri Lanka’s experiences that help explain escalating conflict and terrorism in many countries. It offers valuable insights to those concerned with limiting or preventing these pathologies.

W. Howard Wriggins, Bryce Professor Emeritus of the History of International Relations; former U.S. Ambassador to Sri Lanka; author, Sri Lanka: Dilemmas of a New Nation and many other works.

Occasionally a book comes along that teaches me how to think. John Richardson’s Paradise Poisoned is such a book. One cannot read this book without realizing, in this post-9/11 era, that when development goes awry, life goes awry, security goes awry, and terrorism flourishes. Sri Lanka stands as an object lesson in these consequences of failed development. Every person seriously concerned about stopping terrorism should read this book.

Dr. Elizabeth Harper Neeld, international business consultant and widely published author, including Seven Choices: Finding Daylight After Loss Shatters Your World

John Richardson's Paradise Poisoned is a courageous exploration into Sri Lanka's multiple crises and insurgencies with insights gathered from years of research and close observations of the behavior of the country's political institutions and key actors. He proposes that deadly intrastate conflicts like the one in Sri Lanka are not only predictable, but also preventable through appropriate and visionary policy measures. This is a book that will not only attract the attention of specialists and students but also of general readers.

Dr. Jayadeva Uyangoda, Chair, Department of Political Science, University of Colombo and Director, Center for Policy Alternatives, Colombo; auuthor of numerous publications on ethnic politics, conflict resolution and human rights

Note: one secret of getting good blurbs is to have good friends who are knowledgeable about your project, support it and have a stature that makes their comments meaningful to potential readers. If you write a crummy book, of course, good friends with strong credentials don't help and you can't expect them to produce complementary blurbs. But if they were good friends, hopefully they would have advised you not to try and publish the book in the first place!


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