The Ghosts of Birds (Paperback)
This is the best book of non-fiction, if we must classify it as such, that I read this year. Weinberger is the master of literary non-fiction. From a true reckoning of the fate and origins of Adam and Eve to a book report on George W. Bush’s Decision Points—from Frog Grooms in South India to the Berlin Wall and its surrounding occupants these 36 essays are a masterpiece of literature. You won’t look at the world in the same light.
-- Nick— From Nick B. Staff Picks
The Ghosts of Birds offers thirty-five essays by Eliot Weinberger: the first section of the book continues his linked serial-essay, An Elemental Thing, which pulls the reader into "a vortex for the entire universe" (Boston Review). Here, Weinberger chronicles a nineteenth-century journey down the Colorado River, records the dreams of people named Chang, and shares other factually verifiable discoveries that seem too fabulous to possibly be true. The second section collects Weinberger's essays on a wide range of subjects--some of which have been published in Harper's, New York Review of Books, and London Review of Books--including his notorious review of George W. Bush's memoir Decision Points and writings about Mongolian art and poetry, different versions of the Buddha, American Indophilia ("There is a line, however jagged, from pseudo-Hinduism to Malcolm X"), Bela Balazs, Herbert Read, and Charles Reznikoff. This collection proves once again that Weinberger is "one of the bravest and sharpest minds in the United States" (Javier Marias).