Monday, February 16, 2015

By Ivan G. Goldman

The Debtor Class, a novel coming in April from Permanent Press, is "gripping," a "sobering and triumphant read about the recent recession’s effects on average Americans," says Publishers Weekly. see full review at

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Fear: A Novel of World War IFear: A Novel of World War I by Gabriel Chevallier
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I give this a five-star review with no hesitation. Its depiction of World War I from the perspective of a young, aware French soldier is brilliant, gripping, raw, and poetic. There are passages of such brilliance, honesty, and dark beauty that you don't know whether to fly through them or read the sections over and over because you don't want to leave them behind.

First published in 1930, it had been out of print for years. It deserves to be ranked with All Quiet on the Western Front and Red Badge of Courage.

View all my reviews

Monday, September 01, 2014

Dear Readers, I apologize for all the posts I submitted over the last few years through links to my Redroom blog because Redroom no longer exists and all those blogs are lost in some twilight zone within cyberspace. Damn, that'll teach me.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The Ring is Counted Out: Boxing’s duplicity devours an honest magazine

By Ivan G. Goldman

My story about the alien spore of Golden Boy Promotions eating the brain of Ring magazine, a triumph of capitalism over sport, is now online & fully accessible to all at the Columbia Journalism Review site. Here are the first few paragraphs, followed by a link to the entire article.

Let’s get two things straight. One, last September I was fired from The Ring, the venerable boxing magazine, along with editor in chief Nigel Collins and most of the editorial staff. Two, I had it coming.

So I’m not as bitter about my dismissal as you might expect, even though no one from the company told me I’d been canned or even informed me that my next column and a scheduled feature were no longer welcome. As a non-employed contractor in our brave new world of semi-employed twenty-first century servitude, I had to perceive I was fired. We all know how these arrangements work. Non-employees float in an opaque legal gelatin that can wash out from under us at any time. But remember, I had it coming.

Who killed Davey Moore
“Not me,” says the boxing writer
No, you can’t blame me at all.
—from “Who Killed Davey Moore?” by Bob Dylan

The brain damage detected in so many ex-fighters makes the sport basically indefensible. I didn’t wait until I was fired to say that. My Ring column pointed out for years that basic safety rules were routinely ignored without consequence to presiding officials. I issued anti-awards, called Magoos, to dangerous twits like Arthur Mercante Jr., the New York referee who stood in the ring and watched George Khalid Jones methodically beat twenty-six-year-old Beethavean Scottland to death in 2001. Mercante and others like him earned Magoos over and over. Nothing changed. Most fans get angry when a corner or a referee stops a fight. They want to see losers punched unconscious. If a guy’s eyeball is hanging from a string, heck, it’s still attached, isn’t it?

Friday, June 24, 2011


By Ivan G. Goldman

One thing we didn’t hear in the president’s Afghanistan speech is the fact that when he took office there were 32,000 U.S. troops there. He’d already more than doubled their number before the surge. His speech was a masterful costume designed to cover up his nakedness.

We “will bring home a total of 33,000 troops by next summer, fully recovering the surge I announced at West Point,” he said. Exactly. But not recovering the approximately 35,000 troops he added in his first escalation. The speech was a deft bait and switch, using the old debating trick of debating a fact that’s beside the point. In the photo above, notice the middle finger of the soldier in the foreground. An eloquent response to U.S. strategy as it translates on the ground. He was photographed in Iraq, but the sentiment encompasses Afghanistan too, the other morass of choice.

A more germane point than the one Obama tried to make is that he escalated the war in Afghanistan before the "surge" and will sustain that escalation. And the real point is that the war is pointless. The speech had nothing to do with formulating any kind of rational policy because there isn't any. The 65,000 troops that will be stuck in the graveyard of empires at the end of his term (after that the number becomes really murky) will be ordered to tell Afghans over and over that we won’t quit, we won’t let them down. But of course we will pretty much quit eventually, we will let them down, just as they’ve let us down. They failed to welcome our occupation. Imagine that.

We’ll let them down mostly by not quite leaving. Not exactly. The oligarchs who run our war policy from stations inside and outside the government are against leaving any of our war theaters. We’re still in Japan, Korea, Germany, etc., etc. And we’re building permanent bases in Iraq and Afghanistan as we speak. We will leave these places only when we get a president who has the courage to lead us out, because it takes far more courage to take out the trash than it does to let it sit there for the next president.

So our soldiers and Marines patrolling these villages, under orders to lie and say we’re really committed to Afghanistan's welfare, will know that what they're saying makes no sense at all and isn't true. Bin Laden is dead. Al Qaeda is in Yemen, Somalia, Pakistan, and elsewhere. The 9/11 attacks were launched mostly from cells in Germany, not Afghanistan. We have a broken infrastructure and Americans lack jobs and die for lack of medical care. We have no good reason to try to remake Afghanistan into Nebraska. The villagers know this too. They know they're being lied to. We know it, and the president knows it.

So it was a clever speech, but cowardly and ultimately untrue.

Monday, May 30, 2011


By Ivan G. Goldman
The policy of never-ending war and occupation waged in the name of the American people is not without consequences.

Friday, April 29, 2011


By Ivan G. Goldman

“I heard he was a terrible student, terrible. How does a bad student go to Columbia and then to Harvard?”

--Donald Trump in an Associated Press interview

It’s at that point where the interviewer is supposed to stop the interviewee and ask him, “You hear? Hear from where? What is your source?” News isn’t unsubstantiated rumor and it isn’t gossip. Also, interviewers who know what they’re doing take into account what’s known about the person making the comment.

You don’t treat the statements of a habitual liar the same as those of a source that’s been one hundred percent credible in the past. Trump is, in fact, a habitual liar. When he’s caught he goes on to another lie and stops talking about the last lie.

Here’s something else he said about President Obama in an interview last month: “The reason I have a little doubt, just a little, is because he grew up and nobody knew him. You know? When you interview people, if ever I got the nomination, if I ever decide to run, you can go back and interview people from my kindergarten and they remember me. No one ever comes forward. Nobody knows who he is until later in his life. It’s very strange. The whole thing is very strange.”

How can such comments be taken seriously by a responsible news media? They can’t. At the very least a real interviewer would have to ask Trump the nature of his effort to find people who knew Obama when he was a child because in fact there are hundreds of people who have come forward to share their memories.

If Trump actually looked for them, he’s an awfully bad investigator. If he didn’t look – and very clearly he didn’t – why isn’t he directly challenged on it? Evidently when you don’t grow up in exclusive circles surrounded by fabulous wealth – as was Trump -- then “nobody” knows you, and there's no reason to question the reliability of the conclusion.

News media need to understand their mission, and it's not to treat garbage with the same seriousness as the results of a competent study. When they behave otherwise we need to hold their feet to the fire. Also, it's worth asking why Trump, thanks to a long history of this kind of behavior, leads Republican polls for the presidential nomination. Partly because he’s enabled by an incompetent, unscrupulous news media. Partly because this is the kind of guy so many Republican voters are looking for. Eventually they’ll settle down and find a smoother liar. That may or may not be an improvement.