Bryan Craig Bryan's Comments (member since Oct 14, 2009)

Bryan's comments from the The History Book Club group.

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Aug 10, 2016 08:09PM

8115 August

9. Living History by Hillary Rodham Clinton by Hillary Rodham ClintonHillary Rodham Clinton
Finish Date: August 5
Genre: Biography
Rating: B
Review: An interesting story. I listened to the audio book and it was read by Clinton. You get to know her a bit more. Typical parts where she defends herself and her husband against conservatives. Overall, solid.
Jul 25, 2016 09:10AM

8115 7. Star Wars - Episode I The Phantom Menace by Terry Brooks by Terry BrooksTerry Brooks
Finish Date: July 18
Genre: Sci-FI
Rating: B
Review: A good read to get more inside story plots if you have seen the famous Star Wars movie
Jul 25, 2016 09:09AM

8115 JUNE
6. Devil in the Grove Thurgood Marshall, the Groveland Boys, and the Dawn of a New America by Gilbert King by Gilbert KingGilbert King
Finish Date: July 24
Genre: American History
Rating: A
Review: This is a must read for readers who are interested in race relations and Thurgood Marshall history. Superb.
Jul 25, 2016 09:07AM

8115 Jill wrote: "Yikes, you are in trouble now, Bryan. Alisa is stalking your list!!!"

I know!
8115 This is a fine book. It is my second time, and after the first, I kept going back to it, so that is a good sign.

What fascinated me most was the political story of the Republican Party. It had internal fights which led TR running as an independent. Well-written an most enjoyable.

Note: I have received the book for free through the History Book Club on Goodreads.
8115 It is a great story of transformation. It fits well into the scholarly analysis that Progressives were looking at a strong executive. TR is the man.

I like the discussion of the difference between TR and Wilson. Perhaps Wilson is a bit of a bridge, distrust of big government but Progressive mindset. FDR would shatter the distrust.
8115 GOP Convention time! Boy, what a mess. It certainly rings truth for 2016 and modern era when they had disputed electors, but Taft had control of the convention committees.

TR's response can be ripped from the headlines: "It is a fight against theft, the thieves will not win!" (p. 233)
Jun 13, 2016 09:55AM

8115 Jill wrote: "It it truly confusing as to how each state handles the primary process. For some unknown reason I thought everyone did it in the same manner or at least close to the same manner but it isn't even c..."

Jill: the Constitution covers how a president is elected, but not nominated. So, it has been a state-driven thing. This is why things have been different.

The Dems also changed the rules a lot over the last 40 years.
Jun 13, 2016 09:52AM

8115 Jerome: this should be a very good book. He has written one of the best on Hoover's presidency. (message 13)
Jun 13, 2016 09:51AM

8115 Power Wars: Inside Obama's Post-9/11 Presidency

Power Wars Inside Obama's Post-9/11 Presidency by Charlie Savage by Charlie SavageCharlie Savage


In Power Wars, Charlie Savage looks inside the Obama administration's national security legal and policy team in a way that no one has before. Based on exclusive interviews with more than 150 current and former officials and access to previously unreported documents, he lays bare their internal deliberations, including emotional debates over the fates of detainees held on torture-tainted evidence and acts of war that lacked congressional authorization. He tells the inside stories of how Obama came to order the killing of an American citizen, preside over an unprecedented crackdown on leaks, and keep a then-secret National Security Agency program that collected records of every American's phone calls.

Savage also pieces together the first comprehensive history of how American surveillance secretly developed over the past thirty-five years, synthesizing recent revelations and filling in gaps with new reporting. And he provides lucid explanations of legal dilemmas in a way that non-lawyers can understand. Highlighted by new information about the pivotal aftermath to the failed Christmas underwear bombing and the planning for the Osama bin Laden raid, Savage's own eyewitness reporting at Guantánamo, and detailed accounts of closed-door meetings at the highest levels of government, Power Wars equips readers to understand the legacy of Obama's presidency.
Jun 13, 2016 09:47AM

8115 APRIL
5. Black Flags The Rise of ISIS by Joby Warrick by Joby WarrickJoby Warrick
Finish Date: April 25
Genre: Middle East History
Rating: A
Review: This is a must read for anyone looking to learn more about today's Middle East struggle.
8115 Great comments all. Thank you.

Another thing that is interesting is that Progressives were looking to change the old system. They looked to a stronger president, not Congress as in the past. In the 19th century, Congress dominated.

TR seemed to inspire the Progressives to look on the president to help their causes. Then you have Taft, who seemed to prefer an older style of governance.

Wilson also appreciated a stronger executive.
8115 It is an odd promise, because it backs you into a corner as Taft realized. I'm not sure why he did it. Perhaps to keep the peace with TR? Perhaps Taft looked up to TR as a president? Make Taft's decision-making easier?
8115 Cool Jordan, thanks.

I agree, I thought Aldrich's turn around was fascinating. Maybe it was mortality talking, perhaps realizing he wanted to leave something behind in life. I wonder how much was handwriting on the wall. I couldn't judge how strong outside pressure for reform was at this time.
8115 It's a good chapter. I didn't know Madison thought the tariffs should be temporary. You have to laugh because many temporary projects turn permanent in a hurry.

Sugar is a key tariff protection. I remember visiting a few southern Florida sugar towns. It was like going back in time to coal company owned towns. It was the same, and that was only 25 years ago.
8115 Vincent wrote: "Why do population low farm states get so many subsidies for their residents?..."

It is also what committee power these farm state reps and senators have. Historically, they dominate the agriculture committees, thus giving them subsidies.

Today, you actually see reps and senators have smaller staffs than before, and so, lobbyists actually started to write the bills, rather than staffers. This is a real problem.
8115 Michael gives a great window into Nellie Taft in this chapter. It seems everyone knows who to go to, including TR. He sent her a letter about his concerns with Taft during the election.

Nellie is a great example of being a political partner, pushing William toward the White House.
8115 Robyn wrote: "it's hard for issues in congress and politics to get people's attention beyond a tweet or a sound bite. I'm not sure how we change this - but I know we need to. ..."

I think Steffens' problems about going beyond his articles that showed cases of corruption to wanting to change the system to be universal. It's one thing to write a great newspaper or magazine piece, but a whole different matter to reform.
8115 We also have to consider the time, and filibustering and speeches were very important. They had the audience. Politics was a real past-time and people flocked to the Congressional galleries. LF packed the house.

Today, we have sports, and I think it plays a role in how much harder it is to get a cause noticed.
8115 I agree Michael, writing about FDR would be a challenge. There is so much out there, including scholarly material.

I'm not worried though in whatever you write. You got a gift
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