Not that that sonofabitch W would ever be sent to trial, but famed prosecutor Vincent Bugliosi presents a compelling argument for bringing murder char...moreNot that that sonofabitch W would ever be sent to trial, but famed prosecutor Vincent Bugliosi presents a compelling argument for bringing murder charges against George W. Bush.
Bugliosi steers clear (at times) from partisan rhetoric, and presents ample evidence for bringing about charges of murder against Bush in a criminal setting. Though there's a lot of data and documentation to sift through, Bugliosi's case is compelling. Even if it's about as likely as you and I becoming billionaires. (less)
Right off the bat, I will state that "Columbine" is one of the most riveting, fascinating, heartbreaking and revolting works of non-fiction you will e...moreRight off the bat, I will state that "Columbine" is one of the most riveting, fascinating, heartbreaking and revolting works of non-fiction you will ever read.
What sets "Columbine" apart from all of the investigative reporting done during the aftermath of perhaps the most notorious school shooting in US history is Dave Cullen's skillful ability to cut through the mythology and hysteria surrounding the entire event. Many of the myths that were accepted as "fact" - that Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold were bullied loners who sought revenge against the jocks and the elites of Columbine - are irrevocably shattered. Utilizing countless pages and hours of testimony from survivors and others directly involved in the school shooting, including the infamous "Basement Tapes" recorded by Harris and Klebold just days before their rampage, Cullen paints in vivid detail the story of how an idyllic suburb suddenly became a buzzword for everything that was bad about everything; high school, parents, gun control, religion, etc.
Cullen smartly deflects the blame cast on Harris and Klebold's parents. If anything, the journals those two kept demonstrate teenagers have a tremendous capacity to mask their true feelings in the face of authority. In Eric Harris' case, he masked a case of classic textbook psychopathy; no amount of intervention or psychological evaluation could have revealed both his lack of empathy towards others and his massive superiority complex, both which led him to eventually conclude that he was indeed like a God, ready to enact his wrath on a world he deemed too stupid and lazy to live. Klebold, on the other hand, was, on the surface, just melancholy, but hid suicidal thoughts and tendencies, and saw his own death as the only way of truly achieving any peace and tranquility in his life. Apart, the deadly rampage at Columbine may never have taken place; together, with Harris' cold-blooded planning and Klebold's eagerness, Columbine became all but inevitable.
There is blame to be cast, and the villain0 of this story is the Jefferson County Sheriff's Department. Their incompetence during the shooting and after inadvertently gave rise to much of the hostility and mythology that took place during the aftermath of the shooting.
Regardless of all the details, Dave Cullen, on every page, painted a masterful image of the human tragedy that was Columbine. We became riveted with what Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold unleashed upon Columbine on April 20, 1999; Cullen reminds us that it's the "who" and the "why" of this event that gave it the gravity it deserved.
"Columbine" is recommended ready for everyone. Everyone.(less)
In his book, Triumph of the City: How Our Greatest Invention Makes Us Richer, Smarter, Greener, Healthier, and Happier, Edward Glaeser, Professor of E...moreIn his book, Triumph of the City: How Our Greatest Invention Makes Us Richer, Smarter, Greener, Healthier, and Happier, Edward Glaeser, Professor of Economics at Harvard University, eloquently and emphatically states the case for the singular importance of the city in our evolution. At times provocative and insightful, Glaeser shatters the myths perpetuated by centuries of anti-urban bias; without cities, booms in industry, technology, and finance would never have been made possible; cities are actually more ecologically sound that suburbs or exerbs; higher rates of poverty mean cities are actually working as places where rural poor flock to in search of better lives and opportunities. As an urbanite, I'm already inclined to agree with Professor Glaeser's analysis; his thoughtful, elegantly researched book validates my inclinations.
A fun read, yet also a serious read, one that will shatter all misconceptions about urban living, and will introduce you to fresher perspectives. You may not agree with all of Professor Glaeser's conclusions - personally, I think he sidesteps the issue of urban crime a bit too much for my taste - but you will agree that a fresher approach to embracing urban life, its' people, and its tendencies towards innovation, are the keys to past and future successes.
In Hunter S. Thompson, Rolling Stone magazine found a voice that legitimized the periodical from its' earliest musical journal trappings. In Rolling S...moreIn Hunter S. Thompson, Rolling Stone magazine found a voice that legitimized the periodical from its' earliest musical journal trappings. In Rolling Stone, Hunter S. Thompson found himself the perfect home from which to fire off breathtaking, foul-mouthed, drug-fueled, and superbly crafted missives against the political and social monsters slowly destroying the American Dream he still believed in. Clearly, the magazine and writer found kindred spirits within one another, forging a mutually beneficial, if often times toxic and irritating, relationship that lasted until the Good Doctor decided Football Season Was Over, and made mouth love to his beloved .357 Magnum.
This collection of HST's works published by Rolling Stone rank as some of the most essential reads of Thompson's illustrious and misbegotten career. Nearly 1/3rd of this collection is dedicated to the stories he wrote while covering the 1972 Presidential campaign, which were later chronicled in the now-legendary Fear and Loathing: On the Campaign Trail 1972. That work is a must-read for anyone interested in the barbaric and incestuous orgy of clumsiness and deceit that is a Presidential campaign.
Later chapters don't seem to have quite the zest that Thompson's earlier missives have, but no matter. Thompson on a bad day was better than 99% of the writers that slavishly came in his wake. There will ever be only one Dr. Hunter S. Thompson.
Long may you live, Dr. Thompson. We miss you like fucking crazy. (less)