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Coming Apart: The State of White America, 1960-2010
"Coming Apart" is quite possibly more mendacious than "The Bell Curve." It's certainly more hypocritical, and given that Murray's whole thesis is ulti...more
Feb 18, 2012
Feb 19, 2012
The Evolution of God
A one-trick pony from Wright

This book could, and should, have one of two alternative titles.

It's either "Nonzero: The Religion Primer" or "The Evoluti...more
May 28, 2009
Nov 29, 2012
In the Spirit of Crazy Horse
Free Leonard Peltier!


Well, you have to read this book, but here's a synopsis that nobody but the most diehard 1970s FBI defender can try to deny.

Feb 2006
Dec 17, 2012
The Happy Atheist
Per my status update, for any non-Gnu Atheists, skeptics, agnostics, etc., who are familiar with PZ, this book is what you'd expect. Basically, it's a...more
Sep 09, 2013
Sep 08, 2013
The First Tycoon: The Epic Life of Cornelius Vanderbilt
The Commodore comes alive

It's hard, quite hard, translating 19th century finances to today, or stature.

But, pretend that one person was a pioneer in b...more
Jun 30, 2010
Nov 26, 2012
Drift: The Unmooring of American Military Power
I'm going to be a bit contrarian and down-rate this book. (Ideally, I'd put it at 3.5 stars, maybe 3.75.)

It's good, good indeed for what it covers. Bu...more
Jul 17, 2012
Jul 23, 2012
Introducing the Ancient Greeks: From Bronze Age Seafarers to Navigators of the Western Mind
This book looked interesting on the shelves; I thought that, if nothing else, I might learn one or two things, at least, about post-Mycenean, pre-clas...more
Jul 21, 2014
Jul 21, 2014
The Frackers: The Outrageous Inside Story of the New Billionaire Wildcatters
Good technological and business review; just so-so environmentally

This book is especially valuable for people wanting to understand the technological...more
Jan 25, 2014
Jan 28, 2014
Faitheist: How An Atheist Found Common Ground With The Religious
Disclosure: I am a Facebook friend of Chris.

First, I agree with his take on Gnu Atheism. Very much so.

I also agree with the idea of trying to find co...more
Jan 27, 2013
Jan 27, 2013
Glorious Accident
Would you like to bring to life the scene of Plato's Symposium? Who would you invite in terms of "deep thinkers"?

Well, this book, which is a transcrip...more
Apr 10, 2000
Dec 24, 2012
The Rise of Rome: The Making of the World's Greatest Empire
A solid overview of Republican Rome.

Everitt, especially in looking at the early years of the republic, and the ancient authorial sources, breaks their...more
Dec 28, 2012
Dec 01, 2012
The Sleepwalkers: How Europe Went to War in 1914
Simply fantastic book about the run-up to World War I.

Things I learned include:
1. The Triple Entente, especially from the British angle, was not exclu...more
Sep 2013
Aug 27, 2013
Clouds of Glory: The Life and Legend of Robert E. Lee
A horrible, ethically challenged book that's also not that new, not that good

Korda's treatment of the Seven Days campaign is the only good think in th...more
Aug 20, 2014
Aug 20, 2014
10% Happier: How I Tamed the Voice in My Head, Reduced Stress Without Losing My Edge, and Found Self-Help That Actually Works
You can learn to meditate, or something similar, without this book, without the "franchise" that Harris seems to be creating, and without the religiou...more
Jul 25, 2014
Jul 25, 2014
The Eleventh Day: The Full Story of 9/11 and Osama bin Laden
Seeing Anthony Summers as co-author (along with his wife) made me both excited and a bit apprehensive about this new book overviewing 9/11. Summers ha...more
Mar 06, 2012
Mar 06, 2012
Giants: The Parallel Lives of Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln
Great addition to the parallel lives concept

The most thought-provoking and controversial parts are on the Lincoln side.

1. Was he really that much of,...more
Nov 2009
Nov 27, 2012
America's Unwritten Constitution: The Precedents and Principles We Live By
Good, but not nearly as good as all the fluffing reviews crack it up to be. And, it's got a couple of specific problems.

It's perhaps a 3.5 star, but,...more
Mar 09, 2013
Mar 11, 2013
The Great War for Civilisation: The Conquest of the Middle East
Very good info, but .... needs an editor for organization!

First, let me say that Fisk is a very good journalist, and it shows through in the personal...more
Aug 18, 2007
Dec 07, 2012
The Last Train to Zona Verde: My Ultimate African Safari
A solid book about some aspects of the present and future of southern Africa.

First, Theroux is a skeptic almost to the point of cynicism about First W...more
Oct 20, 2013
Oct 25, 2013
Masters of Sex: The Life and Times of William Masters and Virginia Johnson, the Couple Who Taught America How to Love
Clearly, as Thomas Maier shows, that was the case in the marriage of William Masters and Virginia Johnson. It's not just that a quasi-forcible sexual...more
Apr 08, 2010
Nov 26, 2012
Pessimism: Philosophy, Ethic, Spirit
A so-so to decent book that could have been so much better

Occasionally I'll penalize a book for having a good, even a great, concept and just not doin...more
Oct 16, 2007
Dec 07, 2012
The Victory of Reason: How Christianity Led to Freedom, Capitalism, and Western Success
When Stark can make broad-sweeping, but not very accurate statements such as "Capitalism was developed by the great monastic estates," you know to buc...more
Dec 20, 2005
Dec 18, 2012
Living with a Wild God: A Nonbeliever's Search for the Truth about Everything
Call this book review "The deep loneliness of Barbara Ehrenreich" or maybe "The Tragedy of Barbara Ehrenreich."

I wrestled with exactly how to rate thi...more
Aug 17, 2014
Aug 17, 2014
Why I am an Atheist Who Believes in God: How to Give Love, Create Beauty and Find Peace
Tosh. You're either an atheist, or a god-believer. Not both. (Not the first time I heard such mush. I once heard a Ph.D. in philosophy and self-define...more
May 30, 2014
May 30, 2014
All in the Family: The Realignment of American Democracy Since the 1960s
Solid overview of political, social and cultural realignment on some hot-button social issues from the Great Society to today, namely gay rights, femi...more
Mar 26, 2013
Mar 27, 2013
The Romanov Sisters: The Lost Lives of the Daughters of Nicholas and Alexandra
A good addition to the reading list of anyone interested in the downfall of the Romanovs.

Several tidbits I gleaned:
1. British military intelligence ma...more
Oct 19, 2014
Oct 19, 2014
The Invisible Bridge: The Fall of Nixon and the Rise of Reagan
Like with Ronald Reagan himself, there's not quite a "there" there on this book.

Rick Perlstein has trod on conservative sacred ground with this book....more
Sep 22, 2014
Sep 22, 2014
The Bible's Cutting Room Floor: The Holy Scriptures Missing From Your Bible
A decent intro to some (but not all, from a Christian perspective!) pseudepigraphal literature associated with the Jewish Tanakh and the Christian Bib...more
Oct 19, 2014
Oct 19, 2014
Jesus Outside the Gospels
It's risible, at least, that Hoffmmann can here claim that Jewish traditions about Jesus may be MORE historical than the Christian gospels (ideas reje...more
Jun 21, 2014
Jun 21, 2014
Margaret Thatcher: Power and Personality
This is a well-written book from a professional biographer who also happened to be a backbench Member of Parliament and supporter of Thatcher during h...more
Feb 24, 2014
Feb 28, 2014
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