Clever writing, great hook, fascinating premise - lousy follow-through.
The beginning is very strong - and I had high hopes that this book would have t...moreClever writing, great hook, fascinating premise - lousy follow-through.
The beginning is very strong - and I had high hopes that this book would have the staying power of Jennifer Government. It didn't.
It has interesting characters and some entertaining twists - but there's the sense that some story arcs were just abandoned in the interest of saving the author more work.
For example: The book's title comes from the novel idea that in the future people form tribes based on their chosen time zone. It's a neat idea - but it vanishes midway through the book. We are introduced to the main character who explains the this concept and his place in it - and then it pretty much never affects his life again.
Engaging writing and quirky characters make this book tasty bubble gum - but its well short of a meal.(less)
What's not to like? A humerous dystopia, surprisingly deep characters, political satire and a first rate plot.
It's the near future and surnames have been replaced by corporate allegiances. Thus: Jennifer Government works for the Feds. She's after the ruthless John Nike (no, the other John Nike) who's come up with a sure fire way to market his new sneaker line - drive up demand to the point where people are willing to kill for them, and then- well...
It could easily have become a nihilistic shoot 'em up, but Barry keeps the characters human - maintains a moral center, and keeps you smiling with the satire throughout. There are some quality moments with sacrifice and redemption - but it never bogs down into any kind of lecture.
You could shorten the title to simply "incorrect."
Usually the words politically incorrect announce someone who is proud of having gone against the gra...moreYou could shorten the title to simply "incorrect."
Usually the words politically incorrect announce someone who is proud of having gone against the grain. Thomas E. Woods is here to show us that a person can be unusually proud of committing all the sins he purports to denounce.
Woods' aim is to correct the cherished myths of American History that are advanced (without evidence!) by Liberals/Political correctness/people who disagree with Woods. The problem is in order to do this, Woods does exactly the same thing.
If you're going to point out the inadequacies of the established historical narrative, you might want to put some time in research. Woods' bizarre characterization of the Civil War as a justifiable assertion of States rights to nullify Federal law is Exhibit A.
Any treatment of the Civil War that sidesteps or dismisses (as Woods does) the topic of slavery is so clearly ignorant of the facts as to be a farce. You could argue that there was a State's rights dispute - but the chief right the southern states wanted was the right to own people. Don't believe me? Okay, but you'd have to ignore the Mississippi, South Carolina, Georgia, and Texasdeclarations of Secession - for starters. It would be fair to argue that there were more issues than slavery but to dismiss it?! No serious scholar could do that.
Woods might be tired of slavery dwarfing all other discussions but that does not give him license to artificially add weight to factors he's more interested in.
If this was the only misstep in Woods' book, it would be fatally flawed. Sadly, there are many more.
To be true in Woods' eyes all a theory needs is to be out of favor with the people he dislikes. There are certainly sacred cows in academia and theories that have gaps, inaccuracies or out and out fraud (J. Ellis, I'm looking at you...) but Woods doesn't bother to tear these down with facts. He's sure he's right - and so he just screams out his message - adding volume instead of clarity.
In denouncing the cherished myths of academia he creates his own mythology. Those who embrace that mythology may enjoy the book, but they will have learned nothing.(less)
A drug addict's journey through war in the Balklans.
Anthony Loyd's stint as a photojournalist in the former Yugoslavia exposed him to some geniune hor...moreA drug addict's journey through war in the Balklans.
Anthony Loyd's stint as a photojournalist in the former Yugoslavia exposed him to some geniune horrors.
Being a journalist - he tells you all about them to the point where you wish he'd stop. The cruelty of the Balklan war is unrelenting and Loyd spares no imagery in showing you how bad it can get.
This is a book to snap you out of any illusions you have about what you see in the news. Loyd illustrates that savagery can be witnessed - even photographed - but since there is no commercial market for the true horrors of war, the story is never told.
Few people will pick this book up interested in the life on Anthony Loyd, yet he goes on and on about his relationships and bouts with addiction.
His personal side trips aside, Loyd is an accomplished storyteller and his war stories are certainly worth telling.(less)
Bowden tells a complex story with admirable restraint...until the epilogue.
Bowden's surprisingly even handed treatment of the Iranian Hostage crisis h...moreBowden tells a complex story with admirable restraint...until the epilogue.
Bowden's surprisingly even handed treatment of the Iranian Hostage crisis has a lot to recommend it. A crisis that spans over 400 days has ups and downs. Bowden devotes equal attention to both the shocking and the mundane.
Unlike his other books - the narrative does not have lot of gunplay. When they weren't struggling against their guards, the Hostages main adversaries were boredom and each other.
Bowden doesn't shy away from this fact - some hostages were not fond of each other. Each dealt with the situation in their own way. Some vowed to escape, and tormented their captors at every turn, some cooperated in the hope of getting better treatment.
Pres. Carter is portrayed in a very sympathetic light. Bowden describes an angry President who has no good options. The chaotic state of Iran's government frustrates numerous diplomatic avenues - and Carter is heaped with blame for doing "nothing."
Pressed to direct action, Carter's only rescue option is an elaborate house-of-cards. It is thwarted by a cascade of limitations and failings which culminate in the debacle of Desert One.
Bowden does a fair job of marching through the chronology. Given the number of hostages, it is difficult to keep them all straight - but the end result is well detailed account of the hostages shared experience. Terror, friendship, enmity and despair - Bowden shows you what it was like. He does so with a restraint that is not like his other books. Events are frequently described from the hostages differing perspectives, allowing the reader to drawn their own inferences. Understated and informative.
After the hostage's narrative ends, an epilogue begins that is such a jarring departure you wonder if Bowden's couldn't bite back his commentary any longer.
Bowden details his trips to Iran, and makes all the sweeping pronouncements about Iran that he'd previously avoided. Having done so well for so long - it's very disappointing to see Bowden stand on his soapbox at the very end.
Had he confined the epilogue to the current state of Iranian/American affairs - and the fate of those involved in the hostage crisis - this would have been a much better book.
The chronology of events will age well, but Bowden's ranting sounds dated even now.(less)
A lot has been written on the subject of Pres. Kennedy's death - and far too much of it has taken the for...moreAn absolute must read for the skeptical mind.
A lot has been written on the subject of Pres. Kennedy's death - and far too much of it has taken the format of reading the Warren Commission looking for language that justifies the author's pet theory.
Posner turns this model on its head and goes after the theories that claim a conspiracy (vast or otherwise) was the the death of JFK. Many of these theories have been quoted so often for so long that their questionable origin escapes scrutiny.
Posner takes conspiratorial sacred cows like the "magic bullet" and basically beats them senseless.
Moreover, and more importantly - Posner follows the life of Lee Harvey Oswald in exhaustive detail. In his estimation, Oswald's pathetic existence is not one destined to be a man of mystery, a CIA spy, or even a pasty.
Whatever your take on the assassination of JFK, experiencing the counterpoints to the conspiracies will add a great deal to your understanding of what really happened in Dealy Plaza.(less)