I am a big fan of Jack London, which is why it is so difficult for me to admit that I really didn't like this book. But since London has provided me m...moreI am a big fan of Jack London, which is why it is so difficult for me to admit that I really didn't like this book. But since London has provided me many hours of entertainment, I will start off with a positive. London displays an intimate knowledge of Marxist thought and articulates complex concepts into laymans terms. He, of course, was a socialist, and would have made an excellent propogandist for the socialist cause.
The book is really divided into two sections. The first section, which takes up the vast majority of the book, are a number of conversations taken up by the main character against defenders of capitalism and uses these scenarios to spout socialist tenants and their superiority. The second half is taken up by the resistance to the fascist government. Neither section of the book is particularly entertaining, much of it is tedious, and almost all of it is boorish.
This book is essentially a 200 page lecture on the evils of capitalism. I read it because, as a fan of London's, I felt it was a duty to read a book that gave something of an outline of his political beliefs. I am glad I read the book, but if I didn't admire the author so I probably would have stopped reading at some point. This is neither at par with London's other works nor a work that should be considered required reading by any body, anywhere, other than leftists looking for someone to idolize.(less)
This is an excellent biography of Lincoln and his major rivals for the 1860 Republican presidential nomination. Goodwin does a fine job of outlining t...moreThis is an excellent biography of Lincoln and his major rivals for the 1860 Republican presidential nomination. Goodwin does a fine job of outlining the complex politics of the 1850s, the various factions that competed for power, and political leaders. However, the book suffers from a great logical fallacy. Goodwin's line of argument is essentially; Lincoln made wise decisions, Lincoln decided to pack his cabinet with his former rivals, therefore it was wise to pack his cabinet with former rivals. Goodwin makes a mistake by suggesting that Lincoln was able to unite the fragile coalition of Old Line Whigs,unionists, abolitionists, and tariff men that made up the Republican Party simply by appointing, and thereby placating, the leaders of those various factions to powerful positions. By appointing men who tried to usurp the powers of the presidency, Lincoln could have naively provoked a powerless and ineffectual executive branch which may very well have doomed the nation he intended to save. It was Lincoln's perseverance and unique leadership that inspired loyalty to him, not how he chose to dispense the spoils of electoral victory. (less)
As everyone knows David McCullough is an excellent writer. He is entertaining and provides a lot of great insights. It is so evident, however, that Mc...moreAs everyone knows David McCullough is an excellent writer. He is entertaining and provides a lot of great insights. It is so evident, however, that McCullough so admires Adams that you get a very rose colored view of his life and work. At no point in this book is there any real criticism. A good and entertaining book, but you'd have to read more on Adams to get a real assessment of him and his contribution to the revolutionary era. (less)
I don't know why Michael Barone wrote this book. Scratch that. I mean to say, I don't know how Michael Barone can claim credit for writing this book....moreI don't know why Michael Barone wrote this book. Scratch that. I mean to say, I don't know how Michael Barone can claim credit for writing this book. Every page, literally every page, cites another historian's take on this historic issue. This is a very interesting event and Barone (read several other historians that are cited in this book) makes a strong case that the English Civil War led directly to the cause and ideology of the American Revolution. The only problem is this book is incredibly unsophisticated and goes off on tangents several times. This is essentially a B+ college term paper and really can't be considered an original piece of reseach. I would recommend reading on the subject but not this book.(less)