I reaD this book to make a review. So far I can say that the book is different than I imagined. The book is an intellectual history of fascism and how...moreI reaD this book to make a review. So far I can say that the book is different than I imagined. The book is an intellectual history of fascism and how the left in the united states embraced it. Now this will be a hard sell with most people that suffered through a public school education since they are taught that fascism and Nazism are products of the far right, something I never understood since I was able to see the forms that they took and it looked old school left to me. Yet Goldberg is able to show that many of the New dealers were in awe of the Italian fascists and some even admired Hitler and his group. Yes this will not be welcomed by many who never let facts get in their way but much like the Amity Shlaes master piece on the Forgotten Man, Jonah was able to actually correct some of the misconceptions (and down right lies) of the left.
Michael Oren is one of the best Israeli historians working today. His coverage of the history of American ties to the Middle East is One of the most n...moreMichael Oren is one of the best Israeli historians working today. His coverage of the history of American ties to the Middle East is One of the most needed books of our time. As the War with Islamic terror carries on to almost a decade, Oren proves that this has been an ongoing war since before the inception of our country. All of the founders had to deal with the various Islamic extremists of their day, especially the Algerian pirates in Jefferson's day.
Looking back over the US's diplomatic missions in the region, Oren shows conclusively that we are still in conflict and that may not change anytime soon. The book is a fast read, but very well researched and highly approachable. I cannot think of a more important book on this subject. I highly recommend it.(less)
John Lennon, a fool believed by far too many, one wrote the words: “Imagine there's no countries It isn't hard to...moreDefending Identity by Natan Sharansky
John Lennon, a fool believed by far too many, one wrote the words: “Imagine there's no countries It isn't hard to do Nothing to kill or die for And no religion too Imagine all the people Living life in peace
You may say that I'm a dreamer But I'm not the only one I hope someday you'll join us And the world will be as one “
In his plea for one world dominated by a socialist monster similar to that which dwelt in the Soviet Union, Lennon's fantasy utopia was a living hell for millions of people. Countless people crushed by the Utopian visions of their neighbors to root out all differences, whether it be religions, economic or philosophical seemed to not bother Lennon nor does it bother the vapid fans that endlessly name this song as their favorite. Natan Sharansky is a survivor of that world, identity and differences were the tools that enabled him to live in the Orwellian world of the Soviets. Sharansky was an active force in the Jewish immigration movement that eventually helped cause the internal decay of the Soviet Union that allowed Reagan and Thatcher to gibe the evil empire a dying kick. As a human rights activist, he helped other identity groups to organize and gain freedom as well. Ukrainians,, the Lithuanians and Georgians, the Catholics, Pentecostals, Crimean Tatars and others eventually joined the movement for freedom. It was the power of identity that kept these groups together and allowed them the support unit to continue in their bleakest moments. Those bleak moments are spreading to Israel, as the nation has embraced post-Zionist, post-nationalism liberalism as the main belief. Defending Identity is Sharansky's plea for the world to wake up to the harms of destroying our selves to capture Utopia. Written with humor, wit and vast intelligence, this book should shake you to to your core. Why are we rushing to eliminate our people-hood, and believe me, it is not just Israel that is experiencing this problem. In the United States, there are people that do not see the need for English as a common language, do not see the reasoning behind limiting the vote to non-felon legal citizens, do not see the need for border security nor do they even believe in the traditional melting-pot theory of the United States. Far too many people wish to emulate a dying Europe and refuse to see the need for the United States. The same is of course true throughout the world, whether it is the people in South Korea that want to unite under their Northern Brothers who live in a Concentration camp, those in the Republic of China that want to join Red-China under marshal law, those in Israel that want peace at the ultimate cost, all of these people are losing their identities. The lose of identity will proceed the loss of freedom. In Israel, as the nation is fighting a war for existence, there are those in leadership willing to sacrifice anything to appease the enemy at their door. Whether it be Barack offering all of Jerusalem, or Olmert offering all of Judea and Samaria, or Education ministers that wish to ignore the holocaust because it may lead to nationalistic stirrings in the youth, Sharansky's book should be required reading. This is a book that all should read, as was his books The Case for Democracy and Fear No Evil. Sharansky is a master at the craft of political writing and the warmth and humor found in his books help to dull the pain that he uncovers.This is a book that all should read, as was his books The Case for Democracy and Fear No Evil. Sharansky is a master at the craft of political writing and the warmth and humor found in his books help to dull the pain that he uncovers. (less)
A Magnificent Catastrophe: The Tumultuous Election of 1800, America's First Presidential Campaign
Edward Larson has followed up his Pulitzer Prize win...moreA Magnificent Catastrophe: The Tumultuous Election of 1800, America's First Presidential Campaign
Edward Larson has followed up his Pulitzer Prize winning The Summer of the Gods, with a timely look at the first contested election in the United States history. Filled with rich detail and vigor, the book shows that our elections have always been poisonous affairs that can destroy friendships and families. The book is a perfect fit for our current election cycle. The book chronicles the first partisan election and how the party system came to be. Whether it is the wheeling dealing of Aaron Burr or the sabotage of Adams by Hamilton, the stories stand out for how closely they mirror current events. The death of the original intents of the framers in electing the Chief executive is plainly shown, as is the flavor of later day contests. This book is an enjoyable history of political events. Yet, as I read this book some thing kept popping up in my thoughts that I could not contain. John McCain can be seen as a current day John Adams. Not the John Adams that we now know, but the Adams as seen at the time. As the book clearly shows, Adams was a candidate for a party that did not support him as is McCain. Just as McCain’s support of the Patriot Act is causing conniptions in the media, Adams had the Alien and Sedition Acts that caused media eruptions. McCain is known for his violent temper and his raging rhetoric when angered, as was Adams. This does not mean that Obama is Jefferson, though. There is no correlation available. As the time is ripe for Veep picks, let us see if the candidates follow the pattern set from the book. Obama would need to chose a toady that can shore up the southern vote (Edwars current troubles leave him on the bench) and McCain will need to pick a party beloved or respected by the Party faithful. We are waiting… (less)
It is true that humanity is obsessed with death and crime. If there is a story that can connect the two there will be an audience for that story. We...more It is true that humanity is obsessed with death and crime. If there is a story that can connect the two there will be an audience for that story. We are all curious with Jack the Ripper, Dr. Crippen and Charles Manson. Leopold and Loeb is a pair that also catches the interest of the public some 90 years after their vile crime. It seems that the unknown motive is what haunts society and continues to fascinate people to this day. So Simon Baatz has written a new and engaging account of the case just published by Harpers.
Two mal-adjusted students at the University of Chicago meet and plan a perfect crime, the death of a school-boy. They believe that they are so smart that they can commit the perfect crime and elude justice. Though not deemed mentally psychotic, these boys were simply lacking the emotional skills needed to be a part of society. Both were from wealthy families, they both entered University at young ages (14 & 15) and both were better than average in physical attractiveness, these boys had the world in their hands and instead chose to murder a cousin of Loeb’s.
The story comes to life in this well-written and researched book. Baatz brings color to the Jazz-Age Chicago that is going through prohibition and the people that make up that city. Clarence Darrow jumps out of the book as the lawyer hired to get the two murderers off. The city becomes another character with the tale of corruption, boot-legging and political chicanery that develops behind the scenes of the case. The homosexuality of the two became a strange part of the case and for Loeb, his time in prison. It led to his murder in prison after his sexual advances were sent to the wrong inmate. Leopold was released after 34 years and seemed contrite.
This book still does not offer the elusive motive, other than murder for murder’s sake. Yet, that might be all that we will be able to know about this case. The book is a fine addition to the genre of true crime books, I highly recommend it.(less)
Put on a Happy Face by Charles Strouse, digitally charming memoir about a life on Broadway. Strouse was the composer of many of the songs found in Bro...morePut on a Happy Face by Charles Strouse, digitally charming memoir about a life on Broadway. Strouse was the composer of many of the songs found in Broadway’s Annie and bye-bye Birdie. Strouse grew up in New York in a seemingly well-to-do Jewish family that seem to have many problems. Born during the Depression, Strouse took many of the hardships that came with life and turned them into musicals. It recounts a story in a hard to put down memoir.
Put on a Happy Face is a very enticing collection of reminiscents of life in Broadway. The book recounts the makings of many plays from the financing to the casting. The writing of the musicals took up a lot of the plot of the book. He has charming tales of his collaborations with various other artists, from discovering Dick Van Dyke to finding and casting Sarah Jessica Parker as one of the original Annie’s during original Broadway run. There is an in-depth look at working with Sammy Davis Jr. and a night meeting the Rat Pack. Through it all Strouse maintains a warm and witty recollection of his life in musicals.
Put on a happy face is not only a charming song, but it’s very charming book. I found that my the interest in musical theater was greatly improved by reading these accounts. I had a hard time putting down the book, it was so vivid and realistic. There should be more works of this level. Far too many autobiographies are caught up in making the protagonist seem like a hero. Strouse avoids that by coming off as an honest-to-goodness real person and you cannot help but like him and his book. If you are a fan of musical theater this book is a must read. (less)
Bernard-Henri Lévy has written his account of being a leftist that is struggling with the left in these h...moreThe Left in Dark Times by Bernard-Henri Lévy
Bernard-Henri Lévy has written his account of being a leftist that is struggling with the left in these heady times. The book begins with a recounting of a phone call between BHL and Sarkozy, the future President of France. Sarkozy wants an endorsement from BHL, an old friend even though they are foes in the realm of ideas. BHL refuses, believing that the Left is his family, yet the seed of doubt grows as he looks to see just what the left believes now. BH (as he is known commonly in France) has written what may be his first book on the path of leaving the left. In the United States there are so many books about the migration from the left that a new genre was born. One of the most famous examples was Radical Son by David Horowitz. There seems to be a similar move afoot in Europe, as the decadent left has been lost since the collapse of the Soviet Union twenty years ago. The modern left has replaced the old beliefs of unity, equality and fraternity for a life of hatred – mostly against the Jews, American and Western Civilization. Israel receives too much scorn from the international left, yet they are silence in the face of too many crimes against humanity. There is no leftist outcry against radical Islam, there is no real look at the havoc and harmed wrecked upon the poor and downtrodden by the very policies that the left champions. These are the issues that are giving the author a second thought about his “family” The book itself is not the best written, as it rambles in place and lacks a seriousness of his other books. I believe that is caused by the raw emotions that BHL is dealing with as he starts the intellectual disentanglement to the European left. He may not become a Norman Podhoretz; he may just become a Christopher Hitchens who is without a definable location on the politic spectrum. Either way, BHL has written a book that ultimately addresses his inner trauma with the current state of France and the world of ideas. Is a perfect summation of the modern international left one where there is no real thought or introspection about the world in which they seek to create? No one looks at the treatment on minorities or women or homosexuals, only the United States and Israel are to be faulted by the left. Why are there not more questions being asked about the subjugation of people in China or Cuba? The Left in Dark Times is a more serious book than it seems. If a stalwart of the French left can wake up, can a movement not be too far behind? There is a dangerous world that surrounds all of us, yet far too many take comfort in the coverings placed before our eyes. This is one book that has started the action of removing those coverings. (less)
I will admit that I was a bit hesitant at first with this book. It seems there has been quite a few books come to my desk that are a bit brutal about...more I will admit that I was a bit hesitant at first with this book. It seems there has been quite a few books come to my desk that are a bit brutal about the South in particular and the US in general. I was half expecting this to be another of the countless books that wish to heap blame on the south and want to further stir racial resentments for the author’s economic gain. I am so pleased to say that I did not find that to be the case with this book. Rather, I found a very interesting story that needed to be told, something that is never mentioned in schools or by our grandparents.
After the War of Northern Aggression, a defeated South was further victimized by the Carpet baggers that sought complete humiliation of the defeated. These people looked to entirely recreate the social order. Whites were no longer to be alone at the top. With the right to vote and loans ensuring their ability to buy land, former slaves were advancing further than many thought possible. Yet, that came to a screeching halt even before the end of Reconstruction. The old South’s ways would not go so easily. The White’s started using the power of contracts to reclaim their former slaves. Offering extremely unfair contracts that reasserted the old hierarchy, the South was able to impede the rise of the African Americans.
Slavery by Another Name is a tragic tale of the enforce slavery of African-Americans through the legal system. It seems that Blacks were arrested for the pettiest of crimes and then given outrageous sentences. The counties and states then leased the prisoners to industry that worked these people to death in some cases. The book follows one family and shows just how much was changed from the civil war to World War II. Prisoners were used to created foundries and to mine iron in Alabama. They were used on the railroads and other public works projects.
Slavery By Another Name should be required reading for everyone, showing the evil aspects of a government that does not value the freedom of the individual and the ultimate tragedy in an obtrusive government that is aided by the segments that benefit from the behemoth government.(less)
Also labeled The Further Adventures of the Shadow Drivers, this is the next book based on the diving adventures of John Chatterton and Richie Kohler,...more Also labeled The Further Adventures of the Shadow Drivers, this is the next book based on the diving adventures of John Chatterton and Richie Kohler, this time looking for clues as to why the Titanic actually sank.
There has never been a ship that has sparked the imagination of so many as White Star’s Titanic. The famed luxury liner was claimed to be unsinkable, but did sink on her very first voyage, causing a huge loss of life to the passengers and crew. Throughout the decades there have been numerous books and movies about the sinking, with the most recent film a teenage-girl’s soap opera staring a boyish Leo Dicaprio teaching the “love” of his short life how to spit…Either way, the world has been interested and an industry was born.
The divers learn that there may be unexamined clues as to the cause of the sinking, so they chartered a Russian boat with deep sea submarines and go to Titanic, finding the very clues that will change all that is known about the final moments of the disaster ship. Looking at design flaws and survivor testimony pitted against the actual wreckage that can now be examined, we have a more definitive idea as to what really occurred.
Brad Matsen has written a riveting book that flows like the waves of the sea. I actually wanted to go on a dive myself after reading the adventure. The story is told in a very approachable and exciting way, not the boring documentaries of the past, but fresh and light. This is a must read for anyone interested in the Titanic or for even people like me that never really had an interested per se, but loves a real life mystery.(less)
The Burns archives is well known for its extensive collection of crime related photographs and this book is a collection of some of the best or at l...more
The Burns archives is well known for its extensive collection of crime related photographs and this book is a collection of some of the best or at least most interesting. Photographs that cover crimes, arrest and execution bound in one coffee table sized book for the serious collector and or student of historic forensic photography. Powerhouse Books has released this volume to the public.
The book has a grisly cover, a photo of a murdered family. The cover lets you know that this will not be the most comfortable book to read. As a child of a police officer (now retired), I was always interested in forensic photography, to the extent that it was what first motivated me to pick up a camera. The photos within point to why it takes a special breed of person to do the job, something that I decided against doing myself.
Some of the great finds in the book are photos of Bonnie and Clyde, Pretty Boy Floyd and John Dillenger. Distressing photos of executions and a man tarred and feathered show the effects of punishment, others are photos of lynchings and the people that carried them out.
This is not a book for the faint of heart, but it is an important look at the things that society wants to forget or ignore. For that reason alone I would encourage the purchase of this book.(less)
James Kalb is a lawyer and independent scholar who has written a rich and complex work on modern liberalism....more The Tyranny of Liberalism by James Kalb
James Kalb is a lawyer and independent scholar who has written a rich and complex work on modern liberalism. As we all know, liberals use to stand for liberty and freedom, but with the overall success of their ideas, they have instead followed a quasi-French Revolution over-reach where they have now become reactionary and quite illiberal. The Tyranny of Liberalism helps explains just why that is so. Arguing that the outcome of liberal efforts have led us to a place where, thanks to political correctness, we can no longer have an open and free exchange of ideas. This is caused by the genuine fear of reproach and consequences of an honest exchange of ideas and opinion. To call that liberty or freedom does violence to those ideals. The power of liberalism has become invisible due to its overall dominance in modern society. Yet, we all know of the self-censorship that we do on a daily basis, not out of politeness, but out of the fear that has been engendered by the left. One of the problems with modern liberalism is that it denies basic facts of human nature, tendencies and differences between the sexes, all for the supposed good of different victim groups. Though little thought is paid to the long-term damage of paternalization on society and individuals. Kalb does a great job of explaining the pitfalls that have hampered society due to the rise and acceptance of these beliefs. The Tyranny of Liberalism is not a broadside against the left, as much as it is a theory of our intellectual decline. It shares much of the vision of Theodore Dalrymple without the overall pleasantness of the latter’s work. This is a book that should be studied and debated, but it will not be due to the very issues that the book deals with.
Why is most of the world now mono-theistic? Was the advent truly something from the Jews, or was it simply a natural out growth of prevailing current...moreWhy is most of the world now mono-theistic? Was the advent truly something from the Jews, or was it simply a natural out growth of prevailing current ideals during the birth time of the philosophy? These are the questions that are asked in the book, The Evolution of God by Robert Wright.
Before reading the book, I thought this was going to be another attack on religion in the vain of Hitchens or Dawkins. After reading the book, I think that might be a tad much but it is still in the ball park. The book looks at the differences of religion from the founding documents or ideas, questions such as why Jesus is different in the gospels or why there are contradictory creation stories in the Jewish bible.
While I must confess to being interested in the theories, I can easily tell that this will not be a book on the Christian reading list. There is just too much that runs counter to their beliefs in this book. The idea that the idea of G-d has evolved will come something new to many believers and this book will be lumped in with those anti-Religious books that have recently become so popular with publishers (it remains to be seen just how popular they are with the book buying public).
This book will do well in a Religious studies course in Universities across the land. The idea of the evolving changes towards belief is nothing new; it is just provocative to many. Yet, there is truth …(less)
I remember when I first learned of the Honor Bound series by W.E.B. Griffin. My family was on a road trip to Ohio and we stopped at a Cracker Barrel r...moreI remember when I first learned of the Honor Bound series by W.E.B. Griffin. My family was on a road trip to Ohio and we stopped at a Cracker Barrel restaurant for dinner. I found the rental kiosk and discovered what seemed to be an interesting WWII book on tape that deal with the OSS in South America. We rented the tape and put it in the deck when we started back on the road. The reader of the book about put us all to sleep, my dad ejected the tape and turned the radio back on to some dreadful country music and I could not wait to return the tapes at the next stop. A year or so later, I found a used hardback copy of the book on sale. I was still interested, and decided that it was worth the 25 cents. I read the book from cover to cover in a day, never being so excited by a book in the genre as I was with the adventures of Clete Frade and the OSS in Argentina. I was very excited to find that a sequel was due out and put my name on a reserved list at the local bookstore. That book was just as exciting as the first, but then the problems appeared. Griffin writes so many series of action books, he neglects this series for years at a time. There was a three year gap between each of the first three books. The last book, Death and Honor did not appear for nine years, a lifetime in the book world. I had almost given up on the Honor Bound series, as I believed the author had done the same. I was at the local library last week and saw the book on the shelf, with a name like Death and Honor, I suspected that it was a new entry in the coveted series. I was not to be disappointed. It was the magical fourth entry that we have waited all these many years to read. I found myself falling right back into the vivid world of Griffin’s Argentina, so called neutral but axis leaning. The main characters were easily remembered, but I must admit that many of the minor ones were long forgotten. Yet, it mattered little as the action and adventure filled in the memory gap brought about by a near decade neglect of the series. I do hope that there will not be such a long gap from now on. As far as the plot, it remains the same as the previous entries in the series. Clete, as the son and heir to an Argentine Colonel, is on assignment for the OSS. Yet, as heir he starts to blend his need of family ties and responsibilities with those of the United States. The action of this book is mainly in the setting up of an airline requested by Roosevelt as well as the Nazis search for the traitor in their embassy. Another fine and well written adventure, let us hope the next installment is on the way.(less)