This book addresses a hugely significant event in American political and judicial history. Bugliosi wrote an article, "None Dare Call It Treason," aboThis book addresses a hugely significant event in American political and judicial history. Bugliosi wrote an article, "None Dare Call It Treason," about it for The Nation, published on February 5, 2001. The article "drew the largest outpouring of letters and email in the magazine's 136-year history." The editors asked Bugliosi to expand upon the article, and the result is this book.
The book contains the original article, "amplifications" (endnotes) to the article, a summary of the legal proceedings, and amplifications to the summary. About 150 pages altogether.
I love the way the endnotes have footnotes. DFW would be proud.
What I didn't love was Bugliosi's tone. His bellicosity and vitriol diminished his credibility. He calls himself a moderate, but has only scathing things to say about Bush supporters, calling them "human mutants," "barons of buffoonery, sultans of silliness, (and) dukes of duncery." He writes, "It is unlikely that the collective IQ of these people was higher than room temperature."
I wish he had written a more straightforward analysis of the stealing of the presidency by the Supreme Court. It might have been drier, even perhaps more boring, but still could have been a valuable, important book. I read almost all of it, but just couldn't get through the last bit....more
I picked this up because the title resonated with my beliefs about American voters (this is called confirmation bias). I was surprised to find that coI picked this up because the title resonated with my beliefs about American voters (this is called confirmation bias). I was surprised to find that confirmation bias is not one of the ways in which Shenkman thinks we're stupid.
He outlines five ways in which he thinks we're stupid (and by we, I don't mean to imply that he's talking down to other people; he's talking about all of us). First, there's gross ignorance. Second, negligence: the disinclination to seek reliable sources of information. Third, wooden-headedness: The inclination to believe what we want to believe, regardless of the facts. Then shortsightedness, and finally bone-headedness: susceptibility to meaningless phrases, stereotypes, irrational biases, and simplistic diagnoses and solutions that play on our hopes and fears.
His argument rings true, and is also fairly depressing. He notes, "Anybody can have an opinion about killer whales or a president's sex life. But it takes knowledge and reflection to reach a considered opinion about the budget deficit or national security. Result: we largely skip theses subjects, focusing as a nation on ephemera instead."
He suggests that an antidote is to increase the amount of time spent on politics and civics in both high school and college. Seems highly unlikely to me.
I'll close with a quote from Adlai Stevenson, who initially resisted running television ads. "I don't think the American people want politics and the presidency to become the plaything of the high-pressure men, of the ghostwriters, of the public relations men. I think they will be shocked by such contempt for the intelligence of the American people. This isn't soap opera, this isn't Ivory Soap versus Palmolive."
I adore Bill Moyers. I think he's a wonderful interviewer, a clear thinker, and a bit of a renaissance man. His politics also jibe with mine, so I supI adore Bill Moyers. I think he's a wonderful interviewer, a clear thinker, and a bit of a renaissance man. His politics also jibe with mine, so I suppose it's to be expected that I would like this book.
Yet this is the book that caused my doctor to tell me to read more fiction. Actually she told me to keep some Harlequin Romances on my nightstand to read when I'm awake and staring at the ceiling at 2:37 a.m. I told her my eyeballs would bleed if I read those.
This book was not relaxing. There were certainly some pieces that were lovely, like his eulogy for Barbara Jordan, but many addressed some very outrage-inducing political and economic issues. I couldn't quite finish it before it was recalled to the library, but I look forward to owning a copy that I can read more leisurely, with enough time between pieces to calm down a bit....more
Frank makes some good points, but I wish it were a little bit more well-documented and a bit less sardonic.
I've not yet read What's the Matter With Kansas?: How Conservatives Won the Heart of America, but have read several reviews that mention his incredulity at Kansans' credulity. That same sense of "can you believe these idiots?" runs through this book, as well. That, along with the repeated attacks on Glenn Beck (deserving though they may be), cause this book to veer a bit too much (IMO) toward the personal rant rather than rational analysis.
Which isn't to say that outrage and ranting isn't called for. It definitely is, and Frank even points out the folly in Democrats' continued reliance on reason in the face of heated, emotionally charged protests by Tea Partiers. But if he's going to preach to the choir, and the choir speaks the language of reason rather than emotion, shouldn't his call to action use that language?
To be fair, he doesn't have much of a call to action. The book mostly left me feeling pretty depressed in that regard. And he hasn't tried to produce something other than a sardonic look at the Tea Party. I just wish that he had....more
So clear-cut and readable. Reich's core argument is that the middle class can no longer get ahead; wages are (and have been for far too long) stagnantSo clear-cut and readable. Reich's core argument is that the middle class can no longer get ahead; wages are (and have been for far too long) stagnant, unemployment is rising, and our debt load is crushing. There's therefore no incentive for what conservatives are currently calling "the job creators" to invest in ramping up production; we can't afford to buy the goods and services that would become available. He argues that the economy cannot grow until the middle class is able to increase their purchasing power. And if the economy starts to grow, even with higher tax rates on the top 1% they would come out ahead.
In the 25 years since this book was published, I've read it three times. This is the first time I've felt anything other than outrage, and have been aIn the 25 years since this book was published, I've read it three times. This is the first time I've felt anything other than outrage, and have been able to notice the writing. Certainly I felt outrage as well this time, along with horror, anger, rage, etc. It's hard not to. The AIDS epidemic, as a public health, scientific, and political issue, was mishandled in every way possible, and there's much we can learn from that morass. Now that we've made some advances in all of those areas, I found it a bit easier to notice the writing, which I'll review here. This is not to minimize the content - if I were focusing on the content the review would read, "This is important. Read it."
Shilts is obviously a good writer. He was a reporter for many years, and wrote several books. In this book he took on a lot - it's an immense book, and it must have been extremely challenging to marshal all of the information. As a result, some things were necessarily glossed over. I especially noticed sections where science wasn't fully explained. For example, there are many mentions of retroviruses, and even a good explanation of why there weren't more retrovirologists in the early 80s. But he doesn't really tell us what a retrovirus is.
The other thing I especially noticed is that Shilts goes out of his way to identify everyone in the book, and attributes thoughts and quotes and memos assiduously. But he refers to himself as 'a reporter from the San Francisco Chronicle." If one knows that he's the reporter in question, it stands out.
Overall, a very good book, well worth reading, with a few writing quirks which don't detract from the book....more
I like that they wrote the book in the third person; it would have been difficult to read, I think, if the perspective kept changing from Woodward toI like that they wrote the book in the third person; it would have been difficult to read, I think, if the perspective kept changing from Woodward to Bernstein.
It's a whole lot of story, and no matter what, it's difficult to keep track of the characters. But they managed to keep the story flowing along well enough that the immense cast doesn't become overwhelming.
I was a bit put off by the fact that they rushed this to publication before everything was over (and in fact while the Guild was on strike at The Post.) Given that Woodward got an entire extra book out of the rest of the story (The Final Days), I guess they chose a fine stopping point, but there's a bit of a rushed, incomplete feel at the end. Perhaps it would be best to view this as the first in a two-part series....more
Whereas most of Molly's earlier books focused on a particular era (Bushwacked, for instance, is from when the Shrub was in office), this is a compilatWhereas most of Molly's earlier books focused on a particular era (Bushwacked, for instance, is from when the Shrub was in office), this is a compilation of pieces she wrote from the time Bush the Elder was in office. They're not her best pieces (those, of course, were published in her previous books), but Molly Ivins when she wasn't at her best was funnier and more insightful than most people. Reading this collection mostly made me miss her, but also rekindled the joy of reading her work....more