Blanche Barton’s authorized biography of Anton LaVey is an entertaining read. In terms of biography it is much more a tribute to the man she loved andBlanche Barton’s authorized biography of Anton LaVey is an entertaining read. In terms of biography it is much more a tribute to the man she loved and admired; perhaps, even feared, but not so much a critical analysis of the man’s life and work.
The Secret Life of a Satanist tends to bolster the legend of the greatest showman of the modern occult and still manages to humanize him a little. LeVay’s contributions to modern occultism and non-theistic Satanism get lost somewhere between the sycophantic simpering of his admirers and those who would dismiss him as a nincompoop, which he was not. The man understood the value of symbolism and psychodrama in a direct way that very few modern occultists or psychologists do. This is no small contribution.
Criticism notwithstanding the author does know her subject very well being a long time partner in the years before his death, and she provides an insight in the domestic side of the Black Pope that is touching and sad. While not as deeply critical as I would have liked to read Barton manages to give us access to the motivations of the man and how he came to create and embody his carnal philosophy of life. ...more
The reports of the Dugway Proving Grounds in Utah and Porton Downs, UK are the only really notable topics in this book. Stories of secret government gThe reports of the Dugway Proving Grounds in Utah and Porton Downs, UK are the only really notable topics in this book. Stories of secret government germ warfare experiments and the suspicious deaths that make up much of the evidence are truly scary to me. ...more
Stephane Hessel is a remarkable man who has lived a remarkable life. His small and eloquent book (Pamphlet really), over half taken up by an introductStephane Hessel is a remarkable man who has lived a remarkable life. His small and eloquent book (Pamphlet really), over half taken up by an introduction from publisher Charles Glass, is a call to a peaceful and non-violent insurrection against the status quo. M Hessel’s little book has swept France, Britain and I hope soon, the United States. He reminds me that what I believe in is worth fighting for and that indifference is a real and continued danger.
The message of Time for Outrage (Indignez-Vous) is that eternal vigilance is the price we pay for liberty and justice. Outrage is necessary. But, not the outrage of the chronically indignant whose every petty sensibility gets ruffled and bruised. But, rather he is speaking of the response we must have when the principles of democracy and justice are violated by the powerful few. It is the ever increasing gap between the extremely poor and extremely wealthy that needs concern us. It is the liberation of all people living under the yoke of oppression and their right to the universal human rights espoused by the UN that we must champion.
M. Hessel knows of which he speaks. At 93 he recognizes “I am nearing the last stage. The end cannot be far off.” But, before he leaves us he has some wisdom that we must listen and learn from. For he and his generation know all too well how easily tyranny can overtake us. He fought against Nazism and Fascism with DeGaulle and the French Resistance. He learned that an active minority can stand up against the powerful majority and prevail.
He worked alongside Eleanor Roosevelt in drafting the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights and has been a diplomat concerned with the rights of all peoples throughout his career and a prolific writer earning awards and honors along the way. This man is a cherished elder of our time and we must embrace what he has to offer while we still can.
Andrew Levine is a rare gem in the crown of philosophy – a professional philosopher that not only possess keen insight into his inquiries, but the abiAndrew Levine is a rare gem in the crown of philosophy – a professional philosopher that not only possess keen insight into his inquiries, but the ability to explain them to the non-professional thinker in a lucid way that offers illumination to all who care to think for themselves and aren’t afraid to hear what the masters have to say for themselves first hand.
Levine’s book, In Bad Faith: What is wrong with the Opiate of the People, tackles the question as to why religion and superstition persists and is accepted as a salve or opiate for our suffering. If God is dead as Nietzsche declared (although somewhat tongue in cheek as he knew the converse was true in the minds of most of his contemporaries) then why is he still breathing? After all the intellectual descendents of Hegel and inheritors of the post enlightenment fully expected that through reason religion would ultimately vanish. However, as we know, this did not happen.
Andrew Levine, political philosopher, formerly of University of Wisconsin- Madison and author of other works such as, A Future for Marxism(?), tackles the persistence of religion through the eyes of 19th century thinkers, Feuerbach, Durkheim, Freud and Nietzsche as they puzzled over what they saw as a baffling predicament. The discussions of these thinker’s explanatory strategies is fascinating and succinct.
Levine places these thinkers firmly in their historical context and leads us to an understanding of the relevancy of their inquiries while pulling no punches in regards to tactical errors. He also offers up one of the best discussions of the Young Hegelian movement and the theoretical tug of war during Marx time between the right leaning and left leaning “disciples” of Hegel.
But, the most fascinating part of Levine’s work is the way he takes on the almost oxymoronic notion of the Christian or Religious left, arguing intelligently as to why liberal theologies are intellectually flawed and demonstrates that religious liberals cannot actually believe what they claim to in respect to god and religion. In the end these liberal theologies do little more than provide a security blanket for those who are still unable to give up on religion. They allow them the comfort of traditions, although recast in liberal light are nothing but anemic beasts, that run counter to what liberals truly believe at heart. ...more
The World is Curved - Hidden Dangers to the Global Economy, by David M. Smick is required reading for anyone planning to vote in the 2012 elections 15The World is Curved - Hidden Dangers to the Global Economy, by David M. Smick is required reading for anyone planning to vote in the 2012 elections 15 months hence. It is no exaggeration to say that if you refuse to read it you should probably abstain from voting. The book’s subject matter is that serious.
I have been saying for the past couple of years that the majority of those who hold public office, are seeking public office and those of us voting for them are woefully – I do mean woefully – illiterate regarding economics as a whole. We simply due not understand the complexities of modern economics. That doesn’t mean we are stupid, far from it. But, this new era of global economy is an unpredictable Pandora’s Box that requires our policymakers to have a far deeper understanding then they do.
Bill Clinton has correctly said, “Globalization is not something we can hold off or turn off . . . it is the economic equivalent of a force of nature -- like wind or water.” There is no turning back. As forward thinking as Americans are it is strange that we hold on so strongly to the ideas of the past. I hear people throwing out statements in support of capitalism and free markets or aligning themselves with socialism. Yet, they seem to lack a sophisticated understanding of the ideas they believe in.
We support economic strategies from our poor understanding of theories developed in the 18th (Smith) and 19th (Marx) centuries. Adam Smith, the 18th century moral philosopher, whose seminal work, Wealth of Nations, is considered the foundation of modern economic thought. But, he could not and did not anticipate the modern global economy and the “dangerous ocean of money,” as Mr. Smick coins it, circumnavigating the world’s financial markets and the events that led to one of our most recent crisis, the Credit Crisis of 2007-2009.
Smith’s so-called “invisible hand” was hardly observable. Marx, as shrewd an observer and historian that he was, failed to see the power and effect of the labor movement in the industrialized nations that he believed were ripe for proletariat revolution, in fact, the proletariat revolution was, in many ways quieter and more uplifting than he supposed.
For those of you, like both Ben Stein and myself, who expressed perplexity over why the bursting housing market / lending bubble should nearly destroy the world economy, and we were truly on the brink, Smick’s lucid and easy to read book provides a cogent explanation as to why this and other financial panics happen.
The World is Curved unravels the seemingly esoteric world of Central Bankers, finance ministers and Prime ministers. Smick’s book is balanced, fair and an enlightening discussion of capitalism and the advantages and pitfalls of the new global economy. Yet, he does not let the greed driven bankers who helped fuel the credit meltdown off the hook. Far from it in fact…
In addition to explaining the positive’s to the global economy Smick is careful to point out the very real dangers we face such as why the “shrinking central banks” most likely will not be able to continue saving us each time a new panic arises. He explains how the sovereign wealth funds of nations such as Russia, China and Dubai are moving global financial power away from the United States. He even touches on a potential Chinese driven economic meltdown that could very well be the next fatal crisis. If you neglect this book you do so at your own financial peril.
Valerie Plame Wilson’s memoirs of her life as a CIA operative and the scandal that ended her career when an unscrupulous journalist leaked her identitValerie Plame Wilson’s memoirs of her life as a CIA operative and the scandal that ended her career when an unscrupulous journalist leaked her identity in the national medial is not a literary opus. But, it is a fair and balanced telling of her side of the story and well worth the time spent reading it.
Ms. Wilson tells her story with dignity and some grace that could very easily have degraded into finger pointing and whining. It doesn’t. Instead she does a very good job of relating her excitement as a young CIA recruit ready to server her country, her joys and frustrations as an operative, wife and mother.
I found it very easy to care about her and her family as she told of her betrayal at the hands of White House officials simply because her husband, Joe stood up to tell what he believed was the truth.
According to the publisher that all former CIA employees must submit all written material for approval prior to publication and the end result is that large chunks of text get blacked out by the censors black Sharpie. The publisher decided to leave those blacked out sections in – presumably for dramatic effect. I found it to be a tad distracting from and occasionally frustrating. However, not enough to prevent me from finishing the book.
There is an independently written afterword by reporter Laura Rozen that was not read prior to publication by author Wilson. Ms. Wilson had not input or involvement in Laura Rozen’s piece that was culled from interviews and public sources of information. The publisher also provides an appendix of source documents and other relevant material as well.
This book should be read by all intelligent people who follow current events and believe that our government should be held to higher standards of accountability than they have in the past eight years.
I don't use the term "mandatory reading" often. But this book should be mandatory reading for high school and college students along with everyone elsI don't use the term "mandatory reading" often. But this book should be mandatory reading for high school and college students along with everyone else happily motoring away in our McCulture.
The book is speculative. The author takes a brief look at the history of the oil industry and the best data in terms of depletion and global peak's and extrapolates where we are or might be heading if we don't start to get a handle on this issue. But as speculative as it is, it is nonetheless based on commonsense, good data, and rational thinking.
The premise is that the advancement of the industrialized world is based on the availablity of cheap, abundant fossil fuels and we are now at the end of that era.
He talks about what will happen as oil no longer is readily available from a geopolitical stand point and what will mean for life in our country. The author talks about how alternative fuels will not save our way of life and even fully developed we would not be operating at the same capacity that we are today.
Many people don't realize how addicted we are to oil. This book will be a wake up call. Then there is the whole issue of climate change. ...more
This is an incredible book. I strongly advise reading it. Faludi, an award winner journalist and feminist, takes a compassionate and honest look intoThis is an incredible book. I strongly advise reading it. Faludi, an award winner journalist and feminist, takes a compassionate and honest look into the condition of the American male.
This is a great book for any feminist or minority activist who is inclined to lay the entire burden of the countries problems on the so-called Angry White Male.
The book takes the long view on the problem and traces the roots of the problem back to the second World War and suggests that men are as shaped by society as they are the authors of it. In fact, even the most powerful of men have has as much done to them as they have acted out upon.
She dares to ask the question as to who the "angry white man is" and why exactly is he so angry in the first place.
A good deal of the book focuses on the baby boomers of the post Word War II era and it examines how society made a lot of promises to them and then proceeded to break every one of them. ...more
This book is the "National Geographic" account of how the text came to be discovered. It follows it from it's discovery in the early 1970's when no onThis book is the "National Geographic" account of how the text came to be discovered. It follows it from it's discovery in the early 1970's when no one realized what they actually had beyond being an ancient papyrus document. The folks who discovered it were illiterate and were unable to tell Coptic from Greek etc.
I have read several accounts of the discoveries of such monumental finds as the Nag Hammdhi Library and the Dead Sea Scrolls. What I liked best about this book is that it dealt in detail with the antiquties market and the difficulty it creates in dealing with such important finds.
Beyond a short summary of the betrayal story it offers very little insight into the Gospel text itself. This story is told mostly from a archeolgogical perspective.
Have you ever wondered how it was possible for the world's greatest superpower to blunder so badly when it came to intelligence information about WMD'Have you ever wondered how it was possible for the world's greatest superpower to blunder so badly when it came to intelligence information about WMD's in Iraq? Journalist Bob Drogin attempts to answer this question.
The book tells the story of an Iraqi national codenamed "Curveball" who defected to Germany and the lies he told in order to stay there. It attempts to explain his role in the fiasco....more