Monday, August 01, 2005

Books With Different Viewpoints Worth Reading

Here are some books you should read and skim if you want to stay informed as to past, present and future history. Some books like “Collapse” by Jared Diamond are pretty much actual history and the direction we are all heading. Some are pretty biased, some have mixed a lot of fact with statements out of context, you, know, the usual pundit trying to explain, where we have been, how we got there and a suspect or hopeful future.

“Collapse” by Jared Diamond is subtitled “How Societies Chose to Fail or Succeed.” Pretty heavy, 525 pages and 32 pages of suggested future readings tied into this topic. The title and subtitle explains the content. Maybe an unhappy future if we don’t change some of our ways.

“Can America Survive” by Ben Stein and Phil DeMuth, is subtitled “The Rage of the Left, the Truth, and What to do About it.” I am aware of the rage of the left but I’m not sure all the truths can be told in 198 pages. The last paragraph of the book reads “The future of 8 billion souls-the entire human race-rests on the shoulders and in the hearts of those who still believe in this great country. Be one of them for your entire life. Give up, and the battle is lost,(and it is going to be a perpetual battle) along with mankind’s future. Keep the faith, and the nation will still be here, a shining city for your grandchildren and their grandchildren.

“Chain of command” by Seymour M. Hersh is subtitled “The Road from 9/11 to Abu Ghraib. In 367 pages he does not tell a “feel good” story. He believes the President has lied and is still lying and his last two sentences say about these lies “A more plausible explanation is that words have no meaning for this President beyond the immediate moment, so he believes that his mere utterance of the phrases make them real. It is a terrifying possibility.” Not a good book to read before bedtime!!

“Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them” by Satirist Al Franken subtitled “A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right” is 354 pages of what he has documented, read and heard and then put in a report that he calls fair and balanced. He claims to destroy the liberal bias myth by getting his facts straight. Interesting.

“Liberalism is a Mental Disorder” by Michael Savage gives a fair and balanced look at the left, according to the author. He launches a scathing attack on the erosion of America’s values. 206 pages of “not feel good” reading at any time.

“Ignoble Liars Behind Bush’s deadly Iraq war” by Jeffrey Steinberg is mostly information that he researched and he says you can believe or be prepared to do a lot of research. This article is in “Executive Intelligence Review”, April 18, 2003 issue and is available at Peoria Public Library, 12 pages of copy. Too much background for me to check out and maybe I’ll come across an opposing view. Pretty deep stuff for the common man but lends some insight to who, where and why questions.

“Commentary” is a bi-monthly letter with many prestigious contributors and a lively “Letter to the Editor” section and has mainly a Jewish theme. The article on Harvard, Larry Summers and the effect extreme feminism has on all women and the article on Columbia and their attempt to classify people from top to bottom with their statistics showing a growing gap and counter statistics to show the gap is actually closing between the "haves" and "have less", keeps the reader’s interest.

Last is light reading; a book called “Parliament of Whores,” by P. J. O’Rourke, a lone humorist attempts to explain the entire U.S. Government. I first read this book in 1991. Not much has changed 14 years later in the way we do government business. Even here in Peoria!! A good read.

Much of what we read may be counter to what we believe or want to believe. We have to read all sides and look at all sides to form a half way educated opinion. Not many of us today are up to taking the time. However, only by educating ourselves do we move above the class of “chatterers”, most of who are ill informed. Most major publications like the WSJ and Commentary, consider what they believe will interest the reader and shut off the babble. Their decisions, not mine.

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