October 3, 2006

Dopra's Book Club: Whatcha reading???

Invoking the famous Hispanic, Juan Motime, here we go again.

What are you reading these days?

I've gotten a few books lately and look forward to finding the time to read them. (like right after I post this)

I'm currently about half through The Greatest Story Ever Sold by Frank Rich, and find it, as expected, pretty damning in it's exposure and narration of the blatant and ongoing effort to "sell" the Bush propaganda which resulted in convincing us that we should invade Iraq, the first unprovoked war in our history attacking a country which posed no threat to us whatsoever.

There are a few things sprinkled throughout the book which are a little less than convincing as evidence of duplicity, but these do serve to show incompetence at best on the part of Bush, Cheney, Rice, and Rumsfeld.

To see it all laid out chronologically, complete with a time line at the back of the book which lists reality in one column (most of which came to light years later) and what the administration was saying in the other.

I also got:

American Theocracy by noted Repulican strategist Kevin Phillips, subtitled, "The Peril and Politics of Radical Religion, Oil, and Borrowed Money in the 21st Century".

"Charlie Wilson's War: The Extrordinary Story of the Largest Covert Operation in History" by George Crile which tells the truly mind-boggling tale of Charlie Wilson, the "whiskey-swilling, skirt-chasing, scandal-prone" congressman from Texas and his hooking up with a rogue CIA operative to launch the war to arm the Taliban against the Russians.

This story is almost unknown and is extraordinary and very relevant to our situation today.

I've read half of it and it's great. Highly recommended.

"April 1865: The Month That Saved America" by Jay Winnik. This is the story of one month which witnessed the fall of Richmond, a last ditch plan for guerilla warfare by the South, Lee's harrowing retreat, Appomatox, and 5 days later, Lincoln's assassination and the attempt to decapitate the Union government.

"Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln" by Doris Kearns Goodwin. It's a damn thick book, but I'd be very surprised if it's not well done and very interesting.

I also very much want to read "Fiasco" by Tom Ricks, as it continues to get a lot of mention and buzz, and the exploration of the right wing psychological tendency to defer to authority, Conservatives Without Conscience" by John Dean, and all the other books listed in the sidebar. Finding the time to actually crack a book is the tough part, but I'm determined.

Let us know what you've read or are reading, or hope to read. Tell us if you have any books that you really liked and would recommend. (and why)


At 10/03/2006 3:52 AM, Blogger 默之猫名 said...

i'm from China.
nice to meet you!

At 10/03/2006 3:54 AM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

Likewise, I'm sure.

At 10/03/2006 6:57 AM, Blogger QuadCityImages said...

I just finished reading Uncommon Carriers, a book about the people who go mostly unnoticed but get our stuff to us every day. The author spent time on the job with a truck driver, barge pilots, ship captains, and train engineers. It was interesting reading for me, but I don't think I'd recommend it to people who aren't interested in transportation. The author also goes off for a whole chapter about his replication of a canoe trip that Thoreau took and wrote about in "A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers." It seems pretty random and doesn't much fit the rest of the book.

Now I'm reading a book sure to get me on some government lists: Perpetual War for Perpetual Peace by Gore Vidal. I figured that it would be a bit too pacifist and liberal for my tastes, and I was mostly right. I was hoping for more time spent on the idea that having a constant enemy, ala 1984, keeps the people from paying as much attention to what the goverment is trying to do (to them.) While he has a lot of good points about the slow errosion of the Bill of Rights, his general hatred of law enforcement makes me less receptive to his point of view.

He spends quite a lot of time talking about Waco, and the way it influenced Timothy McVeigh. There were plenty of mistakes made in that standoff, (such as constant arguments between the HRT and negotiators) but his insistence that the Branch Dividians were pure innocent victims of the evil FBI just isn't believable. I'm not quite done yet, so I can't give a thumbs up or down at this time.

At 10/03/2006 9:31 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am reading Truth with Jokes by Al Franken. Great Book!

At 10/03/2006 12:01 PM, Blogger Kankakee Voice said...

Conservatives Without Conscience - How timely and appropriate! ;)

At 10/03/2006 1:15 PM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

Excellent QCI.

And anything can be made interesting by a good writer. A year or so ago I read a book about the history of salt, of all things, and it was fascinating, involving history, war, etc. etc. I think it was actually a bestseller.

And I checked out that Vidal book last year, but didn't finish it. I too was a little disappointed. He had some valid points and observations, but it didn't hold my interest like I'd hoped.

At 10/03/2006 5:22 PM, Blogger nicodemus said...

I am reading something kijd of light right now: "For One More Day" by Mitch Albom, the same guy who wrote Tuesdays with Morrie.
I am really enjoying it.

At 10/03/2006 8:06 PM, Blogger nicodemus said...

oops. I meant to spell "KIND" not kijd. (I am not Scandinavian!)

Here's a couple other great books, while we're at it:

The Mayflower by Nathanial Philbrick is a book I enjoyed too. You can read it for Thanksgiving. I guarantee it is not boring.

31 Days by Barry Werth. Is a good political historical book about the time between Nixon's resignation and Ford's pardon of him. In it, you can read about the OTHER time that Cheney and Rumsfeld were in the White House.

At 10/04/2006 7:14 PM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

Those sound interesting indeed Nico, thanks for passing that along.

Though I haven't read Ablom's previous book (though I'd certainly heard of it, it was a huge bestseller) I did seen the book you're reading featured prominently at Borders, complete with huge posters in the window, etc.

Maybe you could let us know what you think and give a short synopsis when you've finished.

The further I get into "The Greatest Story Ever Sold" the more compelling and rather shocking it becomes.

It starts off fairly slow, but the sheer number of instances and examples of administration lies and attempts to con the public just get to the point where it's impossible not to feel outraged.

Plus, it brings up many things the Bushies did in the year or so after 9-11 that most people have forgotten as the constant parade of horrors continues.

To look back and see it all presented in a logical and chonological way is a devastating indictment and historical record of both the mendacity and craveness of the Bush administration as well as the sorry shape of media and popular culture that allowed the right to be so successful with it.

At 10/05/2006 7:10 AM, Blogger A_A_D said...

The Prince by Niccolo Machiavelli


The Nazi Dictatorship: Problems and Perspectives of Interpretation by Ian Kershaw

At 10/05/2006 1:09 PM, Blogger highxlr8r said...

I've read Albom's "Five People You Meet in Heaven" and it was enjoyable, although too quick of a read.

Right now I'm reading H.W. Brands' biography of Andrew Jackson. It is good so far. Brands does a good job of not only discussing Jackson's role in particular events, but putting forth a brief history of those events as well. It helps to put Jackson's like and acts in context.


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