Category Archives: Book Reviews

Who Is Edward Snowden? A Review of His Autobiography, Permanent Record, by Gilbert Doctorow

Edward Snowden is a hero and it’s good to see his autobiography is already a bestseller. From Gilbert Doctorow at antiwar.com:

Edward Snowden’s recently published autobiography Permanent Record became a bestseller instantly, before any critical reviews in major media, thanks to the author’s notoriety. The reviews followed and they make for curious reading as I look over The Guardian, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Review of Books and The New Yorker. Though the reviewers take very different positions on Snowden, his villainy or heroism, they seem all to have read him very attentively and offer their readers many choice quotations from the book. Most of the reviews are fairly self-indulgent, none more so than Jonathan Lethem writing in The New York Review, who uses Snowden’s book as springboard for a discursive narrative on his own life experience.

In what follows, I will try to stay close to the book, which I would call a ‘page-turner’ although the first half, or approximately 150 pages, are a yawn. From his earliest childhood up to his first postings abroad, in Geneva and then in Tokyo, Snowden was little more than a techie-nerd, a monomaniac with no exceptional characteristics other than his aptitude and growing skill set in his chosen field of systems engineering in the computer world. His personal growth occurred exponentially in the six years that followed and he emerges at the end of the book fully formed, a powerful defender of freedom of speech, of privacy on the Internet and throughout our world which has become broadly digital during his lifetime.

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An Offer You Can’t Refuse, by Doug “Uncola” Lynn

Doug “Uncola” Lynn reviews Everything I Know About Business I Learned From The Godfather. As you’ve probably already guessed, I wouldn’t be posting it if it was a bad review. From Lynn at theburningplatform.com:

We read to know we’re not alone.

Although that particular truism is often mistakenly attributed to the author C.S. Lewis, it was actually William Nicholson who wrote those words in his 1989 play “Shadowlands”, a story about C.S. Lewis.

Indeed. The power of words. And perhaps many of us out here in the interwebic blogosphere write to know we’re not alone as well.

Especially during times like these.

We use words to comfort and curse, to encourage, to promise, to teach, buy, sell, debate, learn, manipulate, lie, share, seduce, pray, preach, promote, warn, and even survive.

In the aforementioned play, “Shadowlands“, there is another quote that many now reading this may also find relevant to our times:

….pain is God’s megaphone to rouse a deaf world. Why must it be pain? Why can’t he rouse us more gently, with violins or laughter? Because the dream from which we must be wakened, is the dream that all is well.

No, Dear Reader, all is not well.  But it never has been in this corrupt world; or, at least, very well for very long. Everything turns. And whether or not any megaphonic pain originates from God or the devil is beside the point.  The truth remains: life is suffering and it’s been that way from the time of man’s first moans.

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A Vital Primer on the Push for War in Iran, by Conn Hallinan

Books could be written about what Americans don’t know about Iran, and now one has been written. From Conn Hallinan at antiwar.com:

Americans – including those in the White House – know little about Iran and its history with the United States. A new book wants to change that.

Want another thing to keep you up at night?

Consider a conversation between longtime Middle East reporter Reese Erlich and former U.S. ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Charles Freeman, Jr. on the people currently directing the Trump administration’s policy toward Iran.

Commenting on National Security Advisor John Bolton’s defense of the invasion of Iraq, Freeman says “The neoconservative group think their good ideas were poorly implemented in Iraq,” and that the lesson of the 2003 invasion that killed upwards of 500,000 people and destabilized an entire region is, “If at first you don’t succeed, do the same thing again somewhere else.”

That “somewhere else” is Iran, and Bolton is one of the leading voices calling for confronting the Teheran regime and squeezing Iran through draconian sanctions “until the pips squeak.” Since sanctions are unlikely to have much effect – they didn’t work on North Korea, have had little effect on Russia, and failed to produce regime change in Cuba – the next logical step, Erlich suggests, is a military attack on Iran.

Such an attack would be a leap into darkness, since most Americans – and their government in particular – are virtually clueless about the country we seem bound to go to war with.

Throwing a little light on that darkness is a major reason Erlich wrote the book. For over 18 years he has reported on Iran, talking with important government figures and everyday people and writing articles on the country that increasingly looks to be our next little war.

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Bongino’s Spygate: Exposing the Obama/Clinton Deep State Criminality, by Frank Hawkins

Obama/Clinton criminality is even worse than you think. From Frank Hawkins at americanthinker.com:

Former Secret Service agent Dan Bongino’s explosive new book (with D.C. McAllister), Spygate: The Attempted Sabotage of Donald J. Trump, spotlights the left’s broken trust with the American people and the blatant criminality of  the Obama/Clinton Deep State.  Since the moment Donald J. Trump and his wife Melania glided down the Trump Tower escalator into history, the Democrats and the allies in the Deep State have been committed to crushing him.

For Trump, it was obvious that draining the swamp was never going to be easy because everything possible would be done to disguise and protect the illegal activities of the Obama/Clinton administration. But who thought they would go this far?

Bongino has painted a highly detailed account of how the Obama administration criminalized our intelligence communities as well as other government agencies to  stop Trump, and when that didn’t work to try and bring down the president of the United States.

The book relies heavily on left-leaning news outlets CNN, the Washington Post, the New York Times, Reuters, CBS News, The Hill, London-based The Guardian and numerous others. All of this is carefully footnoted in the book. In a recent speech, Bongino said,

“The reason I wrote the book, is because of this whole spy scandal, this debacle, this atrocious disgrace of a scandal that happened to our president.   We deliberately did not use footnotes from right-leaning resources.  I used (the mainstream media) because anyone who tells you oh, this didn’t happen, just go to the footnotes and say, did you read this article?  It happened, folks.  The President of the United States had the intelligence community and the law enforcement community of the United States, at the highest levels, weaponized against him.” [emphasis added]

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Why Orwell Is Superior to Huxley, by Colin Liddell

Much of what was supposedly unique about Brave New World is found in 1984. From Colin Liddell at unz.com:

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One of the frequent comparisons that comes up in the Dissident Right is who was more correct or prescient, Orwell or Huxley.

In fact, as the only truly oppressed intellectual group, the Dissident Right are the only ones in a position to offer a valid opinion on this, as no other group of intellectuals suffers deplatforming, doxxing, and dismissal from jobs as much as we do. In the present day, it is only the Dissident Right that exists in the ‘tyrannical space’ explored in those two dystopian classics.

But, despite this, this debate exists not only on the Dissident Right but further afield. Believe it or not, even Left-wingers and Liberals debate this question, as if they too are under the heel of the oppressor’s jackboot. In fact, they feel so oppressed that some of them are even driven to discuss it in the pages of the New York Times at the despotically high rate of pay which that no doubt involves.

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The Trump Revolution: A Preliminary History, by Thomas J. DiLorenzo

A generally favorable book about Donald Trump’s political ascendence as just been published, and Thomas J. DiLorenzo reviews it. From DiLorenzo at davidstockmanscontracorner.com:

Beating the Hillary Hate Brigades (HHB) to the punch with what appears to be the first book published about the political rise of Donald Trump, Ilana Mercer has written an insightful short history of the ascendancy of “The Donald” entitled The Trump Revolution: The Donald’s Creative Destruction Deconstructed. The HHB in the media will undoubtedly do its best to rewrite history (i.e., lie) when it comes to how Donald Trump repeatedly exposed them as mostly a bunch of frauds, imposters, and biased political hacks during the primary campaign season. The Trump Revolution sets the record straight on all of this, and more, in thirty-one short chapters, and will be a valuable – and entertaining — fact-check resource.

Why the entire Washington establishment, including the bigwigs of both parties, hate, and fear Trump is clearly explained by quoting the candidate’s own words. He opposed the invasion of Iraq and said the war was a terrible mistake; he favors liberalizing relations with Cuba; denounced his Republican competitors as “totally controlled by their donors, by the lobbyists, and by the special interests”; he explained that “the stock market is bloated,” thanks to the Fed; he would rather “have a great relationship with Vladimir Putin” and do business with Russians than start World War III against them; he said John McCain “is not a war hero. He is a war hero because he was captured. I like people that weren’t captured, okay?”; he wants to enforce American immigration laws by building an even better border wall than the ones built by Clinton, Bush, and Obama (yes, Trump is not the first to have the idea); and he shocked and offended the liberal media by declaring that he does everything in his power to pay as little tax as possible.

Mercer would make a good speech writer in a Trump administration, for she has a talent for spot-on adjectives, such as “the none-too-bright Joan Walsh, Salon editor-in-chief”; “smarmy Michael Smerconish” of CNN; “Campbell Brown, another banal bloviator”; “jackass Anderson Cooper of CNN”; the “malevolent moron” Jorge Ramos of Univision; “being a Democrat generally comes with the presumption of asininity”; and how Megyn Kelly of FOX is “a showgirl, really.”

She catalogs a number of stinging Trumpisms in a chapter entitled “Trump’s Good for the English Language” such as: “We are led by stupid people. Very, very stupid people”; “the media are dishonest”; “talking to Anderson Cooper is a waste of time”; “Charles Krauthammer is an overrated, clueless clown”; and “the once-great National Review.”

Unlike open borders enthusiasts, Mercer points out, Trump is alarmed to learn from U.S. government statistics that Mexican immigrants alone have been convicted of murdering more than 23,000 Americans over the past twenty years. This is perhaps what Trump was thinking of when he said that Mexico does not always send us “their best.” He might also have heard of Elias Acevedo, convicted of 173 counts of rape; Ariel Castro, the sadistic kidnapper/rapist in Cleveland; and others like them. These men are certainly not among Mexico’s “best” either. Donald Trump has been relentlessly libeled and smeared by the HHB for expressing the opinion that America would be better off if they, and people like them, never stepped foot in the country.

To continue reading: The Trump Revolution: A Preliminary History

Diana Johnstone Dissects Hillary, Queen of Chaos, by John V. Walsh

The Republicans have had little success spotlightling various Bill and Hillary depredations through the years. Rolling into 2016, they might have more luck with Hillary if they stuck to her abysmal record and her policies on foreign intervention. Too bad those policies are virtually identical to those of the Republican  frontrunners. From John V. Walsh, reviewing Diane Johnstone’s recently published Queen of Chaos at antiwar.com (SLL has not read the book, but it looks intriguing):

Were Diana Johnstone, author of Queen of Chaos, to bump into Samantha Power in a dark alley, both would be instantly annihilated in a blaze of energy. For Johnstone, is the anti-Samantha Power, best known for her book, Fools’ Crusade: Yugoslavia, NATO and Western Illusions, where she meticulously uncovers the truth about the war on Serbia, thereby dismantling the fairy tale constructed by Power to justify the NATO assault on the Balkans. That fairy tale has been a model for similar sagas rolled out to whiten the sepulchers of the many “humanitarian” wars since, every one of which bears some of Hillary’s fingerprints.

Daughter of Empire in Its Heyday.

Johnstone’s new book, Queen of Chaos: The Misadventures of Hillary Clinton, is a must read, but it must be read carefully. It is a must read because it is a capsule history of the US Empire’s depredations over the past 25 years since the end of the Cold War when the Clintons came upon the national scene. Given the ever sharper confrontation which our elite is engineering with Russia and China, one that could well lead to nuclear war, this is a history we all need to review and understand correctly. Our very survival may well depend on it. And the book must be read carefully because, being both slim and comprehensive, it is packed tightly with information and pointed political insight. Such an eloquent and compact chronicle is of enormous usefulness right now.

Queen is not a gossipy bio, delineating Hillary’s shallow, belligerent, mendacious, psychopathic character, although such a tome, necessarily massive, would be welcome. These characteristics of Hillary’s necessarily emerge to some degree in Queen of Chaos. but personality portrayal is not the core of the book. Rather the book is historical. Johnstone sees Clinton as both a product of her times – privileged child of the U.S. Empire, white, Wellesley, Yale, a dishonest and ultimately fired operative on the Watergate committee right out of law school – as well as a ruthless actor in a global drama growing ever more deadly. The book is more history than Hillary. But by going this route Johnstone grasps the essential Clinton with crystal clarity.

To continue reading: Queen of Chaos