This book weaves together a variety of narrative strands to present an interesting and detailed picture of Mormonism and Mormon fundamentalism. The implications are all really provoking - the book has a lot to say about people, about fundamentalism and religious violence of any kind, about Mormonism, and about the United States itself. The narrator is somehow totally endearing and occasionally totally terrifying. Very highly recommended.
This lengthy overview is astoundingly informative, but cannot be anything more than an overview. I recommend it highly to get a broad picture of American history. Johnson has two biases about which he is relatively frank: he is slightly snobby and traditionalist, and he is relentlessly revisionist. I don't agree that America is lessened by its departure from older norms of elitist education and religious morality. His attempts to disprove modern historians, while usually enlightening - it is nice to hear the other side of the story about heroes and villains alike - can be outright deceptive. I make no claim of expertise on American history, but I can cite one outright lie in this work: he claims that Nixon's Whitehouse engaged in no more spying and wiretapping than his predecessors'. Isaac Walters' biography of Kissinger clearly states the changes made in the FBI which expanded domestic spying operations, and specifically names the few people Kennedy and Johnson spied on, and the much greater number of people Nixon spied on. I am for exposing the intellectual weaknesses in typical scholarship, but wonder how many things were twisted in areas I knew nothing about. That said, these inconsistencies are a tiny flaw in what is otherwise a magnum opus on our great nation.
No matter what you consider your role in the workplace to be, there will be something in this book to improve it. The personal insights and wisdom which come in the last few chapters are particularly enlightening, and are astoundingly good advice to anyone who will listen.
The performances are superb. This is a wonderful story, but the narrators become just as important as what they are saying, and really bring it to life. Your internal monologue will become colored with their quirks and vernacular. The book itself is littered with references to all kinds of things - not just nerdy stuff, although there is plenty of that - that will make you laugh and feel pretty smart when you pick up on them.
This is the story of how Iran became the country it is today, how the American government overthrew a popular, moderate democracy there because of the fear of Communism and greed for oil. It was the first time our government covertly deposed another one, and began a long dark chapter in our history which still haunts many countries, particularly in South and Central America. This is vital history to know and understand, and fortunately the characters involved are fascinating enough to make the dry unfolding of events completely engaging.
WARNING - the audio quality of the the type "4" download was terrible. I am not sure if the "enhanced" file is better, but don't bother with the normal file.
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