I love it, when in reading (ah, I mean, listening to) a book, where the author can make the story seem to just jump off the pages and come to life. That's especially true, when there is already so much in the way of documented writings, books and movies about the topic such as in the Presidential election of 1800 which pitted John Adams against Thomas Jefferson.
Today's politics are pretty tame compared to what used to go on back in the day. What with all of the name calling, cartoon depictions, and sometimes near fisticuffs or a dual in the streets. Yes, today's politics and politicians are downright boring compared to what the author, John Ferling, describes in this book.
I'm not a big history buff, or political junky, but Ferling's book kept my attention and helped me to learn a lot of things that I didn't know about in the early days of our great nation!
This book covers one of the "fastest growing industries in America", that being the penal system institution that continues to incarcerate more Americans (pro rata), and disproportionately, Americans of color, then any other penal system institution in the world.
The author, Becky Petit, does an okay job of sharing with us the statistics, that in this case, show a dis-proportionality towards African Americans in particular (and to a lesser degree, Hispanic Americans).
I've studied these kind of social dynamics for years, and am very familiar with most of the things that were covered in this book. I still enjoyed the overall information that I gathered, in particular, some of the things I took note of were, the exponential growth of the penal system in America since the 70's, and the incarceration rates of people of color that are filling these jails/prisons to the point where they are bursting at the seams.
The author "borrowed" the title of this book from famed author, Ralph Ellison, and his book "Invisible Man", in which he says "I am invisible, understand, simply because people refuse to see me" – Ralph Ellison.
The author shares with us that in January 2009, 1.8 million people stood on the Mall in Washington to celebrate the inauguration of Pres. Barack Obama. The irony was, at that very same moment in time, 2.3 million Americans sat in American prisons and jails cells. Over half of them being African-Americans.
The United States incarceration rate is at a higher percentage of its population than at any other time during its history. The United States also leads the world in the highest percentage of its population behind bars. If we include the numbers of people on probation, parole and supervision, over 5.8 million people are in such circumstances. Current reports show that if the trends continue, one out of every three black men will spend some portion of their adult life in prison.
The author does do a great job in sharing with us the "historical overview" that is necessary in framing the discussion. She takes us back to the time of the Declaration of Independence, where Thomas Jefferson says that "all men are created equal, with an inalienable rights for the pursuit of liberty, freedom and happiness as governed by the laws of the land" (not an exact quote, but pretty close). Yet, at the same time the hypocrisy was that slaves were counted as 3/5 of a man for demographic and political purposes. Therefore rendering 40% of the African-American population "invisible". Those dynamics persist to this day, as blacks are still underrepresented, and given a disproportionate share and allocations, especially when it comes from federal/state assistance.
It is estimated that as of 2009, fully up to 5% of African-American men were not accounted for in the national statistics. The reasons vary from the legacy of slavery, not wanting to be tracked and traced, homelessness, incarcerations, etc.
These are just a few of the items that were shared with us in this book, and anyone with a "social conscience" will find this book intriguing and helpful, especially along with the historical overviews, as to how/why American penal systems continue to be bursting at the seams, disproportionately so with prisoners of color.
Incarcerating people, be it for petty or felony crimes, is only "a very small part of the overall puzzle" and needs to be coupled with "reentry into society programs, education and mentoring programs, job skill set training programs, mental health assistance, family dynamics, and so much more. We all have a lot to do in "getting our oars into the water" and will just have to keep pushing on to better solutions.
I read this book with a great deal of interest and fascination into the world of the Ayatollah's/Islam/Modern Day Iran. With Iran being in the headlines on a more frequent and regular basis (At least since the days of the captive hostages during Pres. Carter's administration), mainly because of the "attempts to rein in Iran's nuclear program", it indeed turned out to be a fascinating read and a look behind what we typically get fed by our own media.
With the Iranian civilization having such an extremely long history, there are bound to be huge chunks of it that most Americans have no ideal about. The author, Hooman Majd, did a pretty good job in conveying to us a lot of the confusing and conflicting dynamics at play, especially in modern-day Iran. This is a country that is deeply steeped in cultural and religious backgrounds, yet at the same time, especially with its younger population, moving forward to try to find its place on the world stage.
One of the most interesting things that I've came across in the book that the author said was "the conservative religious right in America, would probably find a kinship with the conservative dogma of the Ayatollah's/Islam in the fact that both would find similarities in religion ruling the day, frowning upon premarital sex, abortion, sinful music, etc." (this is not verbatim) And I thought to myself, "hmmm, there are actually some good points being made here".
The author also points out that the Iranians have developed an interesting David versus Goliath mentality against not only Israel, but the United States and the Western world. It's not that they were ever going to outright "win" any battles against all of that, but just by the fact that they "stand up to all of that" and hold their ground, and many times his victory enough.
Although we Westerners tend not to know much about the Islamic/Muslim world of things, this book might be helpful in peeling back some of the layers to help us get an up close look at not only the ongoing propaganda's, but it look at real everyday life of real everyday people living in modern-day Iran.
An interesting look at the life of elephants that are in captivity and made to perform circus acts or hard labor.
This was absolutely one of the best books I've read on China because it really gave an accurate and humorous overview from the author’s perspective.
I've been traveling in and out of China several times over the last couple of years, and the author is right on with a slight exaggeration or two here and there, but overall, this is an excellent read, especially if you ever plan on visiting China!
This book about “The Rock” was one of the most captivating and intense books that I’ve ever read! I didn't know what to expect when I started listening to it, but it just kept getting better and better as it went on!
Some of the most notorious and notable crime figures of all time did time at Alcatraz and the author does a great job of telling the story of each and every one of them. Crime bosses such as Al Capone, Robert “The Birdman” Stroud, Machine Gun Kelly and so many more we covered and so many more!
If you’re into intense true crime books, this one should be at the top of your list!
I found this book to be helpful and handy now that I’m well over forty and finding that balance between quantity vs. quality. Sex After Forty by Calvin Colanussso does a really good job in helping us all to understand some basic functions and realistic expectations of the “middle years” and how to make the best of them.
The book is short and concise, so it’ll also serve as a great reference book from time to time.
Enjoy, and enjoy better than ever!
This book offers a great look not only at the inside, but the history of the CIA. It’s interesting to take a look and to hear the stories, but also to realize that the same thing that ravages other industries and organizations (lack of information, overconfidence, unwillingness to change, etc.) plagued the CIA as well. No surprise there!
I understand, as the author puts it, “the CIA has to break the laws of other countries in order to gather information”, but this book gives incredulous situations and stories that have occurred throughout the history of the CIA.
I thought it was a very good book, although a little long and winding, but it good enough to keep my attention throughout.
I thought this was a terrific book written in an enjoyable, upbeat and sometimes humorous manner by the author, Deborah Fallows.
As one who lives in China for most of the year, I can see firsthand what she shares with us, especially in regards to name selection, mate selection, social orders of the day, and so much more.
The author also does a great job in helping us to understand and even learn a few Chinese words along the way.
I highly recommend this book whether you’re planning on going to China or just want to learn a few more things about China.
I know that a lot of books have been written (and I’ve read my fair share of them) and conversations/debates have been had in regards to the housing meltdown and what caused it and who’s to blame. This book, All The Devils Are Here” by Bethany McLean, is by far one of the best books that I've come across and does an excellent job in bringing together all of “the culprits” and various parties involved and “laying blame” appropriately where it belongs.
As the author points out, Human Nature is something that can be easily manipulated, and hard to control, but it’s always at work. That had a role to play in all of this as well.
I know that most of the “housing crisis” is behind us now, but let’s just hope that we've all learned our lessons (we probably won’t remember them or course… it’s human nature as well), can benefit from lessons learned, and now move forward to a better overall society.
This is a great look at the inner world of mental illness and how society has dealt with it through the years. There are more mentally ill among us than ever before, but is that because of the medications that they’re on (or meant to be on, or perhaps misdiagnosed?) or does society just “catch and release”… or ignore more than before?
This book raises a lot of questions, and gives a lot of answers.
I really enjoyed the work of author Robert Whitaker, and I agree that there seems to be an epidemic among us as far as mentally ill and how we treat them.
If you want to learn about the history and current status of the treatment of the mentally ill (and some of the medications that most of them are administered), this is a must read book for you!
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