"Know thyself", (an inscription on the temple of Apollo). The human mind is incredible biologically but when you begin to study the way we convince ourselves of truth, it becomes mind-boggling. Understanding why we do certain things is a mystery to most of us. This book invites us to examine "the irrationality" of what we consider to be "clear thinking". Situations like the "come on ploys" of advertising to the excuses that we parden our own behavior with, the author examines and tests (statistically) the bad thinking or "not useful thinking" of himself and the people around him. Written with a touch of irony and good humor, this book examines its a humorous as well as the insidious dimensions of our everyday thinking.
Massive detail that explains the haunting nature Of the Korean War Monument in Washington, DC. The reason I picked up this book was to familiarize myself with a gap in my recent political history. By saying political history, I mean a transition point that moved The Government of the United States from International Participant in world affairs to its current role (rightly or wrongly perceived) as international peacekeeper in world politics.
There are many details about General Douglas MacArthur that biographers of the man have paid greater attention to but are here used to indicate the transition between WWII thinking and the concept of "Limited War" (an idea he never appreciated).
Even though this book is written from a British perspective, it amply points out the Eastern versus Western social sensitivities. War is war, but the reasons for war and the method by which war is undertaken, sustained and justified very with the culture. If the fear of China was to be surrounded by US political outposts (Japan, Taiwan, a unified Korea and Vietnam), the political fear of Western nations was that Korea represented a "Creeping Red Menace". Much has changed, but history is history and the precursor events of the modern world continue to resonate in the attitudes reflected in current events. From the attitude that Korea would be a "pushover war", to the current condition of stalemate and desire for reconciliation, Korea (North and South) continues to be an active shaper of history whose history needs to be appreciated to validate its relevance.
This book is well worth the read. It attempts (and I believe rather successfully) to point out how the conservative right wing Republican Party has appropriated and groundlessly hijacked the name, evangelical. In my opinion it points out the areas in which right-wing conservatives have inappropriately attempted to blend religion with politics and governmental policy. These include tax structure, attacks on public education, and the supposed rallying cry, abortion.
As a church historian Balmer points out the proud legacy of evangelicals in the 19th century. As active progressives, they worked against slavery and other cultural inequities from a position of being unaligned with the government. It is Balmer's point at the First Amendment is the greatest gift the founding fathers could have given religion in the US. This separation however is coming under attack as right-wing conservative "evangelicals" attempt to institutionalize one moral perspective on the legislation of this country.
Well written and engaging, this book points out the inconsistencies between the "reinterpreted" history that conservatives want to claim and the actual reality of what evangelicals were involved with in reality.
The book "1776" by David McCullough is a real eye opener in terms of the reality of history. Things were not as sure fired as the history we've been led to believe. It truly is a miracle that the United States survived the transition from colony to country. The fact that George Washington, with very little military experience, was able to hold the Continental Army together through the trials and reverses of that first year was truly incredible. I suppose it's my shortsightedness that sees history in terms of paintings. The reality of disease, lack of supplies and the lack of discipline brought about by short-term Army enlistment's adds a distinctly depressing context to that "glorious" sparkling history we have been raised with.
The author David McCullough uses such a tremendous variety of historical sources that gives life to historical sketches and what used to be "just stories". Imprinted in our minds is the marble bust of George Washington. This book gives the man reality. Confident, courageous and optimistic Washington was not always right but he also never gave up. He was able to see what was supposed to be at the end of the tunnel even though the end of the tunnel was not near enough to be seen. This is a good book that points out that when something is worth doing it's worth staying the course.
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