As one would expect from Woodward, Obama's Wars painted a generally positive picture of the president as he pursued his strategy for Pakistan and Afghanistan. I'm left with an impression of the president as a man trying to find the solution to all the related problems and balance the contradictions. My thought is that he would like a solution that makes everyone happy. He likes a thorough study and will sacrifice time for precision. Obama has lots of faith in himself and making things happen in what could very well be an unreasonable amount of time. He is a good poker player and I’m not convinced he was not playing poker with his entire national security team. He keeps his cards close.
The vast majority of the book involves the dynamics between the players in national security in Washington and team members in theater. The picture painted is of a dysfunctional national security team plagued by conflicting world views, broadly different experiences and loyalties, interpersonal rivalries, and competing agendas.
The president alone crafted objectives on a time line driven by the election cycle. They can be achieved with lots of luck, but the time doesn't have room for Clausewitz's “fog” and “friction.” I'm betting that by now the time line has been wrecked. I think the president's political advisers will push him to exit sooner than later. Meanwhile, General Petraeus' hands are tied by time, resources, and a strategy that limits his use of what he know works.
I can't imagine this administration using the word “victory” with regard to military entanglements (you won't see “counterinsurgency” either— It is perceived as taking too much time and resources). Instead what we will see are nuanced terms (new ones are best) crafted to keep the president's “base” and subsequently the electorate in the president's court. Messaging remains all important and “victory” may be perceived negatively by those wanting to give “peace a chance.”
This is a gripping story of an actual maritime tragedy in the Bering Sea, during the worst possible environmental conditions. I watched the news surrounding this shipwreck happen at the time. It was a situation that had me glued to the reporting. This book fills in the details in a way that draws the reader in and ensures you know the human dimensions of the story. I’ve known two of the main characters in this story; they are accurately portrayed. You will recognize the Coast Guardsmen involved in this event as the real heroes that they are. I strongly recommend this book.
Bradley's sloppy so-called history is either revisionist history or cheap propaganda. It is page after page of deliberate truth bending, cherry-picked facts, inaccurate details, and out of context quotes. Its conclusions are not sustainable when contrasted to factual history. It was not worth my time and money.
Bradley has an agenda that is dishonestly left out of the publisher's summary. Early in the book you hear about white "Aryan" racism setting the theme for Western Civilization. Those who want to believe could easily come away from his discussion believing that America was founded on white "Aryan" racist principles instead of those of Judeo-Christian tradition. He suggests the founding fathers were white "Aryan" racists who set in motion American westward expansion because it was the destiny of the master race. Bradley over-uses the term "Aryans" throughout. The passages on the "Aryan American Army"; and "Aryan Admiral Dewey" challenged me to find the intestinal fortitude to continue reading.
This read like Bradley had a personal axe to grind with Theodore Roosevelt. He took every opportunity to be critical of Roosevelt. Negative information was frequently used without the context of relevant positive information. Professional historians don't succeed using the cherry picking methods used by Bradley. Those who have read much about Roosevelt will find this treatment grossly unbalanced.
This book is a continuous political rant. The writing is more at home in an extreme leftist blog or a juvenile freshman essay, but it continues for hundreds of pages. Don't waste your time.
I endured the poor sound to the end because the information presented was of such good quality. McCann brought together facts that I have been unable to find in one source. He presents good quality analysis that leads to clear understanding. I recommend the book for those with more than a casual interest in the subject. ...In spite of the audio.
This book is a thoroughly outstanding explanation of the work of Ludwig von Mises. Butler takes Mises' complex work and translates it into a very readable presentation of ideas. It's a great complement to F.A. Hayek's "The Road to Serfdom." I recommend it to those who are interested in why the Obama administration's policies and stimulus efforts are slow to impact the recession and return us to prosperity. The basics laid out in this book give great insights into how we got into the current economic mess. Considering that, it also gives strong cues as to how to get us on the path to long term economic strength.
Burns' book is well researched and full of good information. However, it is tainted by an extremist perspective that essentially advocates for the emasculation of the Supreme Court and the U.S. Constitution. It leaves out much. I wouldn't recommend for those who have not read other current works on the Constitution and the Constitutional Convention. Burns advocates that the Supreme Court is a power that works against the radical reengineering of the United States government. His extreme and offensive perspective convinced me that we need these voices from the bench. I'll vote against Burns' views any day.
D'Souza's book has an important message. However, the audio is awful. I'd recommend picking up a hard copy and reading it. Those who are interested in this subject may want to listen to "God and Man at Yale: The Superstitions of Academic Freedom" by William F. Buckley. I found it as important and still relevant after fifty years in print.
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