I could have used this audiobook a couple years ago when I took Japanese Politics in college. This covered all of the important developments, social phenomena, etc., that went into the making of modern Japan. The chronology starts at the end of the Tokugawa shogunate and describes clearly the Meiji Restoration, Taisho Democracy, Showa and the militarist war government so that you get a very good sense of how one period flowed into the next to make Japan what it is today -- essentially a one-party corporate state managed by the LDP. The roles of left and right radicals, gangsters, fixers and the American occupation authorities are all discussed. If I'd had this in school, I could have gotten an A+.
Mr. Sharansky's book clearly and unassailably distinguishes between free societies and fear societies, and discusses how those of us who want liberty for mankind have succeeded -- and how we've goofed up despite good intentions. This former Soviet dissident is a beacon of hope stengthened by tough determination. All who love freedom should read this book.
Like Mr. Kagan's other excellent works, this one is very brief. I could have listened for days as he explored his stimulating thesis on the differences between American and European worldviews. His politics are certainly more liberal than mine, but his work is of such excellence and intellectual honesty that even a partisan conservative like me can learn a lot by listening to it.
Although this book is not actually all that long, it does go on longer than necessary on Henry Morgenthau and his plan for post-war Germany. Probably half of the book is devoted to Mr. Morgenthau -- very much more than Harry Truman. Morgenthau may deserve his own book, but in this one I expected to hear more about the presidents on its cover than the Treasury Secretary who served them. The book could almost be retitled "The Would-be Conqueror: Henry Morgenthau's Plan for Post-war Germany." Still, the author produced a very interesting work and, reading it himself, provided a pleasant listening experience.
One of the finest books on the subject of feminism, well researched and methodically presented. This is a work of serious scholarship, but with the practical insights of a regular woman who is not blinded by the ideological adsurdities of the academic left. Everyone who values ALL people regardless of sex should read (or listen to) this book to hear how some radicals seek to divide us.
This book goes over the most basic concepts and would probably be useful to the least informed on money matters. But if you already have a general knowledge of life insurance, mutual funds, 30-year fixed interest mortgages, etc., you will be wasting your time. Also, it's a bit weird listening to the obviously middle age, white narrator relate the story of the author's "Big Mama," the matriarch who imparted these financial lessons to the author. The book is filled with stories and language that reflect the author's black heritage. But with this narrator, it's like listening to one of the Osmonds read the autobiography of James Brown. It sounds inauthentic, and makes the narrator sound SO PAINFULLY square.
The title of West's book is typically euphemistic for what is really a Marxist diatribe. Like the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, the old Soviet Union's "democratic centralism," and other supposedly democratic phenomena of the totalitarian left, this book is a wolf in sheep's clothing. The truth is this: While West is correct that Democracy Matters, his vision of democracy is one in which the government not only runs your life, but tells you what to think as well. For him, the only threats to a Marxist utopia are hate-mongering Christians and people who believe in doing honest work for a living and being justly rewarded. Still, the book is worth reading if only to learn how insidious and conniving the elite academic establishment is. But don't help West collect his wages of sin (royalties). Check the book out from your local library.
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