Saint-Hubert, Quebec, Canada | Member Since 2001
A stark, harrowing, intense portrayal of the of Stalin's murderous reign and legacy in the Soviet Union. Complex characters and story telling in this unique setting made for a compelling listen to the end. An outstanding first novel with appeal to fans of historical novels, thrillers, and perhaps true crime. My highest recommendation.
I love football and Tim Tebow has been a compelling player to watch since entering the NFL. Many times in the last 2 seasons I have found myself rooting for him (even though I'm a diehard Colts fan) but it was not hard not to root for such an unconventional player achieving success against long odds. However, In My Eyes is nothing short of nauseating in it's self serving immodest style. Tim Tebow is a world class braggart and his book is the antithesis of a compelling sports biography like Open: An Autobiography, where Andre Agassi is human and shares his successes, failures, doubts and flaws. This is not a story about a person who just happens to be a world class athlete, it's a preening Tebow looking at himself in the mirror and liking what he sees. Putting aside his right wing Christian take on everything, Tim Tebow is an extremely shallow person that I'll never root for again.
Although Joe McGinniss mentions the 10th grade mean girl analogy that is often repeated in both print and visual media, by the end of his book he makes it crystal clear just how lacking and incomplete that analogy of Ms. Palin really is. With deft storytelling, if slightly too much gossip regarding Wasilla, Bristol, Levi etc. mixed in, Mr. McGinnis lays out a very complete and compelling portrait of Sarah's political rise and her astonishing desent from political relevance. Along the way Mr. McGinniss introduces us to a variety of truly compelling Alaskans, and their stories, all while laying out a clear and convincing case that as a ruthless political opportunist with amazingly disproportionate luck, Sarah has had no equal. In the end it becomes clear that as political grifters neither Sarah or Todd had the intellectual capacity nor political judgement to realize that you can only break so many ethic laws before it will all catch up to you. Add to that, Sarah's willingness to quit so that she could sell herself and her children in plain sight of both the press and the public, which is something real politicians know to do that behind closed doors. Maybe someday the Republican party will push the privitization envelope far enough that they will try to convince us all that using your children and family as props for profit is just part of being a good capitalist, but for now not even the media will buy that fable, and according to McGinniss that seems to have been a large part of Sarah's undoing.
My fear is that someday soon an evangelical politician, that is NOT AN EXTREME EDUCATIONAL AND INTELLECTUAL DOLT like Sarah, will actually rise to challenge for the presidency. If they are good looking, God help us. As Mr. McGinniss makes clear, except for the blogs, our media will not examine the religious part of our candidates resume, as long as they are "Christian", with any critical eye. For god's sake let us all pray that we have the wisdom to give the evangelicals enough incentive to keep all their children at home for schooling so that they can school them with their anti science, anti educational poppycock. The same educational gibberish that helped undo Sarah Palin. After having read Going Rogue by Sarah Palin, I believe The Rogue by Joe McGinniss appropriately corrects the record. I highly recommend the book.
I loved this book for it's honesty, introspection, warm/rich characters, and storytelling. Andre's inner dialog throughout the book puts you right there with him. As the french said go Andre go.
In My Time is an interesting, detailed, expansive look at the life and political career of one of America's most controversial figures. The book is well written, the narration is easy to listen to and I recommend it regardless of your like/dislike of Mr. Cheney. However, after reading his story it still remains a mystery to me how a young (Volkswagon driving) Dick Cheney, raised by new deal democrats, employed as union labor, and the beneficiary of many assistance programs begun in the new deal and furthered by the great society, goes to Washington to work in the moderate Republican administrations of Nixon and Ford and ends up as the most radical, partisan politician of our time. In telling his story Mr. Cheney takes time to tell us about the nuisance of W.I.N. (whip inflation now), Abscam, the election campaigns of Ford, Reagan, Bush Sr., Bush Jr. (no Dole) and of course endless details of war, intelligence, his love and fascination with all things military, 9-11, and his denial of torture. I found it amazing the he wrote not a single word regarding the Project For A new American Century (the bible for the NeoCons), nothing on the rise of right wing think tanks (Cato, Heritage, American Free Enterprise, Club for Growth) and their influence on the Republican Party, and mum on the rise of the evangelical right and the ever increasing pandering by Republicans to that religious right. His silence on the inaction of the Reagan administration and congress during the hiv/aids crisis, I expected that, it probably didn't even register on his radar of important events. It's not your father's Republican party anymore and Dick Cheney didn't become Gerald Ford even though he professes to have held him in highest regard.
Selected decisions from the 8 years of George Bush's presidency presented in the voice of the ex-president himself. Each decision heroically made (by W) and supported with every Republican talking point, justification, excuse, and half truth and carefully framed with just the right Frank Luntz vocabulary from the 8 years of Bush's presidency. If you are a Bush sycophant you're gonna love it. As for me UGH! As Mr. Bush once said back in the day: "See in my line of work you got to keep repeating things over and over and over again for the truth to sink in, to kind of catapult the propaganda." Well that's what this book is. Kudos to the narration by Mr. Bush as it is nicely done (that's why I have to give it 2 stars).
As the subtitle suggest this book is mainly about the "odyssey" of how and why an NFL football star ended up in on the front lines of two middle east wars. Unlike world war two where famous actors and athletes alike fought shoulder to shoulder with "regular" Americans from all walks of life, Pat Tillman served in a time when the famous and rich generally did not serve. The book keeps a good even pace moving forward and back in time to mix the interesting details of Pat Tillman's growing up, his family life, his football career and his service in the Army. Pat Tillman was neither an iconoclast nor a hero making the actions of both the Army and the Bush administration nothing short of criminal in covering up his friendly fire death for their own gain. Unlike the impression given by several of the one star reviews posted here, the book is neither a polemic against the Bush administration or the Army and really levels no criticism at either until the last quarter of the book when the FACTS surrounding the cover up and cynical political use of Pat's death for propoganda purposes make the truth of what happened into a damning inditement. My guess would be that if you were a middle east war cheerleader the truth written here probably hurts pretty bad but this is a well written, accurate book able to withstand a few one star reviews.
This book addresses the ever increasing trend towards hyper-partisanship that occurs by both media personalities and politicians of the "left" and the "right". The author labels the purveyors of this hyperbolic speech as "Wingnuts" and is willing to names names (Cindy Sheehan, Orly Taitz, etc.). After the author advances this idea the rest of the book is nothing more than examples of hyperbolic speech by those on the left and right and a call for everyone to return to the center and bipartisanship, essentially the book is a one note wonder. What the author does not do is a critical examination of the hyper-partisan speech of various Wingnuts to explore exactly how far will a Glenn Beck go to advance his selected narrative (let's say global warming is a hoax). Mind you, I don't care what GB truly believes, does GB's hyperbolic speech about climate change really have the same negative impact on society as Cindy Sheehan's hyperbolic speech about George Bush or Orly Taitz's hyperbolic speech about O'bama's birth certificate. The author implies that Hyperbolic speech is all the same.....but it's not. The world will pay a real and destructive cost for our continuing delay in addressing global climate change but I doubt any excess in speech by Sheehan or Ms Taitz will amount to personal negative consequence for any of us. As for the politicians named as wingnuts (Alan Grayson is a wingnut Dick Cheney is not?) I would suggest that if the author wants a return to bipartisan governance, that we need to critically examine which politicians have embarked on hyper-partisan policy (let's start with the passing of bills by the use of the reconciliation process as a benchmark) and label those politicians as wingnuts. The problem of hyper-partisan media is more critically addressed in the book True Enough, by Farhad Manjoo and I would recommend this book over "Wingnuts".
Going Rogue lacked the essential element that I look for in a good biography, critical self examination. Throughout, Sarah explores the actions of others, identifies mistakes and wrongdoings, and assigns lots motivation(s)to others, all the while explaining that her actions are always motivated by principle and god. In regards to the 2008 presidential campaign the book is nothing short of one long "whine" regarding how unfairly she was treated and how inept McCain staffers were in their management of the campaign and Sarah's role. There is not one ill word of Mr. McCain, as if McCain had nothing to do with limiting her role, I felt left to wonder if it had even occured to Sarah that she was not Mr. McCain's first choice (maybe Lieberman or Ridge?). Was Sarah Palin choosen for the vice presidential running mate as concession to the Christian right of the GOP, a choice made to garner right wing money and votes? We don't know, like the rest of the book Sarah doesn't explore anything with a critical eye. Of her political career Sarah says she was not driven by ambition, nor by any particular goal, like power, wealth, or fame. Sarah tells us she was driven by purpose (as in the purpose driven life?). If the book reveals anything at all about the real Sarah Palin it's about her religious beliefs, which I found chilling and disturbed. Throughout the book, Sarah tells us she always prayed on decisions large and small and then waited for god to give her "signs". I've seen the video of hands being laid on Sarah in her Church while prayers were said for her political success, I would have liked to have read about this in her book. I am unsure of Sarah's exact belief's regarding the role of religion in politics, having to speculate is disturbing. I can't recommend this book.
"Arguing with Idiots" an aptly titled book in which Glenn Beck perfectly voices the part of the liberal "straw man" and has his co-narrators bat down his inane arguments (surprise, Glenn plays the idiot). Essentially this is more of his daily show and if you like his show you're sure to like this book. Glenn's topics seem to be most of the right wing talking points from Reagan to now, but "why in god's name?", has he left out "trickle down economics", my all time favorite (tear running down my cheek without the aid of Vick's VapoRub)). Seriously I found it juvenile, sophomoric, absent any pretense of intellectual honesty (just like his show). If this is your thing, then Idiots enjoy (don't hurt yourselves).
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