After reading the amazing history contained in Jerusalem, The Biography, by Simon Sebag Montefiore, I couldn’t help but be thankful that our Founding Fathers established a country that allows all citizens the rights to their own religious beliefs and keeps government out of it. (At least, that’s the way it’s supposed to work.) As a lesson about what happens when governments and religion become intertwined, Jerusalem, though, is a cautionary tale. Because the saga of conflict told in Jerusalem not only sheds light on an astounding history of warfare among countries, empires, ethnic groups and civilizations, it demonstrates what happens when militaristic religious leaders decide to rid the Earth of their rivals. The result is a kind of never-ending ethnic cleansing.
The fact that Jerusalem is the center of the spiritual world for so many people seems to make politics there frighteningly complex and deadly. Consequently, if you have any interest in understanding why the area in and around Jerusalem is such a contentious piece of real estate, Jerusalem explicates, in exquisite historical detail, the thousands of years of fighting over a piece of ground that so many people want to possess. Sometimes, the details supplied by Montefiore are a bit overwhelming. But the historical tidbits, footnotes, archeological gossip and descriptions of what we know or think we know about what historical figures did to each other in this part of the planet are never less than fascinating and illuminating.
For more than 60 years, government indoctrination centers conveniently misnamed “public schools,” mainstream “historians” and a compliant media have pushed the notion that Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s New Deal policies and his actions as a “wartime” President saw America through the Great Depression and won World War II.
But the stark truth is FDR prolonged the Depression, his policies left the United States woefully unprepared for a war he was itching to join and he centralized government and assumed unConstitutional — even dictatorial — executive powers more than any other previous President.
What is the best way to acquire knowledge? I believe the best and only way is to read, read and read some more. If you have a liberty-lover in your circle of relatives or friends and you’re looking for a gift idea, I have a few for you.
Empires and colonialism, particularly the British Empire, get a bum rap from historians according to the cover of the book The Politically Incorrect Guide™ to the British Empire by H.W. Crocker III. Well, maybe, maybe not. Depends on the empire. The Roman Empire accomplished some very impressive achievements that no one can deny. On the other hand, the empire established by the marauding conquests of Attila the Hun, not so much.
Casual students of World War II may be familiar with names like Marshall, Eisenhower and Patton — maybe even Montgomery — and the roles they played in the European theater of the war. But only the more ardent history buffs have probably ever heard more than a passing mention of Gen. Omar Bradley.
The view most hold of Bradley probably comes from his portrayal by Karl Malden in the 1970 movie “Patton” with George C. Scott in the title role. In it, Malden was typically seen as Patton’s underling, even after Bradley was promoted over Patton as allied forces moved into Sicily.
But such portrayals, and in fact most histories of World War II, don’t do Bradley justice. He was far more involved than most realize in the planning and execution of the war as the battlefield moved from Africa and into Europe, especially the D-Day invasion of Normandy. Jim DeFelice seeks to burnish Bradley’s image in his new book, Omar Bradley: General At War.
Maybe you can’t tell a book by its cover, but the jacket of Don’t Let The Kids Drink The Kool-Aid by Marybeth Hicks doesn’t inspire much confidence. On the front jacket, just beneath the book’s title, a youngster lies on a hardwood floor, chin in hands, elbows on floor, contentedly absorbed in watching a Presidential speech on television. And you have to wonder what alternative universe gave birth to that image.
It’s an old political axiom that to win a national election a candidate has to target the independents. Each candidate is guaranteed a certain percentage of votes from his political party’s faithful, but it’s the remainder of the voting public that swings the election to one candidate or the other.
Increasingly, the independents, often inaccurately called by the media moguls and political pundits “moderates,” are feeling more and more disaffected. In recent national elections they have swung back and forth as they sought the candidate that would best fulfill their hopes and dreams. Increasingly, they are disappointed and feeling disaffected that it seems that no matter which way they vote, they continue to get what they got before. More and more, they are looking for a new way.
And they have come to realize, as the inside jacket cover of The Declaration of Independents puts it: “We are held hostage to an eighteenth-century system, dominated by two nineteenth-century political parties whose ever-more-polarized rhetoric masks a mutual interest in maintaining a stranglehold on power.”
In The Declaration of Independents, Nick Gillespie, editor of Reason.tv, and Matt Welch, editor of Reason magazine, point out a third way.
If you took a pen and piece of paper and charted all the varying opinions about Henry Kissinger’s role as a mover and shaker of international events, you’d have a splotchy map that would include a continent labeled “Evil Genius,” an island tagged “War Criminal” and an archipelago marked as the “Isle of Foresight.” Talk about a controversial bureaucrat. Kissinger’s carefully plotted maneuverings of the United States’ dealings with other countries during his time in the 20th century as head of the State Department has inspired reverence, censure, admiration, disapproval… There is little agreement on whether his influence has helped the U.S. or hurt our international standing.
America is currently being governed by a polygamist who abandoned each of his wives; a drunk who lost his legs in a car crash and later killed himself in a drunk driving crash; a socialist who railed against the British empire and aspired for revolution to free his country from its shackles; a long-dead ghost, seldom seen in life by the son. And that describes one man: Barack Obama Sr. For it is the senior Obama who shaped the anti-colonial views of the junior Obama who is currently occupying America’s White House.
That is the premise that forms Dinesh D’Souza’s book, The Roots of Obama’s Rage.
In his memoir released early in 2011, Donald Rumsfeld takes the reader on a 50-year ride through government. After his three-and-a-half-year stint in the U.S. Navy was up, Rumsfeld — Princeton graduate, married, the father of an infant and with his wife suffering from hepatitis — set his sights on entering the private sector and beginning his career.