How Everything Became War and the Military Became Everything: Tales from the Pentagon by Rosa Brooks (2016)
Considering the United States seemingly has been at war somewhere, declared or not, for my entire life, despite protests in the Sixties to the contrary, this book provides multiple perspectives on the business of perpetual war.
The author worked in prominent Pentagon capacities and provides real intimate details of what it was like to live in that particular bubble.
Those two years were strange, almost surreal in their intensity. For me — a law professor and journalist brought up in a family of left-wing anti-war activists — working for the Pentagon was like conducting anthropological fieldwork in some exotic and unpredictable foreign tribe. (p. 6)
I saw her on Book TV talking about this book and knew that it was going to be special because, as it is described on the cover flap, “it is by turns a memoir, a work of journalism, and a scholarly exploration of history, anthropology, and law.”
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The Money Cult: Capitalism, Christianity, and the Unmaking of the American Dream by Chris Lehmann (2016)
BUY THIS BOOK! I am taking my library copy back and buying it myself.
I am posting this now without further commentary just in case someone needs an idea for a Christmas present (ironically since “Christianity” is part of the problem!) for a progressive friend or family member.
The Least Among Us: Waging the Battle for the Vulnerable by Congresswoman Rosa L. DeLauro (2017)
This congresswoman really impressed me when I was watching some of the C-SPAN coverage of her passionate commentary in favor of progressive values and in support of social justice. I had hoped for better, gripping, passionate writing in her book but was disappointed.
It reads more like a memoir that I expected. I thought it was going to cover substantial policy discussions “in the weeds” as has become the commonly used gag-reflexing golf analogy. The presumably editorial direction to have chapters arranged by mostly repetitive use of “In Defense of” is tiresome at best.
Chapters like “In defense of children, of women, of the hungry, and so on, are presented recounting some of the legislative action and negotiating at the time, such as in 2008. Well, that was nearly a decade ago and I am not sure anything relevant can be pulled out of journal notes or other contemporaneous documents. I think her voice and her passion is important to hear. Perhaps she will write another, organized around policy issues, using her details of what actually happened in service of the bigger picture.
Continue reading Social Justice means support for “The Least Among Us” by Rosa L. DeLauro
Thieves in High Places: They’ve Stolen our Country and it’s Time to Take it Back by Jim Hightower (2003)
Another funny book by the author of:
If the gods had wanted us to vote they would have given us candidates (2000).
Funny but it makes you want to cry way, book of commentary and actual facts from Jim Hightower. He starts the introduction with a very appropriate word for the W days: Kleptocrat Nation. I have since learned another word that better suits the 2017 administration: kakistocracy.
For those of you who don’t want to click the link, Wikipedia defines it to mean:
“a state or country run by the worst, least qualified, or most unscrupulous citizens”
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Austerity: The History of a Dangerous Idea by Mark Blyth (2013)
I could start and end my commentary with this simple imperative: BUY THIS BOOK.
Economics was one subject about which I had little interest and a lot of hostility when forced to take it in college. The teacher tried his best, but trying to explain economic theory to a bunch of kids who have possibly never had any knowledge of how much money their parents make, spend, or what things cost is a rather hopeless proposition. At least for me, combined with minimal exposure to life long enough to seen the actual consequences of economic theory in policymaking and being able to see the short-term and long-term impact of such policies, made the content just too much of a word salad to be useful.
Continue reading Austerity: The History of a Dangerous Idea by Mark Blyth