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    Sovereign Rule
    by Robert Stanek
    Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
    Paperback (01 January, 2003)
    list price: $16.95 -- our price: $11.53
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    Reviews (17)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Exciting with lots of plot twists
    The plot of "Sovereign Rule" is remarkably good. "Sovereign Rule" is the story of a man caught by circumstance, trying to find out how to escape his past. He has left "the agency" but they want him back. From the moment the book starts, he is on the defensive, he's being followed, attacked. He doesn't understand exactly what's happening to him, but he knows he has to figure it all out to stay alive.

    Add to this already interesting mixture characters like Glenn and Helen, and you will understand why this book is so good. You won't be able to stop reading, and you will be asking yourself what started this whole mess and what does he have to do to get himself out.

    All in all, I highly recommend this book to those who appreciate a solid thriller, and to those who don't usually read this kind of book but love a good, fast read.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A step up from Patterson and Koontz
    After reading the very disappointed "Life Expectency" from Dean Koontz I went in search of new reads and this one was of the ones I picked up. I read Patterson's "The Lake House" first then "Sovereign Rule" Sure wish I had picked up "Sovereign Rule" first and skipped the other two entirely.

    I haven't read a novel of this caliber since the classic Tom Clancy's and Robert Ludlum's. "Sovereign Rule" is a book any mystery-thriller fan will love. It reads well and the story moves lightning fast. The plotting is very intricate and you'll love even the bad characters in this one. Highlyrecommended.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Compelling
    Robert Stanek is my new must-read. The Sovereign Rule is fascinating and absorbing -- perfect for conspiracy nuts, puzzle lovers or anyone who appreciates a great, riveting story. I loved this book.
    ... Read more

    Isbn: 1575450720
    Sales Rank: 908578
    Subjects:  1. Fiction    2. Fiction - Espionage / Thriller    3. Suspense    4. Thrillers   


    Invasion: How America Still Welcomes Terrorists Criminals & Other Foreign Menaces to Our Shores
    by Michelle Malkin
    Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
    Hardcover (25 September, 2002)
    list price: $27.95 -- our price: $18.45
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    Reviews (114)

    5-0 out of 5 stars A new perspective for Law Enforcement Intelligence.
    Ms. Malkin cogently expresses her insight that law enforcement intelligence must successfully incorporate tasks, functions, and controls beginning with communication with consumers during the planning & direction phase of the intelligence cycle. Western, and particularly U.S. culture encourages personal initiative, the challenging of conventional wisdom, and the development of creative solutions to the inevitable conflicts and contradictions that occur within the competitively pressured environment of both the civilian law enforcement and military intelligence communities.

    Therefore, it is incumbent on leadership steeped in personal courage to deliver intelligence products that address the internal-operational, and tactical-needs, with policymaking consumer's needs-strategic-and resolve the continuing dilemmas, inconsistencies, and subversions attributable to influences including, but not limited to, the media, special interest groups, and the changing times.

    The character of the immigrant population living within our borders has changed, as has their motives for being here. Assimilation and a genuine desire to be `American' have given way to subversive and ethno-religious self-aggrandizement. A large subculture has developed whose mission is to foster their own interests, subvert the basic principles of the nation, and accomplish their aims utilizing the very freedom and rights extended to each individual by the system they seek to destroy.

    This is a serious expose concerning our national character and the consequences of failing to heed the lessons of history.

    1-0 out of 5 stars More Books About Fear from the Right Wing
    Once again, this immature writer, who is rather insane and paranoid, goes on to have us believe that "huge waves of terrorists are floating across the border". She writes about that deluded idea in this book, rarely mentioning any sense of truthful reporting, that the "terrorists" actually flew in quite easily and that America was not let down because of the "border" but because of the ineptness and stupidity of the FBI and CIA which spent billions on intelligence and yet could not figure that a plane could be used as a weapon. Most of the border crossings are from people who seek a better life from work across the border and there are a few petty criminals, but no terrorists would be stupid enough to cross. They infiltrate the country through normal means, any former soldier would know that, they try to blend in.

    1-0 out of 5 stars Michelle Malkin is a Right Wing Nut Job
    Again, I also wish Amazon allowed one to rate with zero stars, this book stinks.Nothing new here, the same fear pandering Republican screed.If Malkin's parents were subjected to her wishes, she may not have grown up in New Jersey, her whole argument is ridiculous.Don't waste your money on this female troll, she couldn't write a decent book if her life depended on it.She really needs to keep the focus on herself and stop taking everyone else's inventory.Like the rest of the Wing Nuts, same asylum, different patient. ... Read more

    Isbn: 0895261464
    Sales Rank: 83282
    Subjects:  1. Deviant behavior    2. Emigration & Immigration    3. Emigration and immigration    4. Government policy    5. Immigrants    6. Internal security    7. Political Freedom & Security - General    8. Political Freedom & Security - Terrorism    9. Politics - Current Events    10. Public Policy - General    11. Social Science    12. Sociology    13. United States    14. Central government policies    15. Immigration & emigration    16. POLITICS & GOVERNMENT    17. Sociology, Social Studies   


    Bias: A CBS Insider Exposes How the Media Distort the News
    by Bernard Goldberg
    Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
    Hardcover (25 February, 2001)
    list price: $27.95 -- our price: $18.45
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    Reviews (813)

    5-0 out of 5 stars it was right on the mark
    good reading.
    lets you know why the network media sucks!

    1-0 out of 5 stars Whine much?
    Is there a problem with bias in the media?Sure.Too bad all this guy wants to do is whine about how Dan Rather owns an expensive suit and doesn't care for him.I was hoping for more compelling evidence than this rubbish.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Bias: A CBS insider exposes socialism in the News.
    The book "Bias: A CBS Insider Exposes How the Media Distorts the News" by Bernard Goldberg is a very revealing book and worth the read.

    People sometimes mistakenly say that the Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS) is "liberal" and this book shows otherwise.CBS gives equal time to big-spending democrat-socialists like Clinton, and to republican-socialists who are twice as socialistic as Clinton (in social spending alone).The only way CBS can be called biased is that it only covers the one-party system of the socialist candidates (republicans and democrats) and ignores anyone who supports less government (Libertarians). CBS is an example of why the FCC is unconstitutional and has destroyed the press and why the FCC must end.

    As with other broadcasters, CBS is stuck in absurd left-right political analysis, as taught in government schools. CBS also uses the word "liberal" unprofessionally to mean "left."CBS's ignorant habit forgets the etymology of "liberal" for "liberty" (against government and for laissez-faire capitalism).That bad habit explains why republicans and democrats are the same: socialists.CBS is an example of why government schools are unconstitutional and have destroyed a "free press" and why the government schools must end.

    CBS is home to "60 minutes" and Mike Wallace.Wallace is infamous for a story on how North Korea uses Anne Frank's diary to teach North Korean children that the U.S.A. is like "Nazis."Wallace mentioned during the story that North Korea is "socialist."Wallace and the people in North Korea used the word Nazi multiple times in the story.Not once did Wallace mention that the Nazi's were socialists, or that "Nazi" means "National Socialist German Workers' Party."So in a story in which self-proclaimed Korean socialists are accusing the U.S. of being Nazis, a story crying out for at least one mention of the meaning of "Nazi," if not a grand finale based on that meaning, instead one of CBS's premier reporters fails to mention it at all. Why do you think that is?Is it because Wallace is an ignoramus? or is it because he deliberately thought about what Nazi means and decided not to mention it, not to educate the public, and to hide the truth?

    CBS has a bad habit: overuse of the hackneyed "Nazi" so much that it might cause one to wonder if anyone at the broadcaster knows the origin of the term.Many people forget that "Nazi" means "National Socialist German Workers' Party," and one reason people forget is because the word "Nazi" is overused by media mouthpieces (e.g. CBS) who never say the actual name of the horrid party.A good mnemonic device is that the swastika resembles two overlapping "S" letters for "socialism."

    For example: The CBS search engine indicates NO results EVER for use of the actual name of the monstrous party, the "National Socialist German Workers' Party." In comparison CBS's search indicates the stereotypical hackneyed use of the shorthand.

    Of course, a common journalistic practice is that whenever an abbreviation or shorthand is desired, the full phrase should be spelled out first with the shorthand given in parentheses and then repeated thereafter. Here is an example: "The National Socialist German Workers' Party (Nazi Party) was horrid." Or "Nazis (National Socialist German Workers Party members) are horrid." Thereafter the shorthand can be used alone within the article. CBS does not follow that practice and no explanation is apparent as to why.

    That type of writing bias inspired the "Not say Nazi" movement via people who pledge to never say or write the abbreviation and to always use the full phrase, in an effort to counter-act the rampant ignorance of journalists, and the ignorance they spread to the general public.

    CBS regularly carries programming about patriotic topics, including recent litigation about the pledge of allegiance and CBS implies that it loves the pledge. Big problem: No one at CBS arises each morning to gather with neighbors and robotically chant, as CBS only "loves" the pledge when government schools lead children in robotic chanting every morning for twelve years of their lives upon the ring of a bell, like Pavlov's lapdogs of the state.Did I mention that CBS is an example of why government schools are unconstitutional and have destroyed a "free press" and why government schools must end?

    The book suggests that CBS is ignorant of the fact that the pledge was written by a socialist (Francis Bellamy) in the USA and that the original salute was a straight-arm salute (as shown in web image searches for "original socialist salute").The book suggests that when it was written CBS was an ignoramus about the news-breaking discovery by the historian Rex Curry that the straight-arm salute of the National Socialist German Workers' Party (Nazis) came from the military saluteand from the original pledge of allegiance in the USA, and not from ancient Rome.

    Francis Bellamy and his cousin and cohort Edward Bellamy were national socialists who idolized the military and wanted to nationalize the entire US economy, including all schools.It was a philosophy that led to the socialist Wholecaust (of which the Holocaust was a part) where millions were murdered (62 million by the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, 35 million by the Peoples' Republic of China, 21 million by the National Socialist German Workers' Party) in the worst slaughter in history.That is why the Bellamys are known as the first American Nazis.

    CBS is an example of why some educated socialists (socialists who know the origin of the pledge) laugh at people at CBS when they have news about the pledge of allegiance, because socialists presume that CBS has been duped into supporting socialism and is ignorant of the pledge's socialist origin.

    CBS has apparently never displayed a historic photograph of the original pledge of allegiance ever to viewers nor discussed its ominous parallels.

    CBS is not libertarian and CBS uses the misnomer "public schools" to mean "government schools" because CBS is a dupe and doesn't understand freedom.CBS reports on social security reforms that would invest social security taxes in private businesses and provide an avenue for the government to nationalize all private businesses in addition to schools.It is a scheme that would impress the Bellamys.CBS reports the schemes because CBS doesn't have the ethics, objectivity, nor intellectual honesty to report the other side of the story (the proper side): ending government involvement in education, and ending the social security scam, its taxes and its Nazi numbering.

    CBS is a reminder that the media are government mouthpieces: overrun with socialists and a lost cause for liberty.

    CBS should address the following:

    * Your viewers do not know and never will know (because you will never tell them) that the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag was written by a self-proclaimed National Socialist in the U.S. who wanted government schools to create an "industrial army" and that the original Pledge used a straight-arm salute like that later used by the National Socialist German Workers' Party, and that a recent historic discovery indicates that the U.S. Pledge of Allegiance in fact was the origin of the salute of the National Socialist German Workers' Party.

    * Your viewers have never seen and will never see (because you will never show them) even one actual photo of the historic original U.S. flag salute (the straight-arm salute).

    * Your viewers do not know and never will know (because you will never tell them) that "Nazi" means "National Socialist German Workers' Party."

    * Your viewers do not know (and you will not tell them) about the socialist Wholecaust (of which the Holocaust was a part) the greatest loss of life that ever occurred, in which the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics slaughtered 62 million, the People's Republic of China slaughtered 35 million and the National Socialist German Workers' Party slaughtered 21 million, and that socialists in the U.S. (including the author of the Pledge of Allegiance) helped inspire them.

    * Your viewers do not know (and you will not tell them) that D-Day is also a day to remember that the U.S. helped end a war that began when the National Socialist German Workers' Party and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics invaded Poland in 1939 as allies in a pact to divide up Europe.

    Overall, the book was very educational and worth the time to review. ... Read more

    Isbn: 0895261901
    Sales Rank: 13924
    Subjects:  1. Current Affairs    2. General    3. Journalism    4. Mass Media    5. Media Studies    6. Objectivity    7. Politics/International Relations    8. Pop Arts / Pop Culture    9. Television broadcasting of new    10. Television broadcasting of news    11. United States   


    Mission Compromised: A Novel
    by Oliver North, Joe Musser
    Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
    Hardcover (01 September, 2002)
    list price: $24.99 -- our price: $16.49
    (price subject to change: see help)
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    Reviews (89)

    1-0 out of 5 stars Jesus Christ...
    ...this is a lousy book.Even without all the God stuff it would be a stinker.Makes Clancy look like a genius.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Good ending?Bad ending?Great ending?Awful ending?
    Fantastic book!As I approached the end of the book, however, I was EXTREMELY disappointed in the ending.That changed, however, as I figured out what the author was doing.(Hint:when you read the book, do NOT skip the epilogue; specifically, the next-to-last sentence.)North and his co-author are fantastic story-tellers.

    North writes this book from a Christian perspective, which is a breath of fresh air from this type of novel.Several subplots tie themselves in together as the story winds up.

    I've read several other books of war-fiction, and this was by far the best.I'm looking forward to the sequel.

    4-0 out of 5 stars A refreshing read!
    I enjoyed many things about this book, the development of characters, the story line and especially the lack of profanity.I thought North got his points across very well, without 4 letter words, and this was refreshing.I did have to remind myself that it was a work of fiction; however, so much was based on real life that I had a bit of trouble sorting events out. ... Read more

    Isbn: 0805425500
    Sales Rank: 116477
    Subjects:  1. Espionage/Intrigue    2. Fiction    3. Fiction - Espionage / Thriller    4. Marine Corps    5. Prevention    6. Terrorism    7. Thrillers    8. United States    9. United States.    10. Washington (D.C.)   


    Slander: Liberal Lies About the American Right
    Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars
    Hardcover (25 June, 2002)
    list price: $25.95
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    Editorial Review

    "Liberals have been wrong about everything in the last half century," writes conservative pundit Ann Coulter, author of the bestselling anti-Clinton tome High Crimes and Misdemeanors. They've been especially wrong about Republicans, she writes. The bulk of Slander, in fact, is a well-documented brief dedicated to the proposition that most of the media despises anybody whose political opinions lie an inch to the right of the New York Times editorial page. This is hardly an original observation, though few have presented it with such verve. Coulter is the shock-jock of right-wing political commentary, able to dash off page after page of over-the-top but hilarious one-liners: "Liberals dispute slight reductions in the marginal tax rates as if they are trying to prevent Charles Manson from slaughtering baby seals." There's a certain amount of irony about an author who says "liberals prefer invective to engagement" also declaring, "The good part of being a Democrat is that you can commit crimes, sell out your base, bomb foreigners, and rape women, and the Democratic faithful will still think you're the greatest." But then carefully measured criticism never has been Coulter's shtick--or her appeal. Fans of Rush Limbaugh and admirers of Bernard Goldberg's Bias won't want to miss Slander. --John Miller ... Read more

    Reviews (1172)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Lady Ann Rocks
    Clever and extremely funny.

    She has well a thought out, well researched, stinging tongue.
    Her critiques are as expected from a top law school graduate and a keen conservative.

    I sure would like to see anyone try to debunk her research.

    A Self Certified Blogspot Blogger

    2-0 out of 5 stars A Clashing Cymbol
    As a conservative, I would have appreciated just the facts without her inane packaging.I too share the belief that liberals should be sidelined.Nonetheless, I would hope that I would have more respect for the reader to make up his own mind and hold my conclusions until the climatic ending.No such luck here.This is the second time I picked up the book as Coulter is important, but having set the book down a second time makes me question her continued importance on the scene.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Ann, More Roundhouses Please.
    This is Ann Coulter's finest book.It lacks the gratuitous venom of Treason and is on point the entire time.Unlike How to Talk to a Liberal, there is a coherent theme here and not simply a rehash of old material.Slander is fresh and courageous and that's why it sold millions of copies.Much is made of her demeaning attitude towards her enemies, well, it certainly is true that she showers them with abuse and attitude, but what about when those of us on the right are called fascists, racists, sexists, or religious fanatics every time we open our mouths?What many who criticize her don't understand is the fact that she always analyzes their arguments and defeats them before making insults.However, concerning these verbal abuses, they are often witty and hilarious.One of my favorite lines is when Coulter refers to Hollywood Starlets who denigrate Phyllis Schlafly that they "couldn't approach Schlafly's IQ if they were having brains instead of silicone injected."Although, some of it is rather profound such as when she states, "A central component of liberal hate speech is to make paranoid accusations based on their own neurotic influences."Quite right Ann, battle on--for us all. This is a wonderful book and was the pinnacle of her career if you ask me. ... Read more

    Isbn: 1400046610
    Subjects:  1. History & Theory - General    2. Liberalism    3. Mass media    4. Political Process - General    5. Political Process - Political Parties    6. Political Science    7. Political aspects    8. Politics - Current Events    9. Politics/International Relations    10. United States    11. Political Science / Political Parties   

    Let Freedom Ring: Winning the War of Liberty over Liberalism
    by Sean Hannity
    Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars
    Hardcover (20 August, 2002)
    list price: $25.95 -- our price: $16.35
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    Reviews (634)

    4-0 out of 5 stars Insight into the conservative argument
    I know that in the world of political writing I am way late in reading Sean Hannity's 2002 book.I did, however, find it an interesting read that had some issues that are still valid in the political realm right now.
    While reading the other reviews, I found it amazing the amount of emotion that this book unleashed.Unfortunately the people using this forum as a political discussion arena both proved some of the arguments made in this book and gave no real insight into the book.
    Without getting into a political discussion, anyone reading this book that knows anything about Sean Hannity knows that they will be getting a conservative view of the world in these pages.What I liked most of this book is that it put all of the political issues into context.Too often I hear people discussing politics as individual issues and never placing them into cause and effect relationships with other issues.For example, there is talk about the environment and gas prices.People will argue various reasons why gas prices continue to climb and blame "big oil".However, no one wants to build refineries in the United States to process the crude oil we have.These issues are intertwined and cannot be separated.Mr. Hannity connects the dots whether the reader likes them or not.
    If you're looking for a book with a completely neutral political agenda, this is not it.However, it does present a truly conservative argument that is well thought out and can give a reader an intelligent insight into the conservative thought process.If your going to rant on about the "Right Wing Fascists" then don't read this book, but if you want to see how the conservatives have been and will continue to make their arguments for more personal freedom and responsibility, then read on.Mr. Hannity is true to the conservative cause in his basic core beliefs.He presents the issues that still effect us today with the conservative view that will help conservatives, moderates and liberals understand the arguments of the day whether you agree with him or not.
    All in all I have to say this book still has some relevance even though some of the players have changed (i.e. Tom Daschle).A person engaged in a true political debate would want to read both sides of the story and this book presents the conservative view as coherently as I have seen it before.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Loving Sean more and more every time
    This book is a must have for any intelligent reader who knows what true Liberty is and those who recognize how Liberalism (or as I like to call it, "The anything goes attitude") is hurting America. It's not just the opinion of the author that fills up the pages of this book but there's also facts and truth packed into the paragraphs to back up each and every statement.

    Sean's comments are insightful and intriguing and anyone who says other wise and down plays how helpful this book is in understanding what's going on in America, is probably a Liberal and can't take the fact that the views of their party is destroying this once great Country.

    I highly recommend this book and after taking a chance to read it, you will too.

    1-0 out of 5 stars Patriotism is not loyalty&subordination to state power
    George Orwell once wrote: "The nationalist not only does not disapprove of atrocities committed by his own side, he has a remarkable capacity for not even hearing about them."
    Hannity, who's a jingoist hypocrite, forgets a very important detail, the root of the problem: that the best way of stoping terrorism is to stop participating in it.
    There's a reason why Al Quaida attacked us and not Sweden. We should recognize that the US (being 3.5% of the world's population &consuming 50%of resources) exploits the world economically (especially the 3rd world, that's how we get rich) Contrary to what you hear, the US multinational establishment never favored free-trade. The economy relies very heavily on a dynamic state sector to socialize cost and risk, a radical violation of market principles. Needless to say, in much of the world the US is regarded --correctly-- as a leading terrorist state.
    What was the invasion of South Vietnam, for example, in 1962, when Kennedy sent the Air Force to bomb South Vietnam and start chemical warfare? That's aggression.We killed millions of innocent people. Or what was the Indonesian invasion of East TimorKiling 100's of thousands?What was the Israeli invasion of Lebanon, which ended up killing 20,000 people? These last two were carried out thanks to decisive U.S. diplomatic, military, and economic support. The invasion of Panama, what was that? The attacks on Cuba, Nicaragua and much of South America? The bombing of Cambodia? The forceful overthrow of governments? And the list goes on. We've supported and sold weapons to dictators like Pinochet, Suharto, Mobutu,Marcos,the Shah, Duvalier, Ceacescu Saddam Hussein etc. We are the biggest weapons merchant in the world, and we spend more on means of violence that practically the entire rest of the world combined. Bin Laden does retail terrorism. We do wholesale terrorism.
    If we bomb them, that's normal; that's what we do. If we get attacked it's the end of the world.
    Let's stop our self-adulation and delusion and start applying to ourselves the same standards we apply to others (most basic moral principle) If we can't even do that, we CANNOT talk about lofty things such as "driving evil out of the world" "good against evil" "Our christian values" etc. Let's not point at the splinter in the other person's eye while we have a log in ours. Let's stop our terrorism and exploitation and work towards a better world.
    And it's not "blaming America", it's blaming real people like you or me who are allowing horrible things to happen. There's no abstract entity "America" that acts. Don't put the blame anywhere else.The concept "anti-American" is an interesting one. The counterpart is used only in totalitarian states or military dictatorships. Thus, in the old Soviet Union, dissidents were condemned as "anti-Soviet." That's a natural usage among people with deeply rooted totalitarian instincts, which identify state policy with the society, the people, the culture. In contrast, people with even the slightest concept of democracy treat such notions with ridicule and contempt. Suppose someone in Italy who criticizes Italian state policy were condemned as "anti-Italian." It would be regarded as too ridiculous even to merit laughter. Maybe under Mussolini, but surely not otherwise.
    Actually the concept has earlier origins. It was used in the Bible by King Ahab, the epitome of evil, to condemn those who sought justice as "anti-Israel" ("ocher Yisrael," in the original Hebrew, roughly "hater of Israel," or "disturber of Israel"). His specific target was Elijah.
    The US(especially now with Bush) is, ---and has been for the last half century--, a vicious imperial power whose internal freedom has no correlation with its external behavior; a country where people are brainwashed to believe official pieties, support state atrocities and be ignorant/apathetic or jingoistically enthusiastic about the brutal and heinous crimes carried out by the US, which is dominated by corporate interests in their insatiable quest for power and wealth. The brainwashing is done through the manufacture of consent, a technique of social control by which people get to regard themselves as thinking perfectly independently, while they are in fact just servile to power, weak members of the herd who have internalized the values of the prevailing and highly indoctrinated intellectual culture.
    Here are some of the ways they do it:

    1- The US is not a totalitarian state, so you don't get the propaganda line. In the intellectual realm what you get is something much more subtle, yet similar. Namely, vigorous debate within a framework of fixed and unquestionable presuppositions, and those presuppositions ARE the propaganda line. So take the war in Vietnam; the "left" said:
    "We began with blundering efforts to do good, but by 1969 it became too costly, we found it was a disaster, too costly for ourselves, so therefore we should get out."
    The right said "You're selling us out, we can win if we fight harder, etc." All of it assumes that the US attack against south Vietnam was in defense of South Vietnam, and an effort to do good (which of course, is totally false). That's the genius of the propaganda system.

    2- Selection of people (students, workers intellectuals) who are obedient& subservient to power (they get rewarded& get ahead in life), and discrimination of others. Also, a biased, nationalistic version of US history & American values is taught in schools & family households. People end up internalizing the values of power and regard themselves as thinking perfectly freely/independently.

    3- Lots of distractions(Sports, stupid TV shows etc)and Major (Corporate) media control: filtering of information, distribution of concerns, emphasis, framing of issues, bounding of debate within certain limits (so that you can't present evidence if you say anything against power or anything other than what's common knowledge). They determine, select, shape, control, restrict, in order to serve the interests of dominant elite groups.

    4- Trying to impose a philosophy of passive consumerism in a country that is not a democracy, but rather a system of elite decision and periodic public ratification.
    The rulers don't represent the people, and the election process is a show that stays away from any important issues (healthcare, minimum wage etc)

    Now, unless we bring the autocratic central institutions that control society (comercial, financial, industrial) under popular democratic control, our democracy will be a sham, we'll have wars, and we'll always be reduced to tossing a coin&picking a king every 4 years. Our freedoms were not gained because CEO's or gov officials gave them to us. They were gained by popular involvement, such as the civil rights movement in the 60's, before which blacks couldn't even sit in the front of the bus ... Read more

    Isbn: 0060514558
    Sales Rank: 19755
    Subjects:  1. 1970-    2. Civilization    3. Essays    4. Government - U.S. Government    5. Political Ideologies - Conservatism & Liberalism    6. Political Science    7. Politics - Current Events    8. Politics and government    9. Politics/International Relations    10. Popular Culture - General    11. Popular culture    12. United States   


    The Savage Wars of Peace: Small Wars and the Rise of American Power
    by Max Boot
    Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
    Hardcover (16 April, 2002)
    list price: $30.00
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    Editorial Review

    Whether fought for commercial or strategic concessions or even moral reasons, whether little-known or well-publicized, America's "small wars"--against, say, the Barbary pirates and the rebellious Boxers--played a large part in the development of what historian Max Boot does not hesitate to call an American empire. All arguments to the contrary, Boot insists, America has never been an isolationist power; it has "been involved in other countries' internal affairs since at least 1805," when American marines landed on the shores of Tripoli, and it has "never confined the use of force to those situations that meet the narrow definition of American interests preferred by realpolitikers and isolationists." Closely examining the record of those small wars, which far outnumber major conflicts, Boot argues that Americans have a historic duty to deliver foreign nations from aggression, even to intervene in civil wars abroad, especially if the product is greater freedom--for, he writes, "a world of liberal democracies would be a world much more amenable to American interests than any conceivable alternative." Readers may take issue with some of Boot's conclusions, but they merit wide discussion, especially in a time when small--and perhaps large--wars are looming. Boot's book is thus timely, and most instructive. --Gregory McNamee ... Read more

    Reviews (46)

    4-0 out of 5 stars Entartaining well written research
    The book describes all American small military interventions abroad starting from the beginning of the 19th century with the picturesque adventures of very few men fighting near the shores of Tripoli and ending with the war in Kosovo.

    I am not a scholar, I am not American and I wasn't aware of some of the facts reported in this book. In my opinion the factual research is interesting and accurate.

    I am not giving 5 stars because I think that the thesis sustained by the author against the Powell Doctrine and the conclusion "In deploying American power, decision makers should be less apologetic, less hesitant, less humble..." are not fully supported by the facts searched by Mr. Boot.

    1-0 out of 5 stars A Myopic Analysis of America's Small Wars
    Although informative as to the many obscure conflicts involving the United States since the early 1800s, Mr. Boot's analysis and conclusions as to why these wars were fought is at best naive; indicating an infantile patriotic myopia that severely clouds his judgment as a historian. The work is therefore reduced to being an informative reference guide as to when, where, and how these conflicts occurred but not why.The problem with Mr. Boot's analysis is that he justifies these conflicts based on their pretext as opposed to the actual motives that brought them into being. As with almost any war, pretext is only the rhetorical justification for the war but hardly the motivation for it: it is the means but not the end. In most cases, the rhetorical purpose is soon marginalized to achieve the war's primary and controlling purpose which is almost always based on strictly economic or geopolitical factors that are at odds with the pretext.

    A perfect example distinguishing rhetorical and real objectives in war is the Spanish-American War of the late 19th century. Although the pretext for that war was to liberate an "oppressed" peoples from the Spanish crown, the real motivations, as with the Mexican-American War, were strictly territorial control: geopolitics. Specifically, the U.S. had reached such naval supremacy by the late 19th century that it needed strategic ports from which to manifest it: unfortunately for Spain, it happened to possess such ports in its ailing colonies (i.e. Phillipines, Samoa, Cuba, Guam, Puerto Rico, etc.) Thus, it was simply convenient for Spain to be an "oppressive monarchy violating the Monroe Doctrine" and in control of these territories as it was a perfect pretext for hostilities which were intended to achieve the main objective which was geopolitical as opposed to ideal. The reality is that the U.S. would probably have taken military action even if these colonial territories were independent democratic or tyrannical states because the real reason for war was that a foreign country (regardless of political structure) refused to provide its ports to a foreign army (i.e. the U.S. Navy and USMC specifically.) Finally, Given the U.S.' open support and participation in brutal campaigns against indigenous peoples of these countries with the corrupt pseudo-democratic regimes it planted there until all too recently (e.g. Batista in Cuba and Marcos in the Phillipines) to continue its control of naval bases, one begins to wonder whether ideals of freedom or realpolitik were the primary motives for these conflicts. I think that any half-intelligent person without blind patriotic bias will really consider the latter as opposed to the former as the most likely conclusion.This conflict is but a small example of the countless small engagements the U.S. has initiated/participated in to carry out its strategic interests under the pretextual guise of "freedom"; the pretext of "freedmom" in these circumstances usually meaning nothing more than political and economic exploitation of a weaker state at the expense of its own peoples with some trivial concessions or the giving of trinkets to appear good-hearted. It is unfortunate that Boot doesn't include some of the broader or indirect conflicts the U.S. has waged in the name of democracy such as supporting the Diem regime in Vietnam and the coup d'etat in Chile by Pinochet, not to mention its open support of Saddam Hussein despite knowing of the dirty business: all corrupt political leaders who were sponsored by the U.S. and who were responsible for killing thousands of innocent civilians to promote the 'freedom' of exploitative capitalistic enterprises at the expense of the true, albeit powerless, majority who are poor.

    This book is essentially nothing more than a promotion of blind patriotic zeal for U.S. military actions under the guise of an objective historical analysis.Quite frankly, this book is too biased and narrow-minded to be worthy of being called a work of history: it is primarily a work of propaganda no different than a Marine Corps recruitment brochure. This book is as revealing on the real motives behind U.S. interventions abroad as a military marching band. In sum, the book is very detailed as to the 'whens' and 'hows' of these conflicts but rather dark as to the 'whys.'I would have no problem giving the book 5 stars if it clearly limited itself to those issues but it essentially encourages the reader to accept a naive view of U.S. politics that is based upon nothing more than sheepish patriotism and group-think: read with caution!

    4-0 out of 5 stars Very Good
    Boot expresses his point effectively through his use of stories.It keeps the reader constantly engaged as the stories are quite entertaining.Through his stories, he manages to show how the small wars of the past have shaped America into the world power it is today without boring or losing the reader's interest.It is clear that Boot owns an extensive amount of knowledge regarding small wars, and he credits a large amount of sources within his bibliography to further the validity of the subject matter.
    This book is very effective in expressing the importance of small wars and the huge effects they have had in shaping the United States.I recommend this book especially to anyone who is interested in the history of the United States and its growth as a world power.I feel these people will find the book extremely beneficial and will get a rather unique take on the U.S.'s growth that they may not find elsewhere in their studies and research.I also recommend this book to anyone who may be interested in military affairs and/or warfare.They may learn the importance of small wars and the simple fact that they cannot be simply ignored.If carried out correctly, small wars can be extremely effective.It is hard to argue the validity of Boot's arguments. ... Read more

    Isbn: 0465007201
    Subjects:  1. History    2. History - Military / War    3. History: World    4. International    5. International Law    6. International Relations - General    7. Intervention (International law)    8. Low-intensity conflicts (Military science)    9. Military - United States    10. Military Policy    11. Political Freedom & Security - International Secur    12. Political Science    13. United States    14. United States - General    15. Military Affairs   

    Look Away! : A History of the Confederate States of America
    by William C. Davis
    Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
    Hardcover (11 April, 2002)
    list price: $35.00 -- our price: $23.10
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    Editorial Review

    The military history of the Civil War is well known. The political history of the era, and especially of the South, is less documented, a gap that William Davis's Look Away! admirably addresses.

    Although the rhetoric of secession was democratic, invoking the ideals of the American Revolution and its classical forebears, Southern politics was directed by members of a small, self-serving aristocracy. And though the Confederate government advanced what then and now might be thought to be radical proposals (for one, that the postal service had to be self-supporting within two years of its founding), it was intolerant of dissent; the South's leaders, Davis writes, even barred a constitutional provision "recognizing the right of a state to secede." The natural result, Davis shows, was widespread resistance, including the development of a peace movement and of political groups loyal to the old Union. At the end of the war, Davis writes, "Confederate democracy had gone and would not be seen again--but the oligarchies had survived." Davis's study affords a new view on the Civil War, and it makes a fine addition to the overflowing library devoted to that crisis. --Gregory McNamee ... Read more

    Reviews (22)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Don't look away, read this!
    Respected historian William Davis presents an accurate work on Southern politics, motivations, and an excellent view of the REAL climate of the time and the functions of the Confederate government, NOT the PC pablum regurgitated by the school systems. A must-read for any serious student of the war

    5-0 out of 5 stars a differentand needed perspective
    In my opinion, this book deserves much praise for presenting an important, but almost completely ignored perspective on the Civil War.The military history is used only as a backdrop in this book.The focus instead is on the political history of the Confederacy.The book opens with the whirlwind in which the southern states seceded from the union and tells the story of the Confederate constitutional convention and of how Jefferson Davis became the Confederate President.The remainder focuses on the politics of the Confederate government.Among the many ironies is how a government that started focusing on "states rights" after suffering through much paralysis, saw the states cede more and more power to the Confederate government as the war went on.The title of this book may lead some to believe that this is some sort of apology for the South.In reality, it is quite critical of the Confederate cause.Those who hold the view that the Civil War was not about slavery but rather about states rights, will have that view challenged.The book is well written and is a must read for anyone interested in the Civil War.

    3-0 out of 5 stars Not quite as advertised
    This attempt at a political/social history of the Confederacy has a problem of focus.Davis read a lot of letters and newspapers in the course of his research and he has the unfortunate desire to quote from most of them.The result is that, for the most part, we get a sense of the leaves in the forest that was the Confederacy without much of a sense of the larger movements.Thus, for instance, Davis concentrates on individuals who opposed Jefferson Davis for various reasons and on various issues but we never get a sense that this opposition was anything but atomistic.Likewise he leaves it largerly to his readers to make sense of the inherent conflict between a nation created on the premise of state's rights and the individual states.His recounting of the social history of the period mostly concentrates on specific challenges to civil order that arose in the South.No doubt the larger issues of morale and adherence to the cause of the South would have been harder to document and substantiate and yet by only recounting individual events one has no sense of whether Davis thinks the South had a civilian morale problem, did not have a problem, had a problem in some places but not others, at certain times and not others, among some sectors of the population and not others.In short too many details rather than illuminating are confusing.

    Davis' summary of the military part of the history the Civil War is outstanding and stands in sharp contrast to the rest of the book.It is too bad that he could not have figured out how to provide a similar level of focus to the political history.

    Davis' examples are nearly all from Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Texas, Louisiana, South & North Carolina, Florida & Texas.It is not clear why he did not use Virginia or border states materials and given his atomistic approach this oversight is more noticeable.

    To give Davis his due, he does make general statements about the political movements within the Confederacy; the problem is that he does not know how to bridge the gap between the specific minutia of history and its largest themes.Still he gets 3 stars based on his conveying a lot of information that I have not encountered previously (and that very good summary of the military action already mentioned.) ... Read more

    Isbn: 0684865858
    Subjects:  1. Confederate States of America    2. History    3. History - General History    4. History: American    5. U.S. History - Civil War And Reconstruction (1860-1877)    6. U.S. Local History - Southern States    7. United States - Civil War    8. United States - State & Local - General    9. History / United States / Civil War Period (1850-1877)   


    What Kind of Nation: Thomas Jefferson, John Marshall, and the Epic Struggle to Create a United States
    by James F. Simon
    Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
    Hardcover (07 March, 2002)
    list price: $27.50
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    Reviews (26)

    5-0 out of 5 stars A fine approach to the study of these two giants.
    Lawyers often make poor historians. That might strike some as counter-intuitive as precedents are by their nature `historical'. But legal precedents are a narrow technical field and though they can encompass the political, economic and social issues of their day the legal logic and argument that surround them are usually- with some major exceptions- divorced from them.And perhaps it's that their [the lawyer as historian] early years have been shaped by legal reasoning and in spite of exposure to history such as an undergrad or grad degree, this legal mindset often limits a more holistic approach to the subject matter.

    Not so with James F. Simon's "What Kind of Nation".Simon writing eschews the sort of legal analysis best left to law textbooks in favor of a clear, fairly encompassing and biographically based approach.And a fine approach it is.With healthy portions of legal analysis but an even finer biographer's paintbrush Simon comes close to bringing to life many of the individuals and their ideological stands.

    At the center is of course Jefferson and Marshall.Both get sympathetic, but honest treatment from Simon.Jefferson, the idealist, strongly holding the belief that favored the limiting of government and the Federalists as the greatest threat to liberty in the young nation.His horror at the Sedition acts and the steps taken by the Republicans are highlighted as are the equally strong beliefs and actions taken by the Federalists to implement them.

    Marshall is painted in an even finer light I think.Perhaps it's because Jefferson's more volatile temper got the best of him at times or perhaps Marshall's nature was to be a more moderating influence, he comes across a intelligent and subtle thinker. Read his approach to Marbury, where he takes the long road to come to his final conclusion.It was an approach that made upheld many of the Federalist tenets yet gave the victory to Jefferson. Masterfull.

    Simon does a great job in describing two important events in that era.The first is the impeachment of Samuel Chase a justice on the Supreme Court.Simon presents the legal arguments in clear precise prose.But he does more than that, he describes the individuals involved-their strengths and weaknesses, the drama behind the scenes and sets it all in the context of the political mechanizations of the era. Equally compelling is the description of Burr's fall from grace and subsequent trial for treason.Marshall and Jefferson's role in both events are given in some detail and their rationales analyzed within the framework of the issues each was faced with.

    James F. Simon has given a well written and immensely interesting picture of the dynamics between Jefferson and Marshall and the era in which they lived.With a clear, precise and entertaining writing style and with one foot firmly planted what seems like a historian's mindset I'm anxious to read more of his works. I would love to read a more in depth study of Chase or Burr- for example- written by Simon.

    Highly recommended.

    4-0 out of 5 stars One of America's great rivlaries
    In all great conflicts, North vs. South, Ali vs. Fraser, Lakers vs. Celtics, and Jefferson vs. Marshall, it is difficult to remain neutral and unbiased.Simon clearly sides with John Marshall in the epic struggle between our nations Third President and Fourth Chief Justice, but Simon's partiality to Marshall does not detract from the accuracy of this book.

    Readers will come away with a solid understanding of what fueled the fire of this great relationship of adversaries. Using myself as an example, I strongly disagreed with the SCOTUS' recent ruling against the Texas sodomy law in Lawrence v. Texas, and though I still disagree with the decision, I now clearly understand how Marshall set the precedent for SCOTUS to be the final arbiter for all things judicial and clearly placed the state courts into the role of subservient.

    At times, this book is rather dry, but Simon successfully imparts a good flow of information.This book isn't for everyone, but is essential reading for the pre-law student or anyone interested in the relationship between these two monumental early Americans.Also, for anyone who, like me, is a state's rights advocate, this book gives tremendous insight into how the judiciary became the monarchial behemoth we are saddled with today.

    Whether you are a Jeffersonian style state's rights advocate, or a Marshall style Federalist, you will finish this book with a greater understanding of how and why things became the way they are.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Thomas Jefferson as Adversary
    On a recent vacation to Colonial Williamsburg and Monticello, my 14-year-old nephew commented that Thomas Jefferson didn't get along with Alexander Hamilton.The four adults accompanying him replied patronizingly that Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr certainly didn't get along, but didn't remember anything between Hamilton and Jefferson...

    Of course, my nephew was absolutely correct.In an effort to rectify my obvious educational deficiency, I immediately embarked on a reading plan which led me to "What Kind of Nation", where I discovered that Thomas Jefferson also didn't along with John Marshall, the fourth Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court.

    By the time I got to this book I had a pretty good feel for the politics of the period, having read "Founding Brothers" by Joseph Ellis, "Founding Father: Rediscovering George Washington" by Richard Brookhiser, "Alexander Hamilton: American" by Richard Brookhiser and "James Madison" by Garry Wills.I believe this background helped me to maximize my enjoyment of "What Kind of Nation" because I was able to focus on Marshall's brilliance and perseverance in establishing the authority of the Supreme Court on an equal footing with the executive and legislative branches of the federal government.Jefferson's antics were amusing, but old news.The way that Marshall dealt with Jefferson who was, after all, the President of the United States during the first 8 years of Marshall's 34 years as Chief Justice, is fascinating.

    James Simon does a great job of telling the story without getting overly technical with the legal side of things.I think he strikes just the right balance, so that the lay reader (i.e., non-lawyer) can appreciate the significance of Marshall's extraordinary accomplishments. ... Read more

    Isbn: 0684848708
    Sales Rank: 317021
    Subjects:  1. Constitutional history    2. Constitutions    3. Executive power    4. Government - U.S. Government    5. History    6. History - General History    7. History: American    8. Political questions and judici    9. Political questions and judicial power    10. U.S. Federal Judicial Bodies    11. U.S. History - Constitutional Period To Civil War (1789-1860)    12. United States    13. United States - 18th Century    14. United States - 19th Century    15. History / General    16. Jefferson, Thomas    17. Marshall, John   

    Hydrogen: The Essential Element
    by John S. Rigden
    Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
    Hardcover (01 April, 2002)
    list price: $28.00 -- our price: $28.00
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    Reviews (3)

    5-0 out of 5 stars reflects a turning point for physics
    John Rigden has achieved a remarkable synthesis here in humanizing what is normally a coldly inhuman subject. I have always been interested in the mechanics of subatomic processes, but have found it difficult to understand when presented as an end-product of research efforts. This book contextualizes the research effort in such a way as to relate the research findings to the real life people who struggled to obtain them. In the process, I ended up learning the details of the nature of hydrogen much better than in any other book.

    I think this kind of humanizing of physics is overdue and marks a welcome development for future efforts in physics writing. Physics is, in the end, a human endeavor and can only be understood in detail when presented as such.

    As an example of the difference, I will quote from page 216 in reference to David Schramm-- "David was a first-rate scientist, 'but,' as Margaret Geller has written, 'perhaps more important in this harsh world, he was an extraordinary person of great generosity and kindness.'"

    These words are apt for this effort by John Rigden... the book is a work of great generosity and kindness. I look forward to seeing this sentiment be taken up in future works in the field of physics.

    3-0 out of 5 stars Interesting look at physics history
    The author takes us on a history of 20th century physics by focusing on the signal element of Hydrogen. He does a good job of providing enough technical detail to make it clear why certain discoveries are important without overwhelming you. His choice of focusing on Hydrogen does limit him a little as to what he looks at though. A fairly short book so worth the investment in time for me.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Simplicity to Demonstrate Complexity
    It makes sense, if you are going to try to understand something, to go to the simplest instance of it and get all the information you can from the subject unimpeded by complications.Hydrogen is the simplest of all atoms.It is all around us; though hydrogen gas floats out of our atmosphere to join the hydrogen atoms that are in the "vacuum" of space, hydrogen makes up a large proportion of stars, water, and ourselves.John S. Rigden has written an admiring tribute to the simplest atom, _Hydrogen: The Essential Element_ (Harvard University Press).It turns out that hydrogen has played an enormous role in our understanding of matter and energy, and that the simplest of atoms is so complicated and surprising that Rigden's book is a continual source of elemental wonder.

    Hydrogen is element number one, only a single electron orbiting a single proton.Repeatedly Rigden shows that this simplicity has been a boon to research.The lessons learned from this basic atom, in Rigden's story, form a history of physics in the twentieth century.The refinements to theory have largely been to explain the dark bands in the spectrum produce when hydrogen is made to glow.Niels Bohr produced the first modern picture of the atom, incorporating the experimental data from Rutherford and the hydrogen spectrum, but recklessly disregarding the historic laws of physics which he felt could not apply within the atom.He thus began the amazingly successful and fabulously strange quantum explanation for the behavior of matter.Rigden has not just included experimenters and theorizers, but also appealing stories about them, such as I. I. Rabi developing magnetic resonance in the 1930s to measure the nucleus, but then in 1988 being wheeled into a Magnetic Resonance Imaging machine.He said, "It was eerie... I would never have dreamed that my work would come to this."_Hydrogen_ is not just about understanding the inner workings of the atom, but also about hydrogen as the ticker of a clock, as anti-matter, and as a confirmer of big bang cosmology.

    There are plenty of challenging chapters here, meant for the non-scientist but not necessarily easy reading.Although the mathematics is not detailed, there are some equations shown that could be intimidating; Dirac's equation, predicting antiparticles and electron spin, Rigden assures us is a "little equation" that can be "written in one line," and while this is true, the line has twenty algebraic symbols in it.Also, surprisingly, there is little about the hydrogen bomb.Rigden decided that the bomb did not fit into the theme of how the hydrogen atom has led and will continue to lead to improved scientific knowledge.His charming and informative book shows how some mysteries have been solved but that we should never come to the conclusion that we are close to knowing all: "After all, H stands not only for hydrogen, but also for humility." ... Read more

    Isbn: 0674007387
    Sales Rank: 397540
    Subjects:  1. Chemistry - Inorganic    2. Engineering - Chemical & Biochemical    3. Fuel Technology    4. History    5. Hydrogen    6. Inorganic Chemistry    7. Methodology    8. Physics    9. Science    10. Science/Mathematics   


    China and the WTO: Changing China, Changing World Trade
    by Supachai Panitchpakdi, Mark L. Clifford
    Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
    Hardcover (January, 2002)
    list price: $21.95 -- our price: $21.95
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    Reviews (5)

    4-0 out of 5 stars Insightful!
    This book is a bit unfocused, but even its tangents are interesting. You get a few pages here on Chinese history, a few pages there of polemic about rich nations' unfair trading practices, here a digression, there a ramble. It's not completely about China and it's not completely about the WTO, though those bases are covered, and the other subjects it touches upon - including Asian regional economics - add to its value. The authors put both sides of the debate over trade in reasonably fair focus. We confirm that what they say about China, while not new, merits mulling over by anyone affected by globalization.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Insightful!
    This book is a bit unfocused, but even its tangents are interesting. You get a few pages here on Chinese history, a few pages there of polemic about rich nations' unfair trading practices, here a digression, there a ramble. It's not completely about China and it's not completely about the WTO, though those bases are covered, and the other subjects it touches upon - including Asian regional economics - add to its value. The authors put both sides of the debate over trade in reasonably fair focus. We confirm that what they say about China, while not new, merits mulling over by anyone affected by globalization.

    2-0 out of 5 stars A Good read But Somewhat Slanted
    This book does an excellent job of covering the issues of China & the WTO during globalization. However, it lacks coverage of what this will all mean for Western countries and the jobs that will inevitably be lost here. The previous reviewer contradicted himself by saying:

    "The phenomenal success of recent economic growth is attributed to high savings rates, *protective laws* and strong and effective government policies."

    "Protective laws" and Globalization oppose each other. Proponents of globalization say that protectionism and globalization cannot work together. The WTO purports to impose "free trade" on all its member countries. Yet while the west, especially the U.S. is opening its markets, its economies are nosediving. At the same time, China, who as the last reviewer admits practices protectionism is thriving. It's no coincidence. In an Animal Farm kind of way, the last reviewer is kind of saying "Some WTO countries are more equal than others". We either have free trade and all WTO members have to play by the same rules, or else we don't.

    Why are U.S. markets forced wide open under WTO rules and countries like China are allowed to continue to practice protectionism? The book does not address any of these seeming contradictions in the argument for 'globalization'. ... Read more

    Isbn: 0470820616
    Sales Rank: 91356
    Subjects:  1. 2000-    2. Business & Economics    3. Business / Economics / Finance    4. Business/Economics    5. China    6. Commercial policy    7. Economic conditions    8. Exports & Imports    9. International - General    10. World Trade Organization    11. Business & Economics / International    12. International business    13. Trade agreements & tariffs   


    Dragon Hunter : Roy Chapman Andrews and the Central Asiatic Expeditions
    by Michael J. Novacek, CharlesGallenkamp
    Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
    Hardcover (17 May, 2001)
    list price: $29.95
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    Editorial Review

    Roy Chapman Andrews was never much of a scholar, and anyone who looked at his high school report card might have foretold an undistinguished future. But, from an early age, Andrews's ambitions lay outside the social norm; an ardent fan of Robinson Crusoe and a devoted outdoorsman, Andrews wanted nothing more than to be an adventurer. He got his chance when he talked his way onto the staff of the American Museum of Natural History in 1906, under whose auspices, 15 years later, he was to mount the first of his central Asian expeditions. This decade-long program of exploration took Andrews and his team into the heart of the Gobi, one of the last uncharted regions on earth.

    Convinced for ideological as much as scientific reasons that humans originated not in Africa but in Asia, Andrews spent much of his time in the field seeking evidence of early man. That search would prove fruitless, for, as biographer Charles Gallenkamp notes, "nary a scrap of genuinely ancient human bone was ever retrieved by the Central Asian Expeditions." What Andrews and his colleagues did find, however, has propelled dozens of scientific missions ever since: huge caches of dinosaur bones at places such as Mongolia's Flaming Cliffs. These fossils helped demonstrate geological connections between Asia and North America, and they added dozens of new species to the paleontological record.

    All the while, Andrews contended with bandits, corrupt officials, invading armies, disease, and other dangers. After finishing Gallenkamp's vigorous book, readers will understand why Andrews should have served as the model for the movie character Indiana Jones--who, if anything, pales by comparison to the real thing. --Gregory McNamee ... Read more

    Reviews (17)

    3-0 out of 5 stars The flaming cliffs
    This book tells the tale of Roy Chapman Andrews. He was an outdoors man, who talked his way into the American Museum of Natural History, and eventually becomes the director there. Andrews has the strong belief that the human race originated in Asia instead of the more common belief of Africa. Andrews is able to find backing to fund trips of Asia and Mongolia to find proof to back up his belief.

    Even though the writing is a little dry, I found the subject to be very interesting. The details of the expeditions, how they were funded, supplied and got to the sites were fascinating. Dealing with the different governments in Asia, at a time of revolution, was also of interest.

    I would have enjoyed more information into the science of the expeditions, but that may be a subject for a different book. I would recommend this book to anyone interested in the age of exploration. It is not a light read, but worth the time.

    2-0 out of 5 stars many errors in there
    Gallenkamp did a good job in bibliographic research, but please be careful when you read this book. Don't believe everything therein is true. I have noticed that there is a tremendous amount of inaccurate information included in text especially in accounts of Andrews' whaling trip to Japan (I am a native Japanese, so I know more about Japanese geography than him!) although most of the errors do not affect significantly the whole story of Andrews' life with a full of adventure.

    4-0 out of 5 stars A DIFFICULT BOOK FOR ME TO REVIEW
    I must start by admitting that as a young boy, many a many a year ago, that I thrilled to Andrews' first hand accounts of his adventures.They were the sort of stuff a small boy in the midwest dreamed of.That being said, and having to admit that I am no longer that little boy (well, not much anyway), I had very mixed emotions about this book.I was a bit disappointed in the scholarship shown at times.Some of the writing was a bit flat, and viewing Andrews through the eyes of what I know now and did not know then, Andrews' image has been sort of tarnished for me.
    I think you have to read this book with a good grounding and knowledge of the attitudes of most Americans/WASPS at that time, just as you have to view the Civil War and Pre Civil War through the attitudes of that time.No, it was not right, much of what we did was wrong and down right disgusting and it was not "correct" by todays standards, but it was what it was. History is history and I do not feel the author was condoning any of the questionable actions that Andrews made.Read this book for the fun of it and then read some of Andrews' actually writings and compair. Read it as an adventure story.Yes, their are better works out there on this subject, that is a fact, but this one is simply more "fun" than most of them.Recommend. ... Read more

    Isbn: 0670890936
    Subjects:  1. 1884-1960    2. Adventurers & Explorers    3. Andrews, Roy Chapman,    4. Asia - Central    5. Biography    6. Biography / Autobiography    7. Fossils    8. General    9. History: World    10. Naturalists    11. Naturalists & Gardeners    12. Scientific Expeditions    13. Travel    14. United States    15. History / General   

    Divided Loyalties: How the American Revolution Came to New York
    by Richard M. Ketchum
    Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
    Hardcover (14 October, 2002)
    list price: $30.00 -- our price: $12.00
    (price subject to change: see help)
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    Reviews (5)

    3-0 out of 5 stars Informative but boring
    Having read and very much enjoyed Ketchem's books on Boston, Trenton and Saratoga, I find this book a disapointment. Perhaps because this book is of the politics rather than of battle, it lacks the thrill of the pages that his other works provide. It's as exciting as a cerial box contents list. Most informative. Very cut and dried, and just as hard to swallow.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A Deeper Perspective
    Ketchum comes up aces with a remarkable chapter in American colonial history,long ignored and oft forgotten within a rich legacy. This should be required reading for anyone interested in the begining flames of the American republic.
    Ketchum fills in the gaps with information leading up to the Boston area conflicts including the political climate of England, it's ill placed and executed ideals full of contempt and power.The effects of the stamp act on an American economy in recession. It's effects on trade and the different factions who opposed the act, from the aristocrats who influenced and used the working class to rebel to their benefit.
    Had British policy in regards to the French treaty after the French and Indian Wars, assigned Canada to the French, perhaps the revolution would have taken on a much different aspect.
    Ketchum reveals the instrumental role that New York played out in the begining trials and tribulations of the new Republic while maintaining a unique style of writing that will appeal to anyone interested in the subject.
    Meticulously researched, Ketchum remains the authority for all things revolutionary in our historic past.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A City Torn
    Richard Ketchum's remarkable "Divided Loyalties: How the American Revolution Came to New York" makes you shake your head and wonder how this country ever got it together enough to fight Great Britain. Certainly the chaos surrounding the official break from England has been well-documented in recent books: Ellis' "Founding Brothers", Chernow's "Alexander Hamilton" and McCullough's "John Adams" quickly come to mind. However, by focusing on New York's population of many religions and races, its diverse business needs, competing powerful families, wily politicians and volatile citizenry, Ketchum has truly captured the confusion, panic, and passions of the time and place.

    In an interesting manuever, Ketchum details the workings and feelings of only two of the city's more influential families--the Delanceys and the Livingstons. However, the choice is is a shrewd one, as these clans had their fingers and voices in just about every event leading up to and during the Revolution. Also, these two groups represented the polar views on the break with Great Britain. The letters and diaries of other New Yorkers, prominent and otherwise, really complete the picture.

    "Divided Loyalties" is a lengthy book, over 450 pages, but much to Ketchum's credit, the pacing is fairly brisk. The peppering of diary entries, letters, and newspaper accounts gives the reader true, first-hand accounts of the passions that swept through what was America's fastest growing city, in what was the newest nation on Earth. ... Read more

    Isbn: 0805061193
    Sales Rank: 338304
    Subjects:  1. 18th century    2. History    3. History - General History    4. History: American    5. New York (State)    6. Revolution, 1775-1783    7. United States - Revolutionary War    8. United States - State & Local - General   


    Supreme Command : Soldiers, Statesmen, and Leadership in Wartime
    by Eliot Cohen
    Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
    Hardcover (20 June, 2002)
    list price: $25.00 -- our price: $25.00
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    Reviews (26)

    1-0 out of 5 stars Mistaken Social Scientist
    Professor Cohen makes the mistake of many social scientists; he determines his conclusion, then searches for examples which will support his case.For every Lincoln in history, there is a Hitler, who wrests command of his armies from the professional military and leads them to utter annihilation.Lyndon Johnson, with the barest of military credentials, attempting to decide tactical air targets in Vietnam from the White House, is another example of poor civilian leadership over riding men with actual combat expertise.There are several more examples I could list.A better method for this book would have been to examine all cases where civilian leaders forced their military commanders to deviate from one path and follow another, and to then draw conclusions.Instead, Cohen, with his pre-conceived notions, attempts to "prove" his thesis by drawing on only a few of the best examples which support his point of view.This is another case of an author pushing a political agenda by disguising it as scholarly research.Cohen's examples and history are entertaining, but his methodology will only fool the ill-informed.

    2-0 out of 5 stars Too much hype for a poorly edited book
    With all the hype that this book got, I expected much better. As a basic matter, the book does not hold together.The book cannot figure out if it is a general book about Cohen's strategic leadership theories, or a book about civilian-military relations.Because Cohen is inconsistent in his aims, the book disappoints.In the end the reader is left with some disconnected essays that may be individually interesting, but which don't support the overall thesis.To give one example, while Ben Gurion (one of the four examples the author uses to illustrate his main thesis about civilian control of the military) may have been a great wartime leader, he was not attempting to control a professional military that had inculcated Samuel Huntington's (or Jomini's) theories about military-civilian separation.The Ben Gurion example just does not fit with Cohen's theory, as interesting as it is to read all about Ben Gurion's terrific library and unusual personality quirks.

    I read the paperback edition.The best material was relegated to the appendices, another sign of poorly-thought-out and poorly edited book.Cohen admits to having rushed this book into publication, and it's obvious.He should have called this a collection of essays on leadership, and left it at that. The "grand unifying theory" he attempts to put across fails miserably as technical matter, along with being inconsistently argued.

    5-0 out of 5 stars It is rare to find a book that is so enjoyable to read.
    The author makes a compelling arguement for the necessity of politicians to become intimately involved in every aspect of the warmaking process. Using four examples of excellent democratic leadership of the military during wartime: Lincoln, Clemenceau, Churchill, and Ben-Gurion. These four break the current "normal theory of civil-military relations," which holds that civilian leaders should set political goals and leave the details of implementation to the military.

    "Historical judgement of war is subject to an inflexible law, either very imperfectly understood or very constantly lost sight of. Military writers love to fight over the campaigns of history exclusively by the rules of the professional chess-board, always subordinating, often totally ignoring, the element of politics. This is a radical error. Every war is begun,dominated,and ended by political considerations; without a nation, without a government, without money or credit, without popular enthusiasm which furnishes volunteers, or public support which endures conscription, there could be no army and no war - neither beginning nor end of methodical hostilities. War and politics, campaign and statecraft, are Siamese twins, inseperable and independent; and to talk of military operations without the direction and interference of an administration is as absurd as to plan a campaign without recruits, pay or rations."

    This book also shows the lack of historical knowledge that most of the American public has. Most Americans think the French are "wimps" because they have been against the war in Iraq. Let's look at World War I:

    "France sustained casualties of 1,385,000 killed and 3,044,00 soldiers and civilians wounded in World War I, in all more than one-tenth of its total population of something under fourty million. In 1914 France, with a peacetime army of 823,000, had mobilized a total of 3,781,000 men; its casualties during the entire war, therefore, amounted to virtually the whole of its initial military strength...The battle of Verdun alone cost France, between February and December of 1916, 162,000 killed or missing in action and at least 200,000 more wounded; as Guy Pedroncini notes, a bell chiming once a minute for each French loss there would ring for four months without pause. Put differently, in that one battle, which took place during one year of the war, France lost almost three times as many men as the United States did in all of the Vietnam war. It suffered those losses from a population one sixth of that of the United States in the 1960's. One many think of French losses at Verdun alone, in other words, as the equivalent of eighteen Vietnams, suffered in one year."

    Food for thought. ... Read more

    Isbn: 0743230493
    Sales Rank: 198508
    Subjects:  1. Case studies    2. Civil supremacy over the milit    3. Civil supremacy over the military    4. Civil-military relations    5. Command of troops    6. History    7. History - Military / War    8. Leadership    9. Military    10. Military - General    11. Political Freedom & Security - International Secur    12. Political Process - Leadership    13. Politics - Current Events    14. Business & Economics / General   


    First Great Triumph: How Five Americans Made Their Country a World Power
    by Warren Zimmermann
    Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
    Hardcover (21 October, 2002)
    list price: $30.00 -- our price: $19.80
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    Reviews (11)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Americanism.Imperalism.Manifest Destiny - 5 Americans
    What do the above have in common? The answer is provided quite nicely in Warren Zimmerman's book "First Great Triumph". In it, he explains what 5 great Americans - John Hay, Alfred Thayer Mahan, Theodore Roosevelt, Hencry Cabot Lodge, and Elihu Root had to do with the forming of the American century (the 20th Century).

    Each of these men played his own role in creating Imperialistic America, starting in the late 19th century, and their contributions to American foreign policy continue through to this day.

    This is an important book for anyone that wants to understand the personalities of these five men and the actions that each took to make America the dominant player in world affairs that it has been during the last 100+ years.

    The book is divided into two sections; biographical sketches of each of these five men, and then a section on how America became an Imperalistic power, similar to Great Britain or any of a number of the European countries in earlier centuries. Starting with the Spanish American war, the annexation of the Hawaiian Islands, and pushing through to American intervention in World War I, this book does a fantastic job of explaining the events that occured and the personalities involved.

    I now understand why Zimmerman chose these five men to study in this book - when I first started to read it, I thought that perhaps others, such as William McKinley or William H. Seward should have been included in the biography section, but Seward's contributions were too early to be included in this study, and McKinley was too reserved to be included in a group of men that firmly believed in American expansion, much as earlier Americans had proclaimed "Mainfest Destiny".

    I enjoyed the book greatly, and would highly recommend it to anyone that is looking for a study of early American foreign policy, or an understanding of why America played such a big role in world events during the 20th century.

    4-0 out of 5 stars America's First Empire
    This book by a former U.S. Ambassador is an elegantly-written history of the Spanish-American War of 1898, when the United States acquired colonies in the Caribbean and the Pacific and emerged as a major world power.The nuanced, balanced narrative deals with "big picture" geopolitics and historical trends but never loses sight of the human factor or the role that ego and personal ambition played in America's rise to power.Zimmerman doesn't flinch from concluding that American troops committed atrocities in the Philippines or that our acquisition of Hawaii and the Panama canal zone was little more than theft.At the same time, he avoids ahistorical condemnations of turn-of-the-century imperialism.His book will leave leftwing revisionists and flag-waving rightists equally disappointed -- surely a sign of scholarly achievement.

    "First Great Tiumph" brims with insights into diplomacy and politics, based on Zimmerman's many years in the U.S. foreign service. Indeed, many parts of the book are eerily topical, such as the discussion of how war-lover Theodore Roosevelt seized on the sinking of the battleship Maine as a pretext for a war in Cuba.The book was published prior to the non-discovery of the much-hyped WMDs in Iraq but the parallels to current events are there for any intelligent reader to see.I gave the book four stars instead of five only because the"multi-biographical" approach is a bit contrived and results in the inclusion of much unnecessary biographical material in the first section of the book.

    5-0 out of 5 stars All Americans Should Read This!1
    "Americans like to pretend that they have no imperial past. Yet they have shown expansionist tendencies since colonial days." (Zimmermann, 17) So begins chapter 1 of First Great Triumph, Warren Zimmermann's book chronicling the rise of America to world power status and the five men that he credits with that accomplishment. Zimmermann's book states emphatically that contrary to popular belief, America has been an imperialist state since the beginning. Zimmermann seeks to show that not only did the United States seek to create an overseas empire; we did so enthusiastically, rather than reluctantly.
    In his book, Zimmermann acknowledges that in many ways the tide of history was pulling America toward the role of imperial power. The American frontier had closed, the Indian wars were over and now the American expansionist impulse needed a new direction the once powerful Spanish empire entered the final period of its inevitable decline. Many influential Americans argued that the expansionist impulse was by definition, a violation of the basic American principles of freedom, and self-determination. Such was not the case with the five heroes men detailed in Zimmermann's book.
    Theodore Roosevelt, Henry Cabot Lodge, Alfred Thayer Mahan, Elihu Root and John Hay, were all imperialists. In part one of his book, Zimmermann provides biographical sketches that, while brief, give full accounting of each of these men and how each became a driving force in the growth of American foreign policy at that most critical point in history.
    Zimmermann draws from over 190 sources, many the works of prominent American historians. He also draws heavily from the words, both written and spoken, of his five central figures. Zimmermann's own experience as a diplomat give him a keen understanding of the relevant geopolitical questions and his qualities as a writer provide the reader with a very engaging account of these men and their times.
    Zimmerman's narrative provides a clear path for the reader to follow to understanding his central theme. The biographies contained in the first part of the book, use the words and actions of the central characters to prove his point. From their early lives, each of the five seems destined to play some role in the growth of the American nation. The way that Zimmerman weaves their stories together, illustrates the fact that in reality, very little of the American rise to global power was accidental. ... Read more

    Isbn: 0374179395
    Sales Rank: 105126
    Subjects:  1. 1865-1921    2. Biography    3. Biography / Autobiography    4. Historical - U.S.    5. History    6. History: American    7. Military - United States    8. Reference    9. Spanish-American War, 1898    10. United States    11. United States - 19th Century    12. Hay, John    13. Lodge, Henry Cabot    14. Mahan, A. T    15. Roosevelt, Theodore    16. Root, Elihu   


    Success Is Never Final: Empire, War, and Faith in Early Modern Europe
    by Geoffrey Parker
    Hardcover (16 April, 2002)
    list price: $28.00 -- our price: $28.00
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    Isbn: 0465054773
    Sales Rank: 552373
    Subjects:  1. Europe - General    2. History    3. History - General History    4. History: World    5. Military - Other    6. Western Europe - General    7. World - Colonial Studies   


    Paris 1919 : Six Months That Changed the World
    by Margaret MacMillan, Richard Holbrooke
    Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
    Roughcut (29 October, 2002)
    list price: $35.00 -- our price: $23.10
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    Reviews (79)

    4-0 out of 5 stars Great insight.
    I bought this book to better understand some of the historical events that happened during the earlier years of our century. This book describes in great detail how our leaders of the time changed history for better or for worse. depends on your point of view. The author described in detail every leaders character, background and decision process during that time period. The author has a fluid style enabling the reader to follow her thoughts and perceptions, then tie them into the overall environment.
    I would recommend this book to all readers trying to understand our current status by looking back in a detailed past.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Superb Intricate Tome On Peace Deliberations of1919!
    One of the almost indescribable pleasures of great history is the fashion in which such authors successfully locates the people, places, and events under description in a meaningful social, cultural, and political context such that his or her very act of exposition becomes an enjoyable and even illuminating event, one that can literally transport the reader back to another time and to better appreciate the welter of such factors in assessing the historical milieu in which those events transpired. Many such creative acts of intellectual transport back in time are palpable in "Paris 1919", by historian Margaret Macmillan. Indeed, she has a personal stake in the events, as her great grandfather (David Lloyd George) was one of the principal actors in the events described in such breath-taking detail.

    Indeed, it is in such loving details that the difference between this volume about the turmoil, intrigue, and pathos surrounding the generation of the Treaty of Versailles on the one hand, and the plethora of other such tomes, on the other, can be most usefully drawn. Little of import in the way of startling new information is actually offered here, which is not to say that this is not an incredibly bold and different interpretation of those events. Rather, it is in the mass of relevant details gathered together that this becomes such a convincing tour de force describing the folly of both individual men and specific nations to deliberate, discover, and design a just and lasting framework for peace.

    What we are privileged to witness is just how fatefully the interaction of individually flawed egos from men such as Woodrow Wilson, David Lloyd George, and Georges Clemenceau recreated the world in a more congenial formfor their personal and national interests and prejudices, although Professor Macmillan heartily disagrees with the notion that their actions, however ill-conceived, necessarily set the groundwork for such bitterness and rancor that the signing of the accord therefore created the circumstances literally guaranteeing another, even more terrible world war would follow. Instead, she argues, such an effort to scapegoat the participants is clearly not consistent with a careful consideration of the facts.

    Thus, as the six months of effort in Paris transpired, the so-called peacemakers proceeded to maximize their personal and national interests by carving up old empires, creating new ones in the process and shoving Russia to one side, alienating them as well as China, and of course, the biggest loser of all, Germany.But while their corrupt decisions did often either magnify existing national animosities or even create new ones, they also made a serious effort to deal with such problems as the ethnic problem in Kosovo, the Arab question (Lawrence of Arabia was a keynote participant in the deliberations), and even attempted to deal with the question of a homeland for the Jews. This is a wonderful book, one that will help to reacquaint lovers of good history with a master of the craft. Enjoy!

    5-0 out of 5 stars Peace Work
    A quarter of the French men between the ages of 18 and 30 died in World War I.Clemenceau insisted the Peace Conference be held in France.Wilson and Lloyd George acceded to the request with reluctance.

    Politics and France were Clemenceau's great passion.He had contempt for convention and profound cynicism.Lloyd George had known Clemnceau since 1908.From January to June, except when Wilson went back to the U.S, Clemenceau, Lloyd George, and Wilson met daily.

    The Allies were not really ready for the end of the fighting.The big four included the above-noted men along with Orlando of Italy.The SupremeCouncil had ten members, but procedure could not be agreed upon.Complicating things was the fact that eventually the representatives of 29 nations arrived in Paris.The Supreme Council underwent intense scrutiny from scores of journalists.

    In effect in 1919 Paris was the seat of a world government.At the time no one knew the limits of such an endeavor.Russia's absence was noteworthy.The new regime operated under a virtual blockade.

    The Treaty of Versailles had 440 clauses.Historical research has shown that Germany was not crushed by an unfair peace treaty.Hitler used the treaty for his propaganda.

    In 1919 nationalism was still gaining momentum.The League of Nations lasted for twenty years and was a template available to planners at the end of World War II when the United Nations was being proposed.The book is a marvellous compilation of facts still pertinent to today's disputes. ... Read more

    Isbn: 0375508260
    Sales Rank: 123930
    Subjects:  1. (1919-1920)    2. History    3. History - Military / War    4. History: World    5. International Relations - Diplomacy    6. Military - World War I    7. Paris Peace Conference    8. Peace    9. Treaties And Alliances    10. Treaty of Versailles    11. World War I    12. World War, 1914-1918    13. History / Military / World War I    14. Wilson, Woodrow    15. Reading Group Guide   


    The Landscape of History: How Historians Map the Past
    by John Lewis Gaddis
    Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
    Hardcover (September, 2002)
    list price: $25.00
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    Reviews (8)

    4-0 out of 5 stars Philosophy Without the Pain
    Gaddis examines the nature of history and the function of historians through a wide range of metaphors. By putting forth the question: How long is the British coast line? Gaddis immediately sets out that if we measure in miles we won't get to the alcoves and cubbyholes and we'll probably end up with a nice round number. If we measure in microns and millimeters, it'll take a while but we'll measure every single bend and dog leg and we'll have a much larger number. Many of Gaddis' metaphors spur philosophical discussions but he does not approach them with a philosophical background, instead he sets out to solve a functional question: What is history? Is it a natural science? If it is, then why can we not replicate any historical findings as biology and physiology can? Is it a social science? Then why do other social sciences like economics and anthropology try to find an independent variable upon which everything hangs when historians try to put out the bigger picture? Gaddis' conclusion then is that history is its own beast. It does not mirror either the hard sciences nor the social sciences although it may pick up some of their properties.

    Gaddis uses metaphors that seem to have little connection with hsitory, such as fractal geometry and natural sciences. The connections are then developed and this may be a way of making scientists understand the nature of history or giving students with a familiarity in natural sciences a correlation to the study of history. Also, Gaddis' humor makes a philosophical discussion of history a little less tense and certainly more cheerful.

    All in all, this book is very readable for a historiography and may appeal to non-historians seeking a perspective on history. The chapters read more like the text of a speech than a textbook so the minimal 140 or so pages will make this a very easy read.

    3-0 out of 5 stars Not a "how-to"
    This short (151 pages) book, really an extended essay, is more of a philosophical meditation on the nature of the historian's craft than it is an instruction manual of historical method. But this is not an esoteric treatise on the nature of causation, or a reflection on such deep questions as the nature of truth, although these issues are addressed briefly, particularly in the chapter entitled, "Causation, Contingency, and Counterfactuals." Most of the work, however, is devoted to various comparisons of History with Science. There are some tremendously interesting observations here. Gaddis points out that many branches of science, such as geology and evolutionary science, are founded on propositions that are no more experimentally verifiable than are the observations of historians. It is worth noting that these, like history, deal with events that occur over extended periods of time. He also draws parallels with modern physics (relativity, the Heisenberg uncertainty principle) and fractal geometry, and makes allusions to certain aspects of chaos theory and set theory. One scientific area that he does not mention is computer science, but the study of neural networks and programs employing "fuzzy logic" could also be used to bolster his contention that many fields of modern science contain within their basic postulates an element of uncertainty and unpredictability that mirror the apparent capriciousness of the course of human affairs. He draws a distinction between those areas of science and others, particularly the "social sciences" and especially economics, which, in his view, attempt to describe complex problems in terms of rigid, categorically independent and dependent variables. Because these approaches oversimplify to the point of absurdity, he argues that they cannot approximate, or, in his formulation, "represent" reality to an acceptable degree.

    There is much in this short book to provoke thought. I don't know much about chaos theory or fractal geometry, and so I cannot comment as to whether Gaddis is merely picking and choosing from the periphery of those fields to illustrate his point, or whether he is truly describing fundamental similarities. Certainly, he does not provide detailed descriptions. And that, perhaps, is the main weakness of the book. The flip tone that he employs at numerous points undermines the seriousness of the discussion and contributes to an impression of a dilettantism, which is not mitigated by a more detailed description of the complex scientific concepts to which he alludes. The overall sense is of undergraduate lectures by a bright professor who is trying to connect his young audience with some difficult concepts. In some ways, however, that is a strength, in that the argument is more accessible than it would be otherwise. But there is a price to be paid.

    5-0 out of 5 stars The lectures were even better ...
    I had the privilege of attending Prof. Gaddis' lectures in Oxford, and enjoyed every minute of it.His writing accurately reflects the lectures;the only thing missing is the Q&A at the end.

    This is not a methodological how-to for historians, it is a philosophical look at the tradecraft, mostly done by comparing it to other disciplines, especially the hard sciences and social sciences.Historians will no doubt enjoy reviewing (maybe reitering) what they've been doing all along;students will undoubtedly learn much from this study.

    Many of the critical comments during the Q&A reflected current fads in historiography, such as subaltern studies, triumphalism, etc.Some of this made it into the book, in Prof. Gaddis' emphasis on solid academic analysis.It is impossible to achieve a totally detached point of view, but the historian should strive toward that goal through the rigors of an honest review of the facts, and the subsequent interpretation.Causation is a difficult point here, in that the latest fads attempt to ascribe causation to whatever their favorite subaltern.Prof. Gaddis notes that causation is perhaps the best we can hope for, turning the clock backwards, searching for the point of no return in events leading to the subject in question.

    His use of metaphors lends much humor to the book, I especially empathized with the one about the spilled truckload of Marmite on the highway between Oxford and London.

    All in all, a delightful book to read, I hope it quickly replaces the really tedious textbooks normally assigned to the study of historiography;it will add greatly to classes on methodology.

    Thanks you, Prof. Gaddis, for this witty, eminently readable gem of a book. ... Read more

    Isbn: 0195066529
    Sales Rank: 280776
    Subjects:  1. 20th Century World History    2. Aesthetics    3. Historiography    4. History    5. History - General History    6. History: American    7. Methodology    8. Philosophy    9. Reference    10. 20th century   

    When China Ruled the Seas: The Treasure Fleet of the Dragon Throne, 1405-1433
    Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
    Paperback (01 December, 1996)
    list price: $16.95 -- our price: $11.53
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    Reviews (20)

    4-0 out of 5 stars Menzies and Levathes, read both
    The book is an interesting one, compact but full of information.The first few chapters are actually dedicated to a brief overview of early Chinese political history.It discusses the ethnic mix of the country, the rise of a centralized state, the struggle among early dynasts for control of power, and ultimately the central characters involved in overseas exploration.

    Unlike Menzies' 1421 A. D., Levathes' book focuses on China's rapport with countries closer at hand, concentrating on routes between China and SE Asia, India, and Africa. There is no attempt to integrate archaeological finds throughout the world with what is known of Chinese exploration activities, which leaves the author on much firmer ground from a historical standpoint.For most of her documentation she relies on government records, family histories, historical romances, and poetry, and these are outlined and discussed in some detail in the notes to the chapters.Although she speculates about early contact with North and South America, she does not make this the central focus of the book.In fact her primary theme seems to be the social and political causes of the sudden interest in the outside world and its equally sudden reversal.

    While Menzies' book is more intriguing and examines the Chinese experiment with overseas exploration from the standpoint of a seaman and navigator, Levathes approaches it as a historian.1421 A. D. gives one a sense of the wonder of exploration and its possibilities; When China Ruled the Seas makes sense of both its occurrence and its cessation.I'd recommend reading both.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Fantastic Voyage
    Engaging, informative, not-too-thick book that deftly weaves a subject I'm eager to learn more about - Chinese history, with a subject I never get tired of - ships.

    4-0 out of 5 stars China never meant to rule world with flawed confucianism
    A fascinating study of the Ming China (1368-1644) in its early years as a world naval power whose suzerainty over a vast sphere of influence from East Africa to the Spice Islands almost catapulted her as the master of the world.The author accurately points out one of the chief reasons for the eventual humiliation of China as a secondary world power: the traditional Confucian distaste and disrespect for the mercantile enterprise.However, the book is very helpful in visualizing prophetically the imminent rise of China as a superpower in the 21st century through her creative synthesis of traditional and biblical principles into one that is authentically Chinese. ... Read more

    Isbn: 0195112075
    Sales Rank: 8082
    Subjects:  1. 1371-1435    2. Asia - China    3. Biography    4. China    5. China - History    6. Commerce    7. Explorers    8. General    9. History    10. History - General History    11. History: World    12. Military - Naval    13. To 1500    14. Zheng, He,    15. Asian / Middle Eastern history: c 500 to c 1500    16. Cultural studies    17. Zheng, He    18. c 1000 CE to c 1500   


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