Free Thinking For Open Minds

Monday, June 23, 2008

Earth in the Balance

Earth in the Balance: Ecology and the Human Spirit
Al Gore

Excellent book of environmental analysis and the perfect introduction to the subject.

Kingdom Coming

Kingdom Coming: The Rise of Christian Nationalism
Michelle Goldberg

The nation is on fire. Run, don't walk, to the nearest exit. Pray to God that religious nuts quit setting crusading fires.

Another very insightful look at the American form of fundamentalist cancer that seems to be spreading throughout the world. Whether Taliban or Evangelical, to the average citizen in the average democracy it makes no difference: Your freedom and very life is at stake.

Read this book for your own sake, if not to save your country.

Excerpt from Publisher's Weekly review:

"In an impressive piece of lucid journalism, reporter Goldberg dives into the religious right and sorts out the history and networks of what to most liberals is an inscrutable parallel universe. She deconstructs "dominion theology," the prevalent evangelical assertion that Christians have a "responsibility to take over every aspect of society." Goldberg makes no attempt to hide her own partisanship, calling herself a "secular Jew and ardent urbanite" who wrote the book because she "was terrified by America's increasing hostility to... cosmopolitan values." This carefully researched and riveting treatise will hardly allay its audience's fears, however; secular liberals and mainstream believers alike will find Goldberg's descriptions of today's culture wars deeply disturbing. She traces the deep financial and ideological ties between fundamentalist Christians and the Republican Party, and discloses the dangers she believes are inherent to the Bush administration's faith-based social services initiative. Other chapters follow inflammatory political tactics on wedge issues like gay rights, evolution and sex education. Significantly, her conclusions do not come off as hysterical or shrill. Even while pointing to stark parallels between fascism and the language of the religious right, Goldberg's vision of America's future is measured and realistic. Her book is a potent wakeup call to pluralists in the coming showdown with Christian nationalists."

American Fascists

American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America
by Chris Hedges

This book is an incredible expose of the religious right's insidious union with fascism in modern America. This searing indictment is made more horrific by the religious expertise of the author. Must read material.

excerpt from Publishers Weekly review: "The f-word crops up in the most respectable quarters these days. Yet if the provocative title of this exposé by Hedges (War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning)—sounds an alarm, the former New York Times foreign correspondent takes care to employ his terms precisely and decisively. As a Harvard Divinity School graduate, his investigation of the Christian Right agenda is even more alarming given its lucidity. Citing the psychology and sociology of fascism and cults, including the work of German historian Fritz Stern, Hedges draws striking parallels between 20th-century totalitarian movements and the highly organized, well-funded "dominionist movement," an influential theocratic sect within the country's huge evangelical population. Rooted in a radical Calvinism, and wrapping its apocalyptic, vehemently militant, sexist and homophobic vision in patriotic and religious rhetoric, dominionism seeks absolute power in a Christian state. Hedges's reportage profiles both former members and true believers, evoking the particular characteristics of this American variant of fascism. His argument against what he sees as a democratic society's suicidal tolerance for intolerant movements has its own paradoxes. But this urgent book forcefully illuminates what many across the political spectrum will recognize as a serious and growing threat to the very concept and practice of an open society."

excerpt from O - Oprah Magazine:

"Throughout, Hedges documents, and reflects on, what he feels is bigotry, the homophobia, the fanaticsm -- and the deeply un-Christian ideology -- that pose clear and present danger in our precious and fragile republic."

Monday, May 19, 2008


Bushit! An A-Z guide to the Bush Attack on Truth, Justice, Equality, and the American Way
Jack Huberman

excerpt from back cover:

Bushit! catalogs the scandals and outrages of an administration that appears determined to "stay the course" of blunders, corruption, and deceit established in its first term....

excerpts from a section "We love war." (p. 274):

...right wing guru Michael Ledeen -- holder of the Freedom Chair at the right-wing American Enterprize Institute and a figure often quoted by Wolfowitz, Cheney, and Rumsfeld -- told a forum in March, 2003, "the level of casualties is secondary" because "we are a warlike people.. we love war." Previously he had written that "the only way to achieve peace is through total war", "the sparing of civilian lives cannot be the total war's first priority"; and, "Every ten years or so, the United States needs to pick up some small crappy little country and throw it against the wall, just to show the world we mean business." Ledeen's daughter was appointed Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) advisor to the Iraqi Ministry of Finance...

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

American Vertigo

American Vertigo. Traveling America in the Footsteps of Tocqueville.
Bernard-Henri Levy
(Random House, 2006)

From the front flap:

What does it mean to be American, and what can America be today? To answer these questions, celebrated philosopher and journalist Bernard-Henri Levy spent a year traveling throughout the country... The result is ... a fascinating, wholly fresh look at a country we sometimes only think we know.

Quote from within:

And then, farther down the road, the Hearst Castle, set on an arid mountain facing the ocean: San Simeon, bombastic kitsch, as big as one-fourth of Rhode Island, where I arrive full of emotion (wasn't this, after all, the model for Citizen Kane's Xanadu, the fortress of solitude where Orson Welles brought to life, and enclosed, his character?) but which I leave, an hour later, torn between irrepressible and contradictory wishes to laugh, to vomit, and yet at times to applaud.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Resource Wars

Resource Wars. The New Landscape of Global Conflict
Michael T. Klare
(Owl Books, 2001)

An obvious wakeup call for consumers every where. Energy and resources are the driving forces of our era.

From the back cover:

A much-needed assessment of a changed world, resource Wars is a compelling look at warfare in an era of rampant globalization and intense economic competition.

"Brilliantly researched, ably argued... Resource Wars shows that a new geography of conflict is already being mapped out. Klare's analysis is indisputable."
~ David Rieff, Los Angles Times Book Review

The Buying of the President 2004

The Buying of the President 2004. Who's Really Bankrolling Bush and His Democratic Challengers -- and What They Expect in Return.
Charles Lewis and the Center For Public Integrity
(Perennial, 2004)

From the back cover: Is the Oval Office for Sale?

The Buying of the President 2004 reveals how the process of choosing a president has moved from the voting booth to the auction block, and highlights the special interests that heavily invest in the politicians seeking the nation's highest office. Lewis and his team reveal and investigate the sponsors and the known and not-so-known conficts of inteest entangling each of the aspirants to the White House. This is the only book of its kind, containing investigative profiles and personal histories of the major presidential candidates.

See for more info.

"The flood of money that gushes into politics today is a pollution of democracy."
~ Theodore H. White

Political Babble

Political Babble: The 1,000 Dumbest Things Ever Said by Politicians
David Olive
(John Wiley & Sons, 1992)

Funny collection of witless dribbles from politicians now and then. Amazing collection, good for all things, but especially for lightening the mood of this Dark Age.

"I would have made a good Pope."
~ Richard Nixon

"I have opinions of my own - strong opinions -- but I don't always agree with them."
~ George Bush

America (The Book): A Citizen's Guide to Democracy Inaction

America (The Book): A Citizen's Guide to Democracy Inaction
John Stewart, Ben Karlin, David Javerbaum
(Warner Books, 2004)

Perhaps the most hysterical, yet sad, send up of American politics ever written. Derived from and part of The Daily Show with John Stewart, this smart book will have you laughing out loud and the crime of it all.

Whether it is exploring the King of Democracy, the Shadow Government's God Complex, or which example of photojournalism gnaws at your soul, this book covers the gamut. A must read, especially if you, like all of us, must laugh to cover the painful tears you are crying at the shame of it all.

"I would certainly read this book if I were alive today, which, for all you geniuses out there, I am not."

~ Abraham Lincoln

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Thy Kingdom Come

Thy Kingdom Come: An Evangelical's Lament. How the Religious Right Distorts the Faith and Threatens America.
Randall Balmer
(Basic Books, 2006)

An Evangelical insider's view of the defrauded and subverted religious right movement which has become "virutally indistinguishable from the Republican Party platform." Fascinating first hand accounts of the internal struggles and divisions that are destroying the religious right as they become a partisan political movement, not a religious faith. Explores who and what organizations and groups are accountable and offers remedies. This book shows vividly why the Founders were correct in demanding a separation of church and state.

Tony Campolo says:

"Randall Balmer knows Evangelicalism inside and out. He writes with the ambivalence of a jilted lover who still cares very much about the movement but who is broken-hearted due to its subversion by right wing politics. Thy Kingdom Come is a must-read for anyone who wants to know what happened to us."

Armed Madhouse

Armed Madhouse
Greg Palast
(Dutton, 2006)

Collection of essays from Greg Palast (winner of the George Orwell Courage in Journalism Award and author of The Best Democracy Money Can Buy), which includes "Who's Afraid of Osama Woolf?", "China Floats, Bush Sinks", "The Scheme to Steal '08", "No Child's Behind Left", and Other Dispatches from the Front Lines of the Class War.

The inside cover says:

"Greg's most provocative and caustically funny book yet, Armed Madhouse brings you the stories not allowed in The New York Times. Armed with more than fifty classified documents, confidential memos, and secret plans liberated from the Pentagon, FBI, World Bank, and ExxonMobil, Palast cuts through the TV news babytalk."

John Perkins says:

"Gripping, provacative, inspiring... [A] modern Declaration of Independence, this book exposes the abuses of today's global Empire nd calls on us to take action. Palast challenges us to replace a system he describes as 'un-American' with one that will create a sane, equitable, and sustainable world for our children."

Noam Chomsky says:

"Upsets all the right people."

Randi Rhodes says:

"The top investigative journalist in America -- and the funniest."

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Bush's Brain

Bush's Brain. How Karl Rove Made George W. Bush President.
James C. Moore and Wayne Slater
(John Wiley & Sons, 2003)

This extremely important book was one of the first to look behind the smoke and mirrors to expose the man who actually masterminded all of Bush's campaigns amd policies. Rove, the Joseph Goebbels of this era, is one of the most important figures in modern American politics. He has single-handedly transformed American politics as a Macchiavellian master who is relentless in his fierce, negative campaigning.

From the Bush's Brain website:

"Many Washington insiders believe that the strength of the Bush machine lies not in its leader but in Karl Rove, the man who picked Bush to run for Governor of Texas, tutored him on the workings of government, and ran brilliant yet brutal campaigns that would eventually sweep Bush into the Presidency.

"In Bush's Brain: How Karl Rove Made George W. Bush Presidential, readers will enter the powerful world of White House Senior Advisor Karl Rove and learn how this man created George W. Bush and continues to keep him on top. Political journalists James Moore and Wayne Slater offer a rare glimpse into the man who has become the single most important advisor to George W. Bush — and the person who many think is calling the shots at the White House. They also discuss how Rove's strategic decisions seem to be determining U.S. policy for the Bush administration, including the controversial tactic of running on a war with Iraq.

"This intriguing book also features previously unreported information on the Bush campaign from the primaries and the conventions to the fall general election and the complex relationship Rove and Bush currently share. Karl Rove is both feared and admired by Republicans and Democrats alike. His take no prisoners approach to politics has received mixed reviews and left everyone wondering who's really running this country? In Bush's Brain: How Karl Rove Made George W. Bush Presidential readers will learn who the real Karl Rove is and just how much power he really has."

Friday, November 03, 2006

American Dynasty

American Dynasty. Aristocracy, Fortune, and the Politics of Deceit in the House of Bush
Kevin Phillips
(Viking, 2004)

Phillips, a longserving, dedicated conservative and Republican strategist, has written one of the most scathing and damning exposes on the ethically challenged Bush family ever. Let's be clear: This is troubling, devastating reading for any patriotic American.

Phillips pulls no punches as he explores the seamy underside of America's first great dynastic power. He backs his statements up with copious quotes and documentation. The fact that this Nixonian is the actual author of the notion of "The Emerging Republican Majority" way back when lends his words an incredible, if not awful, weight.

As the saying goes, if this is what your friends have to say....

From the inside cover:

"In their ambition, the Bushes ultimately invented themselves with brilliant timing, twisting and turning from silver-spoon Yankees to born-again Texans. As a public family, they are writing a dangerous new definition of the presidency. By uncovering relationships and connecting facts with new clarity, Phillips comes to a stunning conclusion: the Bush family has systematically used its financial and cosial empire -- its "aristocracy" -- to gain the White House and to subvert the very core of American democracy, government by and for the people."


"Paraphrasing a passage from Machiavelli's The Prince, Kevin Phillips writes, "a ruler can ignore the mob and devote himself to the interests of the ruling class, gulling the inert majority who constitute the ruled." He then says, "Borgia references aside, 21st-century American readers of The Prince may feel that they have stumbled on a thinly disguised Bush White House political memo." These pointed words would sting regardless of who uttered them, but coming from Phillips, a former Republican strategist, they have an added piquancy. In American Dynasty: Aristocracy, Fortune, and the Politics of Deceit in the House of Bush, Phillips traces the rise of the Bush family from investment banking elites to political power brokers, using their Ivy League network, vast wealth, and questionable political maneuvering to obtain the White House and consequently, shake the foundation of constitutional American democracy. Citing the Bush family mainstays of finance, energy (oil), the military industrial complex, and national security and intelligence (the CIA), Phillips uses copious examples to show the dangerous alliance between the Bushes' business interests (huge corporations such as Enron and Haliburton) and the formation of national policy. No other family, Phillips says, that has fulfilled its presidential aspirations has been so involved in the ascendancy of the arms industry and of the 21st-century American imperium--often at the expense of regional and world peace and for their personal gain.

"It is hard to tell what offends Phillips the most: the Bushes' systematic deceit and secrecy, their shady business dealings, their cronyism, or their family philosophy that privileges the very wealthy and utterly dismisses all the rest. It is clearly all of these things combined. But at the top of Phillips' list is the dynastic nature of their family power, for it is that concentration of power and influence that strikes at the heart of our democracy. Past administrations have transgressed, albeit not so egregiously, and other political families have had dynastic ambitions. But none have succeeded as thoroughly as the Bushes. Jefferson and Madison would be horrified, and according to Phillips, we should be too."

~ Silvana Tropea

Read The New York Review of Books take on American Dynasty.

The Theocons

The Theocons. Secular America Under Seige
Damon Linker
(Doubleday, 2006)

This book is absolutely essential reading for anyone interested in the rise of the evangelicals and their attempt to establish an American theocracy. This criticial history of the theoconservative movement is comprehensive, informative, and above all else, damning.

From the cover:

"For the past three decades, a few determined men have worked to inject their radical religious ideas into the nation's politics. This is the story of how they succeeded."

"The election of 2000 brought the theocons to the peak of political power and influence in Washington. Their ideas inspire the most controversial and divisive policies of the Bush administration -- policies whose ultimate goal is nothing less than the end of secular politics in America."

Kevin Phillips, author of American Theocracy:

"The fact that a former editor of the religious right journal First Things has taken pen in hand to detail the movement's attempts to fashion what he sees as a theocratic governing philosophy for the United States gives The Theocons a particular urgency. As Damon Linker further argues, too much of this has been ignored by the mainstream media."

Mark Lilla, professor at The Committee On Social Thought at the University of Chicago:

"Required reading for anyone interested in the American political scene today."

Alan Wolfe, author of The Transformation of Amereican Religion:

"The Theocons constitutes a major step toward reclaiming the liberal heritage that has made America great."

The Essential America

The Essential America: Our Founding Fathers and the Liberal Tradition
George McGovern
(Simon & Schuster, 2004)

A review of the history and current state of what George McGovern calls today's "most maligned political philosophy," American liberalism. He proves, however, that liberalism is the foundation of the nation and the very backbone of democracy.

From Booklist:

"McGovern, the man who has come to epitomize liberalism in American politics, offers a perspective on the tradition of liberalism as the bedrock of American political traditions. He cites the Founding Fathers as well as more recent political history, in much of which he was personally engaged, for examples of American moral spirit and ideals. But, he asserts, the nation has gone astray with a domestic policy that favors the wealthy and an international policy that relies on military might. Acknowledging the national trauma of the terrorist attack of 9/11, McGovern nonetheless asks the question: "Is it possible that preponderant military power and earth-shaking aerial bombardment are not the best antidotes to the terrorist zealot?" He denounces the preemptive war in Iraq and tax breaks for the wealthy. Noting his 1972 presidential campaign theme, "Come Home America," McGovern appeals for a return to progressive politics. He specifically calls for using our power and influence to resolve the conflict between the Israelis and the Palestinians and for reducing military spending in favor of solving domestic ills."

From Publisher's Weekly:

"The former presidential candidate, three-term South Dakota senator and outspoken opponent of the Vietnam War balances partisan argument with historical perspective in his winning, well-reasoned (if rarely startling) ninth book. Drawing both on the "moral and spiritual views" of America's founders and on his own experiences (as a wartime bomber pilot, a senator and a U.N. official fighting world hunger), McGovern defends a proud legacy of liberalism, whose "role is to harness federal power to serve the public interest." Offering warm words for many Republicans, McGovern nevertheless pulls no punches about the current administration's "arrogance and go-it-alone" behavior; much of the book outlines a progressive alternative. Five chapters alternate progressive policy recommendations with discussions of (and long quotes from) presidents McGovern admires: Jefferson, Jackson, Lincoln and FDR. The book's real historical hero, however, is Eisenhower, who warned that an ever-expanding "military-industrial complex" could choke off democracy and waste American treasure in needless wars."

The Best Liberal Quotes Ever

The Best Liberal Quotes Ever: Why The Left Is Right
William Martin
(Sourcebooks, 2004)

A great collection of useful quotes on all subjects. Good reference for debates, commentary, criticism, and political discourse.

From the publisher:

"The Best Liberal Quotes Ever is the largest and most up-to-date collection of liberal quotes. With more than 2,500 thoughts and sayings (most never published before) on a variety of topics from authority to sex to vanity, this fun book is a treasure trove of progressive wisdom."

Jim Hightower says:

"This is a bible of progressive wisdom."

The American Religion

The American Religion: The Emergence of the Post-Christian Nation
Harold Bloom
(Simon & Schuster, 1992)

Bloom turns his critical literary genius towards investigating American religion and its gnostic nature. He does a superb job and this book is a rare mix of scholarship and deep reading which he calls religious criticism. He has a long history of studying religion, from The Flight of Lucifer to The Book of J, and proves his merit here by encompassing the breadth and width of American religious thought.

This insightful and important study of the origins and nature of American religion is a must-read for any who wish to understand the current landscape of American society. It goes a long way towards understanding the rise of evangelicalism and lays the foundation of modern theocratic society. The Nineteen Century Know-Nothings have heirs in the religious right of today. Bloom's connections are so very insightful they help illuminate the ongoing evangelicals' attacks on learning and literacy, explaining why the religious right are at war with culture, education, arts, sciences, and society as a whole.

For instance, Bloom predicted the evangelical conquest of the Southern Baptist Convention and their rise to national power. This book offers vital understanding of how and why this is occurring. Plus, it gives clues to what will continue to happen in the future due to this peculiar American form of religion.

Excerpt from Kirkus Reviews:

"A great bolt of originality: Bloom manages to wade into a hopelessly over explored territory and point out precisely those landmarks that everyone else has missed. Remarkable ideas remarkably set forth."

The Republican War on Science

The Republican War on Science
Chris Mooney
(Basic Books, 2005)

The Republican War on Science is an excellent book of great interest to anyone who has a stake in science, education, or the future of our civilization. This call to arms to defend science is a must read. This is one of the most vital issues of our age, because it hits at the very core of modernity itself, scientific reason and the reason for science.

Check out The Republican War on Science website.

An excerpt from an interview with Chris Mooney in Mother Jones:

MJ: How did we get to this point, where science is so blatantly abused for political purposes?

CM: Well, I think it’s part of the history of the modern conservative movement, and you see it coming to fruition recently with that movement's total control of the Republican Party and of the government. Here you have a movement anchored in, among other things, a distrust of big government. And of course a lot of science is funded by government, and a lot of science takes place in government agencies. This is also a movement that has plausibly been accused of having anti-intellectual tendencies, that thinks big universities and the academic elites are biased against ordinary folks.

But most importantly you have raw politics, or catering to your constituents. With the conservatives, you have industry, which is coming up against science all the time, and religious conservatives, who come out against science any time [it conflicts with] their moral view of the world.

So, you combine all of those things—not liking government, distrusting universities, catering to your base—and then you get control of the government and I think what you get is exactly what you'd predict.

Excerpt from a Crooked Timber review:

"Mooney’s book delivers a damning indictment precisely because it shows that these various abuses aren’t unrelated; they’re all symptoms of the same problem, a deep-seated corruption of the policy process, linked to an attack on the basic principles of scientific integrity."

What Would Aristotle Do?

What Would Aristotle Do? Self-Control Through the Power of Reason
Eliot D. Cohen
(Prometheus Books, 2003)

"Elliot Cohen. . . tells in simple, sensible, and practical language what you can do to use rational philosophy to help yourself. Well worth reading!"

~ Albert Ellis, Ph.D., President, Albert Ellis Institute

Review from Midwest Book review:

What Would Aristotle Do? Self-Control Through the Power of Reason
Eliot D. Cohen

Thank God for Eliot D. Cohen! He has returned the almost lost art of Reason to America. For too long we have wallowed in the twilight of culture and danced in the aisles foaming at the mouths over the latest WWJD bumpersticker fad. It has been a long, dark night and now, finally, the brilliance of dawn. What Would Aristotle Do? Self-Control Through the Power of Reason is a breath of fresh air (sadly, since we forget everything older than a twenty-second soundbite, it is so ancient it is fresh again). This light book-- it is short and easy to read and, even more importantly, easy to comprehend-- should be required reading for everyone in America. Put down the ignorant hysteria and pick up a little empowering Reason.

I suppose it is truly a sign of the End Time so perpetually popular amongst some segments of society that we even need a book like this. But there you have it. We work with what we are given. Dr. Cohen, one of those Renaissance types who feels compelled to succeed in multiple areas like teaching, writing, counseling, directing, and being a philosopher, is well known in counseling circles worldwide as the man who is reuniting psychology with philosophy, that is using hands-on, applied philosophy in the same way we are familiar with psychological counseling. Or to sum it all up, he is also the director of the Institute of Critical Thinking. I think that about solves everything. If we used a little critical thinking in life, we'd probably find we were suddenly bereft of problems. It is all a matter of clarity. Rule number one: Thou shalt not confuse thyself.

Confusion is rampant in our society and so is its side effect anxiety. No one understands what is happening, what they could do, and what they should do, and so they become more and more anxious to the point of breaking down. And then we become so depressed we start bumpersticker fads to feel that somehow we connect with each other. It's cyclical ignorance. This book cuts through all the hooplah like a laser beam. Very succinctly and quietly Dr. Cohen tells us how we might be confusing ourselves, lists numerous impediments to growth and solutions, such as faulty thinking, and how all of this causes us emotional distress. Best of all, for the average man, he does it in common language with common examples of real life cases involving real life people. It is all so crystal clear it can accidentally cut off your emotional turmoil and leave you smiling and well adjusted. Can you imagine being uplifted, forgiven, happy, satisfied, fortified, excited, confident, and ready to conquer the world with a laugh? Well this book allows you to do just that, and with your own mind, your own reason, and your own self confidence. You don't have to feel guilty or borrow anyone else's blessing to succeed. You can do it all yourself. It's amazing.

I love this book. It couldn't have come out at a better time, either, what with the current state of fads and crises in the world. We seem to be spiraling downward at a pretty good clip. Culture wars and other forms of public stupidity do not a successful, happy family make. But here comes some reasonable wings to lift us up. Ahhhh. The comfort of it all. Thank you, Dr. Cohen, and of course Mr. Aristotle himself for offering the antidote to today's ills. You refute our frustrations and flaws and empower us to employ the rationality of our own willpower. You return the world to balance by showing us the importance of the middle path. We need not be excessive pro or con, prone to outbursts of emotion or indecision. When we weigh the world with our mind, the choice is obvious and we no longer fret. We can simply act, in peace and pleasure. Or to sum up, Aristotle says, "That which is proper to each thing is by nature best and most pleasant for each thing; for man, therefore, the life according to reason is best and pleasantest, since reason more than anything else is man. This life, therefore, is also the happiest." I'm a happy man.

What Liberal Media?

What Liberal Media?: The Truth about Bias and the News
Eric Alterman
(Basic Books, 2003)

A stunning rebuke of the myth of "liberal bias" in the media that has been perpetuated by the consevratives for several years now. Well researched with straight forward analysis.

Excerpt from publisher:

"The question of whose interests the media protects — and how — has achieved holy-grail-like significance. Is media bias keeping us from getting the whole story? If so, who is at fault? Is it the liberals who are purported to be running the newsrooms, television and radio stations of this country, duping an unsuspecting public into mistaking their party line for news? Or is it the conservatives who have identified media bias as a reliably inflammatory rallying cry around which to consolidate their political base as they cynically "work the refs"? The media has become so pervasive in our lives that regardless of exactly where on the ideological fence you sit, the question of media bias has become all but unavoidable.

"Most of the criticism (and anger) has so far emanated from the political Right, which has offered us the rather unconvincing argument that a systematic Left bias is destroying the quality of news and debate in our country today. Journalist and historian Eric Alterman begs to differ.

"What Liberal Media? confronts the question of liberal bias and, in so doing, provides a sharp and utterly convincing assessment of the realities of political bias in the news. In distinct contrast to the conclusions reached by Ann Coulter, Bernard Goldberg, Sean Hannity, and Bill O'Reilly, Alterman finds the media to be, on the whole, far more conservative than liberal, though it is possible to find evidence for both views. The fact that conservatives howl so much louder and more effectively than liberals is one significant reason that big media is always on its guard for "liberal" bias but gives conservative bias a free pass.

"After reading What Liberal Media? you will understand that the real news story of recent years is not whether this newspaper, or that news anchor, is biased but rather to what extent the entire news industry is organized to communicate conservative views and push our politics to the right — regardless of how "liberal" any given reporter may be."

Excerpt of review:

"[A] sobering reminder that TV long ago abandoned serious journalism and that watchdogs and skeptics are thin on the ground in all media — bad news for those who believe a vibrant, informative press is one of the bedrocks of democracy."

~ Kirkus Reviews

100 Banned Books

100 Banned Books: Censorship Histories of World Literature
Nicholas J. Karolides, Margaret Bald, and Dawn B. Sova.
(Checkmark Books, 1999)

Excerpt from the back cover:

"Throughout history, tyrants, totalitarian states, church institutions and democratic governments alike have banned books that challenged their assumptions or questioned their authority. Even today, attempts by school boards, local government, and religious fanatics continue to restrict our freedom to read.

"100 Banned Books is divided into four sections, each covering twenty-five well known, often classic works with significant censorship histories:

* Literature suppressed on political grounds: Animal Farm, Dr. Zhivago, The Grapes of Wrath, Uncle Tom's Cabin, Slaughterhouse-Five, and more.

* Literature suppressed on religious grounds: The Bible, The Koran, The Talmud, The Last Temptation of Christ, Oliver Twist, and more.

* Literature suppressed on sexual grounds: The Bluest Eye, Lolita, Madame Bovary, Lady Chatterly's Lover, Ulysses, and more.

* Literature suppressed on social grounds: The Adventures of Hucleberry Finn, The Canterbury Tales, The Bell Jar, Farenheit 451, Black Like Me, and more.

"Each entry includes a summary of the work, its censorship history, and suggestions for further reading. 100 Banned Books is for all readers with an interest in censorship and its effect on specific works throughout the ages."

Welcome to the Liberal Library


This is the Liberal Library, a comprehensive collection of liberal books on political, social, legal, philosophical, religious, scientific, and historical topics.

The Liberal Library is a source for notices, reviews, essays, articles, lists, links, and other information about all the essential books (and hence concepts) that should fill a liberal library.

Feel free to contact me and help contribute. I welcome input. Liberals are open to all progressive ideas, so do not hesitate to suggest alternative concepts and fresh sources.

The Liberal Library is all about free thinking for open minds.

Liberal, for those who somehow do not know, is defined (courtesy fo the Free Dictionary):

lib·er·al (lbr-l, lbrl)

a. Not limited to or by established, traditional, orthodox, or authoritarian attitudes, views, or dogmas; free from bigotry.
b. Favoring proposals for reform, open to new ideas for progress, and tolerant of the ideas and behavior of others; broad-minded.
c. Of, relating to, or characteristic of liberalism.
d. Liberal Of, designating, or characteristic of a political party founded on or associated with principles of social and political liberalism, especially in Great Britain, Canada, and the United States.