5 Stars – Utterly brilliant insights and data, but publisher should have invested in graphics to match
Parag Khanna is for me the single best observer and reporter on the substance of Asia which he takes great pains to point out is not just China (a third of Asia’s population) but includes particularly vast swaths of Russia, India, Central Asia, Southeast Asia including Indonesia and Australia, and Turkey.
The Hidden Aspects of Race and Class in American History, July 26, 2016 by Herbert Calhoun
This book explains the unsavory fine points of our national identity by probing and then exposing the not so well hidden loose ends that tie the bottom half of America’s social hierarchy to the top half. It reveals that there is much much more to race and class than what we see at eye level. We learn here that the colonists who came to the Americas were very much a mixed bag.
Needs to be translated into English, Russia, and French as soon as possible. He details a 1949 agreement that subordinates Germany as a vassal state to the USA and blindly loyal to any NATO initiative however insane. The agreement supposedly runs for another 90 years. The book needs to be translated into English, Russian, and French as soon as possible. It could and should lead to the fall of the German government, the cancellation of the agrement, the expulsion of all US forces and headquarters from Germany, and the de-Americanicanization if not the complete eradication of NATO. Even if the agreement does not exist — I am inclined to belief the author, that some such agreement does exist — Germany has been acting as an extension of the USA, and the book is a foundation for a national conversation in Germany that could end that state of abject subordination and contributory financial, political, and social crimes against the German people as well as other publics.
Michael Kearns and Ronald Solomon have written one of the most important books of the year, and one of the most entertaining. Drawing on Kearns’ experience in the military, especially his years training military personnel, intelligence agents, and other government employees in the Survival, Evasion, Resistance, and Escape, or SERE, program for the Pentagon’s Joint Personnel Recovery Agency, Kearns and Solomon have constructed a thriller about a high-tech, drone-enabled takeover of America that seems all too real, chiseled out of the headlines we read every day. And just as scary!
5.0 out of 5 starsOral History at Its Best — Relevant to Future Strategy, Policy, Acquisition, Tactics, June 29, 2015
I received this book as a gift from the author, a fellow Marine retired as a Lieutenant Colonel, sometimes mistaken for his father, Admiral Zumwalt. I have gone through it twice. It is immediately in my top five books on Viet-Nam from an intelligence point of view, the other four books being:
I am a huge fan of Ralph Peters, who in addition to his civil war series under his own name and as Owen Parry, is a master strategist and intelligence professional who can find enemy special forces just by looking at a map and thinking. I am not sure he will ever match Cain at Gettysburg 1st (first) Edition by Peters, Ralph published by Forge Books (2012) Hardcover — that book set a new gold standard surpassing The Killer Angels: The Classic Novel of the Civil War (Civil War Trilogy) by six [and I hasten to add, I consider Michael Shaara gifted and only surpassed by Ralph] but I will say this: every book Ralph write surprises and delights, not just with how he delivers intimate details not found in other histories, but how he rights history — his books correct the less than accurate record and magnify what others have missed. His treatment of Early’s last stand and Custer’s best moment will stand for a very long time as yet another “first” for the author as historian.
5.0 out of 5 starsSIX STAR SPECTACULAR — COULD BE A CATALYST FOR REVOLUTION USA, October 27, 2014
This work is not being properly marketed in the USA. Harvard, the US publisher, is not doing all that it should which I find especially distressing because this could well be the single most important book any US citizen could read going into the farce of an election in 2014 and the travesty of 2016, when it appears that Jeb Bush will face off against Hillary Clinton, each so ably representing their side of the two-party tyranny that has sold out to Wall Street, barred the other parties (Constitution, Green, Libertarian, Natural Law, Reform, Socialist — and the Independents) from any possible access to political office, and sent two generations to elective wars mounted on the basis of greed and 935 lies.
Put as strongly as I can put it, this book could be a catalyst for revolution in the USA, and for that reason alone, I place it in my top ten percent, beyond five stars, this is a six star book.
5.0 out of 5 starsA Cry from the Heart — Bodes Well for Restoration of Hawaiian Sovereignty, October 7, 2014
Serious lyrics about Hawaiian sovereignty lost, repression, and prospects. I for one am certain that Hawaii will be a restored nation-state one day — I also tend to believe the US flag will stay at 50 as California divides in 3, making up for Vermont and Hawaii pulling out.
This is one of those musical offerings where the words really matter — I am reminded of John Lennon and the importance of his lyrics. Secession — self-determination — is the last resort of any people so abused by the powers that be that there is no other option.
12 songs, including “Office of Hawaiian Despair” and the title song, “Sufferreignty.
5.0 out of 5 starsOK to Challenge Racism and Poverty — NOT OK to challenge militarism and the national security state, September 12, 2014
The publisher has done a rotten job of summarizing this book. Here, paraphrasing the author as he just spoke on the John Stewart show, is the bottom line:
The minute that Dr. King turned against militarism and denounced the USA as the greatest purveyor of violence upon the world, he was first marginalized and then assassinated. “The System” was fine with Dr. King focusing on racism, and even poverty, but it would not tolerate for one moment his questioning the military-industrial complex and the national security state.
The author — whom I found to be very inspiring, coherent, and concise — a brilliant articulator of the key points in the book — goes on to have a conversation with Jon Stewart about how the USA simply cannot handle truth-tellers in relation to “big money” matters such as elective wars (racism and poverty being “little money” matters, and deliberately so).
Dr. King was ultimately assassinated by a US Army sniper on detail to the FBI and under the personal direction of J. Edgar Hoover. The story is told in An Act of State: The Execution of Martin Luther King and has also been documented and validated in a judgment by a federal court awarding the King family the single dollar in damages they requested.
5.0 out of 5 starsDavid Bollier’s Review is Better, This Is My Attempt, April 21, 2014
I was very impressed by David Bollier’s review of this book at his web site (look for < “Stop, Thief!” – Peter Linebaugh’s New Collection of Essays > and am encouraging him to port that excellent review here to Amazon. Indeed, after working my way through the book myself, I consider myself unable to do proper justice to this deep work that integrates history, poetry, political economy, anthropology, and sociology among other disciplines. Hence I hope others will write substantive summary reviews and I again recommend Bollier’s review above.
Three thoughts keep recurring as I went through this book of original current essays and presentations:
01 Holy Cow. This guy is DEEP and BROAD in terms of arcane as well as popular sources, delving down into little known poems, essays, public statements, etcetera. This book is the one book version of the Durant’s Story of Civilization applied to one topic, the commons.
02 Holy Cow. This is what my top political science professor was trying to explain when I was in college in 1970-1974 – yes, a half century ago — and I was just not smart enough, patient enough, to appreciate it.
03 Holy Cow. This book is not just subversive, it does a magnificent job of head slapping every politician, economists, talking head, and other pretender who presumes to talk about public welfare without for one instant understanding that wages are a form of slavery and disconnection of humanity from everything else. Lionel Tiger makes related points in The Manufacture of Evil: Ethics, Evolution and the Industrial System but this book — if you focus and do not get lost in the poetry and minutia of exemplar citation — beats the commons versus capitalism drum along every possible note on the musical scale.
Ostrom attempts to refute the belief that only through state and or market-centered controls can commonly pooled resources (CPRs) be effectively governed. Ostrom writes, “Communities of individuals have relied on institutions resembling neither the state nor the market to govern some resource systems with reasonable degrees of success over long periods of time” (p. 1). Governing the Commons sets out to discover why some groups are able to effectively govern and manage CPRs and other groups fail. She tries to identify both the internal and external factors “that can impede or enhance the capabilities of individuals to use and govern CPRs.”
The first section of the book examines both state-controlled and privatization property rights regimes, and illustrates failures in both regimes; namely, that central authorities often fail to have complete accuracy of information, have only limited monitoring capabilities, and possess a weak sanctioning reliability. As such, a centralized governing body may actually govern the commons inaccurately and make a bad situation worse. In the case of privatized property rights regimes, Ostrom illustrates two main points: 1) it assumes that property is homogenous and any division of property will be equitable; and 2) privatization will not work with non-stationary property (fisheries, for example).
This book, which is based on the several decades of research by Nobel award winning political scientist Elinor Ostrom and her talented colleages, vigorously asserts two messages with equal fervor. The first is that “it is possible for individuals to act collectively to manage shared natural resources on a sustainable basis.” (215) The second message is that the existing structure of academic disciplines in the system of higher learning deeply handicaps researchers from attaining true insights of this type. The possibility of people managing their own common pool resources through democratic and egalitarian participation was determined through research “based on field studies, laboratory and field experiments, game theory, and agent-based models,” and no discipline recognizes the legitimacy of models that span such a broad range of statistical, qualitative thick description, formal analytical and computer simulation methods.
Milton Berle once appeared for an interview on a morning TV show in New York. After, his interviewer threw to the weather woman. Berle left his seat and took over doing the weather. His analysis? A line of tornados ripped through New Jersey last night, causing $100 million in IMPROVEMENTS. That is the feeling I got with How Much Have Global Problems Cost the World?
Lomborg’s Copenhagen Consensus got a bunch of academics to look at issues from a common denominator. Everything has to be evaluated as a percentage of GDP. Everything has to be monetized to make the models work. Lives, disease, biodiversity – everything gets a dollar value in these studies. Lack of historical data is not a problem either; the models “backcast” to 1900. The conclusion is that our worrisome problems are an ever shrinking cost to us, relative to GDP.
But of course, prices have never reflected the ecological cost of production or use, so we’ve been freeloading, with GDP expanding while costs have been controlled. The bill will go to our grandchildren. These models don’t reflect that. Instead, the ballooning GDPs of the last century simply leave the cost centers in their wake, taking an ever smaller share.
The reader is unlikely to find a book that better contextualizes or sharpens the focus of the moral issues confronting America’s founding generation than this book. Using the metaphor of “empires of necessity,” the author shows how America’s westward expansion made it the advance-guard of the world, beating a path through the wilderness. But America has never acknowledged that it was enslaved peoples who were in fact beating that path called Manifest Destiny: cutting down forests, turning the wilderness into plantations and into marketable real estate, and picking cotton and cutting the sugar cane that drew more and more territory into a thriving atlantic economy. Slavery alone was the issue at the top of the world’s agenda throughout the era of the founding of America. The evils of slavery and the slave trade was the constant refrain of sermons each Sunday from Connecticut to Montevideo; and from Seville to London.
Although I would have liked some illustrations and maps in relation to each section of the book — there is only one map for the entire book — I found the book riveting, and would like to see it become a standard text for multi-disciplinary education across history, political science, sociology, and cultural studies.