This is a seven page summary review of one of the greatest books in modern political, economic, and cultural literature. The review concludes with links to other published literary commentary on the book being reviewed, and to superb videos where George Will is interviewed about his book, in this way augmenting the Kindle experience.
The Conservative Sensibility is a masterwork, a capstone work for the author, for his time, for the Republic, and for We the People who have lost our Republic.
7 Stars – Handbook for an American Renaissance – Life Transformative
Robert David Steele
This book is a masterwork, a capstone work for the author, for his time, for the Republic, and for We the People who have lost our Republic. Of the over 2,500 books I have reviewed, 10% of which have received a 6 star rating, this book is easily in the top 25 and perhaps the top 10. The last book I remember that impressed me this much was Philip Allot’s The Health of Nations: Society and Law beyond the State (Cambridge, 2002) but this book is closer to home, focused on the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the collapse of the US federal government with a Presidency run amok, a Congress in abdication, and a judiciary all too passive as the Constitution is shredded.
This glorious piece of work, clearly a handcrafted deeply researched endeavor (not a collection of past columns) that draws on all forms of erudition from poetry and theater and fiction to history, philosophy, and science, is noteworthy for integrating deep and diverse citations from the varied leading individuals in the US executive, US legislature, and US judiciary.
The top four points made by this book, in my view, are these:
The assassination of the top four leaders of the political left in the five year period – President John Kennedy in 1963, Malcolm X in 1965, and Martin Luther King, Jr. and Senator Robert Kennedy in 1968 – represented nothing less than a slow-motion coup on the political scene.
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.
“Margin of Victory: Five Battles that Changed the Face of Modern Warfare” by Douglas Macgregor. Naval Institute Press. 2016, Hardcover, 268 pages, $34.95.
“Margin of Victory” is about change, intelligently and soberly recognizing the need for that change regardless of preconceived notions and the consequences of failing to do so. Each of the conflicts analyzed by Macgregor, all seemingly unrelated at first glance, center on his repeated premise that victory will depend on lessons learned that will drive accepting change and implementing the hard decisions that must accompany transformation – notably in technology, people, strategy and organization. While history provides perspective that must be considered, holding on to outmoded concepts or failing to properly leverage what’s been learned will ultimately lead to decisive defeat.
6 Stars Presidential Transitions Matter and President Trump Blew It — With Follow-on Consequences
Although I am a huge fan of President Trump — I wrote the first article on how he could win (“Counter-Coup: How Trump Can Win,” CounterPunch, 14 August 2018) and went on to write the 30 piece Trump Revolution Series, I also believe in learning from the mistakes of others — this book has a great deal to offer the next President.
Early on in the book we learn that then candidate Trump did not want a presidential transition team and refused to assign campaign funds for it. When he was persuaded by Chris Christie that he needed one and Christie offered to raise funds separately, Trump assented, only to blow a fuse when he learned Christie had raised $9 million.
QUOTE (21): “Trump was apoplectic, actually yelling, You’re stealing my money! You’re stealing my fucking money! What the fuck is this?”
The book offers one capstone understanding and five insights that every presidential candidate should take deeply to heart:
It has been very distressful for me, as a professional intelligence officer committed to truth and transparency, to find so many of my colleagues absolutely livid – constipated with anger, impotent in every sense of the word – when confronted with the success off WikiLeaks.
Julian Assange is the epitome of truth, transparency, and trust, the sub-title of The Open Source Everything Manifesto that places Julian and the good works of his thousands of volunteers in context. The post-Western, post-Google Internet begins and ends, in my view, with Julian Assange, myself, William Binney, and John McAfee. The WikiLeaks “model” – while it can be broadened and scaled up – is the perfect manifestation of what Tom Atlee has called The Tao of Democracy. WikiLeaks is Collective Intelligence in its purest form: no barriers, no lies.
I received a PDF copy from the author, with whom I share many concerns about and hopes for the Trump Presidency, and am truly delighted with all that he has done. As a former spy who also co-created the Marine Corps Intelligence Intelligence Activity and went on to found the Open Source Intelligence discipline, I deal every day with complex nuanced topics that I find very difficult to explain to normal people.
This author has done a BRILLIANT job, a PATRIOTIC job, a LIFE-ENHANCING and GOD-BLESSED job, of laying out both the threats to the Trump Presidency and to America, and the threats and possibilities for resurrecting America and saving it from the Deep State I know so well.
I met the author of this book in Norway, when he interviewed me for Ny Tid (Modern Times) in relation to my nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize, an interview that is on YouTube in multiple channels. I absolutely respect his combination of intelligence and integrity, and in any hearing that pits him against the Deep State, I would absolutely believe him and challenge the Deep State. This is his manifesto.
At 479 pages, with a fourteen page table of contents (Kindle users will love this, it is the deepest most specific table of contents I have ever seen in a business, economics, ethics, libertarian, or political book), this book is both a bargain at cost per page and a brilliant provocation with brain-bombs left and right.
God Bless Donald Trump — for all of Trump’s failings as he rolls over and plays dead for the Deep State (with a reported promise of no less than $20B for playing his role) — we are indebted to Donald Trump for doing in 120 days what so many of us, including the Libertarian Party of which I am a member, have failed to do in a quarter century: made the Deep State a topic of common conversation. The mainstream “fake news” media can no longer repress this topic, it is mainstream.
This book makes the jump from 5 stars (generally I don’t bother to review a book if it is not a four or five star read) to 6 stars — my top ten percent — because of the combination of Questions Asked, glorious color graphics, and the total holistic nature of the book — this is easily a PhD thesis in holistic analytics, true cost economics, and open source everything engineering. Indeed, this book could be used as a first-year reference across any humanities and science domain, they would be the better for it.
6-Star Guide to Saving Every City in Every Country — a World-Changing Book
This is an extraordinary book, easily five stars but I am elevating it to 6 stars (my top ten percent across over 2000 reviews, all but a handful non-fiction) because the author is not just a genius, but he explains his deep multi-level knowledge brilliantly. I have never seen a collection of complicated nuanced topics presented in such a compelling, easy to understand, well-illustrated manner. The case studies abound. The publisher is to be complemented for the purity of the presentation — a stunning book with perfectly laid out pages, glossy color on every page, and a superb index, which is where most publishers fail their authors.
Why has U.S. security policy scarcely changed from the Bush to the Obama administration? National Security and Double Government offers a disquieting answer. Michael J. Glennon challenges the myth that U.S. security policy is still forged by America’s visible, “Madisonian institutions”–the President, Congress, and the courts. Their roles, he argues, have become largely illusory. Presidential control is now nominal, congressional oversight is dysfunctional, and judicial review is negligible.
5.0 out of 5 stars6 Star Synthesis, Starting Point for Anyone Who Wishes to Think Holistically, July 4, 2015
The author taught me most of what I retain in the way of political science fundamentals during our time together at Muhlenberg College, where he was former Chair of the Department of Political Science and an Associate Dean. We had not kept in touch since I left Muhlenberg in 1974, but in 2014 I reached out to him and bought this book immediately upon learning of its existence.
Published in 2003 by the State University of New York Press, this book was evidently not marketed at all, and little noted. That is a sad commentary on our times, because I find that the author has distilled multiple literatures into one coherent presentation, augmented by an original model that tells a vital story beyond Ecological Economics into Ecological Political Economy (in essence, politics), into Ecological Ethics and Ecological Pedagogy, two topics rarely covered by others.