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BOOK REVIEWS

All of the books listed here may be purchased at Barnes and Noble, a company that contributes to Democratic causes and candidates: barnesandnoble.com Visit this page often, as new books will be posted regularly.

Plan B 4.0

Topic Area: Climate Change

Plan B 4.0: Mobilizing to Save Civilization

by: Lester R. Brown


Reviewed by Mark Boswell

The original Plan B 4.0 is written in an easy style that makes the story clear to people without strong technical backgrounds.  The original Plan B was first published in 2003.  As the climate change situation has gotten consistently worse and more data documenting the severity of the situation has become more voluminous, Lester Brown has continued update the summary of the situation and technologies and actions required to stop the degradation and to begin reversing it. 

This latest update, Plan B 4.0 provides a clear picture of the potential of the current human systems to wipe out the human race and much of the other life on earth by the end of our current century.  This is information developed by the World’s top scientists documenting the acceleration of the current runaway environmental freight train powered by fossil fuels.  This book also documents the technologies that can completely replace the current fossil fuel energy system. These replacement technologies are production ready today, and most of them cost less than fossil fuel when honest assessments are done.

The challenge is to get the word out to people when the same businesses and private central banks that control the energy monopoly also own almost all the US Mass Media.  With this lack of a ‘free press’ the truth about the situation only gets out via the Internet, books and one-on-one human communication.  These are the modes of communication that the media monopoly and the corporations that direct it have not been able to shut down, despite their constant efforts (attacks on net-neutrality). 

If you want to understand the full broad picture on the rate and impact of climate change, and a high level description of what must be done to save ourselves, read Plan B 4.0.


Climate Challenge

Topic Area: Climate Change

The Climage Challenge: 101 Solutions

by: Guy Dauncey


Reviewed by Mark Boswell

After you have read Plan B 4.0 your next question will be, “But what can I do?”  The Climate Challenge” is the answer to that question.  Or perhaps more accurately, it is the aggregation of all the possible things that you could possibly do and how to tell when you are doing enough on a personal level, and what to do when you decide that you want to do more.

After a recent presentation that I gave on the range and maturity of alternative energy and how easily it can support our transportation needs, a friend complimented the presentation (most of which had been created by an leading expert in the field), and than asked me a very good question.  It was something along the line of, “So what should I do?”  Friends are great because they can point out when you have over-looked the obvious.  After taking a moment to think, “dah.” I went looking for a good answer.  Guy Dauncey’s book is the answer to the question.

“The Climate Challenge” is a collection of the questions and answers related to ‘climate change’ broken down to a level where everyone of us can be engaged in helping to deal with this crisis.  Guy Dauncey gathered examples from around the World of things that people are doing today to begin reversing the things that are driving ‘climate change’.  These are real practical solutions at every level from what you personally do in living each day to whatever level and mode of engagement you might seek.  The subtitle on this book is “101 solutions to Global Warming.” The author has pick many common topic areas that get raised and then described the problem and immediate actions that several different individuals or groups have taken to begin dealing with it.  For each of the 101 solutions he provides names of groups that can be contacted to obtain information about what they did, the plans for that activity, what actually occurred and where they are today.  Additionally, the author provides anywhere from a few to several dozen websites where you can get additional practical deployable ideas.

If you want to start becoming part of the ‘climate change’ solution and not just part of the ‘climate change’ problem, you will want to read this book right away.  No one can or should do everything in this book.  However, everyone can find things in this book that they can do right away that will make a difference.  There are enough ideas in the “The Climate Challenge” to keep all of us engaged in responding to this crisis for the next several decades.  If we are successful, it will take that long.  This is one of those life opportunities where you will not want anyone to be able to say that you were just sitting on your hands.


Republican Gomorrah

Topic Area: Party Politics

Republican Gomorrah: Inside the Movement that Shattered the Party

by: Max Blumenthal


Reviewed by MJ McGalliard

Have you ever asked (or been asked), “What is wrong with those people?”

Well you should be curious.  When you look at some of the hateful policies and practices of the extreme right-wing it is hard to understand how they came to believe what they believe and how they can believe so vehemently. 

Max Blumenthal’s insightful and thorough investigation of James Dobson’s Focus on the Family Empire explores not only the money trail starting with a deranged billionaire that used inherited money to finance Dobson but, also the psychological traits of his followers.  The twisted logic that leads to the black or white morality displayed by these folks flies in the face of the secrets and millions of dollars they process every month to further their agenda of right wing morals. 

Learn how Republican candidates (including John McCain) are forced to kowtow to Dobson and his organization.  Find out why this kind of paternal, top-down “church” becomes a way of life for those who are susceptible to this kind of brain washing.

All in all it is a fascinating piece of journalism that points out how religion is political and politics can be turned into religion.


Topic Area: Supreme Court; Separation of Church and State

The First Liberty: America's Foundation In Religious Freedom (revised)

by: William Lee Miller
Author Info: now Scholar in Ethics and Institutions at the Miller Center of Public Affairs at the University of Virginia; retired Commonwealth Professor and the Thomas C. Sorensen Professor, of Political and Social Thought. He has taught also at Yale University, Smith College, Indiana University, and other institutions, often teaching courses in church and state and religious liberty, subjects on which he has often written.
Description: With new material on recent Supreme Court cases involving church-state relations and a new concluding chapter on America's religious and political landscape, this volume is an eloquent and thorough interpretation of how religious faith and political freedom have blended and fused to form part of our collective history—and most importantly, how each concept must respect the boundaries of the other. See a Baptist E-Zine's review of this book: Baptist Studies Bulletin

  Georgetown University Press, publishers of The First Liberty, have it on sale for $16.17 through 31 Jan 2006.

Topic Area: Taxes

Wealth and Our Common Wealth
by: William H Gates Sr. and Chuck Collins
Author Info: Successful large Seattle law firm founder and father of Microsoft Billionaire Bill Gates Jr.
Description: Book about how wealthy individuals denied access to the US media thus preventing presentation of the history, relevance and truth about the need for the Inheritance Tax

Topic Area: Taxes

The Great Tax Wars
by: Steven R. Weisman
Author Info: Editor and 30 year reporter for The New York Times on politics, economics and international affairs.
Description: Provides a history of the development of tax structure of the US and the conflict between competing social interests that underly this contentious battle of more than 150 years.

  Click here to read our articles on George Lakoff

Topic Area: Political Language & Framing

Don't Think Of An Elephant: Know Your Values and Frame the Debate, The Essential Guide for Progressives
by: George Lakoff
Author Info: Professor of Cognitive Science and Linguistics, U. of California, Berkeley
Description: Lakoff explains how conservatives think, and how to counter their arguments. He outlines in detail the traditional American values that progressives hold, but are often unable to articulate. Lakoff also breaks down the ways conservatives have framed the issues, and provides examples of how progressives can reframe the debate." Lakoff's years of research and work with environmental and political leaders have been distilled into this essential guide, which shows progressives how to think in terms of values instead of programs, and why people vote their values and identities, often against their best interests.

Topic Area: Political Language & Framing

Moral Politics: How Liberals and Conservatives Think
by: George Lakoff
Author Info: Professor of Cognitive Science and Linguistics, U. of California, Berkeley
Description: In this classic text, the first full-scale application of cognitive science to politics, Lakoff analyzes the unconscious and rhetorical worldviews of liberals and conservatives, discovering radically different but remarkably consistent conceptions of morality on both the left and right. For this new edition, Lakoff adds a preface and an afterword extending his observations to major ideological conflicts since the book's original publication, from the impeachment of Bill Clinton to the 2000 presidential election and its aftermath. This is the foundation work undergirding Don't Think Of An Elephant.

Topic Area: Judges and Their Ideas

The People Rising: The Campaign Against the Bork Nomination
by: Michael Pertschuk and Wendy Schaetzel
Author Info: former Chief of Staff to Senator Warren Magnuson
Description: On October 23, 1987, the Senate voted not to confirm Ronald Reagan's nomination of Robert Bork to serve as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. Only eleven Supreme Court nominations have been rejected by the Senate, and no nominee has ever been defeated by as large a margin as Bork. Yet no one accused Bork of private vices, or challenged his intellectual competence. The campaign against him attacked his ideas about the Constitution, and his attitude toward those—judges, academics, politicians, and citizens—who held different views from his. The battle was fought not in the back halls of Congress but in public: Bork's opponents conducted an elaborate and effective national campaign in the press and television, and the televised hearings on his confirmation concentrated national attention on the Constitution and on constitutional theory to a degree that has seldom if ever been equaled in our history.

ISBN:093841089X This book is not in print and not available at Barnes and Noble. Get it from the library, or from a used book source such as http://www.abebooks.com/