An important work full of prudent political ideas despite its meanderings.

BLUEPRINT FOR A NEW AMERICA

CAN WE SAVE THE WORLD'S MOST ADMIRED REPUBLIC?

An acclaimed thinker reimagines the American government in this political book.

From his personalized California license plate, “GO SANE,” to his nearly two dozen works on business and education, Albrecht has spent a lifetime preaching about the need for thoughtful, evidence-based decisions that challenge the often irrational, inefficient status quo. In this volume, the Mensa Foundation Lifetime Achievement Award winner, business executive, physicist, and former military intelligence officer applies his innovative analysis to American society’s most dysfunctional facet—the government. Eschewing the right-versus-left, Republican-versus-Democrat dichotomy that characterizes American political thought today, this book offers a third path that is both revolutionary in its willingness to overhaul entrenched systems and pragmatic in its fierce devotion to tangible, measured solutions. Using the analogy of a sentimentally beloved yet increasingly dilapidated old house to represent the American government, Albrecht asks: “How can I modernize it and still keep its essential character—the things I love and value about it?” For decades, America’s politicians, the book argues, have constituted “a long parade of mediocre thinkers” who lacked the “visionary leadership” required to revamp the government for 21st-century needs. Alternately, on nearly every major topic germane to contemporary politics, the author presents readers his own ideas that ignore “the old thinking and the old clichés” that have too often permeated American policy conversations. His concepts also disregard bombastic politicians like Donald Trump who dominate the media’s political coverage.

Albrecht’s intriguing proposals span from election reform, which includes mandatory voting and the abolition of the Electoral College, to criminal justice modifications. He calls for increased attention on sexual abuse while shifting from a retribution model of punishment to one centered on restitution. On government revenue, the author recommends that loophole-laden income taxes be replaced by transactional ones that include a tax on stock market trades and a value chain tax. Many policy ideas require a reconceptualization of American society itself, such as the proposals for financial incentives geared toward “de-urbanization” and “de-consumerization” to alleviate global waste and spur citizens’ investments in their own communities. In addition to policy reforms, the book’s sweeping narrative provides a broad overview of American history, identifies the prerequisite “building blocks” of successful republics, and delivers perspectives on myriad topics related to the United States’ place in humanity’s past and future. While the volume is nearly always both insightful and accessible to a general audience, its ambitious drive to cover nearly all aspects of American government and political history sometimes makes for a frustrating read when tangential discussions distract from its more central arguments. Intertwined with the book’s policy ideas is an eclectic assortment of ruminations on topics such as whether we are “amusing ourselves to death” and discursions on the demand for a new national anthem and the need to abolish daylight saving time. There is even a hypothetical conversation between Plato and American policymakers. These numerous digressions slow down the pace of the over 500-page tome. Nevertheless, Albrecht’s refreshing and relentless nonpartisan disposition that replaces finger-pointing with solution-driven ideas is a welcome addition to today’s political discourse. This is a serious book for an era replete with “mediocre leaders” who prioritize hot takes and partisan one-upmanship over sensible, meaningful action.

An important work full of prudent political ideas despite its meanderings.

Pub Date: Sept. 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-913351-42-0

Page Count: 510

Publisher: Eyethink Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 30, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2021

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

NIGHT

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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Red meat, and mighty tasty at that, for baseball fans with an appreciation for the past and power of the game.

THE BASEBALL 100

Longtime sports journalist Posnanski takes on a project fraught with the possibilities of controversy: ranking the 100 best baseball players of all time.

It would steal the author’s thunder to reveal his No. 1. However, writing about that player, Posnanski notes, “the greatest baseball player is the one who lifts you higher and makes you feel exactly like you did when you fell in love with this crazy game in the first place.” Working backward, his last-but-not-least place is occupied by Japanese outfielder Ichiro Suzuki, whose valiant hitting rivaled Pete Rose’s, mostly a base at a time. As for Rose, who comes in at No. 60, Posnanski writes, “here’s something people don’t often say about the young Pete Rose, but it’s true: The guy was breathtakingly fast.” Thus, in his first pro season, Rose stole 30 bases and hit 30 triples. That he was somewhat of a lout is noted but exaggerated. Posnanski skillfully weaves statistics into the narrative without spilling into geekdom, and he searches baseball history for his candidate pool while combing the records for just the right datum or quote: No. 10 Satchel Paige on No. 15 Josh Gibson: “You look for his weakness, and while you’re looking for it he’s liable to hit 45 home runs.” Several themes emerge, one being racial injustice. As Posnanski notes of “the greatest Negro Leagues players....people tend to talk about them as if there is some doubt about their greatness.” There’s not, as No. 94, Roy Campanella, among many others, illustrates. He was Sicilian, yes, but also Black, then reason enough to banish him to the minors until finally calling him up in 1948. Another significant theme is the importance of fathers in shaping players, from Mickey Mantle to Cal Ripken and even Rose. Posnanski’s account of how the Cy Young Award came about is alone worth the price of admission.

Red meat, and mighty tasty at that, for baseball fans with an appreciation for the past and power of the game.

Pub Date: Sept. 28, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-982180-58-4

Page Count: 880

Publisher: Avid Reader Press

Review Posted Online: Oct. 20, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2021

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