A bracing call for a crucial bit of reformation in American politics.




A reformist jeremiad looks at the current domination of U.S. political parties and declares a plague on all their houses.

For his nonfiction debut, Peterson has crafted a cobweb-clearing call to arms, one that centers on the long-debated American public issue of election reform. But whereas most such proposals focus on tightening term limits or reining in the influence of special interests, PACs, and powerful lobbyists, the author takes aim at much bigger game: the political party system itself. He rightly reminds his readers that the Founding Fathers abhorred the idea of political “factions.” According to Peterson, these parties, having started as petty nuisances, have grown over the centuries into great evils that have robbed the American people of their sovereign right to nominate for public office any candidate they choose, regardless of party affiliation. Peterson’s book is more pertinent than ever, since all of his readers will retain vivid memories of the 2016 U.S. presidential election, in which some lifelong Republicans felt they had to vote for the man who won the nomination to remain loyal to their party. Meanwhile, millions of Democrats seeking to select their own unlikely candidate—an outspoken socialist—were thwarted by the very party machinery they were hoping to strengthen and ended up with a choice some believed was ethically compromised. The author gives a clear and fast-paced account of party history in America. He then deftly lays out the case that party hacks have exploited a loophole in the Constitution that unintentionally allows them to flourish. Finally, he presents a radical solution: a new Constitutional amendment, the 28th, designed to close that loophole. His prose is straightforward and convincing, and although he insufficiently addresses the lifeblood on which political parties survive—the staggering amounts of money provided by the special interests and PACs, which likely own more than enough U.S. senators to guarantee a new amendment will never happen—his case is tremendously thought-provoking.

A bracing call for a crucial bit of reformation in American politics.

Pub Date: April 30, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-5049-6292-6

Page Count: 282

Publisher: AuthorHouse

Review Posted Online: April 12, 2017

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


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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For Howard Zinn, long-time civil rights and anti-war activist, history and ideology have a lot in common. Since he thinks that everything is in someone's interest, the historian—Zinn posits—has to figure out whose interests he or she is defining/defending/reconstructing (hence one of his previous books, The Politics of History). Zinn has no doubts about where he stands in this "people's history": "it is a history disrespectful of governments and respectful of people's movements of resistance." So what we get here, instead of the usual survey of wars, presidents, and institutions, is a survey of the usual rebellions, strikes, and protest movements. Zinn starts out by depicting the arrival of Columbus in North America from the standpoint of the Indians (which amounts to their standpoint as constructed from the observations of the Europeans); and, after easily establishing the cultural disharmony that ensued, he goes on to the importation of slaves into the colonies. Add the laborers and indentured servants that followed, plus women and later immigrants, and you have Zinn's amorphous constituency. To hear Zinn tell it, all anyone did in America at any time was to oppress or be oppressed; and so he obscures as much as his hated mainstream historical foes do—only in Zinn's case there is that absurd presumption that virtually everything that came to pass was the work of ruling-class planning: this amounts to one great indictment for conspiracy. Despite surface similarities, this is not a social history, since we get no sense of the fabric of life. Instead of negating the one-sided histories he detests, Zinn has merely reversed the image; the distortion remains.

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 1979

ISBN: 0061965588

Page Count: 772

Publisher: Harper & Row

Review Posted Online: May 26, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 1979

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