A short volume for true conservative believers that offers lots of anger, but little convincing evidence for its arguments.

FEDERALISM VS FACTIONALISM

HOW THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY RAPED THE REPUBLIC

Davis (Quiet Time, 2014, etc.) presents his views on everything that he believes is wrong in America today.

Although the book’s subtitle suggests that it’s going to look specifically at the Democratic Party’s actions, it offers little proof about what the Democrats have done to land America in its present quandary. Instead, the book amounts to one man’s opinions about what he finds objectionable about the country—a shout across the backyard fence about how the United States is going to hell in a handbasket. This is a short book, written in a simple style, and can be read quickly. It starts with warnings from Founding Fathers such as George Washington and John Adams about the evils of political parties and then provides brief summaries of various presidential administrations. In these, Davis calls Franklin Pierce and James Buchanan “Jacksonian Democrats,” even though they were as far from Andrew Jackson in executive temperament as fire is from ice. He also lists all the federal departments that he believes should be consolidated or eliminated, pushes for term limits and urges people to speak out against the government. His harshest invective, however, is saved for President Obama, whom he calls a “liar” and a “fool,” and not for the usual conservative reason—health care—but for the administration’s actions after Islamic militants attacked an American diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya, in 2012. Regarding that incident, Davis writes that he prays that Obama, then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and others are tried, convicted and hung, and that their bodies are dumped into the ocean. Another of the author’s themes involves returning God to prominence in American education, politics and everyday life. He even includes the Boy Scouts in his plethora of ills (“I pray to God that wiser and more decent adult leaders will reverse the outrageous direction the Boy Scouts are headed”). As proof of his book’s various assertions, he offers a list of links to various websites, such as YouTube and Wikipedia.

A short volume for true conservative believers that offers lots of anger, but little convincing evidence for its arguments.

Pub Date: Dec. 9, 2014

ISBN: 978-1634181624

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Tate Publishing

Review Posted Online: Dec. 29, 2014

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HOW TO BE AN ANTIRACIST

Title notwithstanding, this latest from the National Book Award–winning author is no guidebook to getting woke.

In fact, the word “woke” appears nowhere within its pages. Rather, it is a combination memoir and extension of Atlantic columnist Kendi’s towering Stamped From the Beginning (2016) that leads readers through a taxonomy of racist thought to anti-racist action. Never wavering from the thesis introduced in his previous book, that “racism is a powerful collection of racist policies that lead to racial inequity and are substantiated by racist ideas,” the author posits a seemingly simple binary: “Antiracism is a powerful collection of antiracist policies that lead to racial equity and are substantiated by antiracist ideas.” The author, founding director of American University’s Antiracist Research and Policy Center, chronicles how he grew from a childhood steeped in black liberation Christianity to his doctoral studies, identifying and dispelling the layers of racist thought under which he had operated. “Internalized racism,” he writes, “is the real Black on Black Crime.” Kendi methodically examines racism through numerous lenses: power, biology, ethnicity, body, culture, and so forth, all the way to the intersectional constructs of gender racism and queer racism (the only section of the book that feels rushed). Each chapter examines one facet of racism, the authorial camera alternately zooming in on an episode from Kendi’s life that exemplifies it—e.g., as a teen, he wore light-colored contact lenses, wanting “to be Black but…not…to look Black”—and then panning to the history that informs it (the antebellum hierarchy that valued light skin over dark). The author then reframes those received ideas with inexorable logic: “Either racist policy or Black inferiority explains why White people are wealthier, healthier, and more powerful than Black people today.” If Kendi is justifiably hard on America, he’s just as hard on himself. When he began college, “anti-Black racist ideas covered my freshman eyes like my orange contacts.” This unsparing honesty helps readers, both white and people of color, navigate this difficult intellectual territory.

Not an easy read but an essential one.

Pub Date: Aug. 13, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-50928-8

Page Count: 320

Publisher: One World/Random House

Review Posted Online: April 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2019

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A PEOPLE'S HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES

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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