Sunday, December 30, 2012

Killing Kennedy: The End of Camelot By: Bill O'Reilly and Martin Dugard

Interesting book however the book is more about "living" Kennedy than "killing" Kennedy.  Also, one thing to note is how large the author's name is as opposed to the tittle of the book.

The book is typical O'Reilly; entertaining. However nothing new in this book.  Probably the most interesting "fact" he brought to light was that his ancestors are Kennedys which was self-serving.

With all that said, the book flows very smoothly.  It is informative regarding details of the Kennedy's life early on and throughout his later years.  However he does not touch on other possibilities of his assassination.  To O'Reilly, Oswald did it and no one else was involved.  Although I am not into conspiracies much, there are many different avenues not travelled by O'Reilly and Dugard.

The book is certainly a book you should read.  It is an easy weekend read although it should not be used as an exhausted source for the Kennedy assassination.  Ironically, O'Reilly's nemesis, Chris Matthews also wrote a good book "Jack Kennedy: Elusive Hero" which in my opinion does a better job of the early years of Kennedy but touches very little on the assassination.

File Size: 1369 KB
Print Length: 294 pages
Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0805096663
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.; First Edition edition (October 2, 2012)
Sold by: Macmillan
Language: English 

Friday, December 28, 2012

The Naked Constitution: What the Founders Said and Why It Still Matters by: Adam Freedman

I am a strict Constitutionalist in every sense of the word.  Naturally, I was attracted to this book.  However when I started reading this book, I noticed a kind of comical component to the book which was not too bad however the partisan nature of the book was bothersome.  In my own opinion, party in matters of Constitution have absolutely no place.  I am well aware how President Obama has skirted the Constitution, however I am equally aware that Bush did too, as did Clinton, Papa Bush, Reagan etc, etc.

While I agree with his criticism of the Left and although he is on solid ground Constitutionally speaking, the criticism of the GOP is blatantly absent.  The criticism of the left is nauseatingly plentiful.  This book is geared specifically toward the legislative interpretation of the Constitution.

I recommend this book if you are able to ignore the partisan tone of it.

Hardcover: 368 pages
Publisher: Broadside Books (October 9, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0062094637
ISBN-13: 978-0062094636

In Harm's Way By. Doug Stanton

The story of the USS Indianapolis, the last major American warship sunk in World War II, is one of the few naval disasters remembered to this day. Most probably remember the loss of the Indianapolis as the subject of a (mostly historically accurate) monologue by Robert Shaw’s character Quint in the movie Jaws.

This book was right up my alley.  Being a veteran of the U.S. Navy I was very much at home when discussing Naval life and the use of naval terms.  The book starts off by telling the tale of key figures in the story, well unfortunately, there may have been many more key figures, but this tells the tale of those who primarily went on to survive the horrid voyage they set on.  

On July 30, 1945, the USS Indianapolis was torpedoed by a Japanese submarine roughly 350 miles away from land in the Philippine Sea.  There were over 1,196 crew and officers.  It is estimated that around 300 men went down with the ship.  The remainder of the men, were left afloat in shark infested water with little or no fresh water, food, life jackets or protection from sun in fuel rich water.

The book covers the carnage experienced by these men.  From the actual torpedo affects and the ensuing chaos on the ship to the shark attack and insanity experienced by the men.  It was extremely detailed and at times I found myself choked up.   Reading about the times when one of the sailors in the water would reach out to pull in his fellow sailor,just to find that his lower half was missing due to a shark attack was shocking and must have done something to the minds of these poor survivors.

In the end, the captain, Charles McVay ended up court-matialed.  The sad part is that in my opinion the U.S. Navy failed to protect the ship and sent them into a hostile environment to fend for themselves.  Not only that, but afterward, blamed the captain for failing to "zig zag" which even at the time was said to be futile.  More disturbing is that as of 2000, when you would think that the evidence would have been... well evident, they would clear the captain's name.  However this is not the case.

I recommend this book for any history and/or military buff.

After reading this book, I researched the website
and was able to see the pictures of the crew that survived.  I suggest you do the same.

Paperback: 368 pages
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin; First Edition edition (May 1, 2003)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0805073663
ISBN-13: 978-0805073669


Thursday, December 20, 2012

Master of the Mountain: Thomas Jefferson and His Slaves By: Henry Wiencek

I will be truthful here, I am a big fan of Thomas Jefferson.  I believe he was pivotal in setting a system of government that was fair and in line with natural law.  With that said, this book exposes a side of Jefferson that is dark and disturbing.  Wiencek has obviously done a lot of research on Jefferson's slave owning time.  Much of the first half of the book relies on Jefferson's "Farm Book".

The book is riddled with words such as: probably, perhaps, maybe and assuming. That turns me off.  As for the fact or lack thereof regarding his fathering of of children to Sally Hemmings, I find it irrelevant insofar as I wanted to know his actions with slaves in general.  I believe the well accepted conclusion, also stated in this book, is that it cannot be proven that Jefferson father the Hemming's kids.  I believe it is possible and maybe even probable.

This book does little to detract from the amazing things Mr. Jefferson gave this country.  I agree that the slave holding portion of his life was wrong and causes me to be confused in what he said compared to what he did.

I guess the book was OK.  The book was full of conjecture although not all.  One thing that aggravates me is when they assume what the person was thinking and say things like, "he was probably thinking" in which the author has no proof to make such a statement.

Hardcover: 352 pages
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux; First Edition edition (October 16, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0374299560
ISBN-13: 978-0374299569

Friday, December 14, 2012

Theodore and Woodrow: How Two American Presidents Destroyed Constitutional Freedom By: Andrew Napolitano

I will not lie, I love Judge Andrew Napolitano.  This is his seventh book and I have read them all.  This book is hard hitting and pulls no punches.  The Judge goes after the progressive presidents of yesteryear but does not give the ones who followed a free ride.

As is expected, the judge has produced another gem in his Constitutional treasure chest of books.  This book covers the destructive era of "progressivism" and how it has left a stain on our history and quite honestly on our present and future.

I found the chapter on the 17th Amendment extremely interesting and enlightening.  I have always wondered why the 17th amendment was ratified.

In this book, he discusses many of the mistakes the US made in regards to foreign affairs. Empire building has been one of the costliest, most destructive  behavior in both blood and treasure, not to mention the hatred against us by the receiving countries.  Napolitano also talks about race and how racist the progressive forefathers were.  Ironically, today these men are lauded by the African-Americans in this country.  It is akin to Stockholm Syndrome in many ways.

Napolitano discusses the dichotomy of the Lincoln era's conscription which is slavery by another name, in order to supposedly abolish slavery.  Later this seed by the "Grate[sic] Emancipator" has allowed for the leviathan to grow out of control and interpret the Constitutions in ways never though of.

Equally interesting is the chapter on the Antiquities Act of 1906 and how the Federal Leviathan has used it to steal thousands upon thousands of acres from the states.

This book does what all Napolitano's books do; they open your eyes regardless of party.  You see things for what they were from a Constitutional perspective.  You may not agree with  his conclusions, but the information presented are factual.  You can choose to ignore them if you so choose.

The postscript of this book regarding the Supreme Court Ruling on "Obama-Care" is exceptional.  

If Napolitano ran for office, I would do everything in my power to get him elected.  He calls them as he sees them.  Good, bad or indifferent.  I have much respect for him.  Hope you enjoy the book. 

Hardcover: 320 pages
Publisher: Thomas Nelson (November 13, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1595553517
ISBN-13: 978-1595553515

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Lincoln by: David Herbert Donald

This book was a great book regarding our 16th President of the United States.  This is probably my 50th book on Lincoln and heretofore, this is the one that has focussed more on Lincoln the man as well as Lincoln the consummate politician.

Anyone that has read my reviews of any works on Lincoln, knows that I am by no means a "Lincoln Lover".  I will try to keep me personal dislikes of Mr. Lincoln to a minimum and review the book itself.

The book is very well written.  It flows very smoothly.  The author attempts to not focus on the assassination or the civil war insofar as it is possible. The author gives ample time to his childhood as well as young adult life, after which it becomes much of the same as what has already been written.

The author is honest to some degree when he writes about issues that I and others like me hold against "The Great Emancipator".  However in many instances he white-washes Lincoln's decisions.  Lincoln was a shrewd politician and was not the "humble rail splitter" people make him out to be.  He was very smart and very quick.  His answers were calculated and everything he said and did was to further his career as a politician.  Maybe that sound harsh, but there are many sections of the book where he says something to the affect that he is not interested in a position or title, yet his actions tell a different story (e.g. his re-election).

One thing to note which is present in so many Lincoln books and quite frankly begs the questions; how can a state be "allowed back into the union" of which it reportedly could not leave?  Along those lines and specifically on the subject of secession, it is always interesting how West Virginia came to be since it was an act of secession from Virginia.... but I digress.  

Although I have read many books on the subject, I did learn information I did not know prior to reading this book.  I recommend this book to anyone that is interested in Lincoln and/or the period in which he lived.     

Hardcover: 714 pages
Publisher: Simon & Schuster; 1st edition (October 16, 1995)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0684808463
ISBN-13: 978-0684808468