Saturday, February 23, 2013

Aesop's Fables by Aesop

This is a book I probably would have NEVER read had it not been for the obsession I have with Abraham Lincoln and that period.  In one of the books I read about Lincoln, it said he would read this to his kids.  I enjoy "reading-what-they-read".  It gives me perspective into their lives.

Aesop's Fables is an assortment of fables authored by a slave and who lived in Ancient Greece between 620 and 560 BC. Mostly of the fables involve animals which attempts to inculcate some moral value in the reader.  Truth be told, some of the stories may have made more sense when they were penned in the sixth century A.D. but now, you may need to do some research to find the meaning.  Some of the tales are a little dark, but then again, back then kids grew up faster.  In my opinion, we baby our kids way too long and the after math is adults that behave like children. 

Hardcover: 256 pages
Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap; Deluxe edition (August 1, 1947)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0448060035
ISBN-13: 978-0448060033

Monday, February 18, 2013

Alongside Night by: J. Neil Schulman

This book was recommended to me years ago when I left the Republican Party.  I had other books in the hopper and never got around to it.  The other day, I installed the Kindle app on my Galaxy S3 and downloaded the book and started reading.  I was amazed.  It seemed as though I was reading a newspaper article.

Granted, this IS a novel.  I have read many reviews from other readers and they slam it because of ideology by the author; this is a novel folks.  I believe they are missing the novel aspect of the book.  I mean lets face it H.G. Wells never really invented a time machine.  Did the characters have depth?  Maybe not, but I enjoyed the book.  Is this a great economic tome?  No but it does describe a theory of what is possible.

*** SPOILER ***
The book revolves around a son who's father is an Economist that has been calling out the government out for years.  Dr. Vreeland, fakes his own death in an attempt to escape the country with his family.   Elliot, the son, is released early from school and only to find that it is a hoax.  However, Elliot is sent on an errand and return to find his family gone and strangers in the house.

After narrowly escaping, with his own life, Elliot is determined to find his family of which he knows are being held by the "authorities".  In the process he meets a revolutionary group that are willing to help him.  He is lead to a hidden city (Galt's Gulch'ish) where he meets a girl that turns out to be the FBI director's daughter.

The book kept me engaged most of the time and I enjoyed the references to Rand, Hayek, Von Mises etc.

Paperback: 304 pages
Publisher: Pulpless.Com, Inc. (June 1, 1999)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1584451203
ISBN-13: 978-1584451204

The Hour of Peril: The Secret Plot to Murder Lincoln Before the Civil War By: Daniel Stashower

This was an interesting book for me because of the period of which it covers.  I am always fascinated by the language they used and always enjoy a good Lincoln book.  The title is a bit of a misnomer since the book covers much more than an "hour" and the book focuses so much more on Allen Pinkerton than  Abraham Lincoln.  To the author's defense, the sub-title does hold true.

The book kept me interested throughout.  It appears at face value to be duly researched.  I did not research his references thought.  The book covers ONE of the plots and attempts on President Lincoln's life.  In particular, the attempts prior to his first presidential inauguration.  It appeared to be a well thought out and planned scheme to assassinate the president-elect.

Pinkerton and his men, women too, were able to discover and eventually thwart the assassination by changing the travel plans of the president without letting the public know.  Although many saw Lincoln as a coward for not facing his would-be attackers "like a man", in actuality, he was able to dodge this attack and become ARGUABLY a "great" president.

Abraham was a good man insofar as he should not have been murdered, however he also should not be permitted to be deified in the annals of history.  Although he did "inherit" a precarious situation, Lincoln had many avenues to explore but chose force, thus changing the landscape of State Sovereignty  for evermore.  Because of his actions, and his granting of the executive branch untold powers, we have the leviathan in D.C. we have today.      

I have committed to read one Lincoln book per month.  This one was February 2013's book.  I recommend it.

Hardcover: 368 pages
Publisher: Minotaur Books; First Edition edition (January 29, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0312600224
ISBN-13: 978-0312600228

Sunday, February 10, 2013

The Politically Incorrect Guide to Real American Heroes By: Brion McClanahan

This is an interesting read.  Although you may or may not agree with McClanahan's assertions as to who was a "real American hero", you will agree that many of the people covered in this book have been all but forgotten or forced into a shadow of, well, politically in-correctness. Some of these people were barely talked about when I was in school.  I have asked my sons and neither one of them have heretofore covered them in any detail.

I had "heard of" many of the "heroes" he wrote about, however they were not present in my scholastic history book. Surpsingley in the book, he also comments on those false heroes; those that are lauded incorrectly by the masses.  I did add at least 30 books to my "to read" list after reading this book.

One of the personages he writes about in the "Feminist Frauds" is Margaret Sanger who founded Planned Parenthood.  One of the things  McClanahan points out is that she was an opponent of abortion hence her fight to bring birth-control to the masses.  He explains how she, and others in the same "fraud" category had their respective movements high-jacked and turned into something they did not want during the inspection.  Many of those founders being ousted from their positions and later writing against the new evolved movement.

Recently there was a debate about contraceptives, and although I perfectly understand how some people may feel either way, I do not think it is up to the Federal Government to legislate something one way or the other.   I believe this is the problem with the two party system we have; they are both authoritative and will use force to make you comply.  These elected officials are but there to protect our rights not find new ways to control or deny them to us. 

Some reviewers accuse him of having a partisan spin on his book and although I would tend to agree with that, anyone who picks this book up, has to know that it is the "Politically Incorrect Guide"  

File Size: 990 KB
Print Length: 272 pages
Publisher: Regnery Publishing (November 12, 2012)
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
Language: English

Empire of Blue Water: Captain Morgan's Great Pirate Army, the Epic Battle for the Americas, and the Catastrophe That Ended the Outlaws' Bloody Reign by: Stephan Talty

What a great book.  I was never into pirates per se,  but after reading "The Jefferson Key" which dealt with a fictional family that still had a letter marque and were essentially privateers, a phrase I had never heard at the time, it piqued my interest.  I found this book by accident and added it to me "to read" list, and there it sat.  Until I finished an economic book and decided to change genres (I do this regularly).

The time, 17th Century; the place, Port Royal Jamaica; the man Captain Henry Morgan, AKA the Welchman.  The story starts off with the tension between Britain and Spain and their empire building activities.  Spain is dominating the New World and the British have their sites sets, figuratively and literally on the New World. 

Although pirates and privateers are distinctly different they are not mutually exclusive. Henry the VIII came up with the idea of privateering.  It was akin to the Mafia families of the 20's and 30's where the boss had his soldiers commit the crimes and then pay him his share.  To Morgan, having his King's approval was enough for him.  Henry Morgan became a hero and a legend for being a great privateer.  The book covers the daring raids of Morgan's men in  Granada, Portobello, Maracaibo and Panama, the latter being the biggest hit to the Spaniards. 

His natural ability of being able to quickly identify the weakness of his foe and use those weaknesses against them was incredibly useful in his raids. The wit of the pirates and the way they executed their plans were ingenious.  In Maracaibo, they outsmarted the Spaniard my hollowing out logs to make them look like cannons on a fire-ship.

Once Spain had had enough, they finally signed a peace treaty but one of the conditions was to stop the privateering. Morgan was one of the few who was able to transition to semi-private life.  He ended up with a plantation which he ran and later becoming the deputy governor.  These events had a big part in destroying the Spanish empire.

Captain Morgan died after spending the rest of his days drinking and sick.  Some people see him as a marauder and some as a hero.  The truth is maybe somewhere in the middle save the murder of innocent people.  After his death a huge earthquake rocked Jamaica specifically Port Royal and it disrupted the trade with that area.  Ironically and a blessing to the American Colonies.

One of the interesting things to me, that my lack of knowledge deprived me from knowing is the Panama was actually a country way before the supposed Teddy Roosevelt, Panama Canal incident.  I guess I should read more :-)

Hardcover: 352 pages
Publisher: Crown; BCE edition (April 24, 2007)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0307236609
ISBN-13: 978-0307236609

Friday, February 1, 2013

What Has Government Done to Our Money? and The Case for a 100 Percent Gold Dollar by: Murray N. Rothbard

A great book for the novice economist, not because of the content but because of the delivery of the subject matter.  You will come away with a solid understanding of what money is, how it came to be and remains today, as well as how the government monopolization of it has created many of the financial woes of today.  Rothbard is meticulous and relentless is pointing out how a gold standard is "THE" way.

The book is short, in actuality it is a collection of essays from his past.  I read the fifth edition and found it funny how he showed shock at gold prices being at $200.00 an ounce.  As of the writing of this review, the price of gold is more around $2,000.00 an ounce.    I find it interesting how people are so out of touch and uninformed of how are monetary system works.

I truly believe in the immortal words of Henry Ford when he said,

"If people understood the banking system they would revolt."

This is a great book if you are interested in understanding the banking and monetary system.  If you are interested in seeing how our present day politicians play us for fools, you need to read this book.  

Hardcover: 191 pages
Publisher: Ludwig von Mises Institute; 5th edition (September 20, 2005)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0945466447
ISBN-13: 978-0945466444