Friday, May 31, 2013

The Forgotten Conservative: Rediscovering Grover Cleveland By: John Pafford

I enjoyed this book.  Unfortunately, Grover Cleveland does not enjoy the vast amount of books written about him as does some of his contemporaries.  In this era were "great presidents" are chosen based on the spoils of war and the amount of graft of the tax payers, Cleveland rightfully does not rate well.

Grover Cleveland is one of my favorite presidents.  His fidelity to the Constitution is unequalled save for those who wrote it.  He erred on the side of liberty as opposed to those in power theretofore which err on the said of central power. 

The book was a great read.  The author was fair in his description of the Maria Halpin scandal in my opinion.  Other authors have either bypassed it or accused him outright.  Reading this book piqued my interest in the history of Hawaii and how they came to be a state.  The book describes Cleveland's opposition to the annexation.

In my opinion, Cleveland show us that political party ironically has no place in politics.  He showed fidelity to the Constitution.  Pleasantly absent in this book, which I found in the other two Cleveland books I read, were the connection to Clinton and the comparison of the present day politicians.  I was worried that the book was a high-jacking by the Republican Party of Cleveland and his "Constitutional" way, since it also appears that the Democratic party has jettisoned Cleveland from their ranks.

Print Length: 304 pages
Publisher: Regnery History (May 6, 2013)
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
Language: English

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power By: Jon Meacham

Jon Meacham has done it again.  This is the second book I read of Meacham, the first being that of Andrew Jackson.  I truly believe Jefferson to be one of the most influential beings in this country's history.  I believe he, himself along with his contemporaries known as "Jeffersonian" to be truly remarkable (e.g. Madison, Monroe).

The book is not a puff piece on Jefferson, however it is fair in my estimation.  Meacham discusses the Hemmings situation which many authors tend to ignore all together or white wash the facts. Meacham dedicates ample time to Jefferson's France days as well as the latter years of Mr. Jefferson.  The vivid explanation of the twilight of his life, reminded me of a book I purchased but had not read "Twilight at Monticello: The Final Years of Thomas Jefferson" by Alan Pell Crawford which I now intend to read.

Meacham explained Jefferson's religion or lack thereof concisely.   Not nearly as detailed as Dumas Malone's multiple tomes, this book give sufficient details to the average reader.

The book is 800 pages but I did not even feel the length of the book because it held me throughout.  Highly recommend the book.

Hardcover: 800 pages
Publisher: Random House; 1 edition (November 13, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1400067669
ISBN-13: 978-1400067664

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Inside Scientology: The Story of America's Most Secretive Religion By: Janet Reitman

I will start by saying that I am not one to criticize anyone's belief system.  I have heard many rumors and accusations about this religion and decided to do a bit of digging.  In addition to this book, there are a few regarding one's "escape" from the church of Scientology which I intend to read.  Conversely, I plan to read books that are more "positive" about Scientology.  

Although, I did not expect a glowing portrayal of the "religion", I was surprised to read what I read.  This book does not show L. Ron Hubbard in a positive light.  Based on what I read, the man was a con artist  and the world was his mark.  I cannot see myself following a man's teaching that even at his zenith, was basically on the run from the law.  His own followers said, "You tell yourself it's for a good cause ... but a part of you knows you're full of shit."

More shady than Hubbard himself was his protege, David Miscavige. The dictatorial manner in which he ran the Scientology organization was similar to those of third world countries.  Imprisoning people based on his whim is insane.  There is no doubt that this organization is a very powerful organization.  Even writing this review makes me nervous as to a possible retaliationReitman goes into detail about Lisa McPherson, her life, her death and the subsequent media circus and legal war that ensued eventually leading to nervous breakdown of the prosecutor

It is sad to hear about people who put their faith into someone or something that is created in a way to strip the person of all their money with the promise of some bettermentThis holds true for Scientology as well as the televangelist that tell elderly folks "Send us your savings, and God will provide you even more".  Shame on them.  Quite frankly, the punishment and the way these people live is akin to the stories of North Korean (Escape from Camp 14 by: Blaine Harden) concentration camps.  In these camps, prisoners are encouraged to turn on their families and friends regardless of what the penalty will be.

The book is interesting yet disturbing.  I am not questioning the beliefs or lack thereof, or even if it in fact is a religion at all; but one things remain true, this organization has left a trail of financial destruction and mentally unstable corpses along the way.   Ironically these actors that are Scientologist and are vociferously claiming about inequality, yet the organization they support and promote is predicated on charging enormous amounts of money usually destroying followers life savings. If it was so good and such a positive thing, why would it require so much money?  Why would the organization have a navy, hotels etc?   Again, the belief may or may not be effective, real or whatever else you think, but the oorganization itself does not seem one of good.          

Famous Scientologist:

Kirstie Alley Christopher Masterson
Anne Archer Danny Masterson
Lynsey Bartilson Lisa McPherson
Catherine Bell Jim Meskimen
Karen Black Julia Migenes
Sonny Bono Sofia Milos
Stephen Boyd Elisabeth Moss
Grant Cardone Haywood Nelson
Nancy Cartwright Marisol Nichols
Kate Ceberano Judy Norton Taylor
Erika Christensen Eduardo Palomo
Jeff Conaway Elli Perkins
Tom Constanten Bijou Phillips
Chick Corea Laura Prepon
Tom Cruise Priscilla Presley
Sky Dayton Kelly Preston
Doug Dohring Lee Purcell
Bodhi Elfman Leah Remini
Jenna Elfman Giovanni Ribisi
Richard Elfman Marissa Ribisi
Doug E. Fresh Michael D. Roberts
Peaches Geldof Ruddy Rodríguez
Beck Hansen Billy Sheehan
Isaac Hayes Alistair Harrison
Nicky Hopkins Pablo Santos
Mark Isham Reed Slatkin
Milton Katselas Ethan Suplee
Jason Lee John Travolta
Geoffrey Lewis Greta Van Susteren
Juliette Lewis
Noah Lottick

Hardcover: 464 pages
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (July 5, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0618883029

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Bully Boy by: Jim Powell

Decided to read this book after reading "The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt" which did an amazing job showing the great "man" Roosevelt was.  However, "Bully Boy" gives you the other side of Roosevelt; Roosevelt the politician.  Powell goes to great lengths to point out where Roosevelt the man and Roosevelt the politician differ.

Roosevelt, although a tremendous personage in his personal life, his war mongering antics are still being felt today.  His need to usurp the Constitution and the controls set in place to prevent government from acting unilaterally, had dire consequences both in war and economy. 

The book covers in detail the"trust busting" era and how its intentions and results were predicated on special interest and cronyism.  As in most of instances where government oversteps their authorization, the results are destructive to the people.  This is a great book in my opinion. I am suer that other's views differ from mine and they feel that the FDA and that shifting the monopolies from private ones to government ones somehow made things better, but nonetheless I enjoyed this book.

Hardcover: 336 pages
Publisher: Crown Forum; 1St Edition edition (August 8, 2006)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0307237222
ISBN-13: 978-0307237224