NEW eBooks About Politics

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Black Ops by W.E.B Griffin eBook edition

Henri shares his latest reading experience.

I’ve been on a reading binge and filling my spare time with books that stir up emotions around the themes of war, heroism, and patriotism.  The latest is Black Ops by W.E.B. Griffin.  He has been an author of note for nearly as long as I have been reading.

Griffin entered the military in 1946 and combines his experience with his considerable talent to draw plots and characters that compel you to keep reading.

Griffin’s main character is a blend of virtues and vices that compel me to like him. He is the son of two wealthy families who was raised in Europe and Texas. He has language skills and other capacities that made him stand out in the military roles he played but now he has become a Special Ops Warrior. How Griffin makes all of this work is a mystery to me but it works marvelously.

With Griffin you always feel like you have a seat at the big table and are watching significant events unfold. Black Ops is no exception. I bought it immediately and read it in two sessions separated only by family obligations. As usual it left me hungry for the next novel in the series.

I really enjoy reading novels that explore human values and the strengths and weaknesses of various social and political approaches to life. They do have to ring true in my ear past the fact that they are obviously only works of fantasy. Griffin’s latest book does ring true.

It comes down to something as simple as this, I read fiction to be entertained and if I am happy I chose that book at the end that is all I can ask of any author.

Black Ops delivers.

Here is the publishers take:

The Russian bear is stirring and its hungry in the #1 New York Times bestselling series thrilling fifth novel.The first disturbing reports reached Delta Force Lieutenant Colonel Charley Castillo in the form of backchannel messages concerning covert U.S. intelligence assets working for a variety of agencies suddenly gone missing and then, suddenly, inexplicably, found dying. Or dead. One in Budapest, Hungary. One in Kiev, Ukraine. One in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan, mere klicks from the Iran border. And then one in Virginia, along the Potomac River, practically in the shadow of CIA headquarters.Castillo finds the information both infuriating and fascinating, particularly after a recent experience with two CIA traitors whose own deaths were swift and suspicious.

Despite there being some similarities, though, he thinks there's something different with these new cases, something he can't quite put his finger on. At first, its an idle thought, but Castillo expects it's only a matter of time before the commander in chief assigns him and his group of troubleshooters in the innocuously named Office of Organizational Analysis to look into the deaths while all those intel agencies fight among themselves trying to put the pieces together.

Meanwhile, Castillo has problems of his own; fallout from recent missions involving a clandestine rescue of a DEA agent from South American drug runners, and the confiscation of some fifty million dollars from thieves in the Iraqi oil-for-food scandal. He's made more than a few enemies, he knows both foreign and domestic. And then comes another back-channel message, this one delivered personally by his lethal friend, the Russian mobster arms dealer. All that has happened so far, he says, is just a warm-up for what's about to come out of the Kremlin.

Could sabers be rattling for a new Cold War? Or worse? Presidential Agent C. G. Castillo is about to find out. . . .

Filled with Griffin's trademark rich characters and cutting-edge drama, this is another exceptional novel in an exceptional series.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The Audacity of Hope eBook edition

It is eerily fitting that the author of The Audacity of Hope was written by a man who had the audacity to run for President of the United States of America. One look at the portrait on the cover told you that his chance to be President was roughly equivalent to the proverbial snowball in hell.

And yet somehow we woke up this morning with "a skinny black kid with a funny name" as the next President of the USA. Unbelievable from where I sit!

It wasn't that long ago (70 years) that the Daughters of the American Revolution refused to allow a "colored" woman to give a concert in their hall. As a side note -- I always find this story the ultimate irony! Women who's ancestors fought and died for freedom actually denying Marian Anderson access to a building! But I digress.

I am old enough to remember Selma and Montgomery and the passage of the Voting Rights Act. I am old enough to have heard Martin Luther King voice his dream.

In those dark days it seemed an impossible dream! Just the idea that his "children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character" was unfathomable. And yet this morning those children will wake up to a country where their Dad's dream has come true!

My Dad used to say that "we are saved by hope." As a teenager I thought it was perhaps the corniest thing I had ever hears. And yet this morning I can't help but think that he was on to something.

After all. what keeps us going in the face of incredible odds? It is sometimes simply the belief in a positive outcome; the feeling we can get what we want or that at the very least everything will turn out for the best.

Hope brings out the best in all of us. Hope is the sometimes the only thing that gets us out of bed in the morning. Hope is the bedrock of the American Dream. And at least for this moment in time, hope reigns in America.

If you haven't done so yet, do yourself a favor and read Barak Obama's message of hope:

In July 2004, Barack Obama electrified the Democratic National Convention with an address that spoke to Americans across the political spectrum. One phrase in particular anchored itself in listeners’ minds, a reminder that for all the discord and struggle to be found in our history as a nation, we have always been guided by a dogged optimism in the future, or what Senator Obama called “the audacity of hope.”

Now, in The Audacity of Hope, Senator Obama calls for a different brand of politics–a politics for those weary of bitter partisanship and alienated by the “endless clash of armies” we see in congress and on the campaign trail; a politics rooted in the faith, inclusiveness, and nobility of spirit at the heart of “our improbable experiment in democracy.” He explores those forces–from the fear of losing to the perpetual need to raise money to the power of the media–that can stifle even the best-intentioned politician. He also writes, with surprising intimacy and self-deprecating humor, about settling in as a senator, seeking to balance the demands of public service and family life, and his own deepening religious commitment.

At the heart of this book is Senator Obama’s vision of how we can move beyond our divisions to tackle concrete problems. He examines the growing economic insecurity of American families, the racial and religious tensions within the body politic, and the transnational threats–from terrorism to pandemic–that gather beyond our shores. And he grapples with the role that faith plays in a democracy–where it is vital and where it must never intrude. Underlying his stories about family, friends, members of the Senate, even the president, is a vigorous search for connection: the foundation for a radically hopeful political consensus.

A senator and a lawyer, a professor and a father, a Christian and a skeptic, and above all a student of history and human nature, Senator Obama has written a book of transforming power. Only by returning to the principles that gave birth to our Constitution, he says, can Americans repair a political process that is broken, and restore to working order a government that has fallen dangerously out of touch with millions of ordinary Americans. Those Americans are out there, he writes–“waiting for Republicans and Democrats to catch up with them.” Tags: ebook,e-book,obama,hope,the audacity of hope,ebooks about people,new york times best sellers

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Speaking for Myself by Cherie Blair eBook edition

  Do you ever play the game?  You know, the one where you sit around with a bunch of people and talk about which famous (or almost famous) person you would like to sit down and have dinner with?  We play it often.  And in the last few years I have often said, "Cherie Blair."  I just had a feeling . . .

I mean, here is a woman who is married to the Prime Minister of England, works as an attorney (and in this book I found out she is also a judge), has a family and still manages to show up for official functions. 

You can tell from her accent that she isn't exactly "upper crust" and the British Press have a field day reporting on her.  Most of the reporting less than flattering, but somehow managing to show her as a REAL flesh and blood person with a real inner life.

Often these conjectures about people are hilariously off base.  But in Cherie Blair's case they may not be. 

Speaking for Myself is her accounting of her life.  Her telling of her own history is frank, opinionated, unsentimental and humorous.  It is at times a painfully honest account of who she is (and not always to her benefit).

She is a study in contrasts and contradictions.  A high achieving professional and a devoted wife and mother.  A political operator who has a tin ear when it comes to handling people and personalities. A pugnacious defender of her husband who sees him warts and all.  She has tremendous insecurities about money and this drives her to make some very unwise choices.  She is in fact, very human.  I ended up liking her a lot! 

And even if you don't like her much, her "ringseat to history" make this compelling reading. Her recounting of the events, stories about the people and insights into government make it a fascinating read.

Sure, some of the intricacies of the British legal system and Parliamentary maneuverings are dense and to me as an American a little boring.  But her story and her voice will keep you reading.

Here is the publisher's notes:

Even if she hadn't married Tony Blair, Cherie's story would have been amazing. Abandoned by her actor father, she overcame obstacles to become one of the UK's most successful barristers. But when Labour took power in 1997, she faced new challenges: her husband was the first prime minister in recent history with a young family, and Cherie was the first PM's wife with a serious career. Now, she gives a complete account of her own life--an astonishing journey for a woman whose unconventional childhood was full of drama and who grew up with a fierce sense of justice.

In her autobiography she reveals for the first time what it was like to combine life as a working mother with life married to the prime minister. She writes about her encounters with scores of foreign leaders and her friendships with Presidents Clinton and Bush, as well as with Hillary and Laura. And she offers inside details of her relationships with the royals, including Queen Elizabeth, Prince Charles, and Princess Diana. Tags: ebook,ebooks,ebooks about people,blair,cherie blair,ebook reviews

Monday, July 14, 2008

The Secret History of the American Empire eBook edition

This week Henri give us an analysis of his "light" weekend reading with a review of John Perkins' The Secret History of the American EmpireHe calls it

      John Perkins and Caesar

If you have ever wondered what it was like to live in the time of Christ you may have been interested enough to read a little of the history of the Roman Empire. Imperial might reached its longest lasting pinnacle in recorded human history starting around that time. The might of that empire has long faded but its works still are visible over much of the Continent where it was born. Is this Republic going the way of the Roman Republic which preceded the Empire? Are we becoming a modern version of Rome?

I think it is unlikely after reading several books promoting that point of view. Most of them were thoughtful and insightful but it is a false premise that defines their argument. In the power of the corporations that define our economic empire, if the word even fits this model, there is a whole new thing altering the face of this planet. Whether the corporate model should be used in building a human social and economic system, and whether it is good or evil, remains to be seen. What is clearly true is that it is not built on either the Roman model or even the colonial model of the British Empire. Imperial power is less the issue than raw economic force in this world.

John Perkins, author of Confessions of an Economic Hit Man" and his new book, The Secret History of the American Empire, comes down on the side of the argument that points out the evils in the system. While it would be impossible to argue about the evils of some of the actions he writes about it is also hard to swallow whole the imperial construct he sees operating here.

I give this latest book a good rating because it could wake up a few people who have not traveled extensively in the poorer nations. The argument that we as a nation are the author of much of the misery that is engendered there is even easy to follow. But that argument is erroneous in that it is ascribing the power to the USA to alter that piece of the world very much for the better or worse by manipulating corporations. Those corporations are manipulating every government on earth at this point in history. Ours is no exception. The difference here is that we can take back our power over our government if we are willing to pay the attention to politics that such an act requires.

The issue of Imperial power versus corporate power needs to be addressed in every nation on earth. The power of corporate interests transcends any nation state's power in the world we live in today. We started forming governments to protect us from the tribe down the block as much as any one thing. If there were any litanies being said today they might include the plea to God, "From the power of the corporate raiders oh Lord deliver us." Part of the financial mess in this country is due to the chaos engendered by diverse corporate interests hijacking our government and using it as a tool for increasing their power.

I do recommend this latest book and hope that it doesn't depress you too much. It has that capacity but it also makes some good points and has some honest statements about the perversion of power and the capacity to create wealth when it is not used for the benefit of humanity. Do read it if you have the stomach it requires.

The Publishers' analysis follows:

Riveting expose of international corruption-and what we can do about it, from the author of Confessions of an Economic Hit Man, which spent over a year on the New York Times bestseller list. In his stunning memoir, Confessions of an Economic Hit Man, John Perkins detailed his former role as an "economic hit man" in the international corporate skullduggery of a de facto American Empire. This riveting, behind-the-scenes expose unfolded like a cinematic blockbuster told through the eyes of a man who once helped shape that empire.

Now, in The Secret History of the American Empire, Perkins zeroes in on hot spots around the world and, drawing on interviews with other hit men, jackals, reporters, and activists, examines the current geopolitical crisis. Instability is the norm: It's clear that the world we've created is dangerous and no longer sustainable. How did we get here? Who's responsible? What good have we done and at what cost? And what can we do to change things for the next generations? Addressing these questions and more, Perkins reveals the secret history behind the events that have created the American Empire, including: * The current Latin-American revolution and its lessons for democracy * How the "defeats" in Vietnam and Iraq benefited big business * The role of Israel as "Fortress America" in the Middle East * Tragic repercussions of the IMF's "Asian Economic Collapse" * U.S. blunders in Tibet, Congo, Lebanon, and Venezuela * Jackal (CIA operatives) forays to assassinate democratic presidents.

From the U.S. military in Iraq to infrastructure development in Indonesia, from Peace Corps volunteers in Africa to jackals in Venezuela, Perkins exposes a conspiracy of corruption that has fueled instability and anti-Americanism around the globe. Alarming yet hopeful, this book provides a compassionate plan to reimagine our world.

Monday, June 16, 2008

The Scandal Plan: Or: How to Win the Presidency by Cheating on Your Wife (eBook edition)

I admit it. . . I am (or at least I used to be) something of a political junkie.   A regular watcher of CNN, MSNBC,CNBC and Comedy Central (Jon Stewart and Steven Colbert). 

This year has been something else!  Almost in spite of myself, I ended up watching all of the debates; both Democratic and Republican.  I am pretty sure I watched election night coverage for every primary. I even watched Hillary's concession speech on Saturday.  At this point, I am pretty well burned out on politics.

So if I am so sick of politics, why did I pick up The Scandal Plan by Bill Folman?  Probably because I couldn't help myself.

Satire appeals to my sense of the absurd and I am always a sucker for a good farce.  OK, I know it is hard to believe that anything could be more farcical then this year's election process; but actually this particular book is! 

Folman pokes fun at the American obsession with image and political correctness.  We want our candidates to be perfect; but not too perfect.  We want them to be Statesmen; but we want to sit down and have a beer with them.  We want them to be authentic; but we are unforgiving of any slips of the tongue or small gaffes.

Folman also has a little fun with the media.  He pokes fun at the 24 hour news cycle and the silliness of over reporting.  He points out how really easy it is to create a news story out of nothing.

The book is an easy read and it is tempting to pass it off as silly and overly cynical.  But I found it to be surprisingly insightful.  Folman takes dead aim at the current political landscape and almost always hits his marks. If nothing else it is a great morality tale on the unintended consequences of a lie. 

The Scandal Plan is highly entertaining; the perfect answer to political burnout and a great beach read!

The publisher says:

Senator Ben Phillips is the perfect man for the presidency. If only he weren't such a straight arrow. He's getting battered in the polls, and with only a few months until Election Day, his staff is growing desperate. Enter Thomas Campman, political guru. On a sudden inspiration, the eccentric Campman is convinced he can revitalize the candidate's image by creating a fake sex scandal for him. Nothing too over-the-top—just a little scandal to make Phillips seem more human. Maybe even cool.

Though it takes some convincing, Phillips gives Campman the green light. The plan is set in motion, and, right on schedule, a phony former mistress steps forward to accuse the senator of infidelity. But scandals—even the premeditated kind—rarely go as planned. Before long, Campman's scheme snowballs into a three-ring circus complete with a linguistically challenged Mexican chauffeur who thinks he's James Bond, a highly sexed middle-aged woman who's convinced she'll never land one of the really good guys, and a political cub reporter for TeenVibe magazine who's sure he's on the trail of the biggest story since Watergate.

For those too well acquainted with politics-as-usual, The Scandal Plan is the perfect antidote. It's a witty political farce in the tradition of Jon Stewart and Dave Barry that will have readers—and even candidates—laughing all the way to the polls.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Truth & Frenzy


'Truth & Consequences' by Keith Olbermann. The book is well written; Olbermann has an obvious gift for words and the writing is partly amusing, partly sarcastic and always deadly serious. I suppose the comments would be better if they were spoken, however there are some of us who do not get his television station (in my case because the cable company chose that station alone as the only news channel to be made a "premium channel") and these are comments that should be preserved and read again and again. Whether you agree with his viewpoint or not, you cannot deny Keith's skills as a writer. The most interesting parts of the book to me were his explanations of what he was thinking when he wrote each Special Comment, or to what he was reacting. He gives credit to his high school teachers for the endless writing drills that turned out to be perfect training for broadcast writing!

'Fat Envelope Frenzy' by Joie Jager-Hyman. I really enjoyed reading this eBook. It is still shocking to me how hard it is to get into an Ivy League school, so it's great to get a former college admission's officers take on things. The author definitely demystified things--for instance I never knew that being wait-listed in all but the rarest cases means your out. But the best thing about this book is the five kids who are followed during the year they are applying to college. One is the US champion in rhythmic gymnastics. Another spent his summers in China working in orphanages. Another is a math machine. And a fourth had his family home trashed in Hurricane Katrina. All such fascinating teenagers, with really moving stories. Great Read. Use the Coupon Code below to receive a Discount on these two eBook Titles.

TRUTH & CONSEQUENCES eBook edition by Olbermann, Keith
Keith Olbermann is the host of Countdown with Keith Olbermann on MSNBC. A veteran broadcaster, he was the co-anchor (with Dan Patrick) of ESPN’s SportsCenter from 1992 to 1997 and helped to launch ESPN2 and ESPN Radio Network.
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Fat Envelope Frenzy eBook edition by Jager-Hyman, Joie
A former Ivy League admissions officer, Joie Jager-Hyman follows five bright and eager high schoolers—students from diverse ethnic, social, and financial backgrounds—as they each put their best foot forward on the road they hope will lead them to the hallowed halls of Harvard University.
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Buy either of these titles this week, and recieve an extra 5% off your total purchase - so read all you want - these titles and much more await you at!
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Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Planes, Trains, And Automobiles, Oh and Politics


'Riding Toward Everywhere' by William T. Vollmann. Getting on and off moving trains can be a dangerous business: Vollmann has many tales about broken limbs and lost legs. You will learn about the people in this life. People outside the life, are referred to derisively as "citizens", and inside the group, there are codes of conduct. It's all rather like, in a way, homeless street people--people who live outside the normal boundaries of society. It's a fascinating look at a little-known life.

'The Power of the Vote' by Douglas E. Schoen. This eBook offer's incredible insights into the country's political process. Important, and thought-provoking book. Schoen obviously loves and intimately knows about politics. In this eBook, he skillfully informs us about the inner workings of the political process in a perceptive and entertaining manner. I not only enjoyed reading it, but I feel much smarter for having done so. You will too. Use the Coupon Code below for a Discount on one or both of these eBook Titles.

Riding Toward Everywhere eBook edition by Vollmann, William T.
Vollmann is a relentlessly curious, endlessly sensitive, and unequivocally adventurous examiner of human existence. He has investigated the causes and symptoms of humanity's obsession with violence (Rising Up and Rising Down), taken a personal look into the hearts and minds of the world's poorest inhabitants (Poor People), and now turns his attentions to America itself, to our romanticizing of "freedom" and the ways in which we restrict the very freedoms we profess to admire.
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Power of the Vote, The eBook edition by Schoen, Douglas E.
In The Power of the Vote, Douglas E. Schoen—one of the premier strategists in the history of Democratic politics—offers a never-before-seen glimpse inside the most pivotal campaigns of his storied career, providing an essential primer for understanding the elections of yesterday, today, and tomorrow.
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Buy either of these titles this week, and recieve an extra 5% off your total purchase - so read all you want - these titles and much more await you at!
Use the following coupon code at checkout: