Category Archives: Reviews

The healing powers of lavender for burns and other minor injuries

The Kindle e-book “The Essential Burn Book for Baristas and Cooks,” co-authored by Sara S. DeHart and Kathleen M. Whalen, is a book essential to have in every home, restaurant, business or place where it is possible to suffer a first- or second-degree burn. Continue reading

The myth versus the reality of Israel

This is a powerfully written unsettling work that relates the story of Israel from the perspective of how ideas are changed and manipulated for the benefit of the state. Unfortunately the majority of citizens of most countries are susceptible to the ideation/ideology of the mainstream of political thought as it is supported by the mainstream press. In the case of Israel, image and ideation, its narrative and ideology, are of paramount importance for the survival of the state beyond its military strength and relatively successful integration into the globalized corporate governed world. Continue reading

‘The Phoenix has landed’: What you need to know to fight for the survival of American democracy and your own

‘The Phoenix Program: America’s Use of Terror in Vietnam,’ by Douglas Valentine, was first published in 1990 and reprinted in 2000. In his introduction in 2000, Valentine described Phoenix: “This book is about terror and its role in political warfare. It will show how, as successive American governments sink deeper and deeper into the vortex of covert operations—ostensibly to combat terrorism and Communist insurgencies—the American people gradually lose touch with the democratic ideals that once defined their national self-concept. This book asks what happens when Phoenix comes home to roost.” Continue reading

Negative view of Israel is increasing

With the peace talks being dead, what happens in Israel/Palestine? Settlements will continue to be built, dispossession will continue against Palestinians, slowly the “apartheid” context of Israel will become more and more obvious. Continue reading

‘Dispelling Wetiko’: Paul levy and the future of humanity

Anyone who reads his work will quickly be made aware of the enormous amounts of study that lie behind the writing of Paul Levy—study in the form of wide and vast reading, of deep and patient thought, and, perhaps above all, a never-ending process of extraordinarily close observation. Observation of what? For the moment, the answer to that question can best be given in two parts. First, Paul Levy is an acute and close observer of the nature of life. Second, he is an acute and close observer of us, of we, of the ones who live inside of that life. Continue reading

The ‘moral equivalence of the Founding Fathers’

Since 1976, the bicentennial of the unilateral declaration of independence (UDI) that led to the founding of the United States of America from thirteen originally British colonies, Black History Month has been an officially recognised period—in February—when the descendants of the Founding Fathers acknowledge that the descendants of their slaves also have a history. Also in February, Presidents’ Day—initially George Washington’s birthday but now a combined birthday celebration for Washington and Abraham Lincoln: the Father of the Country and the Great Liberator. Continue reading

As nanotechnology progresses, will we be humans or humanoids?

I have read and reviewed several of Daniel Estulin’s books and found them challenging and revealing about the past, the present and now the future. Continue reading

Understanding Marx

Peter Knapp and Alan J. Spector have written a superb introduction to Marxist thought, a much needed one, since reading Marx can be a daunting task. The grand old man’s prose is often ponderous, abstract, and complex, so many readers can’t discern his full meaning. He wrote a great deal, but he didn’t bring it together and organize it, so it’s diffuse. Continue reading

Building a society based on social and environmental values

“Life Without Money” is a compilation of essays on theories and practices of non-monetary economics, which some people, including Anitra Nelson, call non-market socialism. It is a book intended primarily for academics who might want to consider teaching from this book, and those whom Nelson calls “thinking activists,” i.e., people who are primarily activists, but who are also interested in economic theory. Each chapter has many end notes and several gray boxes that mark out special points a teacher might wish to bring out during a lecture. Continue reading

Tea Party longs for an America that never was

This book tells the story of the centuries-long struggle over the meaning of the nation’s founding, including the never-ending battle waged by the Tea Party, Glenn Beck, Sarah Palin, and evangelical Christians to “take back America.” Continue reading

A historical and philosophical perspective on Islam

In his introduction, Eric Walberg states, “The main purpose of this book is to help the reader to understand the alternative map which Islam offers.” This is both a literal and figurative map, an alternative to the imperial and neo-colonial boundaries that divide the Islamic world, and an alternative viewpoint to that of the imperial driver of capitalism. This offer includes “realigning ourselves with Nature, and rediscovering humanities’’ spiritual evolutionary path . . . without abandoning the vital role of reason.” Continue reading

Forging a Socialist-Islamist alliance

Most western Middle East experts see Islam as a problem for the West—a source of terrorism, religious fanaticism, unwanted immigrants—and they see their job as helping to change the Middle East so it’s no longer a problem for us. Eric Walberg, however, recognizes that this is another instance of the Big Lie. Continue reading

A must read study of events within Israel and the Middle East

“Why Israel?” is a large work of enormous value for the study of events within Israel and the Middle east. The title question is answered relatively easy, as it is one of the many counters that Israeli supporters use to try and divert attention away from their transgressions. Yes, there are many other states in the world where racism is evident, where oppression and some form of apartheid is applied. Continue reading

A fracked up nation

On this Halloween, let me point you to a horror story. No, it’s not about vampires, zombies, ghosties and ghoulies and long-legged beasties and things that go bump in the night. This is about a real horror called fracking—hydraulic fracturing for gas and oil. Continue reading

Troy Davis and family live on in new book

Jen Marlowe’s newest book, “I Am Troy Davis,” was published right around the second anniversary of Davis’s September 2011 execution by the state of Georgia. Davis was killed by lethal injection despite considerable evidence suggesting that he was innocent. Continue reading

The art of collaborating with the Nazis: Hollywood and America reek of Nazi influence

Ben Urwand’s “The Collaboration: Hollywood’s Pact with Hitler” (The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2013) is a disturbing, unsettling and must-read. That Hollywood’s studio heavyweights like Jack Warner and Carl Laemmle would cut scenes and dialog offensive to the ideology of National Socialism is a tough fact to digest. But aggressive capitalists, whether operating in US dollars or German Reichsmarks, do not distinguish between good and evil (think Allen Dulles, famed Wall Street lawyer and OSS/CIA). Siphoning profit off from the clash between good and evil, or the suffering of good at the hands of evil, is part and parcel of the capitalist enterprise, particularly in the United States. Taking a “stand” only occurs if the balance sheet prospers, legal action is imminent, or national security interests—as defined by capitalists—are at stake. How else to explain the present day US alliances with Al Qaeda in Syria, the military junta in Egypt, and the love-fest with Saudi Arabia and Bahrain? Continue reading

A postmodern political fable

“The Indian Uprising” by Donald Barthelme is an iconic short story of the 1960s heralding the defeat of the US empire and the end of white male dominance. Written as the USA was mired in a hopeless war, as Native-Americans and African-Americans were rebelling against oppression, and as women were breaking out of the traditional roles they had been confined to, the story predicted the victory of these insurgents over the feeble old order. Its experimental style full of dislocations and dissolutions captured the postmodern zeitgeist. Continue reading

“Don’t frack my mother”

A review of Josh Fox’s “Gasland II”

The battle continues in the documentary sequel on the increasing perils of hydraulic fracturing, commonly knownas fracking, in Josh Fox’s Gasland Part II, recently shown on HBO. The line “Don’t frack my mother,” as in mother earth, appears as a battle cry in the Gasland II documentary, given the danger fracking has presented to the earth itself. Continue reading

Interview with New York Times columnist Gail Collins about her new book, ‘As Texas Goes’

A native Ohioan, Gail Collins says her fascination with Texas began when she heard Gov. Rick Perry deliver an Alamo-like speech at a 2009 Tea Party rally. “We didn’t like oppression then; we don’t like oppression now,” he roared. The problem was, says Collins, “this was a rally about the stimulus package.” Continue reading

Shattering myths can be dangerous

A review of Gaither Stewart's new novel, ‘Lily Pad Roll’

Gaither Stewart is a shatterer of myths. In The Trojan Spy, volume one of the Europe Trilogy, he shattered the myth that the USA is fighting terrorism and showed instead how our government works in a symbiotic relationship with the so-called terrorists. Now in Lily Pad Roll, volume two of the trilogy, he shatters the myth that America is invading countries and building foreign bases in order to defend the homeland and secure oil supplies. He shows instead that the deeper motive for this slaughter of hundreds of thousands of our fellow human beings and the resulting near-bankruptcy of our country is brutal geopolitics: the desire of our ruling elite to weaken their chief rivals, Russia and China, and to prepare for war with Iran. Stewart’s artistic skills make this case more convincingly than a dozen academic analyses could. Continue reading

Is Israel responsible for 9–11?

Christopher Bollyn’s second book of the Solving 9–11 duo has appeared, titled The Deception That Changed The World. It is published by Bollyn and available at www.bollyn.com. Continue reading

Isolating a nation; Afshin Rattansi’s groundbreaking documentary on Eritrea

Award winning independent producer Afshin Rattansi has released the groundbreaking documentary Eritrea; A Nation In Isolation on PressTV. Continue reading

A must-read book that exposes the impact of Big Food, Big Ag and Big Pharma on our lives

Certain books are for certain people. Born with a Junk Food Deficiency is for people who eat, use prescription drugs, have or intend to have children, or care for or expect to care for aged parents. People who are concerned about women’s health, veterans’ health, animal welfare, consumer rights, truth-in-advertising, state or federal budget crises, or the undue influence of corporate money on democracy will want to read this book. Given that the food and pharmaceutical corporations that are mentioned in the book are transnational, I would also recommend it to anyone in the world who reads English. Continue reading

Biting the 1% where it hurts

In this fascinating account of his trial-by-fire in Washington’s wicked ways, Neil Barofsky surfaces with a searing indictment as an insider of both the Bush and Obama administrations, dealing with the ongoing mishandling of the $700 billion TARP bailout fund. With behind-the-scenes experience, he repeatedly reveals proof of the deep degree to which our government officials sank to serve the interests of Wall Street firms at the expense of the 99%—and at the larger expense of real financial reform. Continue reading

‘A Peace to End All Peace’ is a deeply flawed and highly prejudiced work

David Fromkin seems to dislike Arabs. In A Peace to End All Peace he enjoys repeating disparaging comments about them: “ . . . that mysterious child of lies, the Arab . . .” (Fromkin, p. 90); “cowardly . . . insolent yet despicable . . . vicious as far as their feeble bodies will admit . . . rapacious, greedy . . . animals,” (p.181); “predatory savages,” (p.443).
Continue reading

Subversive thrills

A review of Gaither Stewart's new novel, ‘The Trojan Spy’

Gaither Stewart’s The Trojan Spy takes the thriller genre an important step forward, advancing it from the work of his predecessors John le Carré and Robert Ludlum. Le Carré and Ludlum rebelled against the conventions of the classic spy thrillers, which assumed that we’re the good guys who are under attack by bad guys so evil that we’re justified in bending the rules to save ourselves from them. In that world, lies, deceit, sabotage, and even murder are sometimes necessary to defend peace, justice, and the American (or Western) Way against (pick one, depending on when the book was written) Nazis, communists, or terrorists. Continue reading

‘Edible Secrets’: Top secret U.S. government memos

Author Hoerger discusses plots against Castro, Hampton, Rosenbergs

The CIA has made 638 attempts on Fidel Castro’s life since the beginning of the Cuban revolution. One entailed poisoning a chocolate milkshake with a cyanide pellet. Continue reading

Literature in a locked down land

Working class literature is alive and well and living in prison. It is “well” not in the sense of being contented and happy but rather of being vital and impassioned. And it is imprisoned not just in the sense of being locked behind bars but also of being locked into poverty. Some prisons have walls of iron and stone, others walls of economics and racism. It is their efforts to escape from this second prison that get most inmates incarcerated in the first. As Mumia Abu-Jamal said, “I’ve been in prison my whole life.” Continue reading

A preview of “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close” turns into group therapy for post-9/11 New Yorkers

I knew all those years of sitting in darkened theaters on sunny afternoons, awash in movies new and old, stale popcorn and gallons of diet soda, would pay off some day. For one, there was the woman I met in 1975 at the late, lamented Carnegie Hall Cinema during a Mel Brooks double feature. She came and sat next to me when a guy kept bothering her during Blazing Saddles and we wound up dating—until she lit out for a career in the hinterlands, acting in summer stock. Continue reading

While the sun shines

Ian McEwan’s latest novel, Solar, takes as one of its primary subjects a very contemporary, urgent issue that impinges upon the lives and the consciousness of each of us—no less than our very future as a race, the question of whether or not we will survive the depredations we have inflicted on our environment. The answer, of course, depends on whether or not we are going to stop our mad rush to consume the earth’s resources as though they were to last us forever. On the other hand, compelled perhaps by a certain perverseness in our natures, we persist in continuing those very behaviours that have brought us to our current predicament. Continue reading

The essential humanity of Palestinians defies those who would destroy them

What can I say about such a well written book that has not already been said: well crafted, thought provoking, illuminating, enlightening, informative. . . . most importantly Fast Times in Palestine highlights the essential humanity of Palestinians and their struggle with the constant oppression of Israeli society that surrounds all facets of their lives. In the face of overwhelming power, the message that underlies this story is the very idea of Palestinian existence. Continue reading

Postmodern Imperialism: Geopolitics and the Great Games

The many stages of imperialism are often brought into debate about whether the current U.S. foreign policy, or any U.S. foreign policy, is an imperial project. Eric Walberg’s clear and concise presentation of the “great games” centred on the ancient Silk Road from China through to Eastern Europe presents a definition of imperialism that spans all of humanities’ empires. The “Foundations . . . of imperial hegemony are financial and military-political, to ensure control of world labour power and raw materials.” This reflects my own interpretation of empire as being founded on the gathering in of wealth and power to the heartland from the hinterland, from a cultural geography perspective. Walberg uses the terms heartland and rimland, the same idea, focussing intentions on the heart of Eurasia and the surrounding countries’ resources, wealth, and manpower. Continue reading