Category Archives: Reviews

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).
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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

African writers and Western reviewers

When I read the work of non-white authors, especially those whose writing has dealt in any significant way with issues of colonialism, I find myself paying special attention to the blurbs at the back of the book. For these blurbs, should the author be globally known and respected, are often written by Western reviewers, or at least reviewers with a Western sensibility. Now Western reviewers do not like to see a lot of anger in the writing of postcolonial subjects. When the Empire writes back, it had better watch its language. So, if our writer has won their praise, I look in the accolades for words such as “generous,” “humane,” “wise,” “compassionate,” and increasingly these days, for the critic’s new buzzword “nuanced.” All of which can often mean that the writer has kept from overly harsh criticism of colonial and neocolonial enterprise. Or if (s)he has indulged such criticism, her tones have been measured and deliberate and (s)he has avoided offending Western (white) sensibilities too blatantly. Continue reading

Liberation from the animals’ point of view

Fear of the Animal Planet: The Hidden History of Animal Resistance is a book about the power struggle between humans and nonhuman animals in captivity. Only when humans succeed in dominating the animals totally—sometimes by killing them—does this struggle end. Continue reading

An important book for understanding what did and did not happen on 9/11

What a complete, unmitigated disaster 9/11 and the ten awful years following it have been—ten years of murder, crime, lawlessness, deceit, stupidity, and blindness that are only now meliorated, at long last, by the publication of Dr. Judy Wood’s unique, revelatory, and unequivocally welcome book, Where Did the Towers Go? The Evidence of Directed Free-Energy Technology on 9/11. Continue reading

An investigative reporter takes on the controversial subject of UFOs

My own disclosure: I know Leslie Kean. For over a year, we worked in adjacent offices at KPFA, she with a daily investigative news program, I with the Evening News. During this time, she began her investigations into UFOs. I interviewed her once for a syndicated women’s program, but the interview never saw the light of day as Leslie did not feel she had done a good job. I would disagree, but I respected her assessment of her performance. I know her to be an honest person with a meticulous approach to journalism, no matter what the subject. Here is a brief description of her approach to the UFOs. Continue reading

The miracle of North Dakota’s Fed-free bank

Ellen Brown is most recently the author of Web of Debt: The Shocking Truth About Our Money System and How We Can Break Free (2007, 2010). And from this amazing book, I derived my article The Fed’s War on America’s People. Continue reading