My Favorite Books

When your ride Alone, you ride with Bin-Laden

by Bill Maher

Bill Maher walks point-by-point through the issues of our post 9/11 society. The leaders of our government are cowards afraid to lead, and many forget that Maher supports military action and against pointless political correctness. Oil and diamonds fund terrorists, airport security can be achieved, we praise our heros and pay them like chumps, and putting a USA flag on your car is literally the least you can do for your country. Learn Arabic, conserve fuel, help to systematically understand and undermine those that hate America. He asks our leaders to challenge us to rise up, not just declare false victory over terrorists and go back to the business of getting reelected. The vintage style posters with current themes are fantastic!

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The Fourth Turning

by William Strauss and Neil Howe

A fascinating treatise on the cyclical nature of time, the coming difficult period, and the next "greatest generation" due to follow. I intuitively agree that human nature and generational amnesia cause a cycle between violent and peaceful periods with natural interdependence of generational archetypes. However, the authors sometimes express a excessive belief in their findings, sometimes suggesting the "cycle" causes the effect rather than it being the result.

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America in Crisis:
Making Things right in a Nation Gone Wrong

by Jim Bohannon

Well thought out and simply presented, simple insights about the devolution of America's social norms that mirror my own feelings. Neither belly-aching nor clouded nostalgia, he puts forth simple observations and concrete recommendations to solve systematic problems that are obviously getting only worse in the current environment.

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American Political Thought

 Edited by Kenneth Dolbeare

My professor warned me that this would become one of my favorite books, and he was right. It is a simple collection of important essays and speeches by famous Americans from Lincoln and Calhoun to Martin Luther King, from Thomas Paine to the SDS. Each furthers discussion on issues important to Americans at the time and to this day. It is wonderful to read the actual words and thoughts of these famous Americans discussing America.

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Slouching Towards Gomorrah

by Robert Bork

An adroit description of my personal feelings about the decay of America's institutions through the systematic politicization by elitist intellectuals. Put aside your personal feelings about the author (good or bad), and simply appreciate the impact of the trends he highlights and the detail case, institution by institution, that he supports with quotes, historic perspectives and his gifted analysis. Beware that some solutions go overboard, even for me.

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The Collected Poetry of Stephen Crane

I first read Crane's poetry while in high school, and over the years have found many personal lessons in his small, often puzzling, verses. For me personally, the ones on war and lost love are ok, but the verses that address hypocrisy, and the ego of false authority fired my youthful spirit. I could easily support each point in my personal position paper on religion with one of Crane's poetic indictments of man's misguided spirituality. Link to my Crane pages: War is Kind and Black Riders to read his actual verses.

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No Man Knows My History, the life of Joseph Smith

by Fawn Brodie

The famous biography of the founder of the LDS (Mormon) church. An excellent story, filled with delicious details and historical anecdotes. It should be read by anyone wondering about America's fastest growing religion (along with "Secret Ceremonies" and "The God Makers"), but ignore the scathing superficial attacks from zealous adherents.

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The Liar's Club

by Mary Karr

A profound and cathartic first person description of a childhood growing up in a family where insanity is declared normal. Her story simply reports her experiences, without judgment, such that the reader can feel the complete and utter powerlessness and hopelessness of a child raised in such a home. Reading this book at first inspired me to write my own story, then instead gave me peace to simply know I was not traveling my journey alone.

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The Fountainhead / Atlas Shrugged

by Ayn Rand

These wonderful novels describe Rand's well-known position on society's dependence on the freedom of the individual. It is easy for me to agree that all social and technological evolution came from the inspired creativity that naturally arises from self-centered entrepreneurs unfettered by self-centered "regulators" (equally power hungry but wrapped in the cloak of the "better good"). I only wish she could make her point in half the pages.

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by Arthur Hailey

The first 'popular' novel I read as a teen, I still enjoy it today as a book and as a schmaltzy movie. In many ways it fed my lust for travel and my fascination with other people's lives. I eventually read all of Hailey's meticulously researched books, as well as many of Minchner's. The detail information on airport operations is fascinating, and those "shocking" morals are now a trip in time back to the late 1960's. And once a year, when I'm stuck on a snowy layover and delayed by hours flying home, I must drag out my DVD and watch the movie again. "They don't call 'em problems anymore, they call 'em Patroni's"

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Hardball: The Education of a Baseball Commissioner

by Bowie Kuhn

The heartbreaking story of last honest man in America and his failed effort to save America's pastime. The trends Commissioner Kuhn tried to prevent have become the very bullet list of why I am no longer a major league baseball fan. George Steinbrenner and company may have won their personal battles with Kuhn, but this book explains exactly my personal feeling of how they lost the war. Shortsighted greed and ego destroyed the game I once loved. And Mr Kuhn, hamstrung by the powerlessness of his job, was the game's squandered last chance.

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Mr Moto - Three Aces

Mr Moto Series

by John Marquand

Marquand is a forgotten author, winning the Pulitzer prize in 1938 but now overlooked. His novels are now 'period piece' reading. The Mr Moto series is set in the orient, always involving a befuddled American entangled in some intrigue, where Mr Moto rescues him mysteriously. Marquand's other books are often sent in turn of the century New England towns, where he himself grew up. This series was originally published as a monthly magazine installment (like Dickens). This makes for easy and delightful reading, as the characters are easy to follow, and each chapter is a similar length and ends on a cliffhanger.

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Original Web Upload: December 2001
Last Update on: June 7, 2008