Archive for the ‘books’ Category

Reading list: 2009

Books I read in 2009:

The Literature of C.S. Lewis by Timothy B. Shutt
Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson
Water: For Health, for Healing, for Life by F. Batmanghelidj
The Enlightenment: Reason, Tolerance, and Humanity by James Schmidt
Bias by Bernard Goldberg
Little Brother by Cory Doctorow
Old Man’s War by John Scalzi
Meltdown by Thomas E. Woods Jr.
The Age of Turbulence by Alan Greenspan
Civil War Two by Thomas W. Chittum
No Debt, No Sweat! by Steve Diggs
Wild at Heart by John Eldredge
Domestic Enemies by Matthew Bracken
Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said by Philip K. Dick
Watchmen by Alan Moore & Dave Gibbons
Emergency by Neil Strauss
A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson
Currency Trading for Dummies by Mark Galant & Brian Dolan
The Lost Continent by Bill Bryson
Economics, 3rd Edition by Timothy Taylor
The Colorado Kid by Stephen King
How Few Remain by Harry Turtledove
Born to Run by Christopher McDougall
The Great War: American Front by Harry Turtledove
The Roald Dahl Omnibus by Roald Dahl
Jesse James: Last Rebel of the Civil War by T.J. Stiles
A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin
The Great War: Walk in Hell by Harry Turtledove
A Clash of Kings by George R.R. Martin


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Who is John Galt?

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Last night as I was wandering through the Target store in west Little Rock, I happened to find myself in the books and music department. One whole wall was dedicated to children’s picture books, appropriate for kids somewhere between ages 4 and 8. I saw the usual suspects like Where the Wild Things Are, Where the Sidewalk Ends, and The Giving Tree. As I walked toward the center of the section, however, my eyes fell on something quite unusual. Positioned in the exact middle of the display, approximately three and a half feet off the floor, I saw the following books:


The books are Barack by Jonah Winter, illustrated by A.G. Ford; and Barack Obama: Son of Promise, Child of Hope by Nikki Grimes, illustrated by Bryan Collier.

At first I was a little taken aback, but OK with the general idea. It seems natural for kids of this age group to want to read and learn about the next President of the United States. I picked up “Barack” and read the dust jacket flap:


“This is a journey that began in many places. It began in Kansas, home of Barack’s mother. It began in Africa, home of Barack’s father. It began in Hawaii one moonlit night, the night that Barack was born. Sometimes it was a lonely journey. Sometimes it was an enchanted journey. But throughout this most unusual ride, the boy often wondered: Who am I? Where do I belong?”

And then the dust jacket flap of “Son of Promise, Child of Hope”:


“Ever since Barack Obama was young, Hope has lived inside him. From the beaches of Hawaii to the streets of Chicago, from the jungles of Indonesia to the plains of Kenya, he has held on to Hope. Even as a boy, Barack knew he wasn’t quite like anybody else, but through his journeys he found the ability to listen to Hope and become what he was meant to be: a bridge to bring people together.
This is the moving story of an exceptional man, as told by Nikki Grimes and illustrated by Bryan Collier, both winners of the Coretta Scott King Award. Barack Obama has motivated Americans to believe with him, to believe that every one of us has the power to change ourselves and change our world.”

These descriptions sound a little fluffy, but I was still mostly OK with the books. Then I read them. Both. Cover to cover. To say I was shocked is an understatement.

Neither of these books even come close to historical narrative. Barack Obama is presented as, at the very least, a modern day Moses, sent to deliver the American people from a desolate existence of their own creation. From “Barack”:

“For somehow his journey had led him to Trinity Church, surrounded by the people from his neighborhood including many he had helped. And there, swept up in the waves of their singing with tears on his cheeks he knew why he was there. He knew who he was, and where he belonged.”

“Son of Promise” is more extreme. Obama is clearly portrayed as a new Messiah, even going so far as to have God literally speak to him in church: “Look around you. Now look to me. There is hope enough here to last a lifetime.” On occasion, Obama is illustrated with a “supernatural aura” around him, clearly placing him in a heavenly context. Of course, no mention is made in either book about any negative historically factual events in Obama’s life. Reverend Wright is absent, as is Bill Ayres. I guess that’s natural. These are 5 year olds, after all. We wouldn’t want to traumatize them.

Maybe you love Barack Obama. Maybe you love these books. However, I think we can all agree that, when it comes to history and politics, children this age should be presented with accurate factual information and then be allowed to think for themselves. These books are nothing short of political indoctrination and blatant hero-worship. In an age where moral faith and belief is barred from public schools, the void is being filled with this type of “hope we can believe in.” Don’t buy it? Check out this Amazon.com review from a public school teacher in Atlanta:

“Very Informative books for children. The illustrator did a wonderful job as well. I am an Educator and would recommend this book to all Educators. I used this book during my writing block while we were on the Unit of Informational Writing. The children loved the book and gained a lot of knowledge.”

They are already teaching this to our kids.

Cross-posted to Facebook.

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Reading list: 2008

Books I read in 2008:

Farnham’s Freehold by Robert A. Heinlein
Love & Respect by Emerson Eggerichs
Tappan on Survival by Mel Tappan
Season of Life by Jeffrey Marx
The Gathering Storm by Winston S. Churchill
Unintended Consequences by John Ross
Molon Labe! by Boston T. Party
Crisis Preparedness Handbook by Jack A. Spigarelli
Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl
Character Driven College Preparation by John William Turner, Jr.
His Excellency: George Washington by Joseph J. Ellis
A Foreign Policy of Freedom by Ron Paul
Armed America by Clayton E. Cramer
Libertarianism: A Primer by David Boaz
Anthem by Ayn Rand
The Revolution: A Manifesto by Ron Paul
Enemies Foreign and Domestic by Matthew Bracken
Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand
A Commonwealth of Thieves by Thomas Keneally
From Here to Infinity: An Exploration of Science Fiction Literature by Michael D.C. Drout
The Historian’s Toolbox by Robert C. Williams
Discovering the Philosopher in You: The Big Questions in Philosophy by Colin McGinn
The Law by Frederic Bastiat
Rethinking Our Past: Recognizing Facts, Fictions, and Lies in American History by James W. Loewen
Hell’s Guest by Col. Glenn D. Frazier
Economics in One Lesson by Henry Hazlitt
Common Sense, Revisited by Anonymous
Brotherhood of the Revolution: How America’s Founders Forged a New Nation by Joseph J. Ellis
Hologram of Liberty by Kenneth W. Royce
A History of Ancient Greece by Eric H. Cline
No Treason: The Constitution of No Authority by Lysander Spooner

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Oh, Happy Day

Yesterday was a day I have long anticipated. My firstborn child was spotted reading a novel at the table instead of eating.

I look forward to many years of yelling, “Put down that book and eat your supper!”

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Reading list: 2007

Books I read in 2007:

The Magic of Thinking Big by David J. Schwartz
The Dream Cycle by Steve Moore
The Dream Giver by Bruce Wilkinson
Iron Tears by Stanley Weintraub
Worldwar: In the Balance by Harry Turtledove
The Next Millionaires by Paul Zane Pilzer
Rich Dad’s Cashflow Quadrant by Robert T. Kiyosaki and Sharon L. Lechter
You Can’t Steal Second With Your Foot On First! by Burke Hedges
The Five Languages of Apology by Gary Chapman & Jennifer Thomas
The Birth of Britain by Winston S. Churchill
Willow by Wayland Drew
The Real Lincoln by Thomas J. DiLorenzo
The Quick & Easy Way to Effective Speaking by Dale Carnegie
God’s Plan for Your Finances by Dwight Nichols
If They Say No, Just Say Next! by John Fuhrman
You and Your Network by Fred Smith
Lincoln on Leadership by Donald T. Phillips
A General History of the Robberies & Murders of the Most Notorious Pirates by Capt. Charles Johnson
How I Raised Myself from Failure to Success in Selling by Frank Bettger
You Don’t Need a Title to be a Leader by Mark Sanborn
A Full Quiver by Rick & Jan Hess
Point Man by Steve Farrar
The Case for Christ by Lee Strobel
How to Have Confidence and Power in Dealing with People by Les Giblin
The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail by Micahel Baigent, Richard Leigh, & Henry Lincoln
The New World by Winston S. Churchill
Critical Choices That Change Lives by Daniel R. Castro
Gates of Fire by Steven Pressfield
Pro-sumer Power! by Bill Quain
Read and Grow Rich by Burke Hedges
The Laws of Lifetime Growth by Dan Sullivan & Catherine Nomura
The Wasteland, Prufrock and Other Poems by T.S. Eliot
The Team Builder’s Textbook by Chris Brady and Orrin Woodward
What the Bible Teaches About Worship by Robert L. Dickie
The One Minute Entrepreneur by Ken Blanchard, Don Hutson, & Ethan Willis
Positive Impact by Gregory Scott Reid & Charlie “Tremendous” Jones
Robert E. Lee on Leadership by H.W. Crocker III
An Infinity of Little Hours by Nancy Klein Maguire
Neither Here nor There by Bill Bryson
The Concealed Handgun Manual by Chris Bird
A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson
The Family by Mario Puzo
Thank God I had a Gun by Chris Bird
Fatherland by Robert Harris
The Age of Revolution by Winston S. Churchill
Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie
The Great Democracies by Winston S. Churchill
Better Dads, Stronger Sons by Rick Johnson
The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid by Bill Bryson
True Grit by Charles Portis
A Study of Angels by Edward P. Myers
Champion of Capitalism by D.P. Diffine
The First World War by Hew Strachan
Einstein: His Life and Universe by Walter Isaacson
Patriots: Surviving the Coming Collapse by James Wesley, Rawles

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Reading list: 2006

These are the books I read in 2006. As you can see, I continued to love SF.  I also developed a short-lived interest in poker, a longer-term interest in leadership theory, and a permanent addiction to American history.

Books I read in 2006:

How to Play Winning Poker by Avery Cardoza
Ringworld by Larry Niven
Ken Warren Teaches Texas Hold’em by Ken Warren
Fluke by James Herbert
Fire in My Bones by Jimmy Allen
Crazy Horse and Custer: The Parallel Lives of Two American Warriors by Stephen E. Ambrose
Killer Poker: Strategy and Tactics for Winning Poker Play by John Vorhaus
A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson
Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser
Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
Shame of Man by Piers Anthony
Noise by Hal Clement
The Illustrated Man by Ray Bradbury
Pastwatch: The Redemption of Christopher Columbus by Orson Scott Card
The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark by Carl Sagan
Gray Fox: Robert E. Lee and the Civil War by Burke Davis
Leading the Consumer Rebellion by Chris Brady and Orrin Woodward
The Forge of God by Greg Bear
The Charm School by Nelson DeMille
Eat that Frog! by Brian Tracy
How I Raised Myself from Failure to Success in Selling by Frank Bettger
Launching a Leadership Revolution by Chris Brady and Orrin Woodward
Personality Plus by Florence Littauer
How to Have Confidence and Power in Dealing with People by Les Giblin
Have Fun, Make Money, Make a Difference by Chris Brady and Orrin Woodward
The 17 Essential Qualities of a Team Player by John C. Maxwell
Dream-Biz.com by Burke Hedges
The Business School by Robert T. Kiyosaki and Sharon L. Lechter
The Next Millionaires by Paul Zane Pilzer
The Likeability Factor by Tim Sanders
Battle Cry of Freedom by James M. McPherson
How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie
Benjamin Franklin: An American Life by Walter Isaacson
The Immortal Game: A History of Chess by David Shenk
Fevre Dream by George R. R. Martin
The Magician’s Nephew by C.S. Lewis
The Glorious Cause by Robert Middlekauff
Under the Black Flag by David Cordingly
A Biblical Perspective of Wealth by Robert L. Dickie
The Team Builder’s Textbook by Chris Brady and Orrin Woodward
What it Takes to be #1 by Vince Lombardi, Jr.

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