Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Bye, Bye Miss American Empire

by Bill Kauffman

Secession? Oh, yeah, that's the quaint idea that the South came up with back in the day. The one that was proven to be wrong by the Civil War, right? Don't you believe it. The idea of secession from the United States is as old as the nation itself. (Or older, if you look at the American Revolution as the Seccession of American Colonies.) Mr. Kauffman gives us a rambling tour of the history of secession in the States, focusing mostly on those areas where folks still feel the pull of independence today. He's an appealing writer--informing and entertaining at the same time. He half tempted me to join the cause and root for the dissolution of an American Empire that looks much more like King George III's England that George Washington's United States. Of course, Mr. Kauffman's underlying philosophy is localism--a love of place and native culture. I can respect his stand, but when he starts to sing the praises of place, I realize that I'm just a poor exile living far from my native lands. I don't know if I ever really had a place that I would call my own. I'm pretty sure I could never reclaim it if I did. But it's still nice to dream of an alternative to Walmart, McDonalds and the never ending wars in someone else's back yard.

Do check it out.
LibraryThing link

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Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Rollback

by Robert J. Sawyer

First read in 2007. Didn't like it as much the second time around.

On my shelf.
LibraryThing link

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Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Love, Acceptance & Forgiveness

by Jerry Cook with Stanley C. Baldwin

A bit dated piece of waiting room material.
LibraryThing link

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Monday, December 06, 2010

Timescoop

by John Brunner

Amusing, though the cover copy is way misleading.

Waiting room material.
LibraryThing link

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Saturday, December 04, 2010

The Best of the Best

edited by Gardner Dozois

Check it out.
LibraryThing link

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Friday, December 03, 2010

Ulysses S. Grant

by Geoffrey Perret

This book is subtitle "Soldier & President", but you get far more of Grant the Soldier than Grant the Chief Executive. The biography starts off, as most do, with a somewhat brief account of Grant's childhood. The chapter surrounding his enrollment and education at West Point offers more detail and then you get a nice, detailed account of his service before, during and after the Mexican War. The Civil War years enjoy the most scrutiny, but then Mr. Perret rushes through Grant's years as President. 'Twas quite a surprise considering how much many of the other presidential biographies I've read focused on politics. I can't say that it's a bad thing--after all, I think the common consensus is that Grant was a far better soldier than he was a politician. As the former, Mr. Perret holds Grant in very high regard, ranking him on the same level of Napoleon. But don't think this is merely a book for military fanboys. Mr. Perret also serves up a lot of information of Grant's personal life. All in all he presents a well rounded, if private, man in a style that is quite readable.

Check it out.
LibraryThing link

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