LAST OF THE BOOK REVIEWS UNTIL AFTER THE 2004 ELECTION
Because of the increasing numbers of political books being published, most leaning unfairly to Left and nearly all authored by the political elite, the DDC will suspend additions to the Book Review section until after the 2004 presidential election. The selections below are the last reviews until after the election:
It's My America Too:
WHEN POLITICS GETS SHRILL BEYOND REASON
It's My America Too:
A Leading Young Conservative Shares His Views on Politics and Other Matters of Importance
Author: Ben Ferguson
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
From the Publisher
With It's My America Too, Ben Ferguson, the voice of America's youth and the host of The Ben Ferguson Show, one of the country's fastest-growing syndicated radio shows, delivers his views on all the issues, from politics to current affairs to popular culture. Everyone wants to know what Ferguson will say next - and here's your chance.
Ben Ferguson is a conservative who is also an independent thinker unafraid to take contrary positions. In It's My America Too, the twenty-two-year-old media star shoots from the hip and the lip on numerous topics. Ferguson tells us why he thinks the voting age should be lowered to sixteen; who the "New Minority" is - the twenty-something men and women who are overworked, underpaid, overmarketed, and drastically underrepresented; why politicians talk about and at young adults, but never to them; how he feels about everything from homeschooling to sex, NASCAR, and George W. Bush; and much more.
Ferguson's message is clear. He is not on a campaign to reform liberals and turn them into right-wing Republicans. He is presenting his views on American society and challenging those who do not agree with him to an open debate. Some will not agree with his political and religious views. What he hopes to accomplish, with both his radio show and this book, is to energize future generations about politics. The way to do this is through open communication. He is encouraging his generation (and even some in previous generations) to get involved and be heard.
Hip and forthright, funny yet never pedantic, Ferguson offers a fresh viewpoint and insights on topics such as "What the Republican Party can learn from BillClinton"; "Why anti-Americanism is our problem"; and "Dubya: my favorite redneck." He reveals a positive outlook on the economy, offers his opinions on bias in the media, and also includes chapters on Donald Rumsfeld, affirmative action, and the values instilled in him by his mother and father.
Ferguson's pride in his country, in his religious beliefs, and in his choices reflects his vision of the American dream. He is informed and determined to make a difference. Youthful as he is, he has a unique perspective not only on America and its history, but also on current events and issues. You may applaud his opinions or perhaps you will disagree with them. But for those of you who are angered by this book, Ferguson instructs: "Don't just get mad. Do something about it."
About the Author:
Ben Ferguson is the youngest nationally syndicated radio talk show host in the country and has been hosting talk radio programs since he was thirteen. He lives in Memphis, Tennessee.
From The Critics
DDC Note: Regardless of whether it's from the Right or the Left, it's refreshing to see young people get involved in their democracy and the political process. Unfortunately, many book publishers and book critics don't see it that way from the Left's perspective. In addition to the book, we recently saw and heard Ben Ferguson on C-Span Book TV, and we were impressed by his passionate beliefs and efforts to get other young people involved.
Having gone from a weekly stint on a major Memphis radio program at age 13 to 120 stations and counting for the Ben Ferguson Show at 22, the syndicated conservative wunderkind takes a stab in print at being the voice of conservative youth. On a host of political issues (gun control, school prayer, etc.), Ferguson's approach is "telling it like it is." His positions are to the right of center (for school prayer, against gun control), but Ferguson presents himself as a contrarian. As proof of his independence, he criticizes Republicans for their complacency and lack of concern for average Americans and even urges them to learn from Bill Clinton's "I feel your pain" populism. A light polemic, Ferguson's book is not closely argued; the writing is unsophisticated and the ideas are simplistic. But the book-dedicated in part to "those who hope I fail"-is just as much about pointed revelation ("Some people laugh when I tell them I am twenty-two and have never had sex," begins the chapter "Why I'm a Virgin") and Ferguson's stocktaking of his career so far, which will be of just as much interest to fans.
He's young (22), he's conservative, and he's syndicated on 120 stations.
Spatter some pimples on Rush Limbaugh, substitute Kit Kats for OxyContin, rev up the sense of entitlement, layer in a high-pitched whine, and you have this thin primer: conservatism for tots. To judge by both title and contents, young right-wing radio host Ferguson believes that there's no room for conservatives in America. He's under other misapprehensions, too, apparently not knowing that Bob Dornan lost his political office for reasons other than the enmity of "lesbian spearchuckers," seemingly unaware (though he's from Memphis) that white folks catch a few more breaks than do nonwhite people, presumably undaunted by the fact that he's not very funny-as when, for instance, he assails affirmative action with the ham-fisted demand that the airwaves carry "a transgendered Eskimo paraplegic rapper, and a ninety-year-old Arapaho dwarf rapper, and, what the heck, maybe a pair of Honduran conjoined-twin rappers," presumably to balance him and Rush and their pals. That's actually one of the more coherent moments, a taste of salt to offset the sugar-sweet patriotism of the rest of this screed, which has all the analytical power of a greeting card. Elsewhere, for instance, Ferguson complains about how amazing it is "that so many liberals could condemn the NRA after Columbine without stopping for one minute to ask if the valueless, immoral swamp that our culture has become is part of the problem," reckons that "What scares me . . . is the fact that we as a nation are allowing bitter, hateful people to get rid of God," and frets that "some kids who do home-schooling really suffer because they don't have any social interaction with other students, and that makes them awkward and nervous aroundother kids. That's really sad." It all gets even more pathetic when Ferguson pitches a case for lowering the voting age to 16. A Bill O'Reilly for the braces and knee-socks set, as if we needed one.
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WHEN POLITICS GETS BEYOND REASON
On Saturday, September 4, 2004, C-Span Book TV featured the popular Strand Book Store in New York City. Brian Lamb hosted the event with a number of informative guests, including Peter Osnos, chairman and publisher of Public Affairs Publishing, and Adam Bellow, editor at Doubleday. Then it got ugly when the shrill level went over the top between journalist and radio host, Amy Goodman and Wall Street Journal editorial board member and columnist, John Fund.
Of course, both Goodman and Fund were there to advance their new books, joining the flood of political books flowing from publishers during the hostile campaigns of 2004 presidential election.
The Exception to the Rulers:
Exposing Oily Politicians, War Profiteers, and the Media That Loves Them
Authors: Amy Goodman, David Goodman
From the Publisher
The acclaimed host of Pacifica Network's Democracy Now! challenges the corporate and political hypocrisy that has silenced America. Bill Clinton called her, "Hostile, combative, and even disrespectful." Newt Gingrich told her that it was because of "people like you" that he warned his mother not to speak to reporters. The New York Times says she's a "reporter who's not easy-listening." The Indonesian military banned her, calling her a "threat to national security."
Amy Goodman's The Exception to the Rulers, written with her brother David Goodman, chronicles the tireless efforts of an unembedded journalist and her colleagues to get to the truth and expose the lies, corruption and crimes of the power elite-an elite that is bolstered by large media conglomerates.
For years, award-winning journalist Amy Goodman has confronted the Washington establishment and its corporate cronies. She hosts the national radio and TV show Democracy Now!, now the largest public media collaboration in North America and a phenomenal grassroots movement. Her goal is "to go to where the silence is, to give voice to the silenced majority."
Now, in her first book, Amy Goodman offers her no-holds-barred perspective on world events and the hidden motives behind those in power. On subjects ranging from the deceptions of the George W. Bush administration, war profiteering in Iraq, to the corruption of media monopolies and corporate influence over the government, Amy Goodman attacks and exposes the lies and hypocrisy that put democracy at risk.
From The Critics
Journalist and radio host Goodman brings her hard-hitting, no-holds-barred brand of reporting to an array of human rights, government accountability and media responsibility issues, and the result is bracing and timely. Goodman isn't about to let anyone slide by with easy explanations, not even then President Clinton when he called in on her daily Pacifica news show. And she is fierce and tireless in her commitment to dig behind official versions of the facts to get to very different stories. Her analysis of Iraq War contracts won by certain key Bush campaign donors will open many eyes, not only with its neat comparison of donation amount with contract value but also with its bold presentation of "Crony Connections." A gadfly's life in these turbulent times is neither restful nor boring, and Goodman's perspective on events like genocidal massacres in East Timor and mainstream coverage of the Jessica Lynch rescue is both important and alarming. Instances in which newspapers like the New York Times and the Washington Post have published stories based on leaked reports from unnamed government sources only to have to retract the stories later as being unfounded allow Goodman to argue that sophisticated news management techniques of spin, disinformation and controlled access to sources are undermining the reliability of media reporting. How, she asks, could journalists "embedded" with U.S. troops in Iraq be objective reporters of all that was occurring there, and whose interests were being served? These and other provocative questions power Goodman's stirring call for a democratic media serving a democratic society. (Apr.) Forecast: Enthusiastic blurbs from Michael Moore, Noam Chomsky and Arundhati Roy will draw the attention of activist-minded readers, and a national publicity and author tour should build on election-year interest in Goodman's perspective on government responsibility, accuracy in media reporting and the complex impact of globalization.
What People Are Saying
This book puts the pedal to the metal of all the lies we're told, day in and day out. Amy Goodman is a national treasure . . .
- (Michael Moore, filmmaker (Bowling for Columbine) and author, Stupid White Men and Dude, Where's My Country?)
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How Voter Fraud Threatens our Democracy
Author: John Fund
Publisher: Encounter Books
What People Are Saying
The Florida Fiasco of 2000, with hanging chads, butterfly ballots and Supreme Court intervention, forced Americans to confront an ugly reality. The U.S. has the sloppiest election systems of any industrialized nation, so sloppy that at least eight of the 19 hijackers who attacked the World Trade Center and the Pentagon were actually able to register to vote in either Virginia or Florida while they made their deadly preparations for 9/11.
In Stealing Elections, John Fund takes the reader on a national tour of voter fraud scandals ranging from rural states like Texas and Mississippi to big cities such as Philadelphia and Milwaukee. He explores dark episodes such as the way "vote brokers" stole a mayoral election in Miami in 1998 by tampering with 4700 absentee ballots. He shows how, in the aftermath of the Motor Voter Law of 1993, Californians used mail-in forms to get absentee ballots for fictitious people and pets, while in St. Louis it was discovered that voter rolls included 13,000 more names than the U.S. Census listed as the total number of adults in the city.
Election officials try to reassure voters by turning to computerized voting machines. But Fund shows that with the new technology come even greater concerns. Early in 2004, for instance, the state of Maryland, which has 16,000 new Diebold machines, commissioned a security expert to try to rig a practice election. He and his team broke into the computer at the State Board of Elections, completely changed the outcome of the election, left, and erased their electronic trail-all in under five minutes.
Stealing Elections gives us a chilling portrait of our electoral vulnerability-in the 2004 presidential election and on into the future. Writing with urgency and authority, John Fund shows how a lethal combination of bureaucratic bungling and ballot rigging have put our democracy at risk.
John Fund is a member of the Wall Street Journal's editorial board and writes the paper's daily "Political Diary." He has written on voter fraud and election irregularities for the last decade in the Wall Street Journal, New Republic, American Spectator and other publications. In the past year, Fund has made over 90 appearances on Fox News, MSNBC, C-Span, and CNBC.
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