Some of us remember our first reading of Atlas Shrugged like our first time behind the wheel of a car: intoxicating but inexplicably discomforting in spots. The 1,000-plus pages of Ayn Rand’s magnum opus positively pulse with the sorts of stuff that those of us in the freedom camp embrace: heroic capitalists, a strident anti-collectivist cant, and the unapologetic championing of individual rights.
The declining rate of literacy in this nation has hardly proven itself an impediment to the production of books by American Presidents past, present, and (according to authorial intention) future. To such volumes may be added the memoirs of first ladies, Vice Presidents, and appointees to various high offices — all of which are offered under the proposition that they offer some insight into the inner workings of policies foreign and domestic during the various administrations with which their authors were associated.
The destruction of the American Republic will not come at the hands of terrorists nor, in all likelihood, from any nation or coalition of nations arrayed against us. It will be done by us, and we are making great progress at it, as Thomas E. Woods, Jr. amply demonstrates in his latest book, Rollback: Repealing Big Government Before the Coming Fiscal Collapse.
When most Americans hear of Abraham Lincoln, our 16th President, they have an almost knee-jerk, visceral response that elevates Lincoln to the level of the great emancipator of enslaved African Americans, national unifier, America’s first great non-racist and tolerant President, and defender of the Union and the racial equality of blacks. While this romanticized notion of Lincoln and his presidency has pervaded the national consciousness for almost 140 years, objective historical evidence paints a radically and fundamentally different picture of the real Abraham Lincoln.
A plethora of books have appeared the past few years seeking to explain the economic crisis that shook the industrialized world in 2008, but few have dealt extensively with the impact of that crisis that emerged even earlier — in 2006 — in the tiny nation of Iceland. For those who have only a passing familiarity with the development of the 2008 collapse, this might not seem to be all that much of a shortcoming: To state the matter crassly, why worry about a nation with a population of a mere 300,000 citizens, when 300 million Americans were wrapped up in their own financial worries?
As I was listening to Michael Savage’s radio show no more than a year ago, I heard something that might have caused his faithful listeners to scurry for the anti-depressants. (That is, if the host weren’t so steadfast in counseling against their use.) Dejected over his unfair inclusion on a list of individuals banned from travel to Britain, Savage expressed an intention to leave the airwaves in the not-too-distant future. Since then, however, certain events have changed his mind. Not the least of these, I believe, is his desire to fight the good fight against the statist advance under the Obama administration. And the result of this patriotic motivation is his latest book Trickle Up Poverty (TUP).
Donald Rumsfeld, the former Secretary of Defense under President George W. Bush, has jumped on the literary bandwagon earlier this month with the publication and release of his memoirs, Known and Unknown, titled after one of his many abstruse statements and quotes given to the press during one of his infamous press conferences on the “global war on terror”: "Reports that say that something hasn't happened are always interesting to me, because as we know, there are known knowns; there are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns — the ones we don't know we don't know."
In an age that glorifies specialization, and often threatens to narrow the interests and achievements of individuals to subfields sterilely reduced to less than an intellectual handbreadth, a person who is truly multifaceted and who offers contributions to a broad array of fields is to be received as a treasure. The recent “manifesto” produced by Jaron Lanier — one of the giants of “virtual reality” research — continues to demonstrate that its author is one such individual.
Most Americans remember Newt Gingrich as being the former Speaker of the House who led America into the glories of conservative victory, and who guided the Republican Party to electoral success in its 1994 “Revolution,” which resulted in the economic boon of the Internet era of the late 1990s and early 2000s. Most do not associate Newt, however, with his true record, which speaks volumes about his underlying ideology and motivations. This ideology is especially evident in his 2007 book A Contract with the Earth, which he coauthored with environmentalist Terry Maple.