Book Reviews

The Killing Years

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The Way of the Knife: The CIA, a Secret Army, and a War at the Ends of the Earth by Mark Mazzetti (Penguin Press 2013), 400 pages. Dirty Wars: The World Is a Battlefield by Jeremy Scahill (Nation Books 2013), 680 pages. The young man reached across the table and pushed the timer’s red button. Looking up ... [click for more]

Whither Power?

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The End of Power: From Boardrooms to Battlefields and Churches to States, Why Being in Charge Isn’t What It Used to Be by Moisés Naím (Basic Books 2013), 320 pages. The topic of Moisés Naím’s book is the decay of power — the shift of power “from brawn to brains, from north to south and west to east, ... [click for more]

The Business Cycle Explained

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It Didn’t Have to Be This Way: Why Boom and Bust Is Unnecessary — and How the Austrian School of Economics Breaks the Cycle by Harry C. Veryser (Intercollegiate Studies Institute 2012), 318 pages. This is one instance where a book’s subtitle tells the reader much more about its content than the title does. You know at once that ... [click for more]

Revisiting Vietnam

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Kill Anything That Moves: The Real American War in Vietnam by Nick Turse (Metropolitan Books, 2013), 386 pages. The Vietnam War polarized Americans in the 20th century like no other event, dividing the people as no war had since the so-called Civil War a century earlier. Even though Vietnam was thousands of miles away, had not attacked the United ... [click for more]

The Welfare State Exposed

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After the Welfare State, edited by Tom G. Palmer (Jameson Books, 2012), 180 pages Most Americans (indeed, most people in every advanced nation) walk around in a fog of myths and misconceptions concerning the subject of this book — the welfare state. They believe that in the absence of governmental welfare programs, there would be little or no support ... [click for more]

Manufacturing Terrorists

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The Terror Factory: Inside the FBI’s Manufactured War on Terrorism by Trevor Aaronson (Ig Publishing, 2013), 272 pages. Predators stalk Muslim-American communities across the nation today. They talk of brotherhood and of sacrifice. They talk of jihad and the duty of fellow Muslims to come to the defense of the faithful. Often they prey on the most vulnerable within ... [click for more]

Book Review: The Moral Case for a Free Economy

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Defending the Free Market: The Moral Case for a Free Economy by Robert Sirico (Regnery Publishing, 2012), 213 pages. Critics of the free market assert that it fails the underprivileged, leads to income inequality, exploits the poor, and is at times downright cruel. They charge its defenders with being motivated by greed, selfishness, and materialism, and making a god out ... [click for more]

Book Review: Opponent of Empire

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Rome’s Last Citizen:  The Life and Legacy of Cato, Mortal Enemy of Caesar by Rob Goodman and Jimmy Soni (Thomas Dunne/St. Martin’s Press, 2012),  311 pages. A day, an hour, of virtuous liberty / is worth a whole eternity in bondage. — Joseph Addison, Cato Some of us know that the Cato Institute is named for Cato’s Letters, a series of essays ... [click for more]

Book Review: Slightly Limited Government’s Nearly Last Hurrah

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Coolidge by Amity Shlaes (New York: Harper, 2013), 456 pages. I am for economy. After that, I am for more economy. — Calvin Coolidge (1920) Amity Shlaes’s Coolidge is a compelling biography of John Calvin Coolidge (1872–1933), 30th president of the United States. It is a well-paced narrative with elements of novelistic plotting and repeated themes both great and small. Indeed, ... [click for more]

Book Review: Jingo Democrats

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The Emergency State: America’s Pursuit of Absolute Security at All Costs by David C. Unger (New York: Penguin Press, 2012), 368 pages. During a meeting on the Bosnian crisis in the early 1990s, Madeleine Albright, the U.S. ambassador to the UN, furiously asked Colin Powell, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, “What’s the point of having this superb ... [click for more]

The Cataclysm of World War II

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Human Smoke: The Beginnings of World War II, the End of Civilization by Nicholson Baker (New York: Simon and Schuster, 2008), 567 pages. World War II was the great event of the 20th century. It greatly altered political boundaries, ushered in the Cold War, effected a total transformation in American governance, and consumed more lives than any other event ... [click for more]

Book Review: What Reality Teaches Us

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No, They Can’t: Why Government Fails — But Individuals Succeed by John Stossel (New York: Threshold Editions, 2012), 324 pages. John Stossel is the well-known host of Stossel on Fox Business. A graduate of Princeton, he has won an incredible 19 Emmy awards, is a five-time honoree for excellence in consumer reporting, and is a New York Times bestselling ... [click for more]
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