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Front Page » Table of Contents » Archive: Books & Book Reviews: June 2007

By an everyday book reader on June 1, 2007

David Kuo went to Washington wanting to use his Christian faith to end abortion, strengthen marriage, and help the poor. He reached the heights of political power, ultimately serving in the White House under George W. Bush, after being policy adviser to John Ashcroft and speechwriter for Ralph Reed, Pat Robertson, and Bob Dole. It was a dream come true: the chance to fuse his politics and his faith, and an opportunity for Christians not just to gain a seat at the proverbial table but to plan the entire meal.

Instead of following the teachings of Jesus to serve the needy, Kuo explains that he found himself helping to manipulate religious faith for political gain.

Read more of this post here ...

By an everyday book reader on June 1, 2007

"I believe that American democracy is in grave danger. It is no longer possible to ignore the strangeness of our public discourse. I know that I am not the only one who feels that something has gone basically and badly wrong in the way America's fabled 'marketplace of ideas' now functions." - Al Gore

How did we get here? How much damage has been done to the functioning of our democracy and its role as steward of our security? Never has there been a worse time for us to lose the capacity to face the reality of our long-term challenges, from national security to the economy, from issues of health care, social safety nets and the environment.

As this book shows us, we have precious little time to waste.

Read more of this post here ...

By an everyday book reader on June 1, 2007

Coal is hot. Press accounts hail it as "the energy of our future." Given the recent assertions made by the Bush administration, it would seem that coal is a glistening new energy alternative, the answer to the current oil crisis.

Few of us realize that coal is already one of America's biggest and most influential industries: "Big Coal" provides more than half of the electricity consumed by Americans today. Every time we flip a light switch or turn on the television, we burn a lump of coal. And coal's dominance is growing. The problem, Jeff Goodell points out in the eye-opening call to action, is that on close examination, the glowing promise of coal quickly turns to ash.

Coal mining practices are setting us up for economic and environmental catastrophes.

Read more of this post here ...

By an everyday book reader on June 1, 2007

This stunning read addresses the harsh reality of a society that, while glorifying motherhood in theory, relegates mothers to second-class status. In fact, the author identifies motherhood as the "single biggest risk factor for poverty in old age," a chilling assertion.

With a mix of outrage and sensibility, Crittenden pinpoints the failings of society toward mothers and offers suggestions for improved treatment of this marginalized sector.

This is an admirable - and charged - defense of motherhood, reminding us that unpaid female labor is "the priceless, invisible heart of the economy," and those who engage in this labor deserve the same rights, and the same respect, as other workers.

Read more of this post here ...

By an everyday book reader on June 1, 2007

Hailed as a great success, welfare reform resulted in a dramatic decline in the welfare rolls - from 4.4 million families in 1996 to 2.1 million in 2001. But what does this "success" look like to the welfare mothers and welfare caseworkers who experienced it?

In Flat Broke, With Children, Sharon Hays tells us the story of welfare reform from inside the welfare office and inside the lives of welfare mothers, describing the challenges that welfare recipients face in managing their work, their families, and the rules and regulations of welfare reform. Welfare reform, experienced on the ground, is not a rosy picture.

This very readable, important, and stimulating work deals with the consequences of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996.

Read more of this post here ...

By an everyday book reader on June 1, 2007

Over the last 15 years, the state of inner-city public schools has been in a steep and continuing decline. Since the federal courts began dismantling the landmark ruling in Brown v. Board of Education, segregation of black children has reverted to its highest level since 1968. In many inner-city schools, a stick-and-carrot method of behavioral control traditionally used in prisons is now used with students. Meanwhile, as high-stakes testing takes on pathological and punitive dimensions, liberal education has been increasingly replaced by culturally barren and robotic methods of instruction that would be rejected out of hand by schools that serve the mainstream of society.

Filled with the passionate voices of children, principals, and teachers, and some of the most revered leaders in the black community, The Shame of the Nation pays tribute to those undefeated educators who persist against the odds, but directly challenges the chilling practices now being forced upon our urban systems.

Kozol offers a humane, dramatic challenge to our nation to fulfill at last the promise made some 50 years ago to all our youngest citizens.

Read more of this post here ...

By an everyday book reader on June 1, 2007

This book is filled with heart-felt stories that will anger and sadden you but in the end you feel empowered by these women of all ethnic backgrounds who have one thing in common - strength. These are powerful, real essays from powerful, real women.

They describe how they base their diet on the whims of the local pawnshop, deal with the disrespect and abuse of those paid to help them, and take responsibility for the survival of all who struggle with hard work, low pay, sexism, and the constant awareness that, at present, nearly all doors are closed against them.

Read more of this post here ...

By an everyday book reader on June 1, 2007

Hope Dies Last is Studs Terkel's inspiring new oral history of social action in America.

An alternative, more personal history of the "American century," Hope Dies Last forms a legacy of the indefatigable spirit that Studs has always embodied, and an inheritance for those who, by taking a stand, are making concrete the dreams of today.

Read more of this post here ...

By an everyday book reader on June 1, 2007

Many of us find ourselves caught somewhere between unbelieving activists and inactive believers. We can write a check to feed starving children or hold signs in the streets and feel like we've made a difference without ever encountering the faces of the suffering masses. In this book, Shane Claiborne describes an authentic faith rooted in belief, action, and love, inviting us into a movement of the Spirit that begins inside each of us and extends into a broken world.

Shane's message will comfort the disturbed, and disturb the comfortable . . . but will also invite us into an irresistible revolution. His is a vision for ordinary radicals ready to change the world with little acts of love.

Read more of this post here ...

By an everyday book reader on June 1, 2007

The road trip is a staple of modern American literature. But nowhere in American literature, until now, has an economist hit the road, observing and interpreting the extraordinary range and spectacle of U.S. life, bringing out its conflicts and contradictions with humor and insight.

"Here's the travel book the chamber of commerce doesn't want you to have. It shows you the way to places of great beauty, but it also invites you into the parts of real America that other books avoid - gated communities in small towns, homeless kids in our cites, poor people of color toiling at arduous and poorly-paid labor, burgeoning economic inequality, and environmental destruction in our national parks. Read this book. It might change the way you see our country the next time you travel." - Jim Hightower, national radio commentator and author of Thieves In High Places

Read more of this post here ...

By an everyday book reader on June 1, 2007

This book argues that the middle class is not the natural consequence of a free market based economy, but rather, the intended result of policies put into place to maximize the public good.

Unfortunately, the American middle class is on its deathbed. People who put in a solid day's work can no longer afford to buy a house, send their kids to college, or even get sick. This is because a covert war, waged by conservative and corporate forces, is dismantling policies like Social Security, Medicare, the minimum wage, and fair labor laws.

The result is the unnatural extinction of the middle class and the economy that Roosevelt, Truman, and Eisenhower envisioned.

Read more of this post here ...

By an everyday book reader on June 1, 2007

Most of the accounts of the Iraq War so far have been, to use the term the war made famous, embedded in one way or another: many officially so with American troops, most others limited - by mobility, interest, or understanding - to the American experience of the conflict.

In Night Draws Near, Washington Post reporter Anthony Shadid writes about a side of the war that Americans have heard little about.

His beat, for which he won a Pulitzer Prize, is the territory outside the barricaded, air-conditioned Green Zone: the Iraqi streets and, more often, the apartments and houses, darkened by blackouts and shaken by explosions, where most Iraqis wait out Saddam, the invasion, and three nearly unbroken decades of war.

Read more of this post here ...

By an everyday book reader on June 1, 2007

"The author insists on peacemaking instead of war mongering and mocks the rhetorical nonsense our leaders use to justify carnage as he uses space and even spelling as a mirror of intent exploring the relationship between how we use words to how we act in the world.The world needs this book!" -- Susan Bright, author, Breathing Under Water

Read more of this post here ...

By an everyday book reader on June 1, 2007

State of Denial examines how the Bush administration avoided telling the truth about Iraq to the public, to Congress, and often to themselves.

Woodward's book presents an insightful glimpse into the inner workings of the Bush administration as it led our country into the war in Iraq.

This book answers the core questions we've all had: What happened after the invasion of Iraq? Why? How does Bush make decisions and manage a war that he chose to define his presidency? And is there an achievable plan for victory?

Read more of this post here ...

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We have more! This page only lists entries in a particular month. It's likely that we have many more blog posts under this same category in other months too. Most of the posts that our authors publish are timeless and relevant, regardless of when the articles are posted. We encourage and welcome you to look back through our archives in this same category.

The previous archive is Books & Book Reviews: May 2007.

The next archive is Books & Book Reviews: July 2007.


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The entries on this page fall under the heading of Books & Book Reviews: June 2007.

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The previous archive is Books & Book Reviews: May 2007.

The next archive is Books & Book Reviews: July 2007.

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