Monday, November 30, 2009

First in His Class or On Religious Liberty

First in His Class: A Biography of Bill Clinton

Author: David Maraniss

Who exactly is Bill Clinton, and why was he, of all the brilliant and ambitious men in his generation, the first in his class to reach the White House? Drawing on hundreds of letters, documents, and interviews, David Maraniss explores the evolution of the personality of our forty-second president from his youth in Arkansas to his 1991 announcement that he would run for the nation's highest office. In this richly textured and balanced biography, Maraniss reveals a complex man full of great flaws and great talents. First in His Class is the definitive book on Bill Clinton.

Publishers Weekly

In this incisive, richly textured, fair-minded biography of Bill Clinton, which ends on the night he announced his presidential candidacy, Washington Post reporter Maraniss limns a quintessential politician, "sincere and deceptive at the same time.'' Drawing on interviews with nearly 400 people, including Clinton's closest friends, colleagues and relatives, Maraniss taps two sides of Clinton-one intelligent, empathetic, indefatigable, another petulant, tantrum-prone, indecisive, misleading, too eager to please-and declares that these components of the man are inseparable. There are revealing glimpses of Clinton the semi-bohemian Oxford antiwar activist; the casual, disorganized University of Arkansas law professor; and the Arkansas governor soliciting large contributions from corporate leaders for the public relations arm of his permanent political campaign. Maraniss, whose articles on Clinton's presidential candidacy won a Pulitzer Prize, also illuminates Clinton's pragmatic partnership with Hillary Rodham and their dependence on each other during their long haul from Arkansas to the White House.

Library Journal

Clinton books have been as ubiquitous as photos of the president in jogging shorts and ill-fitting suits. Maraniss's biography similarly suffers more from overexposure than content. Most of the book examines Clinton's educational roots-from high school, where he graduated fourth, not first, in his class through Georgetown, Oxford, and Yale universities. Washington Post reporter Maraniss is at his best portraying Clinton as a product of the 1960s, when his life experiences and views were tempered by liberalism. He was tormented, as were so many of his peers, by the possibility of being drafted to serve in Vietnam; his actions were buffeted by wanting to avoid service without becoming involved in protests that could haunt his political career. This sympathetic portrait concludes with Clinton's decision to seek the 1992 Democratic presidential nomination. Maraniss's book complements John Brummett's Highwire (LJ 9/15/94), which also sees Clinton as a product of either his educational or geographical roots. The large number of existing Clinton titles and his declining popularity may make this book a tough sell. For public libraries.
-- Karl Helicher, Upper Merion Township Library, King of Prussia, PA

Library Journal

Clinton books have been as ubiquitous as photos of the president in jogging shorts and ill-fitting suits. Maraniss's biography similarly suffers more from overexposure than content. Most of the book examines Clinton's educational roots-from high school, where he graduated fourth, not first, in his class through Georgetown, Oxford, and Yale universities. Washington Post reporter Maraniss is at his best portraying Clinton as a product of the 1960s, when his life experiences and views were tempered by liberalism. He was tormented, as were so many of his peers, by the possibility of being drafted to serve in Vietnam; his actions were buffeted by wanting to avoid service without becoming involved in protests that could haunt his political career. This sympathetic portrait concludes with Clinton's decision to seek the 1992 Democratic presidential nomination. Maraniss's book complements John Brummett's Highwire (LJ 9/15/94), which also sees Clinton as a product of either his educational or geographical roots. The large number of existing Clinton titles and his declining popularity may make this book a tough sell. For public libraries.
-- Karl Helicher, Upper Merion Township Library, King of Prussia, PA

What People Are Saying

Robert A. Caro
David Maraniss has written a compelling, vivid portrait of a very complex man. First in His Class is, moreover, a work of great integrity, notable for the scrupulousness of its documentations, which shines forth from every page.
— Robert A. Caro, author of Means of Ascent: The Years of Lyndon Johnson

Interesting textbook: Getting Things Done or We Bought a Zoo

On Religious Liberty: Selections from the Works of Roger Williams

Author: Roger Williams

Banished from the Massachusetts Bay Colony for his refusal to conform to Puritan religious and social standards, Roger Williams established a haven in Rhode Island for those persecuted in the name of the religious establishment. He conducted a lifelong debate over religious freedom with distinguished figures of the seventeenth century, including Puritan minister John Cotton, Massachusetts governor John Endicott, and the English Parliament.

James Calvin Davis gathers together important selections from Williams's public and private writings on religious liberty, illustrating how this renegade Puritan radically reinterpreted Christian moral theology and the events of his day in a powerful argument for freedom of conscience and the separation of church and state. For Williams, the enforcement of religious uniformity violated the basic values of Calvinist Christianity and presumed upon God's authority to speak to the individual conscience. He argued that state coercion was rarely effective, often causing more harm to the church and strife to the social order than did religious pluralism.

This is the first collection of Williams's writings in forty years reaching beyond his major work, The Bloody Tenent, to include other selections from his public and private writings. This carefully annotated book introduces Williams to a new generation of readers.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Violent Politics or The CEO of the Sofa

Violent Politics: A History of Insurgency, Terrorism, and Guerilla War, from the American Revolution to Iraq

Author: William R Polk

In the current Middle East, insurgency tactics are used with frequency and increasing success. But guerrilla war-fare is not just the tool of modern-day terrorists. Its roots stretch back to our very own revolution.

In Violent Politics, William Polk takes us on a concise, brilliant tour of insurgencies throughout history, starting with the American struggle for independence, when fighters had to battle against both the British and the loyalists, those colonists who sided with the monarchy. Instinctively, in a way they probably wouldn't have described as a coherent strategy, the rebel groups employed the tactics of insurgency.

From there, Polk explores the role of insurgency in several other notable conflicts, including the Spanish guerrilla war against Napoleon, the Irish struggle for independence, the Algerian War of National Independence, and Vietnam. He eventually lands at the present day, where the lessons of this history are needed more than ever as Americans engage in ongoing campaigns in Afghanistan and Iraq—and beyond.

Kirkus Reviews

A captivating but disquieting examination of how insurgencies begin, grow, persist and either succeed or fail. Former State Department advisor Polk (The Birth of America: From Before Columbus to the Revolution, 2006, etc.) accompanies a dozen accounts of national uprisings with eye-opening and remarkably similar explanations of their history. Initially, insurgents are too few for organized resistance so they fight as terrorists-American colonists' opposition to British taxation in the 1770s qualifies. When the dominant government tries to suppress terrorism, it inevitably disrupts lives and kills innocent bystanders, thereby producing recruits seeking vengeance. Vicious Nazi reprisals, executing hundreds of civilians to avenge a single German soldier, only fed resistance in Yugoslavia, Russia and Greece. Despite a policy of not harming civilians in Iraq and Afghanistan, America's immense firepower has accomplished the same thing. To succeed, a growing insurgency must win recognition as the nationalist movement. Ho Chi Minh's forces had achieved this by 1945, Polk concludes, so American intervention was doomed from the start. Insurgents fail if, like the Irish Republican Army and the Basque separatists, they don't win over most of their countrymen, and full-blown insurgencies disrupt the administration of the dominant power. By the 1960s, the Viet Cong had murdered so many local officials that South Vietnam's government virtually ceased to function outside Saigon. The American colonies' committees of safety expelled British officials and loyalists and set up their own local governments. After listing insults directed at insurgents (bandits, thugs, terrorists, anarchists, communists,religious fanatics), the author convincingly drives home his point: Nationalism trumps ideology. Marshall Tito in Yugoslavia was communist, but almost all his fighters simply hated Germans. Most Iraqi insurgents are no more religious than the average citizen. Once people see their rulers as foreign or dominated by foreigners, an insurgency that has achieved national acceptance is essentially unbeatable. Readers hoping America can win hearts and minds in Iraq and Afghanistan will find no encouragement here. A lucid, absorbing analysis of the theory and reality underpinning three centuries of insurgent movements.

Go to: Fireside Politics or Perspectives on Organizational Communication

The CEO of the Sofa

Author: P J ORourk

New York Times bestselling author P.J. O'Rourke has toured the fighting in Bosnia, visited the West Bank disguised as P.J. of Arabia, lobbed one-liners on the battlefields of the Gulf War, and traded quips with Communist rebels in the jungles of the Philippines. Now in The CEO of the Sofa, he embarks on a mission to the most frightening place of all - his own home. Ensconced on the domestic boardroom's throne (although not supposed to put his feet on the cushions), he faces a three-year-old who wants a cell phone, a freelance career devoted to writing articles like "Chewing-Mouth Dogs Bring Hope to People with Eating Disorders," and neighbors who smell like Democrats ("That is, using smell as a transitive verb. When I light a cigar they wave their hands in front of their faces and pretend to cough."). Undaunted - with the help of martinis - by middle age, P.J. holds forth on everything from getting toddlers to sleep ("Advice to parents whose kids love the story of the dinosaurs: Don't give away the surprise ending") to why Hillary Clinton's election victory was a good thing ("We Republicans were almost out of people to hate in the Senate. Teddy Kennedy is just too old and fat to pick on").

And P.J. leaps (well, groans and pushes himself up) from the couch to pursue assignments such as a high-speed drive across the ugliest part of India at the hottest time of the year, a blind (drunk) wine tasting with Christopher Buckley, and a sojourn at the U.N. Millennial Summit, where he runs the risk of perishing from boredom and puts readers in peril of laughing themselves to death.

Publishers Weekly

Not content to rest on his laurels, the bestselling humorist O'Rourke (All the Trouble in the World, etc.) instead settles back on his caustic couch to offer a wide-angled worldview from his own living room, his salon of sarcasm. He introduces readers to his assistant, friends, family and smart-aleck babysitter, as he reflects on such topics as cell phones ("People are willing to interrupt anything, including hiding under the bed, to answer a cell phone"), Christmas catalogues, Instant Messaging, MP3s, Nasdaq, toddlers, TV and how the "Gettysburg Address" would have turned out if written on an iMac. On a serious note, he praises the "philosophical legerdemain" of Hunter Thompson's Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. He also reviews the "profound cogitations" of Hillary Clinton's 1995 It Takes a Village ("Some kinds of stupidity cannot be faked"), compares Vegas's Venetian resort to the real Venice ("Will video poker ever inspire a novella by Thomas Mann?") and contemplates the results of bias-free language ("What a piece of work is person!"). For "senior-management types," one hilarious chapter explains youth culture and current celebs, including Moby, Eminem, Carson Daly, Hilary Swank and Beck: "Beck dropped out of school after junior high so we can't blame the dot-com mess on him personally." Though his vitriolic wit is couched in humor that elicits the gamut from giggles to guffaws, O'Rourke never cushions its impact. The comedic crescendo is his centerpiece, a summary of mankind's achievements at millennium's end. This insightful (yet also funny) essay alone is worth the price of admission. (Sept.) Forecast: The 150,000 first printing is backed up with an appealing cover photo, a $150,000promotional budget, a national ad campaign, an 18-city author tour plus online promotion. O'Rourke will undoubtedly find himself on the bestseller list again. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.

Library Journal

In The CEO of the Sofa, O'Rourke shows that while he may be having trouble remembering the story of his life, he certainly hasn't lost one iota of his wit. He uses this book to point out, with heaps of sarcasm, the horrors of the cell phone, the UN, MP3 files, and childbirth. When his alterego, the political nut, takes over, you know which way the chad will fall as he discusses the absurdities of recent political history. O'Rourke has a gift for taking a mundane assignment and turning it into the funniest story you've ever heard and he does this nonstop. His tale on traveling through India is worth the price of the program. And who else would think of doing an essay on blind-drunk wine tasting? The author's humor works on both sides of the political aisle, and to make it even better, Dick Hill's performance is perfect. Highly recommended for all libraries we can all use a laugh these days. Theresa Connors, Arkansas Tech Univ., Russellville Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.

Kirkus Reviews

O'Rourke (Eat the Rich, 1998, etc.), sharpest of the right-wing comic writers-not a populous gang, to be sure-this time stays at home to deliver his caustic, frequently malevolent commentary. The stock characters who help the this domestic Republican Dagwood launch miscellaneous brickbats at "dupes," "bakeheads," "nooky-moochers," "hair farmers," "bird-brains," and a "hay-breath" include a clever spouse, assistant Max, a couple of offspring, and a teenage neighbor. There are a dozen chapters with monthly headings, though there's little relation to monthly events, in which O'Rourke unloads on disparate topics. Of course, there's the UN, Social Security, and Third Way Economics (with help from the Cato Institute). There's much ad hominem about the Clintons. (He alludes to the distaff Clinton as "that she-ape from New York State.") There are digressions regarding drugs, booze, art, and business management as well as connubial and parental matters. For no special reason, there is also a long, patently recycled piece about India. Venice as presented in Las Vegas is preferred to the Italian original. He proposes a campaign for a politically correct cause ("Slogan: 'Alzheimer's-Fergedaboutdit!' ") and waxes kind of enthusiastic about cigars (though a beat behind the craze). Throughout, O'Rourke is as self-assured as any New York mayor, grandly dissing any ideology insufficiently libertarian. Sometimes it's quite funny and sometimes, like the wine-tasting parody, it has no nose, no legs-it's simply jejune. One natural target for any other professional political japester, George W. Bush, is never approached-but no surprise there. By the final entry, for August 2001, the rant is no more thanbile. Conservatively speaking, O'Rourke's current patchwork is not up to his previous entries. But as Dave Barry's goofy, evil twin, he's still funnier than Pat Buchanan or Arianna Huffington. First printing of 150,000; $150,000 ad/promo; author tour

Table of Contents:
Chapter ISeptember 20001
Oliver Wendell Holmes has been agreeing with the CEO's opinions for nearly one hundred and fifty years
The CEO's wife does so less frequently
The CEO speaks on the subject of mobile phones in the manner of a 1959 curmudgeon inveighing against transistor radios
Imagine if cheap devices to broadcast noise for idiots had allowed idiots to broadcast noise in return
The UN is visited--a nice enough place until it was discovered by foreigners
Chapter IIOctober 200024
The CEO considers stock market investments and decides that risk may be involved
His wife suggests getting a job but wonders if anything is available in the field of monkey business
The CEO considers employment and decides that work may be involved
He conceives a brilliant idea for making his fortune by thinking like a toddler but cannot find a play group with a wet bar
Chapter IIINovember 200044
The candidates for the 2000 presidential election are given a thorough examination although the mainstream media are allowed to do the part involving a check for prostate enlargement
The mainstream media encounter themselves up there
Hillary Clinton is praised for her abilities as a GOP fund-raiser
The Political Nut, who often shows up in the CEO's household during the cocktail hour, thinks eBay could make political corruption more market-oriented
Chapter IVDecember 200062
The CEO argues that Las Vegas is superior to Venice as a vacation destination--having found himself in better shape after being pulled over in traffic by the Nevada Highway Patrol than he was after being pulled out of a canal by the Italian carabinieri
Christmas gifts are chosen
The CEO carefully inspects the catalog from Blunderwear--lingerie that would be a mistake for anyone other than the catalog models
Hillary Clinton is embraced again--not, thank goodness, in her lingerie
The CEO attempts to bring modern ideas of caring and compassion to great works of literature but discovers that banning the death penalty ruins many masterpieces
At the end of A Tale of Two Cities, Sidney Carton has to explain to his parole officer that he's become a better person
Chapter VJanuary 200177
Decadence is pondered and found to be a rotten old idea
The CEO begins an essay on how to get properly inebriated but realizes he has important research to do
He embarks, with his friend Chris Buckley, on a blind (drunk) wine tasting, the results of which have to be carried home flat on their backs in an SUV
The Political Nut beats a dead horse but Bill Clinton keeps whinnying
The impeachment is fondly remembered, and plans are made for a Bill Clinton/Ken Starr reunion tour
The CEO meditates upon hypocrisy and decides that you can't fake it
Chapter VIFebruary 2001108
The CEO is perplexed by the quantitative nature of modern celebrity and wonders how many times Thomas De Quincey would have to be arrested for opium eating to become as famous as Robert Downey, Jr.
The CEO is--thanks to the miracle of modern car alarms--able to teach his teenage godson how to parallel park by sonar
The CEO lectures his young assistant on the virtues of the automobile: Consider having a hot date and needing to borrow your father's feet
Chapter VIIMarch 2001136
The CEO intends to write his memoirs but forgets
He helps with his godson's homework instead, asking, "What's all this argle-bargle about the loss of certainty in modern mathematics? I was never able to get anything to add up the same way twice."
The CEO explains the concept of "spring break" to his godson who hears the lyrics of "Where the Boys Are" with disbelief and disputes the idea that Connie Francis and George Hamilton were ever teenagers
Chapter VIIIApril 2001159
The Democrats next door are vanquished by the CEO's logic and are forced to resort to low political tactics such as not letting the CEO borrow their string trimmer
As an Oprah guest, Hitler is suggested: a larger-than-life personality who wrote a popular book about his struggle with personal issues
The CEO argues against legalizing drugs, now that the statute of limitation has expired on his behavior in the 1960s
Then the CEO argues in favor of legalizing drugs, if the federal government promises not to tell his wife
Chapter IXMay 2001178
A new baby-sitter arrives on the scene causing romantic disturbance--for those in love with Keynesian economic assumptions
The CEO reveals his secret for avoiding stardom as a television commentator
The CEO holds forth on the proponents of Earth Day and declares them "Dirt of the Earth."
Counsel is consulted and a brief is filed on missile defense
The CEO prefers a plea of guilty rather than nolo contendere
The CEO's baby-sitter and young assistant are chastised for swiping tunes with MP3 technology--especially since none of the tunes swiped is "Volare" or "Moon River."
San Francisco passes a law forbidding discrimination against the fat, and the CEO is outraged that the lazy aren't included
Chapter XJune 2001203
A blessed event occurs consisting of the arrival, in plain brown wrapper, of cigars from Cuba
The CEO's wife has a baby, too
The CEO's godson finds there are difficulties in dating a young lady who can do risk-analysis computations
Breast feeding is an excellent method of getting a big baby to sleep, but the CEO is up in the middle of the night anyway
The second anniversary of the air war in Kosovo is celebrated with suitable pomp
The CEO declares the e-mail fad has run its course and buys stock in the Mimeograph corporation
Wives are praised for not killing their husbands, particularly the husband the CEO's wife is married to
Chapter XIJuly 2001225
India is traversed and the wild Indians are ... well, let's just say Dancing with Wolves got it all wrong
The CEO proposes that an inexpensive second honeymoon could be had right in the living room if a second bottle of scotch can be procured
The CEO's wife goes in search of the keys to the gun cabinet
Chapter XIIAugust 2001247
The CEO's godson's sister experiences rather more enlightenment than can stand the light of day
The Political Nut counters with a more sensitive and less judgmental upgrade of the Ten Commandments
Good feelings prevail
The Political Nut decides to apologize for all the horrible things he's said about Democrats--especially the true things
The baby-sitter tutors the CEO's godson in the higher mathematics of: [characters not reproducible]
The CEO's young assistant gets a real job
Hunter S. Thompson is shown, through rigorous textual analysis of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, to be a heck of a nice guy
The CEO's wife gets the CEO to shut up
A happy ending is had by all

Friday, November 27, 2009

Regions and Powers or Global Oil Market

Regions and Powers: The Structure of International Security

Author: Barry Buzan

Asserting that regional patterns of security are increasingly important in international politics, this study presents a detailed account of relations between global powers. It emphasizes their relationship with the regional security complexes which make up the contemporary international system. The book analyzes Africa, the Balkans, Eastern and Western Europe, East Asia, the Middle East, North America and South Asia, tracing the history of each region through the present.

Go to: The Home Science Cook Book or Amanda Rorys Favorite Recipes

Global Oil Market: Risks and Uncertainties

Author: Anthony H Cordesman

The future of energy is of enormous strategic importance, and the current energy market faces major uncertainties and risks. The goal of this study is to provide a risk assessment of the global oil market. Cordesman and Al-Rodhan study six major oil-producing regions of the world: the Middle East, Africa, Asia and the Pacific, Europe and Eurasia, North America, and South and Central America. In each case, the authors outline national oil developments and focus on four major areas of risks and uncertainties: macroeconomic fluctuations, geopolitical risks, oil production uncertainties, and the nature of resources.

In addition to these uncertainties, the authors study the effect of robust energy modeling by agencies such as the International Energy Agency and the Energy Information Agency. They argue that rigorous, transparent, and credible analysis can improve understanding of the global energy markets and help provide policymakers with the tools needed to forge sound and realistic energy policies.

The Global Oil Market is the first study of its kind to look at the totality of production, resource, and geopolitical risks faced by the world's oil-producing regions. In addition, Cordesman and Al-Rodhan look toward the future and how to best manage these uncertainties and risks.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

American Media Politics in Transition or Generalist Social Work Practice

American Media Politics in Transition

Author: Jeremy D Mayer

Part of the McGraw-Hill Critical Topics in American Government series, American Media Politics in Transition blends coverage of the historical evolution of American political journalism with theories about its current practice and the emerging technological changes that have begun to bring media power back to the people. Its flexible, self-contained chapters feature discussion questions, suggestions for further readings, online resources, and a list of key terms and figures - all of which come together to make this an ideal supplement for any introductory American Government course, as well as courses on the media and communications.

Books about: Complete Book of Vegetarian Recipes or Seasoned With Words a Cookbook

Generalist Social Work Practice: An Empowering Approach

Author: Karla Krogsrud Miley


The fifth edition of this innovative text continues to emphasize a generalist, empowerment-oriented approach, along with practice strategies and techniques for working toward individual client and social change.


Highlights of the Fifth Edition:

·        The integration of material on practice, human behavior, policy, and research makes this text a unifying piece of any social work curriculum and a good fit for the new CSWE Educational Policy and Accreditation Standards

·        New boxes in each chapter highlight the connection between practice, policy, and research.

·        Sensitizes students to human diversity and ways to increase cultural competence in practice.

·        The comprehensive instructor's manual and test bank, written by the authors, completely outlines the book and offers activities, exercises, and handouts for each chapter.



What Reviewers Are Saying:

“The major strengths of this text include the following: (1) a generalist framework that reflects the multi-faceted nature of contemporary social work practice; (2) an empowerment-orientedapproach that views clients as partners in the helping process; (3) a readable style that is accessible to a broad audience; (4) fundamental concepts that are applicable to a wide range of social work practice environments.”


--Andrew Scharlach, University of California–Berkeley



“Overall, I consider this to be an excellent text. The best one I have yet found for use in teaching generalist practice concepts, process, and methods….”


--Cynthia Bishop, Meredith College




[ ]


Focusing on collaboration, a textbook discusses empowering processes that generalist social workers use with clients at the micro-, mid- and macrolevels of practice. Topics include the strengths perspective, cultural sensitivity, the process of creating alliances, ways to identify client system strengths and environmental resources, and methods for implementing and stabilizing change efforts. The authors maintain that an empowerment-based approach can enhance human functioning and promote social justice. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.

Table of Contents:
1Generalist social work practice3
2The ecosystems perspective24
3Values and multicultural competence53
4Strengths and empowerment79
5An empowering approach to generalist practice103
6Forming partnerships129
7Articulating situations158
8Defining directions189
9Identifying strengths219
10Assessing resource capabilities248
11Framing solutions288
12Activating resources319
13Creating alliances351
14Expanding opportunities384
15Recognizing success409
16Integrating gains436
AppNASW code of ethics465

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

My Rise and Fall or Armed America

My Rise and Fall

Author: Benito Mussolini

Here for the first time in one volume, are two rare autobiographical works by Benito Mussolini (1883-1945), founder of Fascism and Italian dictator for 21 years. The first volume (published in English in 1928 as My Autobiography) describes in the Duce's own inimitable voice his youth, years as an agitator and journalist, experiences in World War I (including his severe wounding), the formation and revolutionary struggles of the Fascist Party, the March on Rome, and his early years in power. The second volume (published in English in 1948 as The Fall of Mussolini) was written during the brief period between his rescue by the Germans in September 1943 and his execution by Italian partisans in April 1945. The Duce retreats to the safe (but psychologically revealing) distance of the third person in describing his last year in power and the coup d'etat that deposed him. My Rise and Fall allows readers to view the dictator from two unique vantage points: Il Duce, eyes on the horizon, chin thrust forward, as he nears his political zenith; and Mussolini at his nadir, a desperate, powerless, sawdust Caesar, soon to be shot and hanged, head down, for all to scorn.

NY Times Book Review

[A work] of extraordinary interest and importance.

NY Times Book Review

[A work] of extraordinary interest and importance.

New interesting book: Gods Long Summer or Financial Institutions Markets and Money 10e

Armed America: The Remarkable Story of How and Why Guns Became as American as Apple Pie

Author: Clayton E Cramer

In this true story of our nation's love affair with firearms, Clayton E. Cramer debunks the myths and takes readers along a winding historical trail full of surprising revelations and riveting anecdotes, explaining the roots of America's gun culture.

Publishers Weekly

Cramer, an adjunct lecturer in history at Boise State University and George Fox University, took on Michael Bellesiles even before his book Arming America was discredited, and now goes further to prove wrong Bellesiles's claim that guns were uncommon in early America. Cramer finds that guns "were the norm" in that period, people relied on guns to hunt, and gun ownership was key to the success of colonial militias. His most intriguing argument is that, as they became "tied to defending political rights," guns also became a symbol of citizenship. Cramer draws on many primary sources, from newspaper accounts to probate records, and compiles impressive data supporting his case. Still, he misses many opportunities for analysis and interpretation. For example, he finds that it was "not terribly unusual" for free women to own guns, but offers no nuanced discussion of what said gun ownership tells us about gender roles. His attack on academia-which, in Cramer's view, has been blinded by ideology and excludes political conservatives-distracts from his central theme and will only alienate pro-gun-control readers, leaving him with an equally narrow, if opposite, readership. (Feb. 6) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.