It’s time for book reviews. Here are three books I recommend, and one I’ll be buying,
I frequently get publicists’ emails asking if I’d like to review or comment on a new book, and, if I agree, they send me the book. Two of those came recently, The Bonjour Effect: The Secret Codes of French Conversation Revealed, and Conspiracies of the Ruling Class: How to Break Their Grip Forever.
A Ruling Class have emerged in America against the hopes and designs of our Founding Fathers. Over the last hundred years, they have rejected the Constitution and expanded their own power, slowly at first and now rapidly. These people believe their actions are justified because they think they are smarter than the rest of us—so smart they can run our lives better than we can.
The book is divided in three parts:
- The Greatest Threat to Liberty
- Mismanagement of Government by a Self-interested Ruling Class
- Securing Our Liberty Once Again.
The third part is especially interesting: Mr. Lindsey explains his goal of being philosophically populist and operationally libertarian, while stressing the importance of Congressional control over rule making, Congressional term limits, budget reform and reforming the Federal Reserve Bank. As he explains regarding the latter, “we need a better understanding of what calls for change.”
He specifically calls for “a constitutional amendment that protects people’s right to use something other than Federal Reserve notes (Fed-printed dollars ) both as a store of wealth and as a medium of exchange.” (page 231)
While I was hesitant to read the book because of the title (I’m not one for conspiracy theories), Mr. Lindsey’s vast experience in business, government, and academia convinced me to read it. It’s a must-read.
The Bonjour Effect: The Secret Codes of French Conversation Revealed, by the married couple
If you are considering an extended stay in France, you may think of The Bonjour Effect as your survival kit. If you are only a casual visitor (as I have been), you will find it fun to read.
I can’t think of a country I have visited where the phrase “Language is culture” is more defining than in France. Conversation is France’s highest art, and Julie and Jean-Benoit (yes, you are on a first-name basis) lived through every type, from registering their girls at City Hall so they could attend school across the street from their apartment, through five solid hours eating lunch while conversing. to observations on race relations.
Their paragraph on political demonstrations also applies to other countries (page 93),
“Demonstrations and protests are political forums in France. After the slaughters at Charlie Hebdo and the Hyper Cache grocery, 5 percent of France’s total population took to the street. North Americans, who don’t protest in the street nearly as much as the French do, interpret it as a sign of unrest, if not political chaos. In fact, it’s the opposite: if the French couldn’t protest, that would lead to political chaos.”
The Bonjour Effect is intelligent and deeply insightful, while at the same time being a fun read, and even funny.
I purchased David’s Sling: A History of Democracy in Ten Works of Art because Victoria Coates wrote it and Roger Kimball edited it.
David’s Sling is a beautiful book, lavishly illustrated with not only the ten works of art mentioned in the title, but with other artwork of the periods it describes.
It’s a book to savor: I did a really slow read, since I decided to study the book’s chapters side-by-side with a corresponding chapter of Janson’s History of Art. It was also fun to realize that I had seen in person eight of the ten works of art (added the Parthenon and Florence to the bucket list).
Included in the ten is Rembrandt’s Night Watch, and the Dutch Golden Age, which I particularly enjoy. While I am not as enthusiastic about Jaques-Louis David, even that chapter lays out her thesis, as Victor Davis Hanson explains,
Coates advances a familiar argument: that constitutional government and its companion culture of freedom foster singular art of many kinds — publicly funded temples, private sculpture and painting, religious architecture, and subsidized private commemoration.
David’s Sling is the perfect house gift if you’re visiting friends this summer.
Carlos Eire has announced that his new book, Reformations: The Early Modern World, 1450-1650 just came out. At 920 pages, it promises to be a tour de force on Dr. Eire’s speciality, history of religion. He says,
About the image on the cover: 15th century statue of St. Margaret, partially decapitated by Protestant iconoclasts in the 16th century, and buried outside a church in Essex, England. It lay hidden from view, forgotten, until the 20th century, when it was found by accident, as repairs were being made to that church.
Of the thousands of images I considered for the cover, this one “speaks” most eloquently about the contents of the book, which is — at bottom — a book about the toll taken by all revolutions.
Carlos Eire and I had talked about this book a while ago. I can’t wait to get it.