The 20 Books In My New To-Blog-About-And-Review Pile
I've decided to end my current 13 Weeks Radical Reading experiment early so that next week I can start fresh, more in synch with my friends Rhonda Robinson (starting today) and Sarah Hoyt (beginning next week too, and with a lovely conclusion today.) Charlie Martin is already a few weeks into his next season, but that's as it should be -- he's the founder and leader of the 13 Weeks Method.
Among the adjustments that I'm making to the rules of my variation of the 13 Weeks formula for this go-around will be the addition of a pile of to-read books -- I'll make a point to focus on a book from it consistently each day until I've finished in addition to some reading from that specific day's pile. Strong books from each pile will make their way to the higher-priority, to-read-daily pile. The strength of last season's regimen was that it did encourage what I wanted -- an opportunity to see across disciplines and subjects to make new connections. But I'm just not moving fast enough through some of the newer titles that warrant timely reviews. So I'm going to step up the pace. As I commence a new schedule to try and increase the quantity and quality of both my reading and now my writing too these are some of the books and subjects that I plan on writing about, guided by the 7-day-7-subject schedule that I've grown accustomed to. I'm not sure how many daily posts each subject or each book will end up generating. Some might be a few days each, others I might be able to articulate more quickly.
(And if anyone has any advice for other books on these or other subject, or if publishers would like to throw some of their books into the piles then please email me. Interesting books that I don't review myself I try and assign to others -- see part 1 of Chris Yogerst's review of Present Shock yesterday.)
On the Rise of the Counterjihad Movement and the Birth of Conservatism 3.0...
1. Not Peace But a Sword: The Great Chasm Between Christianity and Islam by Robert Spencer; Bullies: How the Left's Culture of Fear and Intimidation Silences Americans by Ben Shapiro; Rules for Radical Conservatives: Beating the Left at Its Own Game To Take Back America by David Kahane (Michael Walsh!)
The last authors I wrote about at the conclusion of the previous season's 13 Weeks Radical Reading Regiment were James C. Bennett and Michael J. Lotus and their America 3.0. I really appreciate this book -- and I think its 1.0, 2.0, 3.0 paradigm of cultural/economic development is applicable beyond just describing the phases of America's growth, past, present, and future. In an upcoming piece that I've been working on I'm going to make the argument that the transition to America 3.0 should be guided by a conservative movement re-oriented to the realities of today's enemies and the necessity of rebalancing power between federal, state, and local governments. Among my writing and thinking goals over the next 13 Week season is to begin articulating what a Conservatism 3.0 could (and should) look like. The foreign policy, culture, and history writers I named last season are some of the founding intellectual influences IMHO...
On the Pernicious Effect of Soviet Disinformation...
2. Disinformation: Former Spy Chief Reveals Secret Strategies for Undermining Freedom, Attacking Religion, And Promoting Terrorism by Lt. Gen. Ion Mihai Pacepa and Prof. Ronald J. Rychlak; Red Horizons: The True Story of Nicolae & Elena Ceausescus' Crimes, Lifestyle, and Corruption by Lt. Gen. Ion Mihai Pacepa; Disney's World: A Biography by Leonard Mosley; Walt Disney: Hollywood's Dark Prince by Marc Eliot
As I wrote about a few weeks ago Ion Mihai Pacepa's new book Disinformation and his unique memoir Red Horizons have provided me with valuable tools for understanding the world today. Through coming to grasp Pacepa's explanation of the history of Soviet disinformation efforts to sabotage Western culture all of a sudden old stories begin to appear in a brand new light. Here's an example that I'm going to research further.
During the past 13 Weeks regimen my friend Chris Queen and I have been researching the history of Walt Disney, his films, theme parks, and the company he founded. (Make a point to read Chris's newest review of the memoirs of a colorful, influential Imagineer, Rolly Crump.) I've been enjoying one of many Disney biographies, a used book I acquired years ago at Half Price Books by a frequent biographer, the British journalist Leonard Mosley. The book has been a lot of fun to read and the other week I hit page 200 -- about 2-3rds of the way through. And then all of a sudden I stepped in a piece of crap. During Mosley's explanation of the troubles Disney had with unions, their communist infiltrators, and productivity-disrupting strikes, the author claims on page 207 that, "The bleak situation over money drained him of his dynamic. Misery and worry brough out the worst in him, and he was apt to blame everybody--Jews, blacks Commies, union workers--for his misfortunes."
Rumors of Walt Disney as a racist, pro-Nazi, antisemitic, racist have persisted for years. (Here's a good debunking.) But now, after coming to understand how to identify Soviet disinformation, I'm beginning to wonder if this persistent smear is an example. It's revealing how the only time that Mosley claims Disney was an antisemite is at the time in the book when he was having union problems. I'm going to analyze a book that's more dedicated to attacking Disney -- Marc Eliot's -- and see if there are more signs of Soviet Disinformation. But this claim of antisemitism is comparable to to how the Soviets smeared many.