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3rd Quarter 2006 ~ NONFICTION Book Suggestions! 
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Post 3rd Quarter 2006 ~ NONFICTION Book Suggestions!
3rd Quarter 2006 ~ NONFICTION Book Suggestions!


This thread is for making nonfiction book suggestions for 3rd quarter of 2006 (July, August, & September). Please read everything that follows in this first post.

If our activity level is high enough we can read several nonfiction books concurrently during 3rd quarter of 2006. My opinion is that we would want to have a daily post count over 50 to warrant multiple nonfiction books.

Important

1. Provide the title, author, and a copied and pasted review. Also provide a link to Amazon where we can read more.

2. Do not just suggest books that are already on your shelf. We are looking for books that will help BookTalk pull in more members and result in incredible discussions. So think about what will help our community.

3. And PLEASE comment on other people's suggestions. This is probably the most important thing you can do. Don't make a suggestion and then vanish. Be ACTIVE in this thread.

Well, what are you waiting for? What would you like to read and discuss for Q3, 2006?




Thu Mar 16, 2006 10:49 pm
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Post Re: 3rd Quarter 2006 ~ NONFICTION Book Suggestions!
I'm again suggesting "Under the Banner of Heaven."

Amazon.com
In 1984, Ron and Dan Lafferty murdered the wife and infant daughter of their younger brother Allen. The crimes were noteworthy not merely for their brutality but for the brothers' claim that they were acting on direct orders from God. In Under the Banner of Heaven, Jon Krakauer tells the story of the killers and their crime but also explores the shadowy world of Mormon fundamentalism from which the two emerged. The Mormon Church was founded, in part, on the idea that true believers could speak directly with God. But while the mainstream church attempted to be more palatable to the general public by rejecting the controversial tenet of polygamy, fundamentalist splinter groups saw this as apostasy and took to the hills to live what they believed to be a righteous life. When their beliefs are challenged or their patriarchal, cult-like order defied, these still-active groups, according to Krakauer, are capable of fighting back with tremendous violence. While Krakauer's research into the history of the church is admirably extensive, the real power of the book comes from present-day information, notably jailhouse interviews with Dan Lafferty. Far from being the brooding maniac one might expect, Lafferty is chillingly coherent, still insisting that his motive was merely to obey God's command. Krakauer's accounts of the actual murders are graphic and disturbing, but such detail makes the brothers' claim of divine instruction all the more horrifying. In an age where Westerners have trouble comprehending what drives Islamic fundamentalists to kill, Jon Krakauer advises us to look within America's own borders.




Thu Mar 23, 2006 1:21 pm
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Post The Ancestors Tale
By Richard Dawkins.

The Ancestor's Tale

Another book I bought last year but never delved into.

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From Amazon.co.uk
Just as we trace our personal family trees from parents to grandparents and so on back in time, so in The Ancestor's Tale Richard Dawkins traces the ancestry of life. As he is at pains to point out, this is very much our human tale, our ancestry. Surprisingly, it is one that many otherwise literate people are largely unaware of. Hopefully Dawkins's name and well deserved reputation as a best selling writer will introduce them to this wonderful saga.
The Ancestor's Tale takes us from our immediate human ancestors back through what he calls 'concestors,' those shared with the apes, monkeys and other mammals and other vertebrates and beyond to the dim and distant microbial beginnings of life some 4 billion years ago. It is a remarkable story which is still very much in the process of being uncovered. And, of course from a scientist of Dawkins stature and reputation we get an insider's knowledge of the most up-to-date science and many of those involved in the research. And, as we have come to expect of Dawkins, it is told with a passionate commitment to scientific veracity and a nose for a good story. Dawkins's knowledge of the vast and wonderful sweep of life's diversity is admirable. Not only does it encompass the most interesting living representatives of so many groups of organisms but also the important and informative fossil ones, many of which have only been found in recent years.

Dawkins sees his journey with its reverse chronology as 'cast in the form of an epic pilgrimage from the present to the past [and] all roads lead to the origin of life.' It is, to my mind, a sensible and perfectly acceptable approach although some might complain about going against the grain of evolution. The great benefit for the general reader is that it begins with the more familiar present and the animals nearest and dearest to us



Sun Mar 26, 2006 8:11 pm
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Post Re: The Ancestors Tale
Here's one that I think we should consider as a challenge to our prevailing belief systems. It seems to me that facing such challenges, and maintaining our intellectual honesty, is part and parcel of what freethinking is all about.

The Arrogance of Humanism, by David Ehrenfeld

Book Description: Attacks nothing less than the currently prevailing world philosophy--humanism, which the author feels is exceedingly dangerous in its hidden assumptions.

But maybe more up our collective alley (which is where we sometimes place our collective head) would be something like this:
The Image : A Guide to Pseudo-Events in America, by Daniel J. Boorstin

Review: "An Engrossing Book -- Sensitive, Thoughtful, Damning, Dead On Target And In Most Respects Unanswerable."
-- Scientific American"entertaining, Acute, Stimulating, Timely, And Intelligent...A Brilliant Polemic About A Very Real Problem."
-- Saturday Review
"excellent...It Is The Book To End All Books About 'the American Image' -- What It Is, Who Projects It, What Effect It Has At Home Or Abroad." -- The Observer


Book Description: First Published In 1962, This Wonderfully Provocative Book Introduced The Notion Of "pseudo-events" -- Events Such As Press Conferences And Presidential Debates, Which Are Manufactured Solely In Order To Be Reported -- And The Contemporary Definition Of Celebrity As "a Person Who Is Known For His Well-knownness." Since Then Daniel J. Boorstin's Prophetic Vision Of An America Inundated By Its Own Illusions Has Become An Essential Resource For Any Reader Who Wants To Distinguish The Manifold Deceptions Of Our Culture From Its Few Enduring Truths.




Mon Mar 27, 2006 7:49 pm
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Post Re: The Ancestors Tale
"the image" looks really good, but i almost wonder if it is dated? there is a 1992 reissue on that link provided, but does the reissue bring the book up to date with current events? the reading is still VERY relevent, the concept of "news" being manufactured by a colaboration between the news media industry and voices of authority is if anything, becoming more prevelent and worrisome. this title reminds me of chomsky's propaganda model put forth in the introduction of manufacturing consent in some ways. i strongly appreciate and recommend a reading of the subject matter, but would ask if a more modern title has been addressed to deal with the modern mass media of conglomerations and erroding of the standard broadcast journalist with talking heads of entertainment. perhaps two different subjects, but i think where they meet is immensley important, especially how the talking heads handle such "pseudo events" by merely replaying the original speakers words instead of asking probing questions and varifying the validity and accuracy of what was said. blah blah blah, i highly support for a reading any book critical of our current information media delivery system. i am biased as i got rid of my television i got so fed up with the crap that was being put out, i refuse to pay money for the garbage.

arrogance of humanism almost seems dated at 1981, i think the concept of humanism has evolved and i wonder if the concept discussed in that title is the same as we would put forth today. i didn't see much written about that title, i would like more beta. i don't mind reading opposing view points, but i don't feel the need to read a book attacking a belief system (would also like to know what the author thinks is a good alternative to humanism, hmmm?).

no opinion on ancestor's tale. looks kinda dry to me.




Mon Mar 27, 2006 10:32 pm
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Post speaking of the media...
By Robert W. McChesney

The Problem of the Media: U.S. Communication Politics in the Twenty-First Century

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Praise for Robert W. McChesney

"Robert McChesney's work has been of extraordinary importance. . . . It should be read with care and concern by people who care about freedom and basic rights."



Mon Mar 27, 2006 10:48 pm
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Post Re: speaking of the media...
i don't mind reading opposing view points, but i don't feel the need to read a book attacking a belief system (would also like to know what the author thinks is a good alternative to humanism, hmmm?).

Don't we read books attacking belief systems on a regular basis? Maybe we should get away from that. But if we are going to read an attack like that, I think it would be a good idea to stop picking books that people agree with a priori and throw in a few books that attack what most of us on BookTalk already believe.




Tue Mar 28, 2006 4:05 pm
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Post Re: speaking of the media...
Chris had already said once before, when the book attacking humanism was suggested (I forget by whom), that we would not entertain it. But that was before he had foresaken the humanist/atheist mission behind booktalk...so maybe this book will make it to the poll now.



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Tue Mar 28, 2006 4:16 pm
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Post Re: speaking of the media...
No offense meant to you, Mad, but that book won't be considered. To make the argument that Humanism is "arrogant" is one of the most ridiculous and baseless claims I've ever heard.

Can you name ONE single example of where humanism is "arrogant?" Feel free to create a thread in the religion forum where you make this argument and we can discuss it a bit further.




Tue Mar 28, 2006 5:17 pm
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Post Re: speaking of the media...
Quote:
Don't we read books attacking belief systems on a regular basis?

i am fairly new here only having participated in one quarter of discussion, so please suggest some books discussed here that attacked belief systems? i think there is a difference between reviewing logical arguements and attacks. that book looks like an attack to me, that is why i asked for more information, more detailed review, etc. there wasn't any info either in your post or on the amazon site other than a brief blurb in your post that made the book look hostile.




Tue Mar 28, 2006 5:42 pm
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Post Re: speaking of the media...
I've created a thread to discuss humanism. Any evidence to support the notion that humanism is or can be arrogant would be welcome.

Go there now!




Tue Mar 28, 2006 10:03 pm
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Post Re: 3rd Quarter 2006 ~ NONFICTION Book Suggestions!
I'm suggesting Michael Albert's Realizing Hope: Life Beyond Capitalism because I think it will challenge Booktalk to define the values and institutions that make the good society. Albert's book utilizes his economic theory Parecon (participatory economics) as the primary lens for envisioning how to better contruct our world. This book will give Booktalk folk a chance to debate our ideals concerning: education, kinship, polity, journalism and media, community, economics, ecosystems, crime, technology and science. It will challenge us to defend what about contemporary society is worth keeping, decide what needs changing, define what we want the future to look like, and what sorts of values and strategies will help us get there. The book is highly provocative, and will spark serious debate.

Quote:
"In many earlier studies, Michael Albert has carried out careful in-depth inquiries into systems of participatory economics (parecon), analyzing in detail how they can function justly, equitably, and efficiently, and how they can overcome many of the criminal features of current social and economic arrangements. This new and very ambitious study casts the net far more widely, extending to just about every major domain of human concern and mode of human interaction, and investigating with care and insight how, in these domains, parecon-like principles could lead to a far more desirable society than anything that exists, and also how these goals can be constructively approached. It is another very valuable and provocative contribution to the quest for a world of much greater freedom and justice." - Noam Chomsky

"Michael Albert is a very serious thinker. In Realizing Hope he not only presents an alternative to capitalism, he provides profound insights into how economics affects personalities and social relations and vice versa. The book opens many doors for social vision and strategy. At a moment when Africa needs an alternative to nationalist politics. Realizing Hope is amazingly timely. Pan-Africanists and Black Marxists alike will find much to enrich and expand our politics in this book." - Mandisi Majavu

"During the grim decades of "there is no alternative," few did more than Michael Albert and his collaborators to promote discussion of alternatives to domination by either state or market. Now, when millions assert "another world is possible," Michael Albert's proposals for "participatory economics" provide an essential starting point for thinking about what that world might be and how we might get there. In REALIZING HOPE, he goes beyond the primarily economic framework of participatory economics to open the crucial but too-rarely posed questions of how to coordinate economic change with the changes we need in other spheres of life." - Jeremy Brecher

"Michael Albert has posed a breathtakingly simple question- what do left-libertarians want, exactly, 'beyond capitalism'?- and, in answering it, has produced a work of exhilarating scope. Albert captures the best of the spirit of the new global social movement. He consciously rejects all vanguardism, and demands a direct action in the realm of thought: he asks us to look at those who are creating viable alternatives, to try to figure out what might be the larger implications of what they are doing, and then to offer those ideas back, not as prescriptions, but as contributions, possibilities



Thu Mar 30, 2006 12:00 pm
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Post Re: 3rd Quarter 2006 ~ NONFICTION Book Suggestions!
From the blurbs, he also seems pretty balanced. I may just check this out and read it anyway.

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The one thing of which I am positive is that there is much of which to be negative - Mr. P.

Once you perceive the irrevocable truth, you can no longer justify the irrational denial. - Mr. P.

The pain in hell has two sides. The kind you can touch with your hand; the kind you can feel in your heart...Scorsese's "Mean Streets"

I came to kick ass and chew Bubble Gum...and I am all out of Bubble Gum - They Live, Roddy Piper

Edited by: misterpessimistic  at: 3/30/06 2:06 pm



Thu Mar 30, 2006 2:05 pm
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Post Re: 3rd Quarter 2006 ~ NONFICTION Book Suggestions!
American Theocracy - by Kevin Phillips

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Editorial Reviews

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The title of political analyst Phillips's latest book may overstate his case (in the text, he prefers the term "theocratic direction";) , but his analysis likely will strike chords among those troubled by our current political moment. Phillips (American Dynasty) expounds upon historical parallels for each of his three subjects. In his section on "Oil and American Supremacy," for example, he points to Britain's post-WWI involvement in the Middle East as an analogy to Iraq, and in his section on radicalized religion, he warns of "the pitfalls of imperial Christian overreach from Rome to Britain." The five major measures of U.S. debt



Thu Mar 30, 2006 2:47 pm
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Post Re: 3rd Quarter 2006 ~ NONFICTION Book Suggestions!
I saw Kevin Phillips discuss American Theocracy on CSPAN's Afterwords. He's a very intelligent guy who understands Republican politics from the inside.




Thu Mar 30, 2006 3:01 pm
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