Category Archives: book reviews

The Dictator’s Handbook by Bruce Bueno de Mesquita and Alastair Smith: the black heart of politics

The Dictator’s Handbook: Why Bad Behavior is Almost Always Good Politics by Bruce Bueno De Mesquita My rating: 5 of 5 stars Finally! Someone has figured out why politics works the way it does. I first heard about this book … Continue reading

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Forgiveness by Sidney B. Simon and Suzanne Simon: help for the walking wounded

Forgiveness: How to Make Peace With Your Past and Get on With Your Life by Sidney B. Simon My rating: 5 of 5 stars A straightforward, authoritative guide to the path of self-healing—which we all need more than we think. … Continue reading

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The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger: then and now

The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger My rating: 5 of 5 stars I was younger than Holden Caulfield when I first read this book; now I’m several multiples of his age. It’s still a brilliant and thought-provoking work, … Continue reading

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Cosmos, Chaos and the World to Come by Norman Cohn: the cosmic carrot on the stick

Cosmos, Chaos and the World to Come: The Ancient Roots of Apocalyptic Faith by Norman Cohn My rating: 5 of 5 stars A dense, authoritative survey of the development of the myth of the millennium and a future paradise. Awaiters … Continue reading

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Paideia: The Ideals of Greek Culture, volume 1: making the perfect human

Paideia 1: The Ideals of Greek Culture: Archaic Greece: The Mind of Athens by Werner Wilhelm Jaeger My rating: 5 of 5 stars An impassioned, authoritative, and in-depth account of how the character-shaping ideas of education and culture developed in … Continue reading

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The Road to Serfdom by F. A. Hayek: liberals of the world, unite!

The Road To Serfdom by Friedrich A. Hayek My rating: 5 of 5 stars A passionately felt and forcefully argued—and prescient—defence of liberalism, the doctrine of individual freedom that is opposed by all collectivists, whether of the left or right. … Continue reading

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Journeys out of the Body by Robert A. Monroe: shuffling off the mortal coil

Journeys Out Of The Body by Robert A. Monroe My rating: 4 of 5 stars A persuasive and thought-provoking account of one man’s experiences and experiments with traveling outside his own body. My earliest memory of hearing about out-of-body experiences … Continue reading

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the Iliad of Homer: first epic of the West

The Iliad by Homer My rating: 5 of 5 stars Western literature kicks off with the clash of civilizations. Crafting an epic of my own, I got the idea of exploring the great epics of Western literature in more detail. … Continue reading

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Pursued by Furies by Gordon Bowker: portrait of the artist as a drunk

Pursued by Furies: A Life of Malcolm Lowry by Gordon Bowker My rating: 4 of 5 stars This biography contains a wealth of detail—but is it worth it? I first heard the name “Malcolm Lowry” in about 1968, when I … Continue reading

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Justine by the Marquis de Sade: birth of the philosopher-pornographer

Justine by Marquis de Sade My rating: 3 of 5 stars The struggle between virtue and vice is portrayed in the starkest possible way. I was reminded of this book when I read The Seven Basic Plots: Why We Tell … Continue reading

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