Sunday, May 21, 2006

Book Watch

The Great Deluge: Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans, and the Mississippi Gulf Coast - Through out the Hurricane Katrina crisis I saw historian and New Orleans resident Douglas Brinkley on television on several occasions. Each time, I was very impressed with him: he spoke eloquently, demonstrated a wealth of subject knowledge and came across as authoritative and objective. This is why I look foward to reading what I expect to be Brinkley's definitive account of Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath.

Click here to listen to an interview Brinkley gave on NPR (last September) about the book and why he wrote it.

How Would a Patriot Act? Defending American Values from a President Run Amok - Glenn Greenwald is the constitutional attorney who runs Unclaimed Territory (if you scroll down you will see several links to posts about the book and reviews of the book on the left-hand of the blog) where he has been detailing the radical legal theories that the Bush administration has been putting forth to justify expanding the powers of the executive branch at the expense of the Constitution and our democratic system of government. In this polemic, Greenwald makes the case that what is at stake are core American values, and that to protect our constitutional republic, we must guard against the adminstrations usurpations of unlimited presidential powers.

An excerpt can be read here, and the preface here. I would say more, since I feel this is a terribly important book, but I will most likely be able give a review within the next few weeks, so I will here defer to the already provided links (especially the preface, where Glenn recounts the way in which his initial post 9/11 support for the administration was betrayed, an experience many of us can relate to) until that point.

Among the Dead Cities: The History and Moral Legacy of the WWII Bombing of Civilians in Germany and Japan - As I've noted previously, A.C. Grayling is probably my favorite living philosopher, so its no surprise that I plan on reading his latest book in which he tackles the topic of Allied forces bombing civilian targets during WWII to see if they can be ethically justified. This topic represents a significant moral dillemma which requires serious moral deliberation, as it is a subject that is still relevant to us today. Grayling is one of those rare individuals who is able to meet a challenging argument while presenting it at its full strenth, so regardless of what one's initial opinions about this subject might be, the discussion will likely be beneficial.

The Washington Post review is here. This is another book that I hope to be able to review with the next few weeks.

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