Blogging for review of many books....!!

The New Empire of Debt: The Rise and Fall of an Epic Financial Bubble (Hardcover)


Review
"How deficit spending, gluttonous consumption and military adventurism, they say, will bring America to its knees…"
— The Economist
"This is a powerful book. In addition to its depth, it is well written, well documented, and vastly readable. I had the feeling of seeing an X-ray of economic reality with the crust removed. It should be made mandatory reading in most circles. Read it, and your views of the world around you will no longer be the same."
—Nassim Nicholas Taleb, author of The Black Swan and Fooled by Randomness

"Now perhaps someone will finally listen!"
—Jim Rogers, author of Investment Biker, Adventure Capitalist, and Hot Commodities

"Instead of trade and work, imperialism breeds militarism, inflation, and debt, as Bonner and Wiggin show. Yet there is a golden hope in freedom and honest money."
—Llewellyn H. Rockwell Jr., President, Ludwig von Mises Institute

"[Empire of Debt] is a fantastic book. It's thoughtful, erudite, witty, well written, practical . . . and spot-on. If you value your financial health, you'll read it from cover to cover. Now!"
—Doug Casey, Chairman, Casey Research, LLC, and author of Crisis Investing

"I laughed, I cried, I renewed my passport. . . . Bonner and Wiggin deliver a steady diet of insight and wit that terrifies the reader, even as it amuses. Empire of Debt is not for everyone, only for those of us who hope to enjoy continuing prosperity amidst difficult conditions."
—Eric Fry, Editor, The Rude Awakening

Product Description
An updated look at the United States' precarious position given the recent financial turmoil

In The New Empire of Debt, financial writers Bill Bonner and Addison Wiggin return to reveal how the financial crisis that has plagued the United States will soon bring an end to this once great empire.

Throughout the book, the authors offer an updated look at the United States' precarious position given the recent financial turmoil, and discuss how government control of the economy and financial system-combined with unfettered deficit spending and gluttonous consumption-has ravaged the business environment, devastated consumer confidence, and pushed the global economy to the brink. Along the way, Bonner and Wiggin cast a wide angle lens that looks back in history and ahead to the coming century: showing how dramatic changes in the economic power of the United States will inevitably impact every American.

Reveals the financial realities the United States currently faces and what the ultimate outcome may be
Weaves together the worlds of politics, economics, and personal finance in a way that underscores the severity of the situation
Addresses the events leading up to the implosion of the U.S. financial system
Looks ahead to help you avoid the pitfalls presented by a weaker United States
Other titles by Bonner: Empire of Debt, Financial Reckoning Day, and Mobs, Messiahs, and Markets
Other titles by Wiggin: I.O.U.S.A., Demise of the Dollar, and Financial Reckoning Day
The United States is heading down a difficult path. The New Empire of Debt clearly shows how this has happened and discusses what you can do to overcome the financial challenges that will arise as the situation deteriorates.

March of the Kakistocracy, August 26, 2009
By A. Jurshevski "Economist" (Toronto Ontario Canada)


Read the full review at [...]


"Whilst we do not agree with everything that the book has to say, we agree the majority of the arguments and we find the context and perspective that it brings to these issues refreshing, well researched and well-written. Unlike many of the writers in this space, the prose is not verbose, bombastic or shrill. This is a thoughtful and cogent treatment of the most important issue the World is facing today.

You are in good company reading this book. Among those endorsing it are Pete Petersen, Warren Buffett, David Walker, Paul O'Neill, Jim Rogers and others. We recommend that all elected officials and concerned citizens everywhere consider this book required reading."

* Kakistocracy: Government populated by the most corrupt and inept members of a society.

A Crumbling Financial Empire?, October 9, 2009
By Larry Underwood "Author, 'Life Under the Corp... (Scottsdale, AZ)


Authors William Bonner and Addison Wiggin, a couple of economic iconoclasts, have compiled a chilling perspective of a crumbling American financial empire; whose irrational economic policy over the years has created huge buget deficits that defy logic; sooner or later, the bubble is going to burst, and this country is in for an economic disaster of epic proportions.

It's not going to be a pretty picture.

The problem began in the post-Reagan years, when any sort of prudent fiscal policy seemed to become a distant memory. Perhaps the greed & hubris of big government is creating an unrealistic perception that creating an unfathomable budget deficit really won't hurt the economy; just keep borrowing. That's no way to run a business and certainly no way to run a country; except to run it into the ground, financially.

We've become a bailout nation, with little regard for any financial common sense. The Stimulis Package is an ill-conceived plan that is going to be ensuring our long term financial devastation, which our children's children will be still paying off, well into their golden years of retirement. Retirement? What's that?

The message delivered by Bonner and Wiggin is startlingly clear; this country is heading down the primrose path of socialism and it's a cost we won't be able to afford. We're crumbling under a mountain of debt, and the inevitable landslide will prove to be catastrophic, unless our fiscal policy is changed; very soon. We don't have much time to waste; our nation's financial future is on very thin ice.

Wolf Hall: A Novel (Hardcover)


Product Description
In the ruthless arena of King Henry VIII’s court, only one man dares to gamble his life to win the king’s favor and ascend to the heights of political power

England in the 1520s is a heartbeat from disaster. If the king dies without a male heir, the country could be destroyed by civil war. Henry VIII wants to annul his marriage of twenty years, and marry Anne Boleyn. The pope and most of Europe opposes him. The quest for the king’s freedom destroys his adviser, the brilliant Cardinal Wolsey, and leaves a power vacuum.

Into this impasse steps Thomas Cromwell. Cromwell is a wholly original man, a charmer and a bully, both idealist and opportunist, astute in reading people and a demon of energy: he is also a consummate politician, hardened by his personal losses, implacable in his ambition. But Henry is volatile: one day tender, one day murderous. Cromwell helps him break the opposition, but what will be the price of his triumph?

In inimitable style, Hilary Mantel presents a picture of a half-made society on the cusp of change, where individuals fight or embrace their fate with passion and courage. With a vast array of characters, overflowing with incident, the novel re-creates an era when the personal and political are separated by a hairbreadth, where success brings unlimited power but a single failure means death.

Some of these things are true and some of them are lies. But they are all good stories, September 9, 2009
By S. Matthews "Sean Matthews" (Mainz, Germany)


This is the perfect beach read for people who do not like beaches, since it will remove you efficiently and absolutely from any beach upon which you are unfortunate enough to find yourself washed up. Mantel's reconstruction of Tudor England: how things looked, how they felt, how they tasted, how both the secular and the vicious religious politics functioned (the latter of which, together with it's embodiment, Thomas More, she despises and loaths), is completely absorbing.

It must be said, however, that Wolf Hall is not _quite_ a convincing reconstruction of all of Tudor England. Mantel is clearly in love with her version of Thomas Cromwell, who is just a bit too good to be true: a thinking woman's daydream. I doubt that any man - gay or straight - could have invented him.

It will be interesting to see how the story is carried forward to its grisly end, in the promised sequel. I will be first in line for a copy.

P.S., The publisher's blurb for the american edition, which you can see on it's amazon page, is crass, ludicrous, and completely misleading (though I don't imagine that Hilary Mantel finds it so funny).

The National Parks: America's Best Idea [DECKLE EDGE] (Hardcover)



Product Description
The companion volume to the twelve-hour PBS series from the acclaimed filmmaker behind The Civil War, Baseball, and The War

America’s national parks spring from an idea as radical as the Declaration of Independence: that the nation’s most magnificent and sacred places should be preserved, not for royalty or the rich, but for everyone. In this evocative and lavishly illustrated narrative, Ken Burns and Dayton Duncan delve into the history of the park idea, from the first sighting by white men in 1851 of the valley that would become Yosemite and the creation of the world’s first national park at Yellowstone in 1872, through the most recent additions to a system that now encompasses nearly four hundred sites and 84 million acres.

The authors recount the adventures, mythmaking, and intense political battles behind the evolution of the park system, and the enduring ideals that fostered its growth. They capture the importance and splendors of the individual parks: from Haleakala in Hawaii to Acadia in Maine, from Denali in Alaska to the Everglades in Florida, from Glacier in Montana to Big Bend in Texas. And they introduce us to a diverse cast of compelling characters—both unsung heroes and famous figures such as John Muir, Theodore Roosevelt, and Ansel Adams—who have been transformed by these special places and committed themselves to saving them from destruction so that the rest of us could be transformed as well.

The National Parks is a glorious celebration of an essential expression of American democracy.

A gorgeous book on the history of the National Parks, September 20, 2009
By Tim Martin (South Bend, Indiana United States)


This is a beautiful book! Mr. Duncan and Mr. Burns have done a wonderful job telling the history of our National Park system. The book clearly shows the depth of the 30-odd years that they have been working on their project. As the sub-title of the book indicates, this is "an illustrated history." The illustrations alone are worth the price of the book. You won't see the usual travel guide and brochure shots in this book. Instead you will find hundreds of historic and contemporary photos of the National Park system. I cannot imagine the amount of research that went into assembly and organizing all of these photos. They are simply gorgeous.

The text is very informative and provides you with a good history of the National Park system. You will learn a lot about the history of our nation when you read this book. Each chapter also has an interview with someone who is part of the Park Service or has close connections with the Service. These interviews (no surprise here) help bring to life that topics of the text. Being a Ken Burns project, the text tells the big story through little stories: history is personalized and seen through the eyes of the participants.

Simply put, this is a book to linger over and savor. It is a coffee table book in the truest sense: you will want to keep it within easy reach. This is a book to inspire you to daydream and ponder. It will enrich your experiences of our National Parks and you will find yourself planning years of vacations! If you have any interest in our National Park system, you must buy this book. You will not regret it for one second! Enjoy!

An absolute treasure, September 22, 2009
By Scott Chamberlain "Historian and archaeologist" (Minneapolis, MN United States)



Let me first point out that I'm just reviewing the companion book to Ken Burns' PBS show--having not (yet!) seen the show I make no attempt at discussing how it relates to the TV program. This is simply a look on how the book holds up on its own merits.

And let me say it is an eye-popper! As a coffee table book alone, it succeeds wildly, with all kinds of stunning photos that make you want to grab the kids and hit the road. What is particularly enjoyable is that it uses a whole range of illustrations--besides glorious contemporary photos of these magnificent landscapes, there are fascinating historic photos in B&W and photos of the various cranks, caretakers and visionaries whose lives were so deeply entwined with the park. There are also a number of beautifully reproduced photos of paintings from the Hudson River school of painting back in the mid-1800s that not only sparked interest in America's landscapes but created one of the first great artistic movements in our country.

And as always, it's amazing how landscapes can communicate such profound, and profoundly human emotions, even when there are no people depicted. The simple visual of a lone tree, buried under a heavy canopy of snow and placed against a blank winter landscape can convey loneliness on such a powerful unconscious level. Or how a sunrise on the rim of the Grand Canyon can convey majesty beyond any human description. Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous.

But what makes this so much better than a photo essay of great landscapes is the wonderful written content that frames the illustrations. The text brings these magnificent parks back into the realm of human beings. Again and again we read about how determined individuals, communities, businesses and even bureaucrats *created* these parks, fighting tooth and nail to preserve these natural wonders for us all. Along the way we meet all kinds of fascinating people, and learn to admire their fortitude--or chuckle at their eccentricities. The text is well assembled and flows smoothly, and is as large in its scope as the Grand Canyon itself. Absolutely riveting.

But this also brilliantly shows the character of Americans--we the people. This is a tour-de-force civics lesson on patriotism, of making the country better and making the government serve us, and should be joyously read by every American. Which, I bet, was precisely Ken Burns' goal all along.

This is a book that everyone--left, right, northerner, southerner, African-American, Latino, Caucasian... EVERYONE--should love and cherish. What an incredible country we share! And what a spectacular book that does justice to it!

How to Survive the End of the World as We Know It: Tactics, Techniques, and Technologies for Uncertain Times (Paperback)


Product Description
The definitive guide on how to prepare for any crisis--from global financial collapse to a pandemic

It would only take one unthinkable event to disrupt our way of life. If there is a terrorist attack, a global pandemic, or sharp currency devaluation--you may be forced to fend for yourself in ways you've never imagined. Where would you get water? How would you communicate with relatives who live in other states? What would you use for fuel?

Survivalist expert James Wesley, Rawles, author of Patriots and editor of SurvivalBlog.com, shares the essential tools and skills you will need for you family to survive, including:

Water: Filtration, transport, storage, and treatment options.
Food Storage: How much to store, pack-it-yourself methods, storage space and rotation, countering vermin.
Fuel and Home Power: Home heating fuels, fuel storage safety, backup generators.
Garden, Orchard Trees, and Small Livestock: Gardening basics, non-hybrid seeds, greenhouses; choosing the right livestock.
Medical Supplies and Training: Building a first aid kit, minor surgery, chronic health issues.
Communications: Following international news, staying in touch with loved ones.
Home Security: Your panic room, self-defense training and tools.
When to Get Outta Dodge: Vehicle selection, kit packing lists, routes and planning.
Investing and Barter: Tangibles investing, building your barter stockpile. And much more.

How to Survive the End of the World as We Know It is a must-have for every well-prepared family.

A reference for further learning., September 30, 2009
By Michael Z. Williamson (Greenwood, IN United States)


This book doesn't cover every detail of every disaster, of course. No one book could. What it has is easily referenced, concise summaries of particular events--hurricanes, earthquakes, brush fires, economic collapses, grid failures--and summaries of preparations one can make. Then, those preparations are roughly described.

All this gives a person or family a handy guidebook to create a disaster plan from.

Obviously, not all disasters have equal probability, nor are relevant to all locations--brush fires and hurricanes don't affect me in the Midwest. Tornadoes, flash floods and blizzards do, as might a New Madrid earthquake. Long term societal problems aren't currently a problem in the US, but are in quite a few other western nations, such as Argentina and sometimes Chile. There's even advice on a checklist to prioritize exactly those issues.

As usual, a lot of the negative reviews revolve around a provincial "it can't happen here" mindset. A given disaster might not be likely in your current location at your current time, but places, people and societies change. Preparing ahead costs little, and can save your life. If you never need it, think of it as insurance.

Prepper bible, September 30, 2009
By W. Kasper (Texas, USA)


First, ignore that illiterate, lying fool who gave this compendium 1 star. He hasn't read the book, and is condemning Mr. Rawles for something he didn't do: Predict a collapse.

Mr. Rawles is a fountain of knowledge regarding basic and not-so-basic prepare-to-survive techniques. Additionally, he supplies excellent Do's and Don'ts for just about every likely, and unlikely scenario you may enounter.

This book is far more likely to save your life than whoever is on the other end of a 911 call, if anyone.