Books

Affirmative Action For Whites – began in the 1930s
July 17, 2017

As noted here in “Creating Segregated America in the 20th Century – government in action” segregated America didn’t happen by chance nor by choice of the victims. Consistent white supremacist government action supported by private institutions created the segregation that persists and flourishes in the 21st century. But there is a flip side to this. At the same time government law, regulation and policy created white affirmative programs to provide…

Read more →
Creating Segregated America in the 20th Century – Government in Action
July 12, 2017

Rothstein demonstrates that government, Federal, state and local took a long string of affirmative actions to set up and sustain segregation that is clearly unconstitutional and illegal. He proves the de jure nature of the history then puts the burden on the government, our government, to remedy the situation. These government actions were carried out in coordination with private organizations (churches and schools, for example) and real estate and financial institutions.

Read more →
Why Are There 16 Producers on House of Cards?
June 12, 2017

OK you Hollywood moguls and wannabes, what does a producer do? What do all of the variants do? Executive Producer, Associate Producer, Managing Producer, Supervising Producer, Co-Executive Producer?? How do they stay out of each other’s way?? How much are they paid, salary and residuals?? Should this be my next career stop??

Read more →
The Environment, Trump, Koch Brothers & Big Money
June 5, 2017

The now publicly visible campaign by the Koch brothers and many others to make their decade’s long campaign to deny climate change bear new fruit in public policy. More evidence that the plutocrats are now so secure in their control over our politics and the government that they can come out of the shadows and rule directly through Trump.

Read more →
NYTimes Book Review Misses Major Points About US Healthcare
April 5, 2017

Jacob S. Hacker, Yale professor and author of many books and article critiquing the American political system, economy, and the fate of the poor and middle classes, reviewed a new book, AN AMERICAN SICKNESS: How Healthcare Became Big Business and How You Can Take It Back by Elisabeth Rosenthal (NY: Penguin Press, 2017). Most of the review takes up the question of why healthcare is not like other commodities and does not…

Read more →
Building the New American Economy – Not
April 5, 2017

The title of this short book, only 130 pages, Building the New American Economy: smart, fair, & sustainable by Jeffrey D. Sachs with a foreword by Bernie Sanders (Columbia University Press, 2017) is unfortunately misleading. There is much here about the new economy. The misleading part is that there is very little about its construction, the building of the new economy. Sachs covers many important issues in a thorough, efficient…

Read more →
PEW graphic on book reading vs e-books
E-Books Flatline; Books (Paper) Return Like Zombies
September 6, 2016

As the Web was becoming ubiquitous in the early haze of the 21st century the wonders of Google search displaced Altavista and other engines in the search wars. Web wags declared that the age of books, actually all paper-based media, to be over. The Web would quickly provide universal access to all of human knowledge on your computer. This even before the iPhone and Android brought the Internet to our…

Read more →
Book Review – The Rise and Fall of American Growth
June 25, 2016

The Rise and Fall of American Growth: the US standard of living since the Civil War by Robert J. Gordon1 is a weighty book in every regard. At 762 pages it is a heavy lift – not beach reading or even bed-time either. But I found it almost a page turner. It is very well structured and written. None of the fussiness or obscurantist language one often…

Read more →
Joe, My friend got back to me. Her contact left the Review five years ago. Sorry. Mark
No Place to Hide by Glenn Greenwald – book review
June 1, 2014

We are within days of the anniversary of the first revelations from Edward Snowden’s archive of NSA documents. The drum beat of new stories emerging from this trove continues even to this moment.2 So, Glenn Greenwald’s book, No Place To Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA, and the US Surveillance State might be greeted with a yawn, what could be new? In…

Read more →
Flash Boys cover by Michael Lewis
Flash Boys Doesn’t Ask the Important Question
April 7, 2014

We should demand that our financial markets serve their findamental purposes – connect investors with those who can deploy those resources to create new products and services and enable the flow of these goods and services. To call holding financial insturments whether stocks, bonds, or other assets for mere seconds investments is to beggar the mind.

Read more →
Whisperes- family life in Stalin's Russia by Figes
Book Review – The Whisperers – private life in Stalin’s Russia by Orlando Figes
July 28, 2013

This book by Orlando Figes is exciting, terribly depressing, and cautionary. Based on hundreds of in-depth interviews and thousands of letters, diaries, and government documents, Whisperers3 puts real people in place of the faceless numbers that constitute our usual image of the human costs of Stalinist Russia – the 10 million lost during collectivization, the same or larger number disappeared during the various Terrors and…

Read more →
George Smalley in Yatzeck's Russia in Private
Russia in Private by Richard Yatzeck
October 10, 2012

Russia today seems very far from the country I grew up with as an international ogre on the TV news,  the Soviet Union or USSR. After all, the Wall fell in 1989, already 23 years ago. The Soviet Union  dissolved in 1991, 21 years ago. It is mostly in the memories of those over 40 years old that crossing behind the Iron Curtain was an exotic, even inexplicable adventure. In the spring…

Read more →
Cod: a biography of the fish that changed the world by Mark Kurlansky
September 27, 2011

This wonderful little book (283 pages including 40 pages of recipes) by Mark Kurlansky is a great introduction to viewing history through a different kind of lens. We are all to used to history as told from the point of view of great men (almost always me) and nation states. Codis about the fish, fishing, processed food, ecology, trade, slavery, rum, fishing technologies, food around the whole of the Atlantic and…

Read more →
Slavery by Another Name by Blackmon
Slavery by Another Name: The Re-Enslavement of Black People in America from the Civil War to World War II
November 13, 2010

This book brings to light the extent to which the Jim Crow laws were in fact part of a totalitarian system of government that ruled the South for more than seventy five years. How these laws came to be called Jim Crow by historians instead of  “a system of racist oppression and exploitation” is a mystery. The fact that historians and school textbook writers  adopted this term,which is derogatory in its basis, points to a…

Read more →
The Warmth of Other Suns – Isabel Wilkerson
October 10, 2010

Isabel Wilkerson’s book, The Warmth of Other Suns – the epic story of America’s great migration,4 creates  whole new planes of awareness of our history. This book startled me to a new understanding of how encompassing and pervasive the Jim Crow laws and social rules of the South really were. Without much thinking on my part, I have always equated Jim Crow with images…

Read more →
Manias,Panics,and Crashes by Kindleberger
Book Review: Manias, Panics, and Crashes: a history of financial crises by Kindleberger
November 13, 2009

Manias, Panics, and Crashes: a history of financial crises, fourth edition by Charles P. Kindleberger (New York: Wiley 2000) A recent Wall St Journal article described this book as a “must read” classic for anyone involved in financial markets. I have been involved directly in financial markets in two ways recently. First, I spent a year chasing around chasing angel investors and venture capitalists during the DotCom boom to fund Valuedge…

Read more →
Secret Sentry by Mathew Aid
Yottabytes and the National Security State
October 17, 2009

The current New York Review of Books has an article by James Bamford, “Who’s in Big Brother’s Database” that reviews the new book by Mathew M. Aid, The Secret Sentry: The Untold History of the National Security Agency . I have gotten in line at my local library to read this book and will make further comments after that. Meanwhile, the Bamford article mentions the construction boom at NSA (National…

Read more →
Book Review: Diamond Street – Hudson, NY: the story of the little town with the big red light district
September 13, 2009

Diamond Street: The Story of the Little Town With the Big Red Light District by Bruce Edward Hall (Black Dome Press, Hensonville NY 1994 and 2005) This is a fairly readable history of Hudson as seen from the other side of the tracks and from the corrupt office holders in city government and local police. Sheds new light on how Hudson has been dependent for a very long time on…

Read more →
Book Review: Looking for Work: Industrial Archeology in Columbia County, New York
August 13, 2009

Looking for Work: Industrial Archeology in Columbia County, New York, The Emergence and Growth of Local Industry as Revealed in Surviving Sites and Structures by Peter H. Stott, Syracuse University Press, 2007 This is a comprehensive review of industrial sites in 18 towns and the City of Hudson in Columbia County. There is a narrative historical description of the industry in each town and more detailed descriptions of the 134 sites. A great resource…

Read more →
North Korea – a visit to the "Axis of Evil"
June 21, 2007

Recently, in the context of some discussion of the Bush regime, my step-son Jonathan pointed me towards several books on Korea. He said that Bruce Cumings is simply the best author writing in English on Korea. So, a quick trip to the local library and I had this compact little book in my hands. The book is organized around five topics: (1) the impact of the Korean War on North…

Read more →
Book Note – Before the Dawn: recovering the lost history of our ancestors
February 27, 2007

Earlier this year I read Charles Mann’s 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus and was rewarded with another reminder of how thin my understanding of our hemisphere’s history is and how much new knowledge is being added by multiple disciplines. Here was a whole new world to be explored. Nicholas Wade’s book is another must read for those of us educated before the impact of the decoding of…

Read more →
Book Note – Before the Dawn: recovering the lost history of our ancestors
February 27, 2007

Earlier this year I read Charles Mann’s 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus and was rewarded with another reminder of how thin my understanding of our hemisphere’s history is and how much new knowledge is being added by multiple disciplines. Here was a whole new world to be explored. Nicholas Wade’s book is another must read for those of us educated before the impact of the decoding of…

Read more →
  1. Princeton U. Press. 2016 []
  2. NSA Collecting Millions of Faces from Web Images http://www.nytimes.com/2014/06/01/us/nsa-collecting-millions-of-faces-from-web-images.html accessed 06012014 []
  3. more here on Figes’ website []
  4. New York City, Random House 2010 []