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Atlantic Free Press Book Reviews
Book Reviews from Atlantic Free Press Writers and Bloggers 


Wed

20

Feb

2008

F. William Engdahl's "A Century of War" (Part II)
Wednesday, 20 February 2008 21:23
by Stephen Lendman

Part II continues the story of "A Century in War" in Part I. It's breathtaking in scope and content, and a shocking and essential history of geopolitics and the strategic importance of oil. Part I covered events from the late 19th century through the end of the 1960s. Part II completes the story to the present era under George Bush.

Running the World Economy in Reverse: Who Made the 1970s Oil Shocks?

In 1969, the US was in recession, interest rates were cut, dollars flowed abroad, and the money supply expanded. In addition, in May 1971, America recorded its first monthly trade deficit that triggered a panic US dollar sell-off.

Things were desperate, gold reserves were one-quarter of official liabilities, and Nixon shocked the world on August 15. He unilaterally imposed a 90 day wage and price freeze, a 10% import surcharge, and most importantly closed the gold window, suspended dollar convertibility into the metal, and shredded the Bretton Woods core provision. He also devalued the dollar by 8%, far less than what US allies wanted.

By this action, Nixon "pulled the plug on the world economy" and set off a series of events that shook it. Further deterioration followed with massive capital flight to Europe and Japan. It forced Nixon to act again on February 12, 1973. He announced a further 10% devaluation, major world currencies began a process called a "managed float," and world instability was the worst seen since the 1930s.
 

Wed

20

Feb

2008

Mission Al-Jazeera. Book Review by Jim Miles
Wednesday, 20 February 2008 20:59
by Jim Miles

Just about every day I scan various internet websites to see what is happening in world events. At the bottom of my list of ‘favourites’ – which is where I start and work my way up – is al-Jazeera English[1], the English internet print version of the al-Jazeera networks. It always contains stories that I would not have read about in the Canadian press, and it carries many stories that receive no information from American television media, which contains some of the worst, most biased, jingoistic and ill-informed ‘news’ of any available. From there I work my way to other global internet sites, some more even keeled than others, but none carry the effective weight of al-Jazeera nor the accuracy of various viewpoints that al-Jazeera does.

This morning for the first time I watched the internet broadcast of the al-Jazeera English global news station[2], prompted by my reading of Josh Rushing’s significant and revealing anecdotal tale “Mission Al Jazeera”. In the short span of half an hour I journeyed from East Timor through Chad/Sudan, Kenya, Pakistan, Turkey, Switzerland, the EU- Arab League summit, Russia/Ukraine, Spain, England, South Korea and finally into Mexico.
 

Wed

20

Feb

2008

F. William Engdahl's "A Century of War" (Part I) - Book Review by Stephen Lendman
Wednesday, 20 February 2008 09:05
by Stephen Lendman

F. William Engdahl is a leading researcher, economist and analyst of the New World Order who's written on issues of energy, politics and economics for over 30 years. He contributes regularly to publications like Japan's Nihon Keizai Shimbun, Foresight magazine, Grant's Investor.com, European Banker and Business Banker International. He's also a frequent speaker at geopolitical, economic and energy related international conferences and is a distinguished Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization where he's a regular contributor.

Engdahl wrote two important books. This writer reviewed his latest one in three parts called "Seeds of Destruction: The Hidden Agenda of Genetic Manipulation." It's the diabolical story of how Washington and four Anglo-American agribusiness giants plan world domination by patenting animal and vegetable life forms. They aim to control food worldwide, make it all genetically engineered, and use it as a weapon to reward friends and punish enemies.

The book is a sequel to Engdahl's first one and subject of this review - "A Century of War: Anglo-American Oil Politics and the New World Order." It's breathtaking in scope and content, and a shocking and essential history of geopolitics and strategic importance of oil. The book is reviewed in-depth so readers will know the type future Henry Kissinger had in mind in 1970 when he said: "Control oil and you control nations; control food and you control people." Engdahl recounts the story in his two masterful books, both critically essential reading.
 

Sun

03

Feb

2008

Carolyn Baker Reviews "The Final Empire" by William Kotke
Sunday, 03 February 2008 01:20
by Carolyn Baker

My intention in reviewing this stunning book is to share how it has illumined my understanding that collapse and vision are not separate, but that in fact, they travel together and need each other. That is to say that collapse makes vision possible, and vision makes collapse the most desirable option of all as we confront the earth community's current dilemma.

Disaster is not approaching,
It has arrived.
It is happening now.
Blessings and Grace are not approaching
They have arrived.
They are here now
I say I believe in Grace
But I think, feel and move as though
Only Damnation is real.
Or if Grace does exist,
It is for someone else.

I close my heart to pain
But it doesn't help,
I cannot circumvent disaster.
But in closing my heart to disaster
perhaps I can circumvent Grace.

Can I bear the burden
Of knowing disaster and Grace,
Each in its own awful fullness?

James Hillman says our problem
Comes down to a failure of imagination.
I need an image, a picture...
Who would I be
If I were willing to risk believing
That Grace is real?

- by Paul Tierney

It has repeatedly been my experience that when a book is supposed to enter my life, it does. Often it falls off the shelf into my lap, and at other times a friend suggests it, or the author him/herself sends me a copy for review. William Kotke has written articles for this website, and his Final Empire has been reviewed elsewhere, most notably by Dan Armstrong. However, the timing of my requesting a review copy of the book from him could not have been more momentous. As a result, I am not only reviewing the book, but using the review as an opportunity for sharing a recent shift in my perspective that may make this the most important article I've ever written in my life. It is written in two parts: The first contains Kotke's extraordinary analysis of why civilization is collapsing and must collapse, and the second offers his vision of what is possible when empire has been eliminated.
 

Mon

18

Feb

2008

Carolyn Baker Reviews William Kotke's "Final Empire", Part Ii
Monday, 18 February 2008 23:10
by Carolyn Baker
undefinedPart I can be read here.

As part of my commitment to holding the tension of current reality alongside my vision, I will continue to spotlight those who are in Kotke's words "gathering seeds of Natural cultures and the truly beneficial things created by civilization" and carrying them through the apocalypse.

We are proposing to create no less than a completely new human culture that relates to the earth in a completely different way....those who choose to respond in a positive way need gather the seeds of Natural cultures and the truly beneficial things created by civilization and carry them through the apocalypse.
~William Kotke~


Tending The Vision

In Part One of this review, I focused on the author's stunning explanation of collapse as a kind of time bomb imbedded in civilization. What I failed to mention is that Kotke wrote this book in 1993 which makes its contents all the more momentous. Likewise, his vision of alternative communities based on the principles of natural culture was ahead of its time in terms of defining how humans need to live in relationship with the more-than-human world.

At this point, I'd like to share how The Final Empire and the timing of its appearance in my life, in synchronicity with other concepts and events, informed my vision of possibilities.
 

Wed

23

Jan

2008

Shell Game, by Steve ALten - A Book Review By Carolyn Baker
Wednesday, 23 January 2008 13:08
by Carolyn Baker
Change is avalanching upon our heads, and most people are grotesquely unprepared to cope with it.
- Alvin Toffler
With a doctorate in Sports Administration from Temple University, unhappy in his job, and struggling to support a family, Steve Alten wanted to write, but his rigorous schedule left no discretionary time for doing so. Nevertheless, he began writing every night from 10PM to 3 AM and on weekends, delivering in eight months a novel which would evolve into a novel/movie series about a pre-historic great white shark. After a long chain of science fiction thrillers, Alten has taken a decidedly political turn, and tomorrow, January 22, 2008, will release his new futuristic page-turner, The Shell Game (Sweetwater Books), subtitled: The End of Oil, The Next 9/11, and The End Of Civilization.

When Steve sent me a review copy of Shell Game, despite glowing reviews of it from people I know and respect, I sighed and squirmed in my chair. Anyone who knows me well knows that I don't DO fiction-or to be more specific, I resist it because of the difficulty I usually experience with trying to organize the characters of a novel in my mind. Nevertheless, I emailed Steve and assured him that I would review the book and began skimming it with dread. Peeking into the pages with immense caution and aloofness, something completely astounding happened: I found myself inexplicably riveted. That someone like me could not put the book down speaks volumes, and no one was more surprised than I was.

As reviewer Bill Douglas points out, Shell Game opens from the perspective of the neocons "THEN, the novel proceeds to dis-assemble that ‘reality' taking the reader on a journey that shows the ugly underbelly of false flag terrorism, diminishing civil and human rights, and the lies that led into past wars, and portend to lead us all into future wars."
 

Tue

22

Jan

2008

Robert McChesney's "Communication Revolution"
Tuesday, 22 January 2008 17:02
by Stephen Lendman

Robert McChesney is a leading media scholar, critic, activist, and the nation's most prominent researcher and writer on US media history, its policy and practice. He's also University of Illinois (Urbana-Champaign) Research Professor in the Institute of Communications Research and the Graduate School of Library and Information Science. In addition, he co-founded (with Dan Schiller) the Illinois Initiative on Global Information and Communication Policy in 2002, hosts a popular weekly radio program called Media Matters on WILL-AM radio, and is the co-founder in 2002 and president of the growing Free Press media reform advocacy organization.

Free Press recognizes that the "current media system is the result of explicit government policies" that special interests representing private investors secretly drafted for themselves. It wants change to democratize the media and increase public participation in it. Toward that end, it seeks to be a "proactive force to advance meaningful media policy in the public interest" and is doing it through a range of vital initiatives. They include challenging media concentration, protecting net neutrality, and since 2003 hosting an annual national conference for media reform that brings together scholars, journalists, activists, policymakers and concerned citizens to discuss and highlight media reform issues and action strategies.

McChesney's work "concentrates on the history and political economy of communication (by) emphasizing the role media play in democratic and capitalist societies" where the primary goal is profits, not the public interest. He's also a frequent speaker, contributor to many publications, and the author or editor of 16 books, including Corporate Media and the Threat to Democracy, the award-winning Telecommunications, Mass Media and Democracy, and the one he says had the "greatest impact of anything I have written," Rich Media, Poor Democracy.

His newest book and subject of this review is titled Communication Revolution - Critical Junctures and the Future of Media. He believes it may be his best one, and Annenberg School of Communication Dean, Machael Delli Carpini, says it is "part media critique, part intellectual history, part personal memoir, and part manifesto."
 

Thu

10

Jan

2008

Reviewing David Cromwell and David Edwards' "Guardians of Power" - Book Review by Stephen Lendman
Thursday, 10 January 2008 01:55
by Stephen Lendman

David Cromwell is a Scottish writer, activist and oceanographer at the National Oceanography Centre in Britain. David Edwards is also a UK writer who focuses on human rights, the environment and the media. Together they edit an extraordinary "UK-based media-watch project" called Media Lens. It "offers authoritative criticism of mainstream media bias and censorship, as well as providing in-depth analysis, quotes, media contact details and other resources."

Today, the media is in crisis, and a free and open society is at risk. Fiction substitutes for fact, news is carefully filtered, dissent is marginalized, and supporting the powerful substitutes for full and accurate reporting. As a result, wars of aggression are called liberating ones, civil liberties are suppressed for our own good, and patriotism means going along with governments that are lawless.

The authors challenge these views and those in the mainstream who reflect them - the managers, editors and journalists. Their aim in Media Lens and their writing is to "raise public awareness" to see "reality" as they do, free from the corrupting influence of media corporations and their single-minded pursuit of profit "in a society dominated by corporate power" and governments acting as their handmaiden. They note that Pravda was a state propaganda organ so "why should we expect the corporate press to tell the truth about corporate power" and unfettered capitalism when they support it? They don't and never will.

The authors go further and say their "aim is to increase rational awareness, critical thought and compassion, and to decrease greed, hatred and ignorance (and do it by) highlight(ing) significant examples of systemic media distortion." There are no shortage of examples.

That objective is highlighted in their 2006 book, "Guardians of Power: The Myth of the Liberal Media" and subject of this review. It's a work distinguished author John Pilger calls "required reading" and "the most important book about journalism (he) can remember" since Noam Chomsky and Edward Herman's classic - "Manufacturing Dissent." Cromwell and Edwards "have done the job of true journalists: they have set the record straight" in contrast to the mainstream that distorts and corrupts it for the powerful. Their book is must reading and will be reviewed in-depth, chapter by chapter, to show why. It's also why no major broadsheet ever mentions it or its important content. This review covers lots of it.
 

Fri

04

Jan

2008

Reviewing F. William Engdahl's "Seeds of Destruction" (Part III)
Friday, 04 January 2008 20:12
by Stephen Lendman (Part III - click here for Part I and Part II)

This is the third and final part of William Engdahl's powerfully important book about four Anglo-American agribusiness giants and their aim to control world food supply, make it all genetically engineered, and use it as a geopolitical weapon. The story is chilling and needs to be read in full to learn the type future they plan for us. Parts I and II were published and are available on this web site. Part III follows below.

Food is Power


Rockefeller Foundation funding was the Gene Revolution's catalyst in 1985 with big aims - to learn if GMO plants were commercially feasible and if so spread them everywhere. It was the "new eugenics" and the culmination of earlier research from the 1930s. It was also based on the idea that human problems can be "solved by genetic and chemical manipulations....as the ultimate means of social control and social engineering." Foundation scientists sought ways to do it by reducing infinite life complexities to "simple, deterministic and predictive models" under their diabolical scheme - mapping gene structures to "correct social and moral problems including crime, poverty, hunger and political instability." With the development of essential genetic engineering techniques in 1973, they were on their way.
 

Thu

03

Jan

2008

Reviewing F. William Engdahl's "Seeds of Destruction"(Book Review by Stephen Lendman)
Thursday, 03 January 2008 10:20
by Stephen Lendman (Part I)

Bill Engdahl is a leading researcher, economist and analyst of the New World Order who's written on issues of energy, politics and economics for over 30 years. He contributes regularly to publications like Japan's Nihon Keizai Shimbun, Foresight magazine, Grant's Investor.com, European Banker and Business Banker International. He's also a frequent speaker at geopolitical, economic and energy related international conferences and is a distinguished Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization where he's a regular contributor.

Engdahl also wrote two important books - "A Century of War: Anglo-American Oil Politics and the New World Order" in 2004. It's an essential history of geopolitics and the importance of oil. Engdahl explains that America's post-WW II dominance rests on two pillars and one commodity - unchallengeable military power and the dollar as the world's reserve currency combined with the quest to control global oil and other energy resources.

Engdahl's newest book is just out from the Centre for Research on Globalization. It's a sequel to his first one called "Seeds of Destruction: The Hidden Agenda of Genetic Manipulation" and subject of this review. It's the diabolical story of how Washington and four Anglo-American agribusiness giants plan world domination by patenting life forms to gain worldwide control of our food supply and why that prospect is chilling.
 

Mon

31

Dec

2007

Surrender is Not an Option (Jim Miles Book Review)
Monday, 31 December 2007 21:07
by Jim Miles
Surrender is Not an Option – Defending America at the United Nations and Abroad. John Bolton. Simon & Schuster, Threshold Editions, New York. 2007.
It is an interesting perspective, that of America needing ‘defending’, but it is one that John Bolton holds to thoroughly in “Surrender is Not an Option.” Surrounded by terrorists, ‘Islamofascists’, the old guard complacency of the “EUroids”, a resurgent Russian Empire, a belligerent if not hostile China, and almost above all else the two largest threats of Iran and North Korea, the United States certainly finds itself in a hostile world. Internally the “liberals”, the left, the “High Minded” are all appeasing fifth columnists who do not know how to defend America properly against these external threats. Bolton’s focus is trying to promote this perspective as U.S. Ambassador at the United Nations headquarters in New York, a building as such that he is oft quoted as saying would not be affected if the top ten floors disappeared.
 

Tue

25

Dec

2007

Insurgent Son: Jesse James and the Crucible of American Character
Tuesday, 25 December 2007 12:38
by Chris Floyd

Last winter, I flew across the ocean back to Tennessee, after my oldest brother died. During this visit, I had with me a book I'd long meant to read but had never gotten around to. It was Jesse James: Last Rebel of the Civil War, by T.J. Stiles.

To call this work a "biography" risks misrepresenting the depth and scope of the illumination it provides. It is a masterpiece of historical reconstruction. By the time I had finished reading it, during long, empty nights after days filled with the business and busyness of death, I felt I had come to a new understanding of American reality: of the nation's history, of many of the deep-running currents in American society, and of our politics, past and present. I also felt – although this was incidental – that I had gained new insights into Iraq as well, into some of the dynamics at work in the sectarian conflicts there, which we like to pretend have largely to do with strange and primitive elements in Muslim and Arabic culture, with no connection to us.
 

Fri

07

Dec

2007

Enough Heroes to Fill a Book (Book Review by David Swanson)
Friday, 07 December 2007 00:23
by David Swanson
"A very few serve the state with their consciences, and so necessarily resist it." -Henry David Thoreau
"We should never forget that everything Adolph Hitler did in Germany was legal and everything the Hungarian freedom fighters did in Hungary was illegal."
-Martin Luther King Jr.
"A real cynic isn't going to blow the whistle. And a real radical probably won't be in a position to do it. It takes someone who believes in the system far more than the system ever believes in itself."
- C. Fred Alford
Actually Thoreau is wrong. More than a few serve the state and resist its abuses, at significant risk to themselves. But very few of us know all of their stories. Resisters of the occupation of Iraq in the U.S., British, and Australian governments and militaries are plentiful enough to fill a book, and they've filled a good one.

"Dissent: Voices of Conscience: Government Insiders Speak Out Against the War in Iraq" is the forthcoming work of U.S. Army Colonel (Ret.) Ann Wright and Susan Dixon (forthcoming after a long delay imposed by the State Department). Wright is herself one of the many heroes whose stories are told in the book. Many of us who follow the war and the peace movement know Ann and know that she resigned from the U.S. diplomatic corps in protest of the invasion of Iraq. But can you name the other two U.S. diplomats who had already done the same thing? Do you know their stories?
 
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