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The Case for Israel
The Case for Israel
by Alan Dershowitz
Edition: Hardcover
41 used & new from CDN$ 0.47

3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Straightforward Commonsense, May 29 2004
This review is from: The Case for Israel (Hardcover)
Alan Dershowitz is truly an enigma. While most celebrated political intellectuals are firmly entrenched on either the left or right, the distinguished Harvard Law Professor is not so easy to pigeonhole. Most times he reliably takes the "Liberal" position, but as his recently published work The Case For Israel proves, he can sometimes find himself persuasively articulating the "Conservative" line. On whichever side he lands, his credentials as attorney, author, academic, and cable TV commentator promise that he'll present a strong case, and this sapient tome is no exception.
Discussing the often-lamented plight of the Palestinian people the author charges that although their case is "far less compelling from a moral perspective than the complaints of other occupied and stateless people such as the Tibetans, the Kurds, and Basques, the PLO's resort to Global terrorism has leapfrogged Palestinian claims over the more compelling claims of others." He laments that "the more vicious, unlawful, and lethal the Palestinian attacks against civilians became, the more diplomatic recognition they have been accorded by the United Nations, which singled out the PLO (Palestine Liberation Organization) from among all other representatives of stateless groups for special observer status." In a trenchant juxtaposition he speculates, "after the defeat of Germany and Japan in World War II, just imagine how the world would have reacted if some Germans and Japanese had employed terrorism against the victorious powers then demanded equal status as bargaining partners in postwar negotiations."
To the accusation that Israel routinely brutalizes the defenseless Palestinians, he offers copious examples of near herculean measures employed by the Jewish state to minimize civilian casualties--usually at an increased danger to its own people. For a frank comparison, he offers "in distinct contrast to the modus operandi of Palestinian terrorists--to kill as many innocent Jews as possible by any means available--the innocent Palestinian civilians who have been killed by Israelis were not the intended targets...Israel tries to use rubber bullets and other weapons designed to reduce fatalities, and aims at the legs whenever possible." Yet there are no cases of homicide bombers taking any steps to spare even babies who just happen to be in the way.
Israel's humane warfare is not a new development; Dershowitz tells that during the famous 6-day war "the tiny number of Arab civilian casualties was lower than any comparable war in modern history." Not only does Israel meet the highest standards of ensuring minimal civilian injuries, its activist Supreme Court--the world's sole judicial body empowered with regulating military actions--mandates egregious precautions that admittedly put Israeli citizens and soldiers in harm's way. For over two decades, Israel had a successful policy of flushing out terrorists from their residential hiding places. If the killers failed to respond to surrender demands, an Arab neighbor would be sent to the hideout with a message. After one Palestinian was killed by a suspect who assumed he was an Israeli soldier, Israeli citizens filed suit and the Supreme Court outlawed the practice that had saved many soldiers' lives. The court unequivocally ruled "it is difficult to fight against persons who are prepared to turn themselves into living bombs'...(but) not every effective measure is also a lawful measure."
As Dershowitz concludes "no country in the modern history of warfare has been more protective of the rights of innocent noncombatant enemies than Israel." Tragically the efforts are not reciprocated. The author explains "since the end of the 1967 war, the entire focus of Palestinian aggression has been on civilians...global terrorism began in 1968 not as a last resort against a long occupation but as a first resort."
He also discusses the indoctrination campaigns that preach hatred of Israel and cites Palestinian textbooks that include test problems like "explain the reasons that made the Europeans persecute the Jews."
Palestinian supporters often decry that the creation of Israel displaced local dwellers by importing Jews from all over the world. Dershowitz shows that the vast majority of modern day Israel's residents have been Jews for centuries, but facts rarely get in the way of anti-Israeli cant. Powerfully, he sites Winston Churchill whose early trepidation of Adolph Hitler showed shrewd prescience. The English statesman demonstrated similar foresight regarding the creation of a Jewish state. In 1908 he declared it "manifestly right that the scattered Jews should have a national center and a national home and be reunited and where else but in Palestine...it will be good for the world, good for the Jews, good for the British Empire, but also good for the Arabs...they shall share in the benefits of Zionism." In 1937, the British sponsored Pell Commission looked into the feasibility of the recently resurrected two-state solution and recommended such a division. The proposal failed as badly then as it is destined to today. Sadly, the author notes "had the Arabs accepted the two-state solution...hundreds of thousands--perhaps even a million or more--European Jews could have been saved."
Now that the two state solution is regaining popularity Dershowitz points out how curious it is that the Palestinians never sought independence while their territories were under Egypt or Jordan's tutelage--both of which he argues treated them much worse than the Israelis do.
There are many other putative falsehoods that Dershowitz dispels with weighty facts. His effort is truly valuable and his overall ideological ambiguity lends further credence to his objectivity. His forceful reasoning should help change the minds of some who have heard little beyond widespread anti-Israeli and/or anti-Semitic propaganda.

Witness
Witness
by Whittaker Chambers
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 17.52
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Important Piece Of American History, May 21 2004
This review is from: Witness (Paperback)
It is sad but true that a large portion of young Americans--even many with college degrees--probably have no idea who Whitaker Chambers was. Indeed, numerous conservatives likely know the name only as belonging to someone who was anti-communist but would be unable to provide more than vague generalities on his life and accomplishments.
Ann Coulter helped rectify this unfortunate development last year with the publication of her mega-bestseller "Slander". Her trenchant exploration of twentieth century communism and the unbridled invective hurled against those who dared to oppose the murderous ideology introduced Chambers to a whole new generation. In interviews she has often stated that his autobiography Witness is one of the absolute-must reads for conservatives and an important title for all students of American history.
As someone whose knowledge of Alger Hiss' nemesis was lacking, I decide to follow the sapient blonde's advice and picked up a copy of the 800-page memoir. I now second Miss Coulter's call; Witness is a moving and educational read. The extent to which communists infiltrated the United States Government in pre-World War days is frightening both in its scope and in the fact that today few Americans appreciate just how serious actual security breaches were. Chambers was well-qualified to address the magnitude of the red threat because for more than a decade he was a part of the menace. As a committed fellow traveler, he hobnobbed in all the right (left?) circles. So powerful was the communist structure within our nation that when he eventually grew disillusioned and abandoned the atheistic dead end, he firmly believed that he was "leaving the wining world for the losing world."
Among the most striking features of the communist organization he exposed was its massive bureaucratic nature. Within the clandestine cabal there was an "underground" so completely sequestered from the regular communists that few committed adherents knew who was who in the parallel penumbras. Additionally, the labyrinthine steps taken to maintain secrecy are almost laughable. Chambers' talks about never learning addresses to places he regularly visited for years; rather he knew to get there by landmarks and neighborhoods. This was a precaution in case of capture--unknown information could not be provided to the authorities. Furthermore, Chambers relates cumbersome machinations for all his assignments; yet his endeavors to deliver "plans" or meet ever-changing, ephemeral "contacts" seem like little more than wheel-spinning busy work. It is no wonder that conspiracy theories abound among modern day leftists--the direct descendants of the very group that perfected the art.
Many of Chambers' observations are as suitable to the early 21st century as they were in the 1940s. A cavalier attitude toward abortion permeated communists. As soon as his first child was conceived Chambers and his wife readily conceded that abortion was their only option, but when faced with the reality of their circumstance, the innate bond of parenthood trumped the dictates of good communists. Mrs. Chambers informed her husband, "we couldn't do that awful thing to a little baby," a demand that he whole-heartedly accepted.
Considering that Chambers' communist days predated the formation of Israel, his asides on that issue truly show how much things have remained the same. He writes "Arab outrages were occurring in Palestine; the Communist International chose that moment to call for the formation of a "Soviet Arabism" to attack the Zionists." He also talks about how pure communism demanded its followers' ideologies remain and in an earlier incarnation of Hillary's Clinton's dreaded "right wing conspiracy," he sites numerous expulsions due to "rightwing deviationism." Even the problem of illegal immigration is shown to not be an entirely new phenomenon. At least one German communist contact is described as "probably in the United States illegally."
One situation that has changed radically concerns Chambers successful post-Communist career at Time. It is not newsmagazine today.
Beyond the important political tale Chambers tells, his personal story proves inspirational too. Born into a badly dysfunctional home (his only brother committed suicide, his parents lived in the same house without communicating for years), the lost soul was easy prey to the false promises of communist utopia. Marrying a left-leaner and starting a family as an avowed red forced him to confront reality, and his transformation to conservative Christian was painful and controversial but ultimately redemptive.
His celebrated accusations against Alger Hiss stripped away his family's privacy and provoked piles of scorn upon his name (think Linda Tripp, Ken Starr, Miquel Estrada, Clarence Thomas, etc.) With the release of KGB files a few years ago Alger Hiss' guilt was proven anew, yet some influential voices still argue the traitor's innocence. As quoted in Robert Novak's newly added introduction, upon Hiss' 1996 death liberals from President Clinton's National Security Adviser Anthony Lake to Peter Jennings spoke of the charges against Hiss as either false or unsubstantiated. The incontrovertible record tells a different story, and Witness lays out the facts in perhaps a more engrossing and chilling way than any other source. Ann Coulter's Slander makes for an engaging and stimulating read, but Whittaker Chambers eloquently gives the full story in his own words.

Witness To Hope
Witness To Hope
by George Weigel
Edition: Audio Cassette
11 used & new from CDN$ 49.66

5.0 out of 5 stars Witness to the Pope, May 21 2004
This review is from: Witness To Hope (Audio Cassette)
Along with a hearty recommendation for<i>Witness to Hope</i> comes a caveat that the excellent book is NOT an easy read. George Weigel undertook this comprehensive biography as a labor of love and researched it meticulously. Reading the finished product is a laborious task but worth the effort.
Mr. Weigel was afforded unprecedented access to the pontiff and scoured the world interviewing his peers, subordinates, admirers, detractors, colleagues, childhood friends, former supervisors (wherever possible), and just about anyone with cogent insights into the inner workings of John Paul II. Even when the details appear superfluous (reports of Mrs. Wojtyla's pushing baby Karol in his carriage, et al), they assist us in comprehending the historic churchman. Karol lost his mother as a young boy, and his father and only brother both died before he was fully mature. The author explicates how the loss of his entire close family imbued the future pontiff with an unshakable devotion to the sacredness of family life. His youthful pain positively manifested itself in copious papal support for the traditional family structure.
The Pope's unwavering commitment to the sanctity of human life in the face of often vitriolic criticism is likewise shown to have grown from personal hardships. Nazism devastated Poland, and Karol Wojtyla lost many lifelong Jewish friends to the scourge. Active in the underground--especially a clandestine theater--he struggled to stay a step ahead of the nazis. Seeing many of his loved ones and exterminated, and his own mistreatment by the nazis shaped him in ways the world would observe decades later.
Ironically, those who often fault the pope for unambiguously opposing abortion often praise him for his equally stern disapproval of capital punishment, and vice-versa. His ineluctable reverence for the sanctity of all life was chiseled in his heart by Nazi brutality and undergirded further by communist atrocities--all witnessed firsthand.
The Vatican's love-hate relationship with the United Nations provides some of the book's most telling sections, explaining how some of the strangest bedfellows ever came together, and also provides an examination of how strained Vatican--U.S., ties grew due to the radical agenda of the Clinton Administration. The center of world Catholicism worked harmoniously with Libya, Iran, and several other radical Islamic countries regarding issues of abortion, homosexuality, and the family structure while vigorously opposing the United States (during the Clinton years) on these very same issues.
The Clinton administration's drive to have deviant definitions of the family as well as support nefarious population control measures (including involuntary sterilization) given U.N. sanction seemed destined to succeed despite Vatican efforts to insert common sense into the argument
While Clinton's representatives had assiduously prepared for the Vatican's stance and adroitly maneuvered to deflate the Holy See's influence, they did not anticipate one insurmountable obstacle--nearly worldwide disgust at their extremist plans. At that same conference, a scheduled welcoming speech--expected to be neutral in tone--by then-Pakistani Prime Minister Benazair Bhutto condemned abortion as a crime against humanity and established a theme that was reiterated by the majority of participants from Africa, Asia, and South America. What Clinton's out-of-touch appointees dismissed an Catholic rigidity turned out to be almost catholic sentiment and squashed efforts to declare new norms of family structure.
Since the pope has interacted with virtually every mover and shaker of the past three decades, Mr. Weigel includes a plethora of notable vignettes regarding a veritable who's who of world figures. Describing Mikhail Gorbachev's unprecedented visit to the Vatican during the Soviet Union's twilight, Weigel ponders "he must have had some intuition of what this moment meant historically. By the mere fact of his presence at the Vatican, the system he represented was acknowledging that it had been wrong about the relationship between Christianity and genuine humanism, about Christianity and human liberation."
He wisely includes comments from Vaclav Havel's greeting to the Pope in Czechoslovakia, "I dare say that at this moment I am participating in a miracle: the man who six months ago was arrested as an enemy of the State stands here today as the president of the State and bids welcome to the first pontiff of the Catholic Church in history to set foot in this land."
Other interesting tidbits include crossed paths with the like of Ronald Reagan, Mother Theresa, Fidel Castro, Ed Koch, Billy Graham, and Morocco's King Hassan who arranged for John Paul to address what may have been the largest assemblage of Muslim youth ever.
In an unfortunate case of timing, Witness to Hope was released a few years prior to the two incidents that could become the most salient demerits on John Paul's broad and noble legacy. Laying any blame for the American clergy's sex scandal in the Vatican is somewhat of a stretch, but fallout from the headline-making disgrace is landing at John Paul's feet. More directly linked was the pope's bewildering disagreement with the American-lead liberation of Iraq. Not since the allied assault on nazism has the case for a just war seemed so clear. Why John Paul did not at least maintain a silent neutrality is a subject that historians will debate for decades. Some have speculated that accusations--often devoid of facts--that Pope Pius XII was silent during the Holocaust--will be echoed about John Paul regarding the Iraqi situation.
Witness to Hope's appeal is truly catholic (with a small "c") because John Paul's influence has extended far beyond the Roman Catholic Church, and any treatment of major world events is incomplete without his views.

Deliver Us from Evil: Defeating Terrorism, Despotism, and Liberalism
Deliver Us from Evil: Defeating Terrorism, Despotism, and Liberalism
by Sean Hannity
Edition: Hardcover
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4.0 out of 5 stars Giving Us Some Daily Bread, March 11 2004
To some elites the concept of Evil is archaic and even invoking the word is condemned as non-inclusive and judgmental. Sean Hannity comes from a different school of thought--one founded more firmly in reality where Good and Evil really exist and are locked in an eternal battle.
In his second book, he analyzes a few episodes of pure evil over the past 100 years. Despite the book's provocative subtitle, he does not truly lump liberalism in with despotism and terrorism; rather he sees leftist appeasement as fertile ground for these evils to take root and an absence of righteousness as nurturing their growth. He is relentless in his excoriation of liberalism's failure to understand and even admit that evil exists. An entire chapter devoted to the Clintons (along with others exploring communism, nazism, and Iraq) is guaranteed to raise the hackles of modern day Democrats. And although he doesn't warrant his own chapter Former President Jimmy Carter insouciance, naiveté, and grandstanding make him a repeated target of Hannity's well-supported wrath.
Ironically it is the chapters devoted to historical periods that standout. Hannity's admirers either see and/or hear him daily so they are used to completely up-to-date discussions of current events--obviously impossible in book form. His chapter devoted to the 2004's Democratic presidential candidates is already dated. However, he displayed some shrewd prescience in compiling it because John Kerry was virtually written off just two or three months prior to securing the nomination, but the senate's most liberal member is afforded a generous helping of assiduous and damaging scrutiny.
While the book provides little in the way of fresh details, it successsfully links evil's grip on various totalitarian empires over the Twentieth Century. And even open-minded progressives will admit that his perspicuous dialectics provide much food for thought.
In a poignant assertion regarding nazi Germany and how often the millions of lives lost become one big, impersonal statistic, Hannity remembers "the numbers hide millions of individual stories each of them as heartrending as the worst of today's headlines." He also points out a too often denied reality--Hitler hated Christianity as much as Judaism, proffering that "the leaders of the Third Reich saw that without God, the state and its leaders were free to shape morality."
Discussing the Cold War, he examines how leftist illuminati provided untold moral support to Soviet powers. Much of Europe never quite accepted Ronald Reagan and Hannity points out how the 40th president's unflinching vision forced the continent's leaders to make a choice between "do we (Europeans) believe the nation that saved us from nazi totalitarianism...or do we put our faith in Soviet Communism?" Shockingly, many leftists in America as well as Europe selected communism's never-fulfilled promise of utopia. He credits the Soviet leadership for having enough smarts to fear not only President Reagan but also the promise of America; "if the Soviets had one thing in common with Reagan, it was that they both had more faith in America's ability than the American left did."
The United Nations' credibility has long been in question. With Iraq's liberation further diminishing its standing, Hannity aptly summarizes that the international bureaucracy "has become a kind of organized forum for appeasement anxious to obstruct the actions of law-abiding nations while rewarding rogue nations for their illegal behavior." Regarding Iraq, he discusses one of the anti-warriors' most insipid and most repeated shibboleths: that the U.S. lead multinational liberation was a unilateral act. Despite the banality of that allegation, Hannity acknowledges "unilateralism is no crime, if it means acting in our own national interest regardless of the stance of other nations." He also talks about the hysteria over a failure to locate WMD in Iraq yet. Pondering the agreement of worldwide intelligence agencies that such weapons existed and the inconvenient fact that Saddam had indeed used them previously, Hannity sounds a reasonable alarm "the fact that no weapons (of mass destruction) have yet been found in Iraq, gives me greater cause for concern," because the chance that they were moved to another unfriendly and still functioning dictatorship cannot be dismissed.
Most of the leftist support for evil regimes spotlighted is merely antics of useless idiots, but he especially condemns a concrete case of terrorist coddling. Noting "in his eight years in office Clinton played host to (Yassar) Arafat more often than anyone else (considered a 'world leader')," he realizes what a horrid message that conveyed.
"Deliver Us from Evil" covers no new ground, but it does make a cogent connection between some of evil's manifestations over the past 100 years. While it is unable to maintain the timeliness of Sean Hannity's radio and TV programs, its format allows him to address pertinent issues more thoroughly than his fast-paced daily outlets ever permit.
Since the author often rightly boasts of intellectual honesty, one mistake in the book must be noted. He references "Rudolph Hess, not long before he was hanged for his crimes." In truth the nazi thug died in 1987 after a lengthy prison sentence.

Dolly: My Life and Other Unfinished Business
Dolly: My Life and Other Unfinished Business
by Dolly Parton
Edition: Hardcover
109 used & new from CDN$ 2.97

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Real Life Country Song, Nov. 7 2003
Five minutes of fame has now become enough to justify penning one's self-serving autobiography. Fortunately, Dolly Parton's 30+year career is suitable for book-length, and she avoids the standard celebrity tell-all fare in favor of interesting vignettes.
Her life is a Cinderella-story that would put any fairy-godmother to shame. Her interesting existence commenced with a delivery paid via a pig since her farming parents were short on cash. From such humble beginnings she went to become one of the richest women in the world. Tantalizing tidbits about her fellow country singers and some Hollywood hotshots pepper the pages, as do tales that illumine life amidst a large Appalachian family. She has often described her brood as "only financially poor" and that positive attitude not only permeates the book, she portrays such a blessed childhood that the allegation rings completely true.
Thankfully avoiding the gory details of typical star bios (think Cybil Shepherd Whoopi Goldberg, etc.), Dolly realizes there are some facts that fans need not know. Her boasted Christianity is practiced with a few question marks, and some facets of her life do appear curious. Still she succeeds in presenting just enough (but never too much) of the private side of her ultra-public persona.
Readers see how she has lived out many of the lyrics of her enumerable self-penned country songs. Upon completion of this autobiography many will return it to their bookshelves softly singing "In My Tennessee Mountain Home."

Treason: Liberal Treachery from the Cold War to the War on Terrorism
Treason: Liberal Treachery from the Cold War to the War on Terrorism
by Ann Coulter
Edition: Hardcover
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5.0 out of 5 stars Laugh Out Loud Funny and Historically Accurate Throughout, Sept. 3 2003
Ann Coulter strikes again and scores another bull's eye. While "Treason's" most important segment is unquestionably it's accurate reporting of Joseph McCarthy's life and accomplishments, the most enjoyable aspect is Ann's abundantly displayed wicked satire.
Those who have never taken the time and energy (most of the population) to explore the truth of McCarthyism will likely be shocked by the book's revelations. The senator did accuse many citizens of being enemy communist agents; all were indeed enemy communist agents. The inveterate myth of Hollywood blacklisting is a genuine as Barbra Streisand's hair color. The section of the book devoted to McCarthyism should be required reading in every high school and college. Hopefully it would stir many students to investigate the situation more thoroughly, which is why it will never be assigned in any class. Despite the current leftist myopia toward Communism's honorable foe, the author shows how some honest liberals strongly backed the senator. She quotes President Kennedy indignantly responding to quip that equated McCarthy and Alger Hiss, "how dare you couple the name of a great American (McCarthy) with that of a traitor." The book also includes interesting anecdotes about Joseph McCarthy's early support for civil rights and his heavy campaigning in black neighborhoods, and mentions that "long before it was fashionable, he employed a strikingly diverse staff." While his name is now anathema to elites and academia, Miss Coulter documents how tremendously popular he was during his lifetime.
The book's overall theme that the American Left has abandoned loyal opposition in favor of outright aiding and abetting the enemy is polemically daring, but the author offers ample data to support her allegations. Much of evidence is presented with the caustic derision the readers of Ann Coulter's syndicated column have come to love so much.
Among her precious gems:
On liberal opposition to the SDI missile shield: "Democrats suddenly became hardheaded fiscal conservatives; for the first time in recorded history, liberals were concerned about the cost and usefulness of a government program. These people believe federally funded art therapy for the homeless will pay for itself...but a shield to repel incoming nuclear missiles from American soil, they said was too expensive."
Strobe Talbot is described as "Time Magazine's Washington Bureau Chief, arms control expert, U.S. deputy secretary of state under Clinton, and pompous octogenarian blowhard all before he was nineteen years old." Dennis Kucinich is identified as "democratic presidential candidate and strange-looking little man." Walter Cronkite is very appropriately termed "'legendary newsman,' 'national treasure,' and pompous liberal gasbag." She quotes Jeanne Garofalo (had anyone heard of her before the war anyway?) as saying "now that I'm sober I watch a lot of news," and after offering a few more samples of the actress's behemoth stupidity, the author sarcastically speculates, "you had to wonder if her newfound sobriety had hit a rough patch." Saddam Hussein-loving has-been Sean Penn is called the "head of 'Chain-Smoking Drunks Against War,'' and in adumbrating Norman mailer's obtuse pronouncements, she just can't help mentioning that his "last successful novel was written 54 years ago."
Like Miss Coulter's previous bestseller "Slander," this work is painstakingly documented. However, while the plethora of annotations at times marred the earlier work, footnotes as generously used as they are here, never become a distraction in this book.
Of course this tome will primarily preach to the choir. One cannot imagine many Clintonistas perusing its pages (for one thing the vocabulary is far too advanced for their brains.) Even though Ann Coulter's unapologetic stance on the Right is proudly evident, any open-minded person will learn plenty from this risible yet historically essential book.

Anguished English: An Anthology of Accidental Assualts Upon Our Language
Anguished English: An Anthology of Accidental Assualts Upon Our Language
by Richard Lederer
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: CDN$ 8.54
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4.0 out of 5 stars Loads of Linguistic Levity, Aug. 9 2003
Too often those of us who love the English Language put its lexicon up on a pedestal isolated from the world of irreverence or revelry. We view even the most good-natured mocking of it as a sacrilege. Richard Lederer has produced the perfect antidote to such sacrosanct pomposity with his laugh-out-loud collection of confused usage examples.
The wise underlining message of this risible read is that the richness of out mother tongue is greatly enhanced by its propensity for malapropisms, mispronunciations, misspeaks, and the melange of other maladies that can and regularly do befall it.
His chapter on rewritten history--a compilation of actual student papers' errors--reads like a much more amusing version of the revisionist rants that get taught in too many public schools these days. Lines such as "The Pilgrims crossed the ocean, and this was called Pilgrim's Progress...Many people died and many babies were born; Captain John Smith were responsible for all this" should rightly make us shutter when found in a post-modern textbook, but merely cause guffaws when taken from student essays.
While much can be lost in translation, priceless gems can sometimes be found in inter-linguistic exchanges as this gallimaufry of goofs from other languages amply proves. Cited nuggets include a Roman laundry that blatantly announced, "ladies, leave your clothes here and spend the afternoon having a good time," or the French hotel--presumably a hangout for swingers--that requests all guests, "please leave your values at the front desk." None seem to top the Japanese motel tailor-made for former President Clinton advising all visitors that "you are invited to take advantage of the chambermaid."
Perhaps no aspect of our revered English is as hallowed as the rules of grammar. Violating certain principles (What do yous guys want?) earn automatic and well-deserved odium. Yet even among these dogmatic deficiencies, Mr. Lederer found fodder for merriment. Sometimes the ambiguity of a pronoun can have an unintended, but uproarious impact on the perceived meaning of a sentence. Authentic selections include, "according to the report, a vehicle struck the mailbox as it attempted to get back on the roadway." Pity that the mailbox was so slow moving. Regarding ravenous politicians, we read "after Governor Baldwin watched the lion perform he was taken to Main Street and fed 25 pound of raw meat." Spelling errors and wrong words often go undetected, but in certain instances they can truly change a sentence's intended message. The book quotes an article that read, "during peek season the beach is covered with hundreds of bikini-clad beauties;" people are probably "peeking' during all seasons. Bug spray would be a minor concern to a garden where "the pistol of a flower is the only protection against insects," and it's best to have a holiday dinner out when one hears that "on Thanksgiving morning we could smell the foul cooking."
The referenced items above are random choices representative of the many inadvertently funny linguistic mistakes that comprise this rousing work. After finishing "Anguished English" readers should have a duplicitous glow--one part for the mirth that always stimulates a tired soul and the other a renewed respect for our glorious English--a majestic language that is not afraid to laugh at itself.

The Rage and the Pride
The Rage and the Pride
by Oriana Fallaci
Edition: Hardcover
37 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

4.0 out of 5 stars Proudly Raging, Aug. 8 2003
This review is from: The Rage and the Pride (Hardcover)
Long before Christine Amanpour did her best to earn the New York Post-designated appellation of "CNN's war's slut"...back in the days when Barbara Walters demonstrated vestiges of true journalism rather that gossipy glitz.... back when many doors had not yet opened to competent female muckrakers.... there was Oriana Fallaci. As the sensitivity police (whom she disparages as "cicadas") seized more and more control of public discourse, her outspoken independence found fewer and fewer venues brave enough to give her a platform, and rather than compromise she opted for exile.
The Italian born free spirit settled (primarily) in New York City. On September 11, 2001 she, like the rest of the civilized world, was shaken from her tranquility. A lengthy essay--her first in years--soon found worldwide, abridged distribution (and earned widespread wrath from the multicultural gestapoes.) "The Rage and the Pride" is the unedited, uncensored, and unflinching treatise, and it may well be the literary maestro's masterpiece. With illuminating prose, she gives a clarion call that asseverates the never-before-discussed-in-polite-company [danger] posed by radical Islamic extremism--a subject the author has long studied. Over two decades ago she earned the cicadas' scorn for an editorial she wrote that she now terms "the scream of a westerner full of indignation toward the idiots who did not smell the bad smell of a holy war to come."
So adverse to political correctness is Ms Fallaci that unlike Daniel Pipes, Steven Emerson, and numerous other erudite experts in the field, she never burdensomely states that her quarrel is not with law-abiding, peace-loving Muslims. She rightly surmises that there is no need to make such a clarification because nowhere in her work does such an allegation exist. It is precisely this honesty without reservation that has earned her the opprobrium of so many chattering class cicadas.
Those who contemptuously avoid this work are doing themselves a huge disservice for astute observations overflow its pages, but the PC coterie would find plenty to be offended by in her persuasive dialectics. Regarding the influx of Muslims throughout Europe, she states "in Europe the mosques which blossom not under an inflexible respect for every religion, but under the shadow of a resurrected bigotry...literally swarm with terrorists." Despite professing to be an atheist (who curiously sprinkles her discourse with phrases like "Thank God"), she unequivocally denounces anti-Christianity and lists vile examples of the bigotry committed by Syrian invaders of Christian Lebanon twenty-plus years ago. She relates, "I did see them destroy the Catholic Churches, burn the Crucifixes, soil the Madonnas, (and) urinate on the altars."
Nearly every page provides an example that Ms Fallaci is not one to mince words. The author whose accomplishments probably surpass the entire membership of NOW has in the past experienced a feminist-lead auto-de-fa for writing a book entitled "Letter to a Child Never Born." Regarding feminist silence to the plight of women in radical Islamic nations, she asks her feminist critics, "can you tell me why when it comes to your Moslem sisters, to the women who are tortured and humiliated and assassinated by the real male chauvinist-pigs, you imitate the silence of your little men?...Have you fallen in love with the enemy, with Mr. Bin Laden? Do you dream of being raped by him, or do you simply not give a damn for your Moslem sisters because you consider them inferior?"
Considering these thoughts were put on paper in the days after 9/11/01, she demonstrates an amazing prescience in some of her comments. It's hard to believe that certain sections were written prior to any serious discussion of the Iraqi conflict. Analyzing various leaders' responses to September 11, she explains that Tony Blair understood the consequences; Jacque Chirac did not. She admits to desperately wanting to shout at the Frenchman "Monsieur le President, don't you remember the landing in Normandy? Don't you how many Americans died in Normandy to chase the nazis from France?"
Addressing Pope John Paul II's seeming reticence in criticizing even the extremist fringes of Islam, she cogently implores, "my generation which has lived its entire existence in the fear of the third World War must thank you (the Pope) especially for the miracle in which none of us believed; a Europe free from the nightmare of communism...(but now) you wink at individuals who are worse than Stalin, you flirt with the same ones who still would like to build mosques in the Vatican."
She aptly dismisses anti-war protestors who oppose even just conflicts and accuses the irresponsible movement as a clueless force that "preaches pacifism at any cost and repudiates even the war we fought against nazism."
Ms. Fallaci embodies a valor not only rare among journalists (calling her the anti-peter Arnett or even anti-Peter Jennings seems insufficient) she oozes a courage lacking among too many heads of state. She tells it like it is, not like conventional wisdom says its should be. She sees her journalistic duty as reporting facts uncompromised by ideology. "The Rage and the Pride" is eristic from cover to cover, but the legions who viciously condemn it are unable to refute the data she relates.
One caveat about this release concerns its tedious proem. While the body's intelligently conveyed ideas serve to expand the minds of all who absorb it, readers should be advised that it is marred by a discursive, desultory 57-page introduction that may be a turn-off to some. If the prolog bogs you down, skip it and jump right into the brilliance of her thesis.
Ms. Fallaci is presently fighting a likely terminal disease. Unquestionably she'll bring the same tenacious bravery to that battle as she does to her assault on terrorism.

Coloring the News: How Political Correctness Has Corrupted American Journalism
Coloring the News: How Political Correctness Has Corrupted American Journalism
by William McGowan
Edition: Paperback
34 used & new from CDN$ 0.07

2.0 out of 5 stars Devastatingly Undermined by the Introductory Assertion, June 21 2003
William McGowan begins this very intelligent work with a preposterous summation that seriously undermines the valid and insightful thesis he articulately presents throughout the remainder of the book. Despite his coherent arguments--amply documented with bountiful evidence--"Coloring the News" is never quite able to recover from its asinine beginning anecdote.
In his proem he engagingly relates several vignettes where genuine reporting was scarified to identity politics. All--save the very first one--bolster his case and show that aggrieved advocates have usurped the respectability of objective reporting in the name of that demagogue "diversity." Incomprehensibly, his first tidbit concerns the Miami Herald's coverage of the Elian Gonzalez tragedy. In remarks that could suggest racism, he says "Cuban journalists and newsroom staff fell prey to ethnic partisanship that diluted the newsroom's professional detachment on the story." He then writes disparagingly of a columnist being "photographed outside the house of the Gonzalez family in a prayer circle"--horror of horrors. Would Mr. McGowan expect Jewish reporters to have employed professional objectivity in covering the Holocaust? Would he have expected any decent human being to disinterestedly narrate history's darkest hour? In reality it was not the Cubans who along with the frighteningly small parcel of other journalist who heroically strove to provide the truth, but the majority of mainstream sources who avoided plentiful facts on this incident that shamed America.
What makes this subconscious bias or debilitating naiveté all the more outre is that much of Mr. McGowan's other findings contradict such a unfathomable viewpoint. Beyond that anomalous passage, he shows no indication of favoring totalitarian tactics nor racial discrimination. Much of his persuasion starkly defies such concepts. In a touching chapter on race relations, he discusses the disproportionate percentage of crack addicts who are Black and Latino and quotes photojournalist Eugene Richards who aptly states, "the last thing I noticed about the pregnant woman smoking crack, the addicts dying after shooting up, the young girls prostituting themselves, the drug boys with the automatic weapons, or the mothers grieving for their dead children was the skin color."
On AIDS, he bravely points out how inaccurate much of the subject's media coverage is. Discussing the power of the gay lobby, he laments that "this taboo against candor made it difficult to write about what was really driving the disease." He again quotes a Miami Herald reporter (this time non-dismissively) who admitted that "dozens of stories didn't make it into the paper or on the air because they might have offended the sensibilities of the pc police. "
He explicates how capitulating to feminist orthodoxy has had some very dire consequences as the tragic case of the Navy's first combat pilot revealed. Lieutenant Kara Hultgreen died in a training accident. Reports of her death skimmed over the fact that she had been given extensive leeway in the rigorous training because Naval brass was trying to placate PC bureaucrats. By glossing over this part of the story the innocent victim is sacrificed at the altar of feminism and journalistic integrity loses to popular fads. The author also discusses Kelly Flynn who became an icon for the alleged unfair treatment she sustained merely for ... on the job. As he points out everyone from Trent Lott to Maureen Dowd came to the defense of this "wronged woman" but most neglected to get any facts strait.
These are just a tiny portion of the sapient points he makes throughout a well-researched and clearly organized treatise. However, leading with such an off-base assertion seriously damages the work. The fatuous claim calls Mr. McGowan's judgment into question and even the behemoth of erudite reasoning that follows cannot quite alleviate lingering distaste.

At Home in Mitford
At Home in Mitford
by Jan Karon
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 12.64
176 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

4.0 out of 5 stars Welcome to Mitford, June 8 2003
This review is from: At Home in Mitford (Paperback)
Jan Karon vividly brings the citizens of Milford, North Carolina to life in the first installment of her amicable series that understandably achieved massive popularity. While the subplots concerning an international jewel theft and a dognapping vignette both seem extraneous and a tad farfetched, the uplifting novel more than succeeds in paying homage to the proudly quotidian.
The three-dimensional characters are all similar to everyday folks whom readers will know. Interestingly, the protagonist is a sixtyish never-married minister--not the typical lead character in current novels. Further deviating from the stipulations of modern day literature, he does not live a double life, engage in a tawdry affair, betray his duties to the church, or spout new age babble under the obnoxious guise of religious inclusion. He is a dedicated Episcopalian and all Christians and non-Christians will admire his commitment to his vocation.
What makes the desultory anecdotes referenced above all the more distracting is their complete lack of necessity to the plot. The book's tribute to the mundane is captivating enough without contrived plot twists to build drama.
The prose maintains eloquence throughout with its wholesome simplicity and on a few occasions the author's wording reaches rhapsodic heights. Certain sentences are so powerful that they not only conjure up palpable scenes, they nearly pop out of the book and act out the setting for the reader. At one point she describes an unwelcome rain with the hopeful undertone "every drop that fell contained the promise of another leaf, another blossom, another blade of grass." For transitional purposes she writes "early the following morning the leaden skies cleared, the sun came out and the village stirred briskly." The local newspaper is quoted in describing the nascent spring with a poetic paragraph that includes, "she (spring) is shod with ivy and dandelion... unfortunately she is easily distracted and often stops to tarry on a bed of moss." Listening to a parishioner's confidential tale, the minister is described: "he laughed happily; if there was anything more amazing and wonderful than almost anyone's life story, he couldn't think what it was."
Many wonderful and amazing life stories populate the pages of this pioneering work. A visit to Lord's Chapel and all its parishioners and neighbors relaxes the weary traveler and leaves one feeling renewed and wanting to come back in one of many sequels.

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