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Alexander Hamilton
Alexander Hamilton
by Ron Chernow
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 39.00
38 used & new from CDN$ 25.63

4.0 out of 5 stars A great summary of an often overlooked founder of America., June 19 2004
This review is from: Alexander Hamilton (Hardcover)
"Alexander Hamilton" by Ron Chernow is a great look at a Alexander Hamilton's life, one of the most important lives in American history. Chernow is a talented writer and keeps the book flowing steadily, making a rather lengthy book interesting throughout. He is definitely a fan of Hamilton and throughout the book he makes a case that Hamilton, due to his death at a young age leaving his opponents years to tarnish his image, has been unfairly downplayed from his deserved status in American history. Chernow's case is strong, and it is hard not to finish this book with a negative impression of Thomas Jefferson's and John Adams' behavior towards Hamilton during and after his life.
Hamilton's life was inarguably fascinating. Hamilton was born into a poor, broken family in Nevis and raised by a mother constantly plagued by relationship and financial problems (many of her own making). It is a testament to how hard a worker Hamilton was that he rose from such a lowly situation to become one of the most powerful men in the early days of the United States. Moving from Nevis to New York as a teenager, Hamilton obtained a law degree from King's College (now Columbia University). Along with his reknowned skills as a lawyer, his marriage to Elizabeth Schuyler, from a wealthy Albany family, helped cement his rise from poverty into the upper ranks of colonial America. From there Hamilton would go on to be a top aide to George Washington in the Revolutionary War and later one of Washington's most trusted advisers, becoming America's first Treasury Secretary. Hamilton used this position to bring a struggling collection of states into one capitalist financial system that would become the foundation of the greatest economic power the world has ever known. While doing this, Hamilton, a proud New Yorker, also established himself as the person most responsible for New York's being the economic capital of the world today.
Chernow does put too heavy a gloss on Hamilton though. Hamilton's involvement in an extra-marital affair with an illiterate wretch of a woman, with the consent of her nefarious husband who used the relationship to blackmail Hamilton for financial gain, was shockingly stupid for a man of Hamilton's intellect and abilities. Chernow acknowledges as much but seems to downplay the seriousness, both personally and professionally, of the relationship. Hamilton's eventual public confession of the affair lead to his adultery's often being used against him by political opponents, which while not necessarily fair or moral of them either, should have been expected. Chernow excoriates Hamilton's opponents for having done so while only mildly owning up to Hamilton's role in the matter. Chernow also brushes over Hamilton's having held or transfered slaves via the Schuyler family, despite his being a staunch abolitionist. While Hamilton definitely did much to fight against the spread of slavery and is to be commended for it, he was still stuck in a culture where slavery was prevalent. Rather than just admitting that Hamilton likely oversaw slaves in his home at times in his life, however infrequently, Chernow fights very hard to spin away an item from Hamilton appearing to show his having purchased two slaves. This stretch by Chernow leaves his slightly excessive demonizing of Jefferson looking a bit biased, if not hypocritical.
Most biographers come to love their subjects and tend to paint the prettiest portrait of them that is possible, if their subjects are at all likeable, as Hamilton definitely is. Knowing this, Chernow can be forgiven his downplaying of some of Hamilton's character flaws, especially given that the book in its entirety is a very interesting, extensively-researched summary of a life whose public works produced an impact that is still being felt around the world today.

The Bonfire of the Vanities
The Bonfire of the Vanities
by Tom Wolfe
Edition: Paperback
106 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

4.0 out of 5 stars Still the perfect parody of New York City., Nov. 5 2003
Tom Wolfe's "Bonfire of the Vanities" was first published in 1987, but 16 years later it is still the best parody of the political and social scene in New York City. Combining his everyday, "fly-over country"-style conservatism with his keen wit, Wolfe lays out a story that sends characters crashing into one another from all socioeconomic levels across the Big Apple.
Sherman McCoy, a stereotypical, ego-maniacal bond-trader, is Wolfe's typical protagonist. The main plot starts when McCoy and his mistress, Maria Ruskin, take a wrong turn returning from Kennedy airport one night, leaving them lost in a bad neighborhood in the Bronx. This is where they cross paths with Henry Lamb, a seemingly innocent kid stuck in a sad world, and Roland Auburn, a neighbor of Lamb's and local drug-dealing hoodlum. In their haste to escape from a neigborhood within their city but light years from anything they recognize, Sherman and Maria strike Lamb with their car, critically injuring him. Once a struggling NYC journalist learns of the story, it becomes a perfect case for the politicians, media, and attorneys to latch on to for their own selfish gain. From there the Lamb case blows up into an ordeal beyond anyone's control, but one that could only descend into such madness in New York.
Wolfe's writing is funny, entertaining, and searing. Through his fictional characters, he presents the perfect condemnation of the ridiculous excesses found in some NYC political and social circles, with specific real-life examples coming naturally to any reader's mind.

Islam and the Cross: Selections from "The Apostle to Islam"
Islam and the Cross: Selections from "The Apostle to Islam"
by Samuel Marinus Zwemer
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 15.51
15 used & new from CDN$ 6.54

3.0 out of 5 stars Short and simple; Christ-based; good initiation to topic, Aug. 7 2003
"Islam and the Cross" was not exactly what I expected it to be, but I ended up appreciating it more for that reason. I was expecting more of a book on Christian answers to common Muslim challenges. Instead, I found myself reading a book that is simply an introduction to some areas of Islam and the Muslim world that any Christian (especially Western Christians) should know, yet a book that is very light on apologetics.
One of the things I really respected about this book was the obvious care and love Samuel Zwemer had for the souls of Muslims. Many Christians in the public forum today take an approach to Islam that is either too watered down in its Christian theology or one that seems to care for nothing but theological consistency but comes across as too cold. Zwemer's approach would be a great guide for either of these extremes as he had a great balance which he demonstrates in the writings that make up this book. Zwemer is respectful of Islam's beliefs and history without giving into them or exaggerating them (for good or bad) either. He acknowledges errors in Christianity's past (calling the Crusades "a collossal error on the part of Christendom"), yet makes no apologies for the life and teachings of Jesus Christ and what he has called Christians to do.
The major focus of the book is explaining to Christians what Islam teaches about Jesus Christ and which traits of Christianity and Jesus Christ that Muslims can relate to as well as which ones are their "stumbling blocks". One of the more interesting chapters of this book was the one discussing animism and how deeply it is ingrained in Islam and the various Muslim cultures around the world. As Zwemer puts it, "Islam, far from delivering heathendom from the toils of animism, is itself deeply involved in them. Animism emerges from its struggle for the soul of a people, elegantly tricked out and buttressed by theology. Often it is scarcely recognizable in its refined Arabian dress, but it continues as before to sway the people; it has received divine sanction." That is a fascinating but very clear way of explaining the difficulty in speaking theologically with a devout Muslim that any Christian who has done so will recognize. It's easy to see from Zwemer's explanations in this book that Western Christians are going to have to go before the Lord and pray that He will give us the wisdom to be able to understand and speak effectively to people that could have such beliefs, despite everything we in the West have come to take for granted about science, our world, and our God.
Any Christian following events of our times can easily see that the next big spiritual battle in this world will be between Islam and the remaining believers in Jesus Christ left in this world. I honestly believe we are the last possible hope to counter the evil running rampant in the Muslim world and spreading like wildfire even beyond its historical boundaries in the Middle East (i.e. into Western Africa, South Asia, etc.), and the American military, as great as it is and as much respect as I have for it, can only do so much. In this book Samuel Zwemer, years ahead of his time, laid out the situation that he correctly saw was coming, and addressed it perfectly, writing: "The sword destroys human life; the cross gives it priceless value. The sword deadens conscience; the cross awakens it. The sword ends in hatred, the cross in love. He who takes up the sword perishes by it. He who takes up the cross inherits eternal life. In winning Muslim lands for Christ, the call is for men and women who will today follow the way of the cross with the same courage and abandon with which soldiers served their countries."

The Freedom of the Will
The Freedom of the Will
by Jonathan Edwards
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 34.81
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The master work of America's greatest theologian., July 14 2003
Jonathan Edwards is one of the greatest thinkers in American history, and while "Sinners in the Hand of an Angry God" has become his most famous work, "The Freedom of the Will" is his best. Two and a half centuries after Edwards wrote it, this book is still the premiere and most thorough argument for the complete sovereignty of God.
"The Freedom of the Will" is a challenging read and might be too hard for people new to the debate between Calvinists and Arminians. It would take too long to outline the entire argument Edwards makes or recap every point he touches on, but what follows are some examples of the ideas and questions raised by Edwards in this book.
1) It is alleged by Arminian belief that a person or action cannot be morally good (or bad) if the agent performing the action is incapable of doing otherwise. But can God be evil? The Bible teaches that He is not only holy, just, and perfect, but that He knows everything that has happened and everything that is to come. So can He do or be evil, or is His will and nature necessarily determined to be perfectly good? If God is capable of doing evil, and not necessarily good, then how can He assure us that He will be perfect for all eternity (if one day, He might choose not to be)? And if He is necessarily determined to be perfectly good forever and cannot be otherwise, does this make God any less holy, perfect, and morally virtuous? As a corollary to this, if He is no less praise-worthy by being necessarily holy, are we, as fallen human beings born into sinfulness, any less blame-worthy if we are necessarily inclined to evil, incapable of willing what is truly good?
2) Another area Edwards focuses on is discussing the Arminian contention that the will actually is free. Edwards takes this idea on by challenging what exactly is meant by the will, and therefore our actions, being "free". His reasoning would lead to questions along these lines: If a starving man is placed at a table with an appetizing pizza on his right, and an utterly foul concoction (insert your own horror) on his left, is he really free in what he wills to eat? What could possibly make this man choose to eat what was on his left rather than the pizza, other than some overriding, external threat? The only way this man might choose what was on the left, barring the overriding threat, would be his will being utterly indifferent to the two choices, and in this case, what kind of man would this be? (Imagine him eating the concoction with no care in the world, much as human beings so often can be seen going about sinning.)
Now, say humans were deceived and fell into a state where what appeared to be appetizing to us was really what made us sick whereas what was truly holy and good, appeared as unappetizing to us as the horrible concoction. (This deceptive state is what we fell into with the Fall of our original parents through their sin.) What would ever make us will to eat that disgustingly wretched concoction on the left? Even after we've tried it and seen how wonderful it is despite how it may appear to our sinful natures, we still go back to the poisonous pizza of sin over and over again. (And whereas the pizza and the concoction of this analogy are so clearly different, sin and God's holiness are infinitely more opposite to each other.) Why do we continue returning to what makes us sick? Why do we continue to see these things as beautiful and appetizing while the holiness of what God has commanded appears so unattractive? Someone says, "Just eat the nasty thing... you know it is good for you, ignore its appearances," and I cry out, "But I just can't!" (Or, as the Apostle Paul put it, "What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death?" - Romans 7:24)) Not only can't I eat what is so repulsive to me, but in actuality I don't want or will to, whereas I will to eat the "pizza" because I delight in my sins. It is only by some supernatural changing of my heart and mind that I will ever choose what is truly holy and good. But, oh, how wonderful to know that there is someone who makes this change for us, contrary to our corrupted will.
These questions touch on just a few of the topics concerning the human will and God's sovereignty that Jonathan Edwards discusses in "The Freedom of the Will". I've heard it explained that the Calvinist doctrine on these matters is like a candy with a hard exterior but a soft, delicious center, and I believe that's an accurate way to put it. With this book, Jonathan Edwards comes as close to helping Christians break through that hard exterior as any man ever has.

Surprised by Joy: The Shape of My Early Life
Surprised by Joy: The Shape of My Early Life
by C.S. Lewis
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 14.52
51 used & new from CDN$ 0.68

5.0 out of 5 stars The auto-biography of Believers., July 5 2003
"Surprised by Joy" is C.S. Lewis' auto-biographical book about the early, formational years of his life, which began with a vaguely religious upbringing, led into devout Atheism, and ended in Christ's drawing Lewis home. This book is excellent as auto-biographies (Christian or non-Christian) go as C.S. Lewis was one of the 20th Century's best story-tellers and an amazingly well-read professor at Oxford as well. Whether the reader is a Christian or not, C.S. Lewis makes this story entertaining and thought-provoking.
For those readers who have come to believe in Jesus Christ as Man's only possible salvation, this book will leave them marvelling repeatedly at how Christ works in the lives of those he calls. Any Christian reader of "Surprised by Joy" will find numerous similarities in the path C.S. Lewis' salvation took him down, and a Christian reader can't help but want to join him in praising Christ for his awesome goodness in the lives of human beings he touches.
One fascinating element in C.S. Lewis' life, which is so encouraging for Christians in a post-Christian era, is that Lewis was raised by brilliant men to be constantly curious but always logical... always seeking the truth. One of the men Christ used the most in saving C.S. Lewis was a staunch Atheist; a dry, pensive, professor who demanded a rigid adherence to logic in any belief or action. This man, the "Great Knock", as Lewis, his brother, and their father called him, was so influential in Lewis' mental development that Lewis devotes a whole chapter ("The Great Knock") to discussion of him. How fascinating that whereas many today believe a rigorous pursuit of knowledge and facts leads to agnosticism, in the life of the greatest Christian apologist of the 20th Century it led to a belief in the sovereignty of Jesus Christ.
This is a book that I would recommend to anyone, but as "a must" to any Christian. While "Mere Christianity" is C.S. Lewis' best-selling book, and arguably has initiated more paths to Christ than any other book outside the Bible, "Surprised by Joy" presents a more complete understanding of those paths and their ultimate result.

The Road to Serfdom
The Road to Serfdom
by F. A. Hayek
Edition: Paperback
19 used & new from CDN$ 14.96

5.0 out of 5 stars For lovers of freedom., June 22 2003
This review is from: The Road to Serfdom (Paperback)
"Road to Serfdom", by F.A. Hayek, is one of the greatest arguments for economic, political, and social freedom written during the 20th Century. Published in 1944 as an assessment of what went so wrong in Western Europe as to allow the rise of Hitler and National Socialism, Hayek also perfectly forecast the disaster and horrors of Communism that would follow for the next several decades.
In this now famous book, Hayek breaks down the different ways in which state planning, as opposed to individual or more localized control, nearly always means the loss of liberty. Ultimately, in an economic system planned from the top down, should the system seek to continue, it will require dreadful, totalitarian measures. One of the saddest facts of these systems though is that in order to be put into place, they require many once-free people to willingly give up their freedoms: "the totalitarians in our midst" Hayek labels them. One passage along this line that holds just as true today as when Hayek wrote it:
"And, undoubtedly, not merely the ideas which in Germany and elsewhere prepared totalitarianism but also many of the principles of totalitarianism itself are what exercises an increasing fascination in many other countries. Although few people, if anybody, in England would probably be ready to swallow totalitarianism whole, there are few single features which have not yet been advised by somebody or other. Indeed, there is scarcely a leaf out of Hitler's book which somebody or other in England or America has not recommended us to take and use for our own purposes. This applies particularly to many people who are undoubtedly Hitler's mortal enemies because of one special feature in his system. We should never forget the anti-Semitism of Hitler has driven from his country, or turned into his enemies, many people who in every respect are confirmed totalitarians of the German type."
For anyone who has wondered recently why Pat Buchanan can often be seen receiving large applause at rallies with ultra-Leftist labor union leaders, or how other fringe Right groups often march these days against international free trade along side of socialist/environmentalist groups, F.A. Hayek explained it perfectly nearly 60 years ago. Whether seeking to force a large group of people to pay excessive amounts for goods and services, through trade protectionism supposedly planned to "protect" the jobs of a much smaller group, or through more directly stated taxation and redistribution of wealth programs, these groups are both taking a page from the Russian and German totalitarians of the 20th Century. Often "mortal enemies" of each other, they have found common cause at the modern-day economic forums, and should a free American people ultimately hand them control, as the Germans gave to these groups' National Socialist forebears, then similar results would ultimately not be far behind. (And if you think there weren't numerous leftists in strong roles in Hitler's National Socialist party, you need to read this book that much more.)
"The Road to Serfdom" lays out just what the title implies. F.A. Hayek was a brilliant thinker who was sadly dismissed by many of his day. Hopefully, more leaders of our era will read this book and realize that economic planning, be it through protective tariffs or progressive tax rates, while such an easy sell and so tempting at times, lead only to a loss of freedoms for everyone (as economic freedom is at the base of all the others), including the people they are supposedly intended to help.

Les Misérables
Les Misérables
by Victor Hugo
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 13.87
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A tale of lives intertwined by the workings of God., June 15 2003
This review is from: Les Misérables (Paperback)
Victor Hugo's "Les Miserables" is a classic tale set in early-19th Century Paris, in which the lives of several colorful characters cross paths, seemingly randomly, and are each changed dramatically from contact with these others. "Les Miserables" is a short glimpse at how people's actions have direct results on the lives of others, and how God works in these actions for the ultimate good.
The novel begins by introducing us to the life of the elderly priest, Monseigneur Bienvenu, an utterly humble and Christ-like man who gives everything he has, including his heart and spirit, to the people he comes in contact with, yet doing it all in testimony to the grace of Jesus Christ. Bienvenu's spirit is what allows him to change the heart of the hardened criminal, Jean Valjean. Valjean, so impressed by the grace shown to him by Bienvenu, embarks on a life of repentance and noble actions. In time, he crosses paths with Fantine, the single mother of Cosette, whom Fantine has had to place in custody of the Thenardier family, being unable to care for Cosette herself. It is out of desperation (a state initially brought upon herself by her own poor choices) that Fantine is forced to leave her daughter with the Thenardiers who, unbeknownst to Fantine, are thoroughly evil people. As Hugo puts it: "There are human creatures which, like crayfish, always retreat into shadow, going backwards rather than forwards through life, gaining in deformity with experience, going from bad to worse and sinking into even deeper darkness. The Thenardiers were of this kind."
Out of kindness to Fantine, Valjean sets out to rescue Cosette from the slavery which she has been left to. But by this time, Valjean is being tracked by the cold, legalistic, Javert, an inspector seeking to arrest Valjean for parole violations stemming from the crimes of his earlier days. This sets up a novel of lives on courses that cross with dozens more, with countless twists and turns of the roads on which each character is travelling. What the reader encounters is a fascinating example of how simple meetings of "chance" can often lead to radical re-workings of one's entire outlook on the world and the people around him; of the ways in which these events and introductions can entirely alter how one's life plays out. Ultimately, it is a story that presents numerous challenging questions concerning God, grace, and predestination, or in other words, our sovereignty... or His: "He could see two ways ahead of him, and this appaled him, because hitherto he had never seen more than one straight line. And the paths led in opposite directions. One ruled out the other. Which was the true one?"

The Rage and the Pride
The Rage and the Pride
by Oriana Fallaci
Edition: Hardcover
9 used & new from CDN$ 7.30

4.0 out of 5 stars Rock on, Oriana!, March 1 2003
This review is from: The Rage and the Pride (Hardcover)
Oriana Fallaci is tired of this debate. She's wants one thing: victory over the Islamists by any means necessary. There comes a time when arguing with evil in its purest form does nothing more than legitimize this evil. If a society cannot stand up and call this evil out, to its face (and yes, evil has a face in this case), then that society is either: 1) as good as dead , or 2) a friend to that evil.
In "The Rage and the Pride," Oriana Fallaci uses her eyewitness account of the 9/11 attacks on lower Manhattan, New York City, to launch into a rant against radical Islam and its proponents' repeatedly stated intentions to conquer the world. Ms. Fallaci takes on the European Muslim leaders and their total condonation or, at best, acquiescence to the vitriolic, hate-filled rhetoric coming from some of the leading mosques and Islamic scholars in Europe and around the world. She directly attacks Yasser Arafat for the terrorism he wages against not only the civilized world but against his own people, while running up a personal net worth of an estimated $300 million. Ms. Fallaci, a lifelong Leftist and true "libertarian" is a great example of how the International Left should have reacted to 9/11 and the rise of Radical Islam. Instead, much of the Left, with the cowardice that Fallaci rips them for in this book, can only mount tepid condemnation of democratic, Western leaders that pose no threat to them, while excusing and turning a blind eye to those that seek to kill us all, no questions asked.
The Rage and the Pride is not well-composed and not well thought out. But it is a better read just for those reasons. It is an emotional roller coaster of anger and passion that laughs at the thought of continued diplomacy and debate with the Islamists and their dictatorial protectors in Iraq, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Syria, and so on. Anyone who values enlightened, democratic, freedom will love this book and have a profound respect for Ms. Fallaci's rage. Anyone who does not is simply not with us. They're with them. Period. And Oriana Fallaci knows how true this is.

The City of God
The City of God
by St. Augustine
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 22.74
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5.0 out of 5 stars Augustine's tale of two cities., March 1 2003
This review is from: The City of God (Paperback)
"The City of God" is Augustine's most famous work. I agree with Thomas Merton's introduction to the latest Modern Library version, which says that an uninitiated reader of Augustine may wish to read his "Confessions" first to get a good background on the author. "The City of God" is long and deep, covering many philosophical and Biblical debates (many that are still alive today), so one who has been introduced to Augustine through his auto-biographical "Confessions" may find it easier to follow his logic as he discusses the numerous topics of "The City of God."
The first few hundred pages of "The City of God" may be very slow and difficult for the average modern, Western, reader. Augustine is speaking directly to the average Roman citizens of the time (413 AD), so the first several chapters of "The City of God" are spent debunking the Romans' beliefs in polytheism, a mindset long since abandoned by most in the civilized Western world (thanks mostly to... Augustine). But the difficulty of these first few chapters should only make one appreciate Augustine all the more for having helped dismiss such a convoluted belief system. Once Augustine has broken down the problems with Zeus and friends, he moves on to discussing Plato, Aristotle, and other Greek philosophers. Augustine discusses why these founders of Western culture came close to understanding the idea of the Judeo-Christian God, but he shows where they too eventually fell short of total comprehension of Him.
After Augustine has dealt with these religions and philosophies of the Romans, he begins to address the Bible and how it concerns the City of God and the earthly city (Rome, which had been sacked by Alaric in 410, was the best example of the latter). Augustine outlines the differences in the beliefs and actions of believers and non-believers, or in other words, the citizenries of the two cities in question. In doing this, Augustine discusses numerous debates and questions, including figurative vs. literal interpretations of Old Testament stories, how the Old Testament prophets pointed towards Jesus Christ and how Christ fulfilled their prophesies, as well as many other questions that are still discussed every day, nearly 16 centuries later. Ultimately, Augustine gives us the beautiful picture of life graced by Christ through the faith he gives to the citizens he elects to join his city. Augustine shows us how Christ's grace removes his predestinated citizens from the worries of the earthly city, while (paradoxically) energizing them to care that much more for the inhabitants of this city (as the Christians in Rome did for non-believers they sheltered from Alaric's invaders).
One note of recent relevance: The City of God is often referenced today for Augustine's discussion of "just war" theory. While Augustine definitely believed that war can at times be just, and therefore morally obligatory, he does not really go into great detail about "just war" theory in "The City of God." In nearly 900 pages (in the Modern Library edition), he writes about war for no more than 1-2 pages.
I highly recommend "The City of God" to everyone, Christian or not. Just for the history of it, this book is fascinating, but the theology makes it one of the greatest works ever written.

Against All Hope: A Memoir of Life in Castro's Gulag
Against All Hope: A Memoir of Life in Castro's Gulag
by Armando Valladares
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 17.33
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Valladares' amazing survival of Castro's prison camps., Feb. 9 2003
"Against All Hope" is Armando Valladares' account of the near-quarter century he spent in Fidel Castro's Soviet-style gulags. Valladares was arrested shortly after Fidel's revolution, simply for not placing a Marxist slogan on his office desk, that would have required him to deny his Savior, Jesus Christ. Several days after this refusal, his house was stormed in the middle of the night, and he was hauled off to prison in Havana, with his mother promised that he would be returned shortly thereafter. Valladares didn't see her in freedom until 22 torturous and terror-filled years later.
The greatest thing Armando Valladares has done for the free world is to shatter the myth (CNN and Jimmy Carter, not withstanding) that Fidel Castro's Cuba is a semi-free place, persecuting only a handful of capitalists and subversives. Valladares tells story after story of hundreds (among tens of thousands of others) of prisoners he knew personally, who were tortured, maimed, starved, and executed. Scores of these prisoners Valladares came to know were not upper class or "white" but poor "campesinos" (and many black Cubans), many of whom once fought for Fidel Castro and Che Guevarra's Revolution... only to have that Machine of Death turn and kill them as well.
After nearly 400 pages of death and terror at the hands of Fidel Castro and his minions, I found myself wanting to just close the book and forget the rest. But then, I realized that's what the United Nations (ah, what a noble-sounding title that is) and the Western elitist Left has been doing for years with Castro... ignoring his terrorism. Ultimately, I was glad I finished the book, because even though Valladares does not put some lame happy spin on the story, he is at least freed (22 years of his life stolen), and now he can openly speak the truth of his Savior, to Fidel's power.

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