The Electric Commentary

Friday, August 26, 2005

What should the President read?

Well, "books" are a good start.

The Washington Examiner tells us that G-Dub is currently reading John Barry's "The Great Influenza: The Epic Story of the Deadliest Plague in History," Mark Kurlansky's "Salt: A World History" and Edvard Radzinsky's "Alexander II: The Last Great Tsar." Not too shabby.

They also ask for recommendations:


" 'The Republican War on Science,' by Chris Mooney." - Kevin Drum, washingtonmonthly.com

" 'Guns, Germs, and Steel,' by Jared Diamond - you can't go wrong with that one." - Dan Drezner, www.danieldrezner.com

"Bush might take a pass at Nathaniel Hawthorne's great but generally underappreciated 1852 masterpiece, 'The Blithedale Romance,' which is set at a utopian community where everything goes awry. Each of the main characters has a very specific, monomaniacal way of viewing the world and, as the story's disastrous events unfold in death and destruction, each realizes that the world is a much more complex place than they ever allowed. It's a dark allegory about American exuberance and optimism that, when you think about it, should be required reading for not just the president but elected officials everywhere." - Nick Gillespie, editor, Reason magazine

" 'The River War,' by Winston Churchill. It's Churchill's first literary effort and it's about the attempt to reconquer the Sudan by the British. As an account of the clash between Western arms and Arab culture, it's a pretty good primer for the morass the president finds himself in today. And it's a great read." - Andrew Sullivan, AndrewSullivan.com; senior editor, The New Republic; columnist, Time magazine

" 'The Killer Inside Me,' by Jim Thompson. It's the story of a homily-spouting small-town Texas sheriff who practices a kind of water-torture-by-cliché, driving citizens mad with his aggravatingly bland blather. (A sample: 'Another thing about the weather,' I said. 'Everyone talks about it, but no one does anything. But maybe it's better that way. Every cloud has its silver lining, at least that's the way I figure it. I mean, if we didn't have the rain we wouldn't have the rainbows, now would we?') Also, he kills people." - Ana Marie Cox, aka "Wonkette," www.wonkette.com

My own recommendation? The Moon is a Harsh Mistress by Robert Heinlein.

It contains information about the inner workings of terrorist cells, the benefits of small government, the advantages of superior technology, and the heroes in this story actually run a successful war of liberation. (More here.)

The heroes also speak with an odd accent that makes them sound a bit stupid to most people.

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