Tuesday 12 November 2019

Growing Pains: An Autobiography, with a Forward by Ira Dilworth - Emily Carr

There will never be another Canadian artist like Emily Carr, who died at age 73 in 1945 and was an honorary member of the Group of Seven. Genius that she was, today’s audience of art lovers would never get to experience her talent. In these liberal, see-yourself-as-victim-first times, her masterful work would never get off the ground. Her penchant for painting and writing about, and even living with, Canadian aboriginals would be denounced immediately and ferociously by the cultural misappropriation police. More on that later. Thankfully, Carr -- who, though pursued by several potential partners, never married or had children – made it to national treasure-hood.

Monday 18 March 2019

The Conservative Heart: How to Build a Fairer, Happier, More Prosperous America – Arthur C. Brooks

It is impossible, as a conservative, not to agree with the thesis of American Enterprise Institute President Arthur C. Brooks in his 250-page, 2015 book, The Conservative Heart: How to Build a Fairer, Happier, More Prosperous America. It is also, however, hard to adjust to his writing style. Unlike most of his popular contemporaries in the conservative writing community, he has not got a callous or sarcastic bone in his body. I would describe him as a sweet and gentle conservative thinker and writer. He even dares to use the hated liberal term “social justice” to describe his conservative formula for fixing American poverty. But despite his soft demeanour, he certainly knows what he is talking about, arguing convincingly that – regardless of endless pressure from government bureaucrats, the mainstream media and academia for the realization of a hard-left liberal agenda -- conservatives really do have a chance to change society for the better.

Sunday 13 January 2019

Silent Coup: The Removal of a President -- Len Colodny and Robert Gettlin.

This book review is dedicated to my dear friend of 41 years, Elaine Dupont, who died suddenly January 1.
When it comes to past American presidents, none is so intriguing as Richard Milhous Nixon. Paranoid, uncharismatic, vindictive and viciously hated by the liberal establishment, he was a politician with a very long and controversial career. At the same time, he was inarguably one of the most effective American leaders of the 20th century who, on both the foreign and domestic policy sides, succeeded in unprecedented and lasting ways. To wit: he ended the Vietnam War, opened the door to China, and instigated Détente while easing nuclear tensions with the Soviet Union through the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty and the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks. On American soil, according to the Richard Nixon Foundation Library and Museum website, he was no less effective, introducing measures that put an end to the worst of organized crime, founding the Environmental Protection Agency and initiating and overseeing the peaceful desegregation of southern schools.

Sunday 9 December 2018

Pierre Elliott Trudeau’s Great Betrayal: The Story of Abortion in Canada -- C. Gwendolyn Landolt & Patrick Redmond

What more can be said about Pierre Elliott Trudeau that hasn’t already been written in the 40-odd books on him available on Amazon? According to C. Gwendolyn Landolt and Patrick Redmond -- authors of Pierre Elliott Trudeau’s Great Betrayal: The Story of Abortion in Canada – plenty. Obsessed with getting the Charter passed as the main part of a new, repatriated constitution for the country, Trudeau was tireless and aggressive in designing the foundational document he wanted, one that would both enshrine Canadians’ individual rights -- to be defended by the newly empowered courts -- and still preserve the supremacy of Parliament. That this goal was impossible and contradictory never seemed to bother him, as he insistently and arrogantly pursued his dream, ignoring strenuous and reasonable arguments. But Trudeau’s truculence and discourteousness are not revelations.

Wednesday 17 October 2018

Basic Economics: A Common Sense Guide to the Economy, 5th Edition -- Thomas Sowell

Conservative black academic and economist Thomas Sowell, at 88, is a living legend. In my opinion, he should be sought after for comment and advice by every single publication and news program on every single economic, social and political issue facing any country. In my opinion, he gets the answer right virtually every time. A Marxist during his 20s, he reasoned his way out of that cockamamie phase, and ever since he has been forming and sharing his succinct, genius and profound ideas with the world.

Thursday 23 August 2018

Operation Medusa: The Furious Battle That Saved Afghanistan from the Taliban -- David Fraser and Brian Hanington

Killing Taliban terrorists is like playing a game of Whac-A-Mole. It doesn't matter how many times you smash the mole -- in this case, the enemy Taliban -- making it scurry into its dark hiding place. It leaps up again somewhere else, as healthy and energetic as ever, ready to be chased and smacked down again. Like the mole, the Taliban is forever the malevolent underdog. Unlike the mole, it flies out of its hole with deadly force.
   Any soldier who fought the Taliban in the most recent of some 13 Afghanistan wars -- dating back to 1709 -- the one that commenced in October 2001, knows this game well. To this day it is being played out violently in that part of the world, almost two decades after the terrorist organization transformed itself into a murderous insurgency following its quick ouster as an ultra-oppressive Afghanistan government. The fundamentalist Islamic Taliban regime fell fast and early in the 2001 fighting -- which started less than a month following the 9/11 attacks on US soil -- and it "folded like a cheap lawn chair," according to one Ottawa writer, but unfortunately it has never been eradicated.

Wednesday 20 June 2018

Disraeli: A Biography -- Stanley Weintraub

Universities are known to whine that their tenured professors don't publish. This could never be said about Pennsylvania State University professor Stanley Weintraub, author of some 40 serious books, many on late 19th century literary giants. But as prolific a writer as Weintraub is, it is a bit of a wonder that his dense 700-page life story of Benjamin Disraeli isn't a smoother read. Though thorough -- detailing the only Jewish British Prime Minister's life from childhood to the exact moment of his death on April 19, 1881, at 76 years old -- Disraeli: A Biography, published first in 1993, is choppy, if precise. Chronicling his years in sequential order, it seems like the author is afraid to omit any trifling fact in the rough source material he employed to complete the work. His liberal use of quotation marks is to the point of excessive, often interrupting the flow of sentences. It's as if the book is meant to be studied as opposed to read leisurely, which perhaps is excusable since the author was an esteemed professor for more than three decades.

Tuesday 22 May 2018

Limit(less): A Guide to Optimizing Diagnosis, Management and Outcome in ADHD -- Dr. Alan Berzen

Why on earth would anyone read a book on ADHD, that fad, fake and persistent diagnosis that became wildly popular among teachers and lazy parents about 30 years ago, and that attached to normal but rambunctious kids who had a hard time listening and who couldn't focus in school? For a great reason: Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is real, always has been and, fortunately, always will be.
      Why fortunately? According to Toronto Paediatrician Dr. Alan Berzen, author of Limit(less): A Guide to Optimizing Diagnosis, Management, and Outcome in ADHD, people who have the condition -- up to 12 percent of the population -- have a gift which allows them to both hyper-focus and "think outside the box," two positive attributes that can enhance life and come in extremely handy for someone struggling with ADHD's difficult side effects and its co-morbidities.