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Publishers Weekly : Amazon Review :
Entertaining, richly detailed and authoritatively narrated, Zacks's account of the life of legendary seaman William Kidd delivers a first-rate story.
Though Kidd, better known as Captain Kidd, was inextricably bound with piracy and has popularly gone down as a marauding buccaneer himself, Zacks (An Underground Education) argues that he was actually a mercenary backed by the English government and several New World investors to track down pirates and reclaim their stolen wares.
The book is cogent and replete with supporting evidence without the heavy-handed feel of some scholarly work.
What really sets the book apart is Zacks's gift as researcher and storyteller.
He highlights the role of an undeniable pirate, Robert Culliford, in Kidd's tale and pits the two men against each other from the outset, constructing his book as an intriguing duel.
Aside from the tightly constructed plot, Zacks also wonderfully evokes the social and political life of the 17th century at land and at sea, and he takes turns at debunking and validating pirate folklore: while it appears the dead giveaway of a skull and crossbones made it a rare flag choice, Zacks contends that pirates did often wear extravagant clothing and were as drunk, cursing, hungry, horny... and violent as myth would have them.
Augmented by such details and driven by a conflict between Kidd and Culliford that keeps the pages flying, Zacks's book is a treasure, indeed.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
Amazon Review :
The Bush years have given rise to fears of a resurgent Imperial Presidency.
Those fears are justified, but the problem cannot be solved simply by bringing a new administration to power.
In his provocative new book, The Cult of the Presidency, Gene Healy argues that the fault lies not in our leaders but in ourselves.
When our scholars lionize presidents who break free from constitutional restraints, when our columnists and talking heads repeatedly call upon the "commander in chief " to dream great dreams and seek the power to achieve them--when voters look to the president for salvation from all problems great and small--should we really be surprised that the presidency has burst its constitutional bonds and grown powerful enough to threaten American liberty?
The Cult of the Presidency takes a step back from the ongoing red team/blue team combat and shows that, at bottom, conservatives and liberals agree on the boundless nature of presidential responsibility.
For both camps, it is the president's job to grow the economy, teach our children well, provide seamless protection from terrorist threats, and rescue Americans from spiritual malaise.
Very few Americans seem to think it odd, says Healy, "when presidential candidates talk as if they're running for a job that's a combination of guardian angel, shaman, and supreme warlord of the earth."
Healy takes aim at that unconfined conception of presidential responsibility, identifying it as the source of much of our political woe and some of the gravest threats to our liberties.
If the public expects the president to heal everything that ails us, the president is going to demand--or seize--the power necessary to handle that responsibility.
Interweaving historical scholarship, legal analysis, and trenchant cultural commentary, The Cult of the Presidency traces America's decades-long drift from the Framers' vision for the presidency: a constitutionally constrained chief magistrate charged with faithful execution of the laws.
Restoring that vision will require a Congress and a Court willing to check executive power, but Healy emphasizes that there is no simple legislative or judicial "fix" to the problems of the presidency.
Unless Americans change what we ask of the office--no longer demanding what we should not want and cannot have--we'll get what, in a sense, we deserve.
Partial Amazon Review :
A plan to destroy America, a hundred years in the making, is about to be unleashed . . . can it be stopped?
There is a powerful technique called the Overton Window that can shape our lives, our laws, and our future.
It works by manipulating public perception so that ideas previously thought of as radical begin to seem acceptable over time.
Move the Window and you change the debate.
Change the debate and you change the country.
Quote from : Wikipedia : Overton Window
The Overton window, in political theory, describes a "window" in the range of public reactions to ideas in public discourse, in a spectrum of all possible options on a particular issue.
It is named after its originator, Joseph P. Overton, former vice president of the Mackinac Center for Public Policy.