Monday, September 12, 2005

The Last Four Books I Bought (That Have Nothing To Do With Poetry but a Little To Do With Activism)

The last four books I've bought that have nothing to do with poetry are: Sharon Waxman's Rebels on the Backlot, George Lakoff's Don't Think of an Elephant, Through Our Enemies' Eyes by Anonymous, and Confessions of an Economic Hit Man, by John Perkins.

Buy/Read Rebels on the Backlot if you:

* like these six filmmakers: Quentin Tarantino, Steven Soderbergh, David Fincher, Paul Thomas Anderson, David O. Russell, and Spike Jonze---and you're curious how they got their unique films made despite the slime of Hollywood.
* like these movies of theirs, since they comprise many of the anecdotes: Pulp Fiction, Traffic, Fight Club, Boogie Nights and Magnolia, Three Kings, and Being John Malkovich.
* enjoy behind the scenes stories. Waxman is a Hollywood correspondent for the New York Times so she has a lot of inside juice such as the brawl between George Clooney and David O. Russell (and a copy of the handwritten letter Clooney writes Russell), the buzz around Tarantino in the early years, and the story of how Bruce Willis got the part of the boxer in Pulp Fiction even thought it had been offered to Matt Dillion. Fun stories you won't read about in People.

Buy/read Don't Think of an Elephant if you:

* enjoy political discourse or the study of presidential rhetoric and how elections are won and lost.
* want to read Lakoff (professor of linguistics at UC Berkeley) explain how conservatives have effectively framed our contemporary political debates and how progressives can reframe the debate and take action.
* want to learn how GOP strategists have successfully elected a governor from Texas with only seven years experience as an elected official to become the president of the United States, how they re-elected him even after the untruths related to the War in Iraq were public knowledge---and what democrats can do about it.

Buy/read Through Our Enemies' Eyes if you:

* want the inside scoop on Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda, including sections on his early years (1957-1979), understanding his traits and motivations, the War Years (1996-present), and what we can expect.
* value the inside perspective. Writtten as "anonymous" because the material here is obviously so sensitive, the author (who has since left the CIA and revealed his identity: Michael Scheuer) was a senior U.S. official with nearly two decades of experience in national security issues, and he was the head of the CIA's bin Laden Unit who warned repeatedly about 9/11.
* can handle some history--along with insights very few people can offer

Buy/read Confessions of an Economic Hitman if you:

* want to learn about EHM's, which the author describes as "highly paid professionals who cheat countries out of trillions of dollars. Their tools include fradulaent financial reports, rigged elections, payoffs, extortion, sex, and murder." This book is the "inside story of how America turned from a respected republic into a feared empire." The author was an EHM for the U.S. for years before 9/11. After that tragic day he was compelled to write this book.
* want to learn how the U.S., through these "economic hitmen," keeps third world countries ranging from Indonesia to Panama in economic limbo. Although the narrative is slow at times, the tales of intrigue and corruption are fascinating.
* enjoy movies such as Spy Game with Brad Pitt and Robert Redford or Traffic with Michael Douglass and Benicio Del Toro or The Constant Gardener with Ralph Fiennes.


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Pris said...

Great recommendations, Lee! I've already ordered one and plan to order a second. (the first and third in your list). I go through Amazon to do this since they always have used books there at a lot lower cost. Since I 'recycle' by giving many of my books away, I prefer to do it this way, anyway. I keep poetry books, special editions, and books I know I'll got back to over and over again. The rest, they go. Otherwise I'd have to build a house just for them:-)