Thirteen Days in September: Carter, Begin, and Sadat at Camp David

51-zfuobtmlBook #15: Thirteen Days in September: Carter, Begin, and Sadat at Camp David, Lawrence Wright

Ill will and hostility between Arabs and Israelis have been pervasive throughout the history of the state of Israel.  The hostilities center around not just Israel’s right to existence but also to the boundaries of Arab, Israeli and Palistianian states.  In 1978, President Jimmy Carter invited Egypt’s President Anwar Sadat and Israel’s Prime Minister Menachem Begin to Camp David to broker a peace in the Middle East.  During this 2 week period there were many times where talks were on the verge of failure.  But in the end were able to develop a framework for future discussion.   I thought this was an interesting book as it discussed a major historical event in Middle East politics.  However throughout the book there was a subtle anti-Israeli tone that seemed to undermine the legitimacy of the Israeli position at the accords.

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Clinton Cash: The Untold Story of How and Why Foreign Governments and Businesses Helped to Make Bill and Hillary Rich

b00q33prds-01-lBook #14: Clinton Cash: The Untold Story of How and Why Foreign Governments and Businesses Helped to Make Bill and Hillary Rich, Peter Schweizer

Bill Clinton has become one of the most post-office presidential celebrities.  And it is no secret that he has spoken countless places and is compensated multiple times the average American salary per speech.  However with Hillary in public office throughout the tenure of Bill’s post-presidency life, there is great potential for interested parties to buy Hillary’s influence.  Though corruption is difficult to prove, there are financial behaviors with the Clintons that appear suspicious.  This books describes the large contributions to the Clinton Foundation and curious decisions made in the senate or the state department.  At the minimum this appears as a careless disregard for potential conflict of interest.  But at its worst this is a quid-pro-quo bordering on political graft that would suggest a behavior of corruption that seems to be a pattern with the Clintons.  This book raises serious questions about a person who is currently seeking the one of the most politically influential office in the world.

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Answering Jihad: A Better Way Forward

81lcxppx2bplBook #13: Answering Jihad: A Better Way Forward, Nabeel Qureshi

As the United States has been faced with radical Islam over the past several decades, American political rhetoric has ranged from saying that ISIS is not islamic to banning all muslims from coming to the United States.  This has led some to ask the question, what is the true Islam?  Is Islam really a religion of peace?  Or do all muslims subscribe to jihad?  Does the Quran mandate the violence that we see around us?  Or is this just a rogue group of fundamentalists who misuse the Quran to justify their desires for violence and power?  Most importantly, how should we as Christians respond to muslims?  In this book Nabeel Qureshi seeks explain this history of violence in the Quran and explain the role of jihad in Islam.  He was raised in a muslim family and during college was challenged to examine his faith.  As a result of his study in islamic apologetics, Nabeel became convinced that the Bible was not only historically accurate but that salvation could be found in Christ alone.  In this book he draws upon his deep understanding of Islam and his personal faith in Christ to discuss the Christian’s approach to muslims in the contemporary era of violent jihad.

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I think that this book is the most succinct work that I have read to date that outlines history of Islam and the historical struggle against violent Islam.   Continue reading

Black Flags: The Rise of ISIS

b00rrt346e-01-lBook #12: Black Flags: The Rise of ISIS, Jobi Warrick

ISIS has become one of the greatest threats to the security of the United States, its citizens abroad and United States interests.  It is an Islamic organization similar to previous terrorist organizations based on a fundamentalistic understanding of Islamic theology that condones and at times mandates violence.  However this group has taken the violence against muslims and non-muslims as well as oppression of its people to a new extreme in a power play that harkens back to 7th century conquests by the followers of Muhammed.  This book describes the rise of ISIS by chronicling the life of Abu Musab al-Zarqawai and his successor Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.  It is a chilling read as it discusses the efforts of Al Qaeda in Iraq and the subsequent franchise ISIS in their efforts to destabilized the middle east and aggravate sectarian conflict.  It is a must read for anyone interested in current events in the Middle East as well as for policy makers who will be making decisions on our role in Middle East affairs.

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Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business

b0023zllh6-01-lBook #11: Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business, Neil Postman

How information is conveyed has a huge impact on how we see the world and how we understand it.  As we have transitioned through from an oral culture to print culture to television based culture, the discourse of society and society for that matter have changed.  In this book, Neil Postman discusses the transformation from print to television based information exchange.  He talks at length about the negative effects this has on our society.  He warns that our society is not necessarily at risk of an Orwellian “Big Brother” degeneration but a Huxleyan degeneration brought about by amusement.  Though published in the 80’s, it is an interesting discussion on the pros and cons of a rapid, compartmentalized and amusement driven information conveyance system.  The message of this book still rings true in an era where ideas are being shared and conversations are being had with 140 characters or less and cataloged by witty hashtags.

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HRC: State Secrets and the Rebirth of Hillary Clinton

b00ertepkg-01-lBook #10: HRC: State Secrets and the Rebirth of Hillary Clinton, Jonathan Allen & Amy Parnes

As the 2016 presidential election approaches, Hillary Clinton seems to be the presumptive nominee for the Democratic Party.  And as we approach the general election, we will begin to hear more about Hillary’s tenure as the Secretary of State being the defining reason why she should be president.  In this book Jonathan Allen and Amy Parnes chronicle Hillary Clinton’s tenure as Secretary of State under Barak Obama.  It is a fascinating read for anyone who wants to understand at a deeper level the politician and diplomat Hillary Clinton.

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As is my custom, for books that have profoundly shaped my opinion or where I have a strong opinion, I usually add some additional commentary.  This book is no exception, so here goes.  Feel free to read, or not read…

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Lights Out: A Cyberattack, A Nation Unprepared, Surviving the Aftermath

b00uqerm4c-01-lBook #9: Lights Out: A Cyberattack, A Nation Unprepared, Surviving the Aftermath, Ted Koppel

What would happen if there was a widespread cyber attack on our electric grid and millions of people were without power for not just a few days but a few months, or worse for the foreseeable future?   In this book, Ted Koppel talks with key individuals in the power industry, government and the prepping community about the risks and implications of an attack on the power grid.  It is an sobering discovery that our greatest vulnerability may not be from an external army or enemy ordinance but from a tool of ubiquitous connectivity: the internet.

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Creativity, Inc: Overcoming the Unseen Forces that Stand in the Way of True Inspiration

b00fuzqybo-01-lBook #8: Creativity, Inc: Overcoming the Unseen Forces that Stand in the Way of True Inspiration, Ed Catmull

Pixar has become known as a very successful and creative producer of computer animated, feature length movies and shorts.  But from its creation, Pixar’s success was far from guaranteed.  Inspired by early Disney animations, Pixar founder Ed Catmull sought to create a means of using computers to create animation.  This is the story Pixar.  It is the story of a group of computer guys who started a company, developed a technology and created a company who’s goal is to foster creativity.

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1776

51ctyoisrhl-_sx328_bo1204203200_Book #7: 1776, David McCullough

The year 1776 marks the birth of our country and is most noted for the Declaration of Independence.  But in may ways, the year 1776 was one of the darkest years in American History.  This year saw great loss in the Battle of Long Island and the fall of Fort Washington.  There were moments where the continuance of the American nation almost never happened.  But as has been characteristic throughout our history the men and women of colonial America showed great courage and devotion to country that set the stage for the nation that we enjoy today.  This was an interesting look at the first full year of our war for Independence.

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Thomas Jefferson and the Tripoli Pirates: The Forgotten War That Changed American History

51xutveafplBook #6: Thomas Jefferson and the Tripoli Pirates: The Forgotten War That Changed American History, Brian Kilmeade & Don Yaeger:  The “Shores of Tripoli” are an oft repeated but little remembered reference in the U.S. Marine’s Hymn.  With ships and trade threatened by the Barbary pirates.  The leaders of the young American nation were faced with a decision of whether to pay tribute or face the 4 barbary nations that threatening U.S. interests.  As a departure from Washington and Adams foreign policy, Thomas Jefferson decided to face the barbary pirates with military force.  This is the story of the first official military conflict of the young American nation.  It is a fascinating description of the naval and land conflict that secured U.S. interests with the barbary nations and helped establish America as a respected nation.

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