Books in “the stack”

My late great mentor, Sandra Oddo, who I wish I could sit down with this autumn and drink a gallon of her pretty bad home brew, always had this mountain of paper on her desk that she called “the stack.” She was a big woman and it was a big stack, and she would occasionally plow through it. I’ve been building quite a stack of books the past couple of years. Here are some that I’ve been reading, skimming, and not yet opened:

1. Life at the Bottom: The Worldview that Makes the Underclass (2001) by Theodore Dalrymple. Dalrymple is a now retired doctor who worked in a British inner city hospital and a prison. I’ve been skipping around in this and haven’t found a bad paragraph yet. A brilliant writer. I need to go end to end with it.

2. Strategic Failure: How President Obama’s Drone Warfare, Defense Cuts, and Military Amateurism Have Imperiled America (2015) by Mark Moyar. The premise of the title seems obvious to me, but I suspect that it’s worse than I thought. I’ll apply Stan Evans’s Law of Insufficient Paranoia, that no matter how bad you think things are, they’re worse. I’ve just glanced at Strategic Failure, but I’m going to bounce around in it sometime this coming week.

3. Thieves World: The Threat of the New Global Network of Organized Crime (1994) by Claire Sterling. I’ve read three of the late Claire Sterling’s books (The Terror Network, The Time of the Assassins, and The Mafia) and think that she’s the best journalist of her time. I started Thieves World but put it aside because like all of her books it demands total, compelling attention. I hope to get to an end-to-end read of it soon.

4. The Devil’s Pleasure Palace: The Cult of Critical Theory and the Subversion of the West (2015) by Michael Walsh. About fifty pages into it. Fascinating literary take on the induced evil of Frankfurt School attacks on Western culture, in which Walsh so far is leaning on the great work of Milton. I have a disagreement with Walsh over his premise, but I won’t discuss it here. He’s doing a good job with it, however.

5. Diary of a Man in Despair (1966) by Friedrich Reck. Written during the 30s and 40s by a German “landed gentleman” (he had to keep it hidden; the Gestapo eventually arrested him and he died in Dachau in 1945) about the grotesque nature of Hitler and the Nazis and their immense sickness and what they were doing to Germany. A friend sent me this, the second book he has sent me in recent years, and like the first book this one is strong stuff. Very strong stuff. I can’t think of anything quite like it. About sixty-five pages into it when I laid it down.

6. Drilling Through the Core: Why Common Core is Bad for American Education (2015) Edited with an introduction by Peter W. Wood. Just got it in the mail. Ordered it because it was recommended by Stanley Kurtz, whose judgment I trust. Never followed Common Core, but this will get me up to date when I find time for it. It’s going to be dry and scholarly, but that never bothers me if I’m getting something reliable.

7. Who Built That: Awe-Inspiring Stories of American Tinkerpreneurs (2015) by Michelle Malkin. Michelle’s a nerd when it comes to stuff like this; she loves it. So do I.

8. How the Catholic Church Built Western Civilization (2005) by Thomas E. Woods Jr. Woods just lays out the evidence, discusses it a little, but lets it speak for itself. I’m 125 pages into it, and it’s good. If you don’t know how profound the Church’s role was in the development of universities, art, science, and architecture (that’s how far I am into it, more to come, like international law), then this book will get you up to speed.

9. Green Hell: A Jack Taylor Novel (2015) by Ken Bruen. Last year was my Ken Bruen year. Raced through at least six of his novels (I lost count), both in the Jack Taylor and Inspector Brant (though Brant is not actually an inspector) series. I ordered this one for Madam Vandam, who is similarly addicted. I keep saying “next week.” So, I’ll read it next week.

10. Red Cocaine: The Drugging of America (1990) by Joseph D. Douglass, Jr. Devastating. People go on endlessly about the war on drugs, but it’s the sound of one hand clapping. According to Douglass and his main source, a Cold War Czech defector, there was first a war with drugs, carefully organized and orchestrated from Moscow.

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