I’ve been remiss updating the “What I’m reading” column on the right. Fixed! I’m now reading two excellent books, one a biography and the other a political horror story of sorts.
The first is David McCullough’s biography of John Adams, which came out a few years ago. I knew little more of our second president’s life and work beyond the standard stories –he tends to get lost between presidents Washington and Jefferson– and this book more than fills the gap. While, like most presidential biographers, McCullough likes his subject and is probably a bit biased towards him, nonetheless Adams’ life is fascinating. Much more adventurous than a stuffy-looking centuries old portrait would lead us to imagine. I’ll do a full review when I’m done, but, for now, let me say you can’t go wrong with this if you’re at all interested in biography or the history of the Revolution and Early Republic.
The other is Stanley Kurtz’s “Spreading the Wealth: how Obama is robbing the suburbs to pay for the cities.” Sounds like a crazy right-wing fantasy, right? It did to me, too, but one reason lead me to buy it: the author. Kurtz, whose “Radical in Chief” was reviewed here a couple of years ago, is a meticulous researcher and a careful writer, fair with the evidence. The thesis of his argument is that, in his second term (if, God forbid, he wins one), Obama intends to do all he can to advance the “regionalist” agenda that’s near and dear to his heart and that of his old community-organizing buddies. As the blurb at Amazon (somewhat breathlessly) describes it:
Now Kurtz reveals new evidence that the administration’s talk about helping the middle class is essentially a smoke screen. Behind the scenes, plans are under way for a serious push toward wealth redistribution, with the suburban middle class—not the so-called one percent—bearing the brunt of it.
Drawing on previously overlooked sources, Kurtz cuts through that smoke screen to reveal what’s really going on. Radicals from outside the administration—including key Obama allies from his early community organizing days—have been quietly influencing policy, in areas ranging from education to stimulus spending. Their goal: to increase the influence of America’s cities over their suburban neighbors so that eventually suburban independence will vanish.
In the eyes of Obama’s former mentors—followers of leftist radical Saul Alinsky—suburbs are breeding grounds for bigotry and greed. The classic American dream of a suburban house and high quality, locally controlled schools strikes them as selfishness, a waste of resources that should be redirected to the urban poor.
The regulatory groundwork laid so far is just a prelude to what’s to come: substantial redistribution of tax dollars. Over time, cities would effectively swallow up their surrounding municipalities, with merged school districts and forced redistribution of public spending killing the appeal of the suburbs. The result would be a profound transformation of American society.
Like I said, something of a political horror story, only all too plausible. Hey, he did promise to fundamentally transform the US, no? I’m about halfway through this one.
Links to these books are on the right. Fair disclosure: I’m an Amazon Associate, so clicking the links and, especially, buying a book nets me a few pennies.
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RELATED: Prior book reviews.