Thursday, May 28, 2009

John Brown

The book is JOHN BROWN'S WAR AGAINST SLAVERY, by Robert E. McGlone.

Here's a link to the author, who has published repeatedly on John Brown:

The Influence of Communists

I note two books. SPIES: The Rise and Fall of the KGB in America, John Earl Haynes, Harvey Klehr and Alexander Vassilev. ALGER HISS AND THE BATTLE FOR HISTORY, by Susan Jacoby.

Here's a link to Jacoby's page:

"Much of the enduring passion surrounding the Hiss case can be traced to the split in the thirties between pro-Soviet and anti-Soviet American leftists, and an astonishing number on both sides (indeed, nearly everyone capable of beginning a sentence with a capital letter and ending it with a period) have left exhaustive and sometimes exhausting memoirs repudiating or justifying their youthful selves. The sheer volume and intensity of these memoirs, many of which touch on the Hiss case in one way or another, have certainly had the effect of exaggerating the influence of communism on American cultural life — and that is true whether one is talking about the actual importance of communism in the thirties, the retrospective importance attached to communism during the anti-Red crusades of the late forties and fifties, or the more distant, though not necessarily more dispassionate, historical evaluations offered today."

Haynes has been studying this period and has found remarkable information in Soviet archives. Here's a link to follow:

Today, Haynes' book is #836, which is pretty successful, considering that the Jacoby book is #172,701.

Judge Posner

What has gotten into Judge Posner? Look at A FAILURE OF CAPITALISM: /The Crisis of '08 and the Descent into Depression.

He's so prolific; he turns out books faster than I turn out blog posts.

I celebrate him for identifying our situation as a "depression." Expressing distressing thoughts is not that common.

What should we make of these conservatives like Posner and Greenspan who now say that the market lacks some of the self-correcting mechanisms that they used to say it had?

Part of what they missed was the corruption that infected the last administration. It's my theory (I didn't really think of it) that the last administration failed to be honest and screwed up the market. I think they kept interest rates too low too long, presumably because of the need to finance the war in Iraq. By leaving rates too low too long, the Bush Administration allowed home prices to become inflated. People like Posner and Greenspan aren't likely to say that the failure of the Bush Administration to allow the market to work or to be truthful with the public about the real costs of the war allowed the circumstances that led to the current state of the economy. They are more likely to fall back on the idea that the ideology was flawed in some way.

I cannot really prove this idea, but it certainly seem plausible to me. Anyway, I salute Posner for grappling with this. He's a lot more intellectually honest than many. Here's Posner's blog:; here's where he deals with his book: It's called a "Failure of Capitalism." His Atlantic blog comments are quite thoughtful (not surprisingly) and reasonable.

Posner's book is #250 on the Amazon list today.

Supreme Court in the News

The book is THE SUPREME COURT AND THE AMERICAN ELITE, 1789-2008, by Lucas A. Powe.

Here's a link to the author:

Here's a link to his prior book:

Here's what Powe was quoted as saying on a blog:
"Everyone will note that he was one of the four members of the liberal bloc and that his replacement will vote as Justice Souter has voted. But he wasn’t always a liberal; indeed, only in the context of the Supreme Court of his era could he be classified as a liberal."

Amazon shows Powe's book as #53,33 today.

John Mitchell - The Big Enchilada

John Mitchell in the Nixon Administration was THE STRONG MAN, a recent book by James Rosen.

Here's what this web site says:

Chosen by the Wall Street Journal as a "Best Book of 2008" The Strong ManTHE STRONG MAN is the first full-scale biography of John Mitchell. Over a decade in the making, THE STRONG MAN examines the central figure in the rise and ruin of Richard Nixon, and the highest-ranking American official ever convicted on criminal charges.

Amazon lists this book at #265,142; I guess the public wasn't looking to remember this man.

Colfax Massacre

The book is THE DAY FREEDOM DIED: The Colfax Massacre, the Supreme Court and the Betrayal of Reconstruction. Author is Charles Lane. Publisher is Henry Holt and Co.

Here is the Wikipedia entry for the Colfax massacre:

The book is available for Kindle at Amazon:

The book is now out in paperback:

Here's a link to a review in the New York Times last year:

Here's a review from New Orleans

We Dissent

The book is called We Dissent: Talking Back to the Rehnquist Court, Eight Cases that Subverted Civil Liberties and Civil Rights. Editor is Michael Avery, a Constitutional Law teacher at Suffolk University Law School. NYU Press published the book.

Reviewed in the New York Law Journal.,M1