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57 of 65 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating, Thought-Provoking and Educating
This book covers a LOT of material. It covers the history, politics, current issues and possible solutions of nine MAJOR hot spots for debate in the upcoming election. If you feel as though the media creates a lot of noise around issues with little substance, this book helps fill in many of the gaps and helps point out solutions to move us forward. It's also surprisingly...
Published on February 28, 2012 by BetterBooks

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33 of 45 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars SWEET & MOSTLY SOUR: CRAFTY APOLOGETIC FOR FINANCIAL AND CORPORATE GREED
This book is an ambitiously underachieving disappointment.

The topics are of great interest and it sounds promising.

But I should have known better when the jacket described the author Kiernan as a former Sachs-of-Gold partner, venture capitalist, and philanthropist. We all know what a financier-philanthropist is: someone who robs society blind and...
Published on June 7, 2012 by Mevashir


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57 of 65 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating, Thought-Provoking and Educating, February 28, 2012
This review is from: Becoming China's Bitch: And Nine More Catastrophes We Must Avoid Right Now (Hardcover)
This book covers a LOT of material. It covers the history, politics, current issues and possible solutions of nine MAJOR hot spots for debate in the upcoming election. If you feel as though the media creates a lot of noise around issues with little substance, this book helps fill in many of the gaps and helps point out solutions to move us forward. It's also surprisingly hard to put down, maybe because it reads more easily than most other politically-educating books. The stories, analogies and general nature of the prose make it actually kind of fun to read. I'm not going to lie.. it's pretty long (400+ pages) but the layout of the chapters make it easy to skip around to the issues that interest you the most, and to come back to the others later when you are ready for more.

I found the chapters about China the most interesting, of course, but I was actually pretty surprised at how much I learned from the other issues Kiernan covers. I loved how streamlined Kiernan's history of unions was, especially because its an issue I've heard a lot about but never quite understood. The way it was explained in this book really resonated with me and I'm pumped about it. I also loved how swiftly he explains think-tanks, lobbyists, the different sides of the immigration debate, big tobacco, healthcare, the real threat of terrorism, and our prison systems. I had no idea how serious some of these issues are and can't believe so many of us walk around without thoroughly understanding each one.

Unlike one of the reviewers, I found Kiernan to be beyond informative AND well informed on the issues he discussed and he covers a LOT of them. If he went into extreme detail on each subject, the book would have been 9x as long. I think the amount of information included is the perfect amount to thoroughly grasp the issues without being weighed down with nitty-gritty dull details that belong on C-SPAN. READ IT!
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37 of 46 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Moderately brash, if that's possible, February 27, 2012
By 
Jackson M. (Ft. Lauderdale, FL, USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Becoming China's Bitch: And Nine More Catastrophes We Must Avoid Right Now (Hardcover)
Peter D. Kiernan wants to snap us out of our inert comfort zone. According to him, we're in a situation of co-dependency with China--we need them, they need us--and, as he says, these kinds of co-dependencies never last. Someone will always end up taking advantage of the other. As it is, we are in the position of being taken advantage of. We need to snap out of this comfort zone--and this book is his way of doing so.

To help us out of our funk, Kiernan is straight-shooting and brash--the title alone gets the blood pumping. And his list of nine catastrophes that we need to avert fall along the same lines. He points out the dangers of "the Media Talk Complex," the influence of political lobbyists, the sway of biased think tanks, inter-religious friction, and the inability of the two party system to work properly.

The underlying threat in all of this is China's economic strength--our inadequacies are just the surface troubles. Two issues are of primary concern for Kiernan and they both have to do with the economy: China's growing reserves and the strength of the Yuan. All of the other problems, it could be argued stem from our inability to match China in these departments. If we aren't able to do so, then we most likely will become the title of this book.

Altogether, this is an important argument at a crucial time. Kiernan misses a key opportunity to underscore the fundamental roots of our current condition, and this might be due in part because of his political stance--Kiernan (a former partner at Goldman Sachs) is what he calls a "radical Centrist," if that is possible.

Read this for a good survey of the challenges we face. I also recommend Juggernaut: Why the System Crushes the Only People Who Can Save Itfor a fuller examination of our problems, how we got here, and where we need to go from there.
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24 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Finally!! The balanced approach, February 29, 2012
This review is from: Becoming China's Bitch: And Nine More Catastrophes We Must Avoid Right Now (Hardcover)
The problem with most books these days is they are entirely too polarized- aggressively passionate about either one side of the argument or the other- if only to make themselves heard. Kiernan's book is the first I've seen that puts up a passionate fight for the balanced/ middle approach. If only we had more political candidates like this!!
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Becoming China's bitch, March 16, 2012
This review is from: Becoming China's Bitch: And Nine More Catastrophes We Must Avoid Right Now (Hardcover)
My wife bought this for me, which was a surprise because I'm very conservative in my politics. I appreciated the points of view presented in the book. Whether we agree, or disagree, it's time to quit fighting and get stuff done. This is a must read.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Conent, ideas and solutions are spot on, March 17, 2012
This review is from: Becoming China's Bitch: And Nine More Catastrophes We Must Avoid Right Now (Hardcover)
I urge people to read this book cover to cover, as you will find an extremely thoughtful and thought provoking apolitical manifesto that raises many of the most pressing matters facing our country today. Unusual as it is in today's highly fractured political environment, this book approaches our country's problems not from a political point of view but from a practical solutions point of view. And in so doing, Kiernan attempts to use this platform as a launch point for action, based on his well thought through, practical solutions. His message, woven throughout the book, is that our collective attitide of inertia, complacency and dismissed personal responsibility has caught up to us and has manifested itself in many ways, slowly but surely undermining and jeopordizing the pillars of our society. It's really interesting that since it's release, already several of his key subjects have surfaced as top of the news categories; more severe problems in Afganistan; rare earth issues with China; China continuing to manipulate its currency, and more. This book is on point, timely and will motivate the reader to really think about where we are as a country, and what we can do to right the path we are on.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A most gripping read., March 16, 2012
This review is from: Becoming China's Bitch: And Nine More Catastrophes We Must Avoid Right Now (Hardcover)
I saw Peter on TV, and picked up his book really curious about it. I enjoyed reading it the whole way through. As the description says, it's from a fresh point of view and I believe he had a lot of great points that had me nodding my head throughout the whole read. I'm definitely going to recommend this to my Professor's at school. You won't be disappointed.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars At Last!, March 14, 2012
By 
S. Cox "coxproject" (Santa Monica, CA United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Becoming China's Bitch: And Nine More Catastrophes We Must Avoid Right Now (Hardcover)
At last, in the midst of the most polarized political climate of the modern era, comes a "radical centrist" approach. Don't let the brash title scare you off--this book is full of practical solutions for some of our most pressing problems. A much-needed antidote to the hyperbolic punditocracy of the 24-hour news cycle. Highly recommended.
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33 of 45 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars SWEET & MOSTLY SOUR: CRAFTY APOLOGETIC FOR FINANCIAL AND CORPORATE GREED, June 7, 2012
By 
This review is from: Becoming China's Bitch: And Nine More Catastrophes We Must Avoid Right Now (Hardcover)
This book is an ambitiously underachieving disappointment.

The topics are of great interest and it sounds promising.

But I should have known better when the jacket described the author Kiernan as a former Sachs-of-Gold partner, venture capitalist, and philanthropist. We all know what a financier-philanthropist is: someone who robs society blind and then atones for his crimes by paying off chosen charities.

Even the title is unnecessarily provocative. It could have more accurately been entitled: Sweet & Mostly Sour: America 's Debilitating Economic Dependency on China . I can assure the author that many Christians and others of religious sensibility will avoid this book just because of its offensive title. As will many of ethnic and cultural sensitivity. But no one ever accused Wall St. bankers of tact, diplomacy, or basic decency.

But stubbornly I plowed on into this literary morass (more-ass). I should have seen the writing on the wall when the author in his introduction issues a half-hearted anemic apology for the excesses of his Wall St. colleagues.

Continuing on my masochistic odyssey, I encountered chapter one, a nauseating torrent of shameless factoids about the many talking heads who have deformed American TV news opining. When Kiernan writes with admiration for the mental excretions and verbal ejaculations of the professional provocateurs like Coulter, O'Reilly, and Limbaugh, I should have closed up shop and walked away. But I kept hoping to find some justification for the thousands of trees that perished to bring this book to market. So like a kid gawking at Playboy or Penthouse for the first time, I kept turning the pages with morbid curiosity. Mea culpa: the author, a good Irish Catholic, will understand.

The book entices us by promising to address some very significant socio-economic problems in our society. But unfortunately, after all the tedious name dropping and self-congratulations, the analysis is shallow and perhaps purposelessly deceptive.

It seems the author has an agenda to protect his chosen field of corporate finance from undue scrutiny. Of the ten issues he addresses, I found only tobacco and gay marriage to be compelling. Tobacco he indicts and proposes various punitive user taxes. He also reveals how states took their tobacco settlement money and squandered it on everything but anti smoking education campaigns. But he says nary a word about the scandal of proliferating sales of big tobacco in the third world. (The irony of the Duke tobacco dynasty endowing Duke Divinity School so as to buy off God's opprobrium for their ongoing efforts to poison the world.)

About gay marriage, Kiernan takes a tolerant and pragmatic view. He predicts that the US Supreme Court, led by [suspected lesbian] Elena Kagan, will invalidate all the 30+ states amendments that have been passed prohibiting same sex marriage.

The other issues I felt he analyzed very superficially.

The biggest disappointments for me were his treatment of three areas: (1) the war on [off] terror, (2) health care, (3) political reform. But before I get to these, I would say that the overall problem is that Kiernan misses a golden opportunity to help revamp American values. Instead of questioning our addiction to a culture of meaningless trash, he seeks ways to allow us to perpetuate our banal existence. He totally misses the spirit of fellow Catholic and mystic Thomas Merton, who writes in his amazing book of essays, Raids on the Unspeakable, about the early Christian mystic Philoxenos: "I will not make you such rich men as have need of many things (putting the words on the lips of Christ), but I will make you true rich men who have need of nothing. Since it is not he who has many possessions that is rich but he who has not needs." (p. 23 of the New Direction hardcover edition, 1966).

Kiernan totally misses this insight. He is desperately seeking a way to allow the unthinking orgy of American consumption to continue with various high tech tweaking and financial artistry.

So this is not a book for serious social critics or reformers. It is a book about how Wall St. financiers seek to keep the American cash cow growing and not keeling over with a burst stomach. The subtitle of this book could be: How to let Americans continue to live like pigs without dying like pigs. Fatuous self-serving nonsense.

The following points suggest to me the essential dishonesty of this book:

-- No questioning of the 9-11 paradigm

-- Frequent complaints about obesity but not one word about America 's corporate corrupted diet. Instead whines that biotech and big pharma firms are hindered by too much red tape. Kiernan wants to use high tech tweaks to allow us to eat like a pig but not die like one.

-- Not one word about the Federal Reserve private usury cartel.

-- Barely an apology for the crimes of his Wall St. friends.

-- Never an admission that Wall St. is the one pimping us to be " China 's b-itch".

-- Pretending that the average American can make a difference in our rigged political system.

-- Not one mention of Israel or its AIPAC[of lies] lobby.

-- He never even bothers to tell us why China should NOT be the world's number one economy. After all they have 25% of the world's population. They are smart, hard working, and possess a proud and ancient culture. Why should fat lazy and selfish Americans retain the number one spot? How can they even hope to? Why do they deserve it? And who really cares? All Kiernan can do is to appeal to a kind of pathetic misguided jingoism.

The main point of the book appears to send the reader down rabbit trails of hopelessly irrelevant information just to avoid confronting the guilty parties of corporate greed and financial fraudsters.

Now to the three specific areas mentioned above:

(1) Concerning the War on Terror [sic], Kiernan swallows the whole execrable package of lies about 9-11 in one giant gulp. Is he really that stupid? Hard to believe. The book is brimming with factoids about everything from Ann Coulters collegiate social life to the finer points of fracking. Perhaps Kiernan just cant bring himself to admit how lucrative to Wall St. the phony contrived war on terror really is. Not a big point for his credibility.

(2) Concerning health care, Kiernan frequently laments the obesity of Americans, but he never once denounces the corrupted corporate food supply. He proposes a tax on sugary drinks, without admitting the the entire food supply in infested with sugary additives, due mainly to a corrupt Farm Bill that encourages the production of cheap carbs. He says nothing about hormones and antibiotics in meats, fluoride in water, the continuing shameful use of chemical food colors and preservatives. He does not promote organic or natural eating. His main interest is to remove bureaucratic obstacles to allowing biotech and big pharma firms to engineer new medicines that will save us from our own disgusting habits. Pathetically unimaginative and predictable.

(3) Concerning our corrupt political system, Kiernan reminisces about the American Revolution without bothering to tell us that even back then politics was a rich man's game, with only 3% of the colonial population permitted to vote (excluding all who were not land owners, women, blacks, native americans, etc.). Kiernan plays games with the reader stroking his fantasies and delusions that he can make a difference in our system. What a deceitful load of crap.

Here's my analysis of the American political landscape:

MY THOUGHTS ON AMERICAN POLITICS

1. We vote for them .... but they never vote for us (but only for their corporate sponsors).

2. They call themselves "partys" but they are the only ones partying ... at our expense.

3. We have one political party in America today: The Republocraps.

4. Let the same corporations, banks, and special interest groups [eg, AIPAC (of lies)] that fund their campaigns pay their salaries once they are elected to office. That way it will be crystal clear whose interests they really represent.

5. They pass laws to the highest bidder.

6. We should nullify the entire system and revert to a monarchy or dictatorship. That way the obscene campaign spending will be avoided, as will the waste of time and massive disappointment of the electorate.

7. The only entities that truly benefit from our current electoral system are the presstitutes of the whoreoporate mess media, who profit from the ridiculous advertising and who benefit by agreeing to perpetuate the illusion of choice.

8. We have a choice of the evil of two lessers. They are like Winston and Marlboro. Whoever wins will kill you. And then they will turn and say: You can't complain because you voted for us!

9. It is obvious that the illusion of choice that passes for freedom and democracy is simply a device to forestall popular unrest and revolution.

10. Shakespeare's Macbeth best characterized the state of American politics today: It is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury and signifying nothing.

11. A government of fools, by rules, and for jewels will perish quickly from the face of the earth.

In sum the problem with this book is that Americans are enslaved to their own banal mindless culture of consumption. And this is a debt that Mr. Kiernan simply does not know how to repay.

If you really care about the author, order for him Thomas Merton's book from Amazon.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A MUST READ, March 18, 2012
This review is from: Becoming China's Bitch: And Nine More Catastrophes We Must Avoid Right Now (Hardcover)
This book should be required reading for all high school seniors as they are preparing themselves for the privilege of voting. It will also be appreciated by readers of all ages as it is extremely well written and thought provoking. This book covers a wide range of topics; all of which are or will be relevant to each of us. Kiernan's style of writing is precise and unique as he brings his topics to life with details of actual events. All of this is peppered with small flashes of pop culture and "one-worders". The knowledge of this author is overwhelming and his ideas for solving the problems we are facing are well thought out and articulately explained.
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11 of 15 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A beginning is a very delicate time, May 9, 2012
By 
Matthew Kruvczuk (King of Prussia, PA USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Becoming China's Bitch: And Nine More Catastrophes We Must Avoid Right Now (Hardcover)
"A beginning is a very delicate time", so as a note to the author, if you are writing a book that calls for immediate action to avoid catastrophe RIGHT NOW! Don't spend the first 30 pages of your book giving me the bios on talk radio personalities that I care nothing about. While they may be interesting in the way that reading about a train crash can be interesting, it does not provide me with any useful or valuable information.

If I had it to do over again I would not have wasted my time.
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Becoming China's Bitch: And Nine More Catastrophes We Must Avoid Right Now
Becoming China's Bitch: And Nine More Catastrophes We Must Avoid Right Now by Peter D. Kiernan (Hardcover - February 28, 2012)
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