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Run the Other Way: Fixing the Two-Party System, One Campaign at a Time
Run the Other Way: Fixing the Two-Party System, One Campaign at a Time
by Bill Hillsman
Edition: Paperback
Price: $18.02
51 used & new from $2.08

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Lots of potential, but with little follow through, June 19, 2011
This book has a lot of potential, and Bill Hillsman seems like an interesting fellow, but in the end it was fairly disappointing book. There are three problems that I have with it.

First, you would really think that Hillsman is the most brilliant man alive, forced to work with/for people who are unable to tie their shoes. It is rare to find a paragraph that does not at some way or another implicitly or explicitly revolve around how brilliant Hillsman thinks he is. He can see through all lies, he can create perfect campaigns (in fact he never fails!), and his wisdom fundamentally alters campaigns as we know it. It gets really old, really fast. Yes, we understand that you think highly of yourself and little of just about everyone else in the world, can we please move forward?

Second, his book focuses on his fight against "Election Industry, Inc", which is incredibly poorly defined and really seems to just be everyone other than Bill Hillsman. EII seems to be everyone involved in the political process, and that they all work together to keep the common man down and are so blundering incompetent that he presents them as caricatures of political analysts. However, it remains consistently unclear why these individuals have this power and authority when they are so bad at their jobs and everyone hates them. Why isn't Bill Hillsman and his firm not the top firm in the country? All that you need to do is be creative and know your audience!! It seems that EII are literally everyone involved in the system that is not Bill Hillsman (remember above!). It's a pretty patronizing and generalist position that he takes, which really creates questions about his credibility.

Third, his overall argument doesn't make sense. He argues that the two parties are largely interchangeable (sure), and that people need to just support either "real" candidates (which even in his own examples just become cogs in the machine) and support third parties. However, he never argues why the third parties are inherently different/superior, they just are. It is really a knee jerk position that seems as disingenuous as the ones that he is criticizing.

In short, the case studies that he uses are kind of interesting and it's a book that is pretty easy to read without any background information. It is however as a book rather flawed, and not something that I would recommend reading. Hillsman's wit and analysis are enjoyable, and I imagine he would be a cool person to grab a beer with.

The Most Exclusive Club: A History of the Modern United States Senate
The Most Exclusive Club: A History of the Modern United States Senate
by Lewis L. Gould
Edition: Paperback
Price: $24.05
73 used & new from $0.01

0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The Opinion Is A Little Much, July 27, 2010
I came into this book with high hopes. Gould takes a tough and incredibly underdeveloped subject, the formation of the modern senate as an institution, and engages it with gusto. Unfortunately, the book was not what I was expecting.

Throughout the book, from the second chapter or so until the end, he transforms himself from a historian to a commentator, adding his own viewpoint (often times in a fairly snarky manner) to events as he described them unfolding. An occassional normative comment about a senator's ideology or motivation would have been sloppy but acceptable. This book, however, is loaded with them. Tragically, this causes the reader to question whether he is still telling the history of the US Senate, or if he is telling a revisionist history. The information that he is giving is interesting, but the credibility becomes dubious when it does not need to be.

I am also concerned about the source of much of his information. His citations are few and far between, and as a researcher I wanted to know where he was finding out about the backroom talks that he kept referencing.

In short, this is an interesting book, but it is not a scholarly one. There is too much personal, normative commentary with too few citations backing up the information that Gould is using. If he could clean this up, I think this book has a lot of potential, but at this time, it is potential unrealized.

Child Soldiers, Adult Interests: The Global Dimensions of the Sierra Leonean Tragedy
Child Soldiers, Adult Interests: The Global Dimensions of the Sierra Leonean Tragedy
by John-Peter Pham
Edition: Paperback
Price: $65.21
32 used & new from $56.15

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Must read in African Studies, November 20, 2009
Pham masterfully contextualizes the civil war with objective and well researched analyses of actors and institutions. As a book on Sierra Leone, it is a must have. It is a little disappointing that he spends a lot of time on the war itself and not as much on the children as one would expect. Despite the short coming, it is hard to write about child soldiers, Sierra Leone, or the challenges of disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration (DDR) programs without having read Pham's analysis.

71 Days: The Media Assault On Obama
71 Days: The Media Assault On Obama
by Michael Jason Overstreet
Edition: Paperback
Price: $9.99
45 used & new from $0.03

59 of 96 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Revisionist at best, September 23, 2009
The argument that the media was anything but gentle with Sen. Obama is a tough one to make, and [71 Days] is unable to make it. The vision of the campaign in this book is not the vision that anyone who lived through the campaign will recognize. As a former Obama staffer, and still a strong supporter, I am not writing this as a smear against Obama. Rather, it is important to realize that this literary work is NOT accurate and should not be treated as such. I wish I could rank it lower than one star.
Comment Comments (7) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 7, 2011 1:04 PM PDT

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