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The Progressive Revolution: How the Best in America Came to Be
The Progressive Revolution: How the Best in America Came to Be
by Michael Lux
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $18.10
73 used & new from $0.01

31 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Time for a "Progressive Revolution", February 6, 2009
We often see books from the right-wing perspective that demonize "liberalism" and denigrate the role of government in fighting for the common good and bettering all of our lives. Unfortunately, we don't see nearly as many books, especially articulate, powerful and persuasive ones like "The Progressive Revolution," from the progressive perspective. Lucky for us, Mike Lux has written just such a book, and I strongly recommend that everyone read what he has to say.

The book's argument is simple: when progressives have been in charge, the country has made great strides; when conservatives have been in charge, we've stagnated or moved backwards. In fact, some of the greatest disasters or near-disasters in American history have come during periods of conservative ascendancy, and Mike Lux lays those out for all of us who need a history refresher course. What's most amazing is that, in spite of an almost unmitigated record of harming workers, family farms, the poor, the sick, the elderly, children, the environment, not to mention the freedoms we cherish, conservatives have managed to win even one election, let alone many of them. In part, this is a result of conservatives effectively making their case (even if it's based on fear and lies), but in part it's also the result of progressives failing to make their own, much stronger case.

That obviously needs to change, and Lux is hopeful that we'll see that in the Obama administration. However, nothing's automatic; what's required here is pressure from both the "top down" AND the "bottom up." Netroots activism, as I write in my own book ("Netroots Rising"), is the key today, just as it has been since Thomas Paine penned his brilliant pamphlet ("Common Sense") that made such an enormous contribution to the American revolution. Today, we have an army of "Thomas Paines" essentially functioning as modern-day pamphleteers. This reengagement with our Democracy, after years of alienation and cynicism, represents our greatest hope at achieving the positive "change we need." Read Mike Lux's book and discover why only progressives can deliver that change.


The Uprising: An Unauthorized Tour of the Populist Revolt Scaring Wall Street and Washington
The Uprising: An Unauthorized Tour of the Populist Revolt Scaring Wall Street and Washington
by David Sirota
Edition: Hardcover
83 used & new from $0.01

37 of 43 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A disconnected and atomized "uprising", June 23, 2008
Excellent writers are like great chefs; you don't really need to know what they're writing/cooking to know you're in for a treat. In this case, we've got David Sirota riffing (and reporting) on how a bunch of "disconnected and atomized" rage is "frothing" in America.

Whether it's anti-illegal-immigrant vigilantes, frustrated high-tech workers, "blue chip revolutionaries," "Uprising Television" (or radio or blogs), netroots activists, the anti-tax movement or the anti-anti-tax movement, there certainly appear to be a lot of pissed off people out there in America today. Just look at polls that show 80%+ of people who feel the country's headed in the wrong direction. Look at the huge turnout in this year's presidential primaries -- particularly on the Democratic side -- and the upsurge in political energy being shown by people around the country. Look at the anger at the President, at the Congress, at many of our institutions.

The question is, does all this add up to a "populist uprising?" Even David Sirota is skeptical, but he certainly sees the potential for such an uprising, and apparently so does a nervous corporate American and insider political establishment. In the end, I'm not sure that Sirota has completely proved his thesis, that "the disparate pieces of this uprising are all part of one enraged backlash." However, after reading his well-written, well-researched, informative, and entertaining book, I'm far less likely to write off that thesis as a definite possibility in coming years.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 16, 2011 2:04 PM PDT


Outright Barbarous: How the Violent Language of the Right Poisons American Democracy
Outright Barbarous: How the Violent Language of the Right Poisons American Democracy
by Jeffrey Feldman
Edition: Paperback
Price: $14.95
44 used & new from $0.01

55 of 59 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It Would Be "Outright Barbarous" Not to Read This Book, May 3, 2008
I just finished reading a review copy of "Outright Barbarous: How the Violent Language of the Right Poisons American Democracy." The author is Jeffrey Feldman, a teacher at NYU who is probably best known as the editor of Frameshop.

I've read Feldman for years on Daily Kos and elsewhere, and am always fascinated by the precise logic, crisp writing, and powerful "framing" that he brings to bear on just about any political subject.

Now, Feldman devotes a book to taking on leading "conservatives" like Ann Coulter, Dinesh D'Souza, James Dobson, Wayne LaPierre, Pat Buchanan, and Bill O'Reilly. Honestly, it's hard to know which of these characters is the worst, as Feldman lays out a strong case for why each is particularly heinous in their own unique and wondrous way.

Thus, LaPierre frames everything in terms of violence, the ever-present threat of violence, and the utter inability of law, government, or collective institutions of any kind to protect us from that (essentially inevitable) violence. Flowing from that bizarre worldview comes the only possible conclusion: you're on your own, they're coming to harm you, and you'd better be armed to the teeth when they do. As Feldman explains, "What LaPierre suggests is...a full-scale military escalation of civil society." Just as bad, LaPierre boils everything down to a false dichotomy -- a common strategy of right-wing political language - in which the only two choices are either "(A) we allow individuals the "right to carry" guns or (B) we allow criminals to make victims of more and more Americans." That's it, end of discussion. Which, come to think of it, is exactly what the Wayne LaPierres of the world wanted in the first place. How convenient.

And on and on it goes, from Pat Buchanan's "constant narrative on the death of American civilization at the hands of a new Barbarian invasion" (from Mexico, that is) to Ann Coulter's bizarre claim that "the American left had been fighting and concealing its designs to destroy America for over half a century," to - perhaps most disturbingly of all - James Dobson's violent, sex-obsessed and pain-laden "fear and punishment rhetoric" aimed at undermining any possibility of a "common good" in American society.

At this point, you might be thinking, "how depressing, why would I want to read this?" For starters, despite the disturbing subject matter, Feldman's skills as a writer make this is actually a highly enjoyable book to read - almost a "page turner," if you can believe it. Second, Feldman doesn't just lay out the evils of the right-wing pundits he discusses in his book, he also lays out "six suggestions to resolve the problem of violent language in the American political media." Finally, as Feldman writes at the end of his book, "[w]e cannot, as Orwell warned, 'change this all in a moment'" but "we can change one political debate at a time with the simple act of making new choices about how to write and speak." This book will help us do so.
Comment Comments (13) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 8, 2008 7:38 AM PDT


King of Bombs
King of Bombs
by Sheldon Filger
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $31.00
22 used & new from $26.50

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining, in a Realistically Terrifying Sort of Way, September 3, 2005
This review is from: King of Bombs (Hardcover)
If you find it entertaining to be scared out of your wits, not about some far-out sci-fi scenario but about something that could actually happen to YOU, then you should definitely read Sheldon Filger's book, "King of Bombs." At first glance, this book may sound like sci-fi, but the more you learn, the more you realize it's all-too-realistic.

In fact, there really WAS a "King of Bombs," aka "Tsar Bomba" -- the largest nuclear weapon ever constructed or detonated. The bomb was developed in 1961 on the orders of Soviet Premier Nikita Kruschchev, designed by Andrei Sakharov, and detonated a few months later. The "Tsar Bomba" was useless from a military point of view, but as a terror and propaganda device, this 100-megaton (or more) monstrosity was highly effective. Basically, this bomb could kill incredible numbers of people. As Filger's character "Dr. Lazar" explains in the book, detonation of this doomsday device in downtown Manhattan would incinerate New York City, and most of the city's suburbs in Connecticut, New Jersey and Long Island. Beyond that, "cities such as Philadelphia and New Haven would be severely damaged," while "the fallout [would] cause mass casualties across a wide portion of the American eastern seaboard and Midwest..." In the end, such a bomb would probably kill 80 million people.

Against another nation, of course, like the Soviet Union, we had our own nuclear deterrent to an attack with such a weapon. Essentially, "Mutually Assured Destruction" (MAD) held - for 50 years and counting. Unfortunately, in the age of terror, the formula for "MAD" may no longer hold, since groups like Al Qaead are non-state actors without a "return address" where we could annhilate them. Without MAD, the main hope of stopping such an attack, which would essentially end America as we know it, is intelligence, nuclear non-proliferation efforts, and counter-terrorist activities of various kinds. Even with all that, however, it is still possible that a group like Al Qaeda could -- possibly with the help of scientists from places like Pakistan, North Korea and Russia (the scenario spelled out in "King of Bombs") -- construct such a device. Then, the only issue is whether or not the terrorists could actually get the thing into the United States and detonate it.

That's where Sheldon Filger comes in, with his page-turning, riveting, terrifying novel of nuclear terrorism. Once you pick this book up, you'll have a hard time putting it down. In fact, you'll probably read it in a few hours, possibly in a cold sweat, but certainly with a strong feeling of unease.

My main criticisms of this book are twofold: 1) it needs a good editing to work out some of the awkward sentences and grammar (a hazard of self-publishing); and 2) it probably should be a bit less heavy-handed in its portrayal of the thinly-veiled George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Condoleezza Rice and others. Not that I have any sympathy for the job this Administration has done on nuclear non-proliferation or on securing the "homeland," but it would be a shame if some readers were turned off by the strong political viewpoint. On the other hand, Filger evens things out somehwat with a scathing indictment of the ACLU, so he's relatively even-handed, not just heavy-handed, in his criticisms.

The bottom line that this book illustrates so powerfully is that, four years after 9/11, we are at least as vulnerable as we were then to a devastating terrorist attack that could make 9/11 look like child's play. Yet, many high government officials continue to believe firmly that a group like Al Qaeda could never construct an actual nuclear bomb, and that we only have to worry about attacks by nation-states (hence the continued emphasis on missile defense). To them, I say, read "King of Bombs," and think again - before it's too late!!


King of Bombs: A Novel About Nuclear Terrorism
King of Bombs: A Novel About Nuclear Terrorism
by Sheldon Filger
Edition: Paperback
Price: $19.95
34 used & new from $4.48

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining, in a Realistically Terrifying Sort of Way, September 2, 2005
If you find it entertaining to be scared out of your wits, not about some far-out sci-fi scenario but about something that could actually happen to YOU, then you should definitely read Sheldon Filger's book, "King of Bombs." At first glance, this book may sound like sci-fi, but the more you learn, the more you realize it's all-too-realistic.

In fact, there really WAS a "King of Bombs," aka "Tsar Bomba" -- the largest nuclear weapon ever constructed or detonated. The bomb was developed in 1961 on the orders of Soviet Premier Nikita Kruschchev, designed by Andrei Sakharov, and detonated a few months later. The "Tsar Bomba" was useless from a military point of view, but as a terror and propaganda device, this 100-megaton (or more) monstrosity was highly effective. Basically, this bomb could kill incredible numbers of people. As Filger's character "Dr. Lazar" explains in the book, detonation of this doomsday device in downtown Manhattan would incinerate New York City, and most of the city's suburbs in Connecticut, New Jersey and Long Island. Beyond that, "cities such as Philadelphia and New Haven would be severely damaged," while "the fallout [would] cause mass casualties across a wide portion of the American eastern seaboard and Midwest..." In the end, such a bomb would probably kill 80 million people.

Against another nation, of course, like the Soviet Union, we had our own nuclear deterrent to an attack with such a weapon. Essentially, "Mutually Assured Destruction" (MAD) held - for 50 years and counting. Unfortunately, in the age of terror, the formula for "MAD" may no longer hold, since groups like Al Qaead are non-state actors without a "return address" where we could annhilate them. Without MAD, the main hope of stopping such an attack, which would essentially end America as we know it, is intelligence, nuclear non-proliferation efforts, and counter-terrorist activities of various kinds. Even with all that, however, it is still possible that a group like Al Qaeda could -- possibly with the help of scientists from places like Pakistan, North Korea and Russia (the scenario spelled out in "King of Bombs") -- construct such a device. Then, the only issue is whether or not the terrorists could actually get the thing into the United States and detonate it.

That's where Sheldon Filger comes in, with his page-turning, riveting, terrifying novel of nuclear terrorism. Once you pick this book up, you'll have a hard time putting it down. In fact, you'll probably read it in a few hours, possibly in a cold sweat, but certainly with a strong feeling of unease.

My main criticisms of this book are twofold: 1) it needs a good editing to work out some of the awkward sentences and grammar (a hazard of self-publishing); and 2) it probably should be a bit less heavy-handed in its portrayal of the thinly-veiled George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Condoleezza Rice and others. Not that I have any sympathy for the job this Administration has done on nuclear non-proliferation or on securing the "homeland," but it would be a shame if some readers were turned off by the strong political viewpoint. On the other hand, Filger evens things out somehwat with a scathing indictment of the ACLU, so he's relatively even-handed, not just heavy-handed, in his criticisms.

The bottom line that this book illustrates so powerfully is that, four years after 9/11, we are at least as vulnerable as we were then to a devastating terrorist attack that could make 9/11 look like child's play. Yet, many high government officials continue to believe firmly that a group like Al Qaeda could never construct an actual nuclear bomb, and that we only have to worry about attacks by nation-states (hence the continued emphasis on missile defense). To them, I say, read "King of Bombs," and think again - before it's too late!!


Dealing in Murder: A Molly Doyle Mystery
Dealing in Murder: A Molly Doyle Mystery
by Elaine Flinn
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
63 used & new from $0.01

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A well-paced mystery novel set in a beautiful location, May 30, 2005
Elaine Flinn's book, Dealing in Murder, is a "Molly Doyle Mystery." The book cover says that Flinn is at work on the next book in the series, and I will look forward to reading it. Dealing in Murder is a well-paced mystery novel with plot turns to keep the pages turning. The book is mostly written in the brash, no-nonsense voice of Molly Doyle, an interesting character for whom I found myself rooting as she establishes a new life for herself, with the details of her past lurking. Also intriguing is the interaction between Molly and the police chief. The book has many other, shall I say, colorful characters, and is set in a beautiful location. Flinn's descriptions of the setting - Carmel, California - and her knowledge of the world of antique dealers give the book a realistic air and allow the reader to escape into Molly's world, as she tries to solve a murder for which she is the prime suspect. -- Kelly


Nuclear Terrorism: The Ultimate Preventable Catastrophe
Nuclear Terrorism: The Ultimate Preventable Catastrophe
by Graham T. Allison
Edition: Hardcover
131 used & new from $0.01

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Totally Terrifying, February 12, 2005
This book would be scary to read at any time, but right now, in the aftermath of 9/11 and with the news out of North Korea and Iran on those countries' nuclear programs, it's truly terrifying. As Graham Allison describes in his book and more graphically on his website ([...] the consquences of a nuclear bomb -- even a small, crude, or "flawed" bomb -- on a major US city would be devastating.

That's why Allison so forcefully lays out his "Three Nos": 1) No Loose Nukes; 2) No New Nascent Nukes; and 3) No New Nuclear Weapons States. According to Allison, if those "Three Nos" are not followed, nuclear terrorism in a U.S. city is nearly inevitable, killing hundreds of thousands of people and possibly destroying our democracy in the process. That, among other reasons, is why Allison calls nuclear terrorism "The Ultimate Preventable Catastrophe." So what are we doing to prevent it?


Time Out of Joint
Time Out of Joint
by Philip K. Dick
Edition: Paperback
44 used & new from $0.01

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Philip Dick a Bit Out of Joint, November 11, 2004
This review is from: Time Out of Joint (Paperback)
"Time out of Joint" is definitely not one of Philip Dick's best novels. It's not awful or anything, especially the early parts of the book, but ultimately it just doesn't really hang together very well. Also, the book kind of fizzles and cops out at the end, which left me a bit disappointed and unsatisfied. Still, having said all that, there's some really good stuff in "Time Out of Joint," including the usual, fascinating PKD-esian themes: the nature of reality; personal identity; memory; sanity vs. "insanity;" paranoia (or are they REALLY out to get you?); authoritarianism; war; conformity vs. individuality. And on the positive side, Dick DOES show flashes of brilliance during the early parts of the book, especially in the bathroom lightbulb scene and of course the disappearing hot dog stand scene, but to my tastes, Dick reverts to cliches and predictable plot devices in the last part of the book. He also lets certain narrative threads and characters just sort of unravel or disappear. All this doesn't completely ruin "Time Out of Joint," but it does cause it to miss out on possible greatness and settle for just a "good" rating. Go ahead and take this one out of the library, but if you've never read Philip Dick before, I'd personally recommend that you start with "The Man in the High Castle," my personal favorite so far.


What's the Matter with Kansas? How Conservatives Won the Heart of America
What's the Matter with Kansas? How Conservatives Won the Heart of America
by Thomas Frank
Edition: Hardcover
393 used & new from $0.01

103 of 125 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Toto, We're Not in Kansas Anymore, October 25, 2004
In "The Wizard of Oz," Dorothy and Toto are startled to find that they are no longer in Kansas anymore. In "What's the Matter with Kansas?", Thomas Frank reaches a similar conclusion. And just as Dorothy and Toto left Kansas on many levels -- physical, cultural, philosophical, spiritual -- so has Thomas Frank. In fact, after reading just a few pages of "What's the Matter with Kansas," it's apparent that, although Mr. Frank may have been born in Kansas, at this point in his life he has gone well "over the rainbow," far far away from the Kansas of his youth.

At the same time, of course, Kansas has moved far far away from Thomas Frank as well. The result is that, today, a veritable Great Plains of distance lies between all the Thomas Franks of the world (liberal, intellectual, highly educated, secular, "fact-based," liberal, mainly Democratic) and all those who, either literally or figuratively, see themselves more as "Kansans" (socially and culturally conservative, anti-intellectual, religious, "faith-based," conservative, mainly Republican).

It is obvious that Mr. Frank feels honestly and deeply saddened, puzzled, betrayed, and angered by what he believes has happened to Kansas, and also to "Kansas" -- the Republican Party and the United States as a whole -- over the past few decades. Perhaps most frustrating to Frank is his belief that the people of Kansas/"Kansas" are harming their own self interest by their behavior, and even more so by their stubborn refusal (as Frank sees it) to wake up and realize the error of their ways. Therein lies the major flaw of "What's The Matter With Kansas," and also the answer to the subtitle's implied question -- how DID Conservatives manage to "win the heart of America?"

As to the first question, "What's the Matter with Kansas," Frank's answer is that people are not voting their own interests. However, this is a purely economic analysis, and even there Frank's book falls short in explanatory value. The problem with Frank's analysis, aside from its overly anecdotal and non-empirical nature, is that human beings are not just economic beings ("Homo economicus"), but instead are a highly complicated species driven by a wide range of "rational" and "irrational" motivations, urges, desires, beliefs, and drives. Generally speaking, that's what the conservative movement understood many years ago, and that's what the liberal movement -- or what's left of it -- failed to understand on a true, gut level.

No doubt, at first glance it appears wildly paradoxical, even irrational, for people to vote against their own economic self interest. What if, however, other more subjective interests -- faith, nationalism, traditionalism -- outweigh the more objective economic ones? What if, in other words, Marx was completely wrong -- as he was in so many other ways -- in believing that economic class interests trumped all others?

Perhaps Marx might have asked himself, "what's wrong with my theory" instead of "what's wrong with the people who won't follow my theory?" And perhaps Thomas Frank and the Democratic Party should ask themselves the same question.

In other words, instead of waiting for the (supposed) fatal flaws and inherent contractions of the Republican coalition -- Wall Street bankers, poor working folks, fundamentalists and libertarians -- to self destruct of its own accord, perhaps the Democratic Party and progressive movement in general should ask themselves what THEY can do to "Win the Heart of America." If not, my guess is that conservative Republicans will keep on winning that heart, while liberal/progressive Democrats will keep losing it.

As a proud progressive Democrat myself, I say that it's time to start winning for a change. Perhaps the first step is to stop talking about what's the matter with Kansas/"Kansas," about what an evil, nasty, cynical bunch the Republicans are, and about how deluded and stupid those "Kansans" are to vote the way they do. Instead, Democrats might want to start talking about how they can appeal to "Kansas," and about how they can win back "Kansans'" hearts and votes. If not, the Democratic Party risks being carried away by a political twister, never to return to Kansas - or "Kansas" - again.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 19, 2008 12:27 PM PDT


Poison Darts: Protecting the Biodiversity of Our World
Poison Darts: Protecting the Biodiversity of Our World
by Russell Finley
Edition: Paperback
Price: $14.95
6 used & new from $10.96

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Hard Nosed Environmentalist, October 11, 2004
For those of you who haven't read Bjorn Lomborg's writings, the title of my review is a (sarcastic) play on the Danish statistician's controversial book, "The Skeptical Environmentalist," a title which really should be renamed, "The Lies of a Former Environmentalist Gone Over to the Dark Side." In contrast to Lomborg's Panglossian view that the state of the Earth's biodiversity (and everything else, for that matter) is wonderful and getting better all the time (his statistics "prove" it!), Russ Finley starts right away from the obvious premise that Lomborg is terribly wrong, and that, unfortunately, the Earth's ecosystems are dying fast.

Unlike many other environmentalists, Finley doesn't waste his time -- or the reader's -- dreaming of a world in which human nature miraculously changes, turning everyone into nature-loving, tree-hugging, bike-riding, commune-living, hemp-wearing, granola-eating, self-sacrificing angels. Instead, Finley simply accepts human nature, warts and all, as a given and proceeds from there with his thoughts on "attacking the problem [of massive biodiversity loss and environmental devastation] by channeling human desires."

Finley's refreshing, clear-eyed view of human nature allows him -- unlike many other environmentalists -- to get right to the heart of the matter: there are far, FAR too many humans on the planet, and as long as that's the case biodiversity is doomed. The only question, then, is what to do about this situation. Edward O. Wilson, one of the world's greatest living scientists author of twenty books (including The Future of Life, The Ants, On Human Nature, Sociobiology, and Consilience), winner of two Pulitzer prizes plus dozens of science prizes, and a man known as "the father of biodiversity," has stated that we currently find ourselves in a "bottleneck of overpopulation and wasteful consumption." Wilson further believes that we are in a race between "technoscientific forces that are destroying the living environment" and "those that can be harnessed to save it." Essentially, that's where Russ Finley takes the baton and runs with it.

So, what does Finley suggest? First, and most importantly, that we develop and distribute a "take it and forget it" contraceptive ("TIFIC") as soon as possible, in order to reset the default human reproductive setting to "off" (don't worry, it can be turned back on again with another pill), thereby slashing unplanned pregnancies to a bare minimum and reversing human population growth before it's too late. Second, and nearly as importantly, Finley suggests that we forcefully and creatively defend the remaining islands of biodiversity for as long as it takes until absolute human population levels decline substantially (perhaps to 1-2 billion?). Third, Finley argues that we should harness human nature -- competitiveness, greed, acquisitiveness, status-seeking, sexual desire, religious belief, technological prowess, whatever it takes -- in SERVICE of the biodiversity protection effort, not at ODDS with it. This, in and of itself, is a strikingly different, far more powerful and effective approach than most environmentalists have employed in the past. Unlike most of those other approaches, Finley's ideas actually have a chance of working, albeit just in the nick of time to save the bulk of the world from a final, great mass extinction, possibly taking humanity down with it in the process.

As a book, "Poison Darts" is organized into two main volumes, the first being a rollicking, enjoyable, swashbuckling adventure story about a fictional "think tank" (of brilliant oddballs and other assorted characters) which sets about to save -- and goes a long way towards doing so -- the planet's biodiversity. Volume 2 is a series of thought-provoking essays on overpopulation, human nature, and "Environmentalism - American Style." Finley is clearly an engineer in the best sense of the word, with his rigorous, logical mind taking apart the system, diagnosing exactly what the problem with it is, and figuring out a solution - or at least a temporary patch.

Fortunately, and unlike many engineers, Finley doesn't just throw facts, figures, and techie solutions at the reader. Instead, Finley's brings to the table a good deal of writing ability (although a more rigorous professional editing job would be helpful to work out a few kinks), with an excellent feel for politics, science, economics, and human psychology/society. In addition, Finley turns out to be a fine storyteller; I read the fictional Volume I in just a few hours and could hardly put it down.

Like the rest of the book, Volume II is refreshing, honest, reasonable, even courageous in its willingness to tell it like it is and to take on powerful forces of intolerance and ignorance, including certain well-known religious movements and institutions. Finley explains his ideas clearly, in a straightforward, passionate, at-times humorous manner ((sly references to Frank Herbet's "Dune," for instance), and has an outstanding ability to boil complex topics down in a way that is helpful but never patronizing. This is a very useful combination of abilities - deep technical/scientific knowledge plus strong communications skills -- that few authors possess.

All in all, I would say that "Poison Darts" is an enjoyable, edifying, important book that should be read by everyone who cares about "protecting the biodiversity of our world." I strongly recommend it, and look forward to joining the (fictional) "Ecosystem Protection International" organization sometime soon!


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