Reviews by bbosies
Poorly Written Anti-American Tripe
If you want to read anti-American fiction, buy the New York Times. It's better written.
This brief guide, developed by the Council on American Islamic Relations, demonstrates why so much of the public debate on Islam is misinformed. We learn, for example, that Ayisha, Muhammed's wife, memorized the largest number of hadith, but not that she was Muhammed's fifth wife and only 9 years old when they married. We learn that there are many words that cannot be used to describe the murderers of 9/11 and other Muslim terrorists - Islamic terrorists, Islamic fundamentalists, Islamists, Muslim extremists, etc. - but not what it is acceptable to call these butchers. We see passages from the Quran taken out of context (dealing with the supposed equality of women, for example), others suppressed or ignored, and others, accurately quoted but left as if Muhammed had not presented any alternative commands. For example, the verse that states "there shall be no coercion in matters of faith" is quoted in stating that Islam values freedom of religion and expression, but none of the 109 verses of the Quran that state that Jews and Christians should be killed are quoted. Fort example, 2:191-192: "And kill them wherever you find them, and turn them out from where they have turned you out. And Al-Fitnah [disbelief or unrest] is worse than killing...
but if they desist, then lo! Allah is forgiving and merciful. And fight them until there is no more Fitnah [disbelief and worshipping of others along with Allah] and worship is for Allah alone…."

This pamphlet is deceptive in the extreme. Even their statistics are absurd. The U.S. Census Bureau found approximately 2.8 million Muslims in the US in 2010, about 0.8% of the population. This pamphlet states that "6 to 7 million is the most commonly accepted figure" for America's Muslim population. Similarly, virtually all statements of opinion and polls cited come solely from surveys conducted by CAIR, not be any independent, respected polling organization.

Anyone who has any interest in writing or talking about Islam honestly should begin by reading the Quran, and then be sure that all other facts and opinions used are accurate. No one should consider anything printed in this volume as accurate.
Better and Better
Throughout a long and sometimes turbulent career, Dr. Kissinger has maintained a calm and consistent view of foreign policy. His views on the world around us are informed by a wide-ranging background, comprehensive study and deep and insightful thought about relations between and among nations. His 2011 volume On china was, in my view, the best single précis of Chinese history and policy every written. His most recent book, World Order, is a masterly overview of the history and practice of international relations. His past writings and career and his current advisory activities have prepared him well to describe the background of most current crises and the potential futures of most of the actors on the world stage.

World Order begins with a thorough overview of the concepts of balance of power and European equilibrium developed through the Peace of Westphalia, the Congress of Vienna and the Treaty of Versailles and leads into the modern foreign policy issues facing the European Union. As one who began his published career with a masterpiece description of the European balance of power system in the 19th century, he is well-equipped to distill the lessons of European history in his comments. His verse is equally strong in describing the challenges facing the world from radical Islam as well as the internal struggles in the Islamic world. As might be expected, his views on China are simply without peer. While he struggles in the latter part of the book to present a coherent and convincing overview of Japan, India, and other Asian politiques, when he turns to U.S. foreign policy, his analysis is cogent compelling.

Anyone interested in the foreign policy of the United States and the challenges facing the world needs to read this volume. It may be Dr. Kissinger's master work.
Missing the Point
There are two underlying premises that interweave Thomas Piketty's well-titled book, Capital in the Twenty-First Century. First, capitalism is an evil system that should ultimately be done away with, and, second, inequality in wealth (and, to a lesser extent, income) is bad. I put these premises so baldly because he accepts them unthinkingly. The major fault in this almost endless tome is the failure to attempt to prove either premise. Piketty piles Ossa on Pelion in demonstrating statistically that wealth and income are unequal from country to country and within countries, and shows that the current level of inequality is roughly equivalent to that existing immediately prior to World War I. And, based on his two premises, he postulates a number of solutions to eliminate inequality, starting with a world-wide automatic information system that would inform all governments of what assets their citizens hold and where (imagine what some of the kleptocracies of South America and Africa could do with that information), and leading to a global tax on wealth (a mere 15% every year would eliminate public debt in only five or six years - presuming, of course, that legislatures would spend the proceeds only on debt elimination. Piketty's political naiveté is breath-taking, and his knowledge of economic incentives virtually non-existent.

His title is well-chosen since it mimics that of his hero, Karl Marx (quoted almost as often as all other economists he quotes put together), CAPITAL (the English translation of Das Kapital). When I was in England last month, one of the big news stories was that virtually every politician had chosen this book for his summer reading list, but none could actually get through it. Thank goodness.
Bad history, worse theology
It is unfortunate that Bill O'Reilly and Mertin Dugard decided to popularize the death of Jesus. Operating without benefit of the past two hundred years of biblical scholarship that has helped us understand the historical, political, economic and religious situation in Judea and Galillee in the first century of the modern era, they have presented a rehash of Catholic grammar school stories and grossly oversimplified gospel sayings as a masquerade of truth. Reporting some statements as fact that are barely whispered myths (""It is a fact that the disciples of Jesus traveled as far as India, Britain, and even into Africa...."), they wrench the history of Christianity into a shape that would have been recognized by none of its engineers. In addition, writers known for their wit and interest have produced a book that is boring.

The story of Jesus is, in fact, enormously fascinating and challenging, and the continued existence of Christianity as the world's largest religion deserves careful inquiry. Read almost anything written by Garry Wills to see how it can be done accurately and with enormous literary skill. This book does neither.