" /> I write: October 2006
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October 25, 2006

For One More Day

Mitch Albom – ISBN-13 – 978-1401303273

Again, the author of Tuesdays with Morrie, and The Five People You Meet in Heaven writes a poignant book. Pretty good, but it appears to me that after his blockbuster, and the (lesser) follow-on, he might consider going back to sports writing.

In this epistle he reviews the life of a washed-up, rather unsuccessful, alcoholic ex-minor league baseball player who attempts to commit suicide, only to reconnect with his deceased mother, a loving person and forgiving person who always set him straight. She does so—again, as it were--but the plot line too carefully follows that in “five people,” and is spotty and seemingly not as authentic as his two prior successes.

As is his forte, he plucks the heart-strings, and has occasions when he “gets you where you live,” but doesn't begin to achieve the effect he has had before.

Mom has had a hard life, filled with sacrifice, and has coped with it heroically. Sonny is, by almost any measure, a failure. Nonetheless he does recoup, sober up, reconnect with his estranged daughter and develop a tolerable relationship with his ex-wife.

Borrow it from a neighbor or the library and save your $22. Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, or Never Let Me Go, while lengthier are not only better, but cheaper, inasmuch as they are now available in paperback.

Posted by respeto at 1:10 PM

October 24, 2006

Two Books on “Eurabia”

Oriana Fallaci
The Rage and the Pride – ISBN: 9780847825042
The Force of Reason – ISBN: 9780847827934

For those unfamiliar, as are most Americans, Oriana Fallaci is one of the most respected of international journalists and war correspondents. As a child she assisted her father in his activities as an organizer and principal in the WWII Italian underground.

In her lifetime she has reported on virtually every conflict around the world. She has interviewed everyone of import from Truman to Osama and the Pope, always critically and sometimes embarrassingly so to the subject of the interview. She asks tough questions and demands candid answers. She's Bill O'Reilly on stilts and steroids, who also breathes fire! She is articulate, incredibly informed and equally opinionated. Her blistering attacks on the threatened collapse of the West are informative, thought provoking, and demonstrate a well deserved hubris. She knows a hell of a lot, and supports her positions with a litany of facts which boggle the mind of even the most informed reader.

She wrote The Rage and the Pride immediately after 9/11. Indeed, she wrote continuously for three or four days, completing it without sleep or much food. The second book was released only a few months ago in its English translation, and there is yet a third which is an interview with herself, yet to be translated and released. She is multi-lingual and usually prefers to do her own translations, but she died of cancer only two weeks ago (while awaiting trial in Italy for “blaspheming” Islam. A trial she desperately wanted to live long enough to attend.)

Neither book is particularly long, and both will add to your knowledge of world history. Both emphasize how history is being altered severely by Islam's reconquest of what it considers to be it's own territory, in preparation for world dominance. Her attack is vitriolic, yet leaves one with the sense that every word is carefully chosen and frighteningly true. She is adamant about the fact that there is neither “radical Islam” nor “moderate Islam.” Only Islam! Islam is the Koran, and the Koran is the Mein Kampf of religion.

Amongst the torrent of worthwhile information and insight she reviews the history of Islam and its myriad conquests, wryly commenting that “they always begin with the Crusades,” forgetting, of course, that it conquered the Christian Middle East centuries before the Crusades—indeed Islam authored the Crusades.

She quotes George Habash, a modern Islamic theorist and leader (whom she interviewed): “We Arabs are just at the beginning of the beginning.” From now on there will be no peace for the West. “To advance step by step. Millimetre by millimetre. Year after year. Decade after decade. Determined, stubborn, patient. This is our strategy. A strategy that we shall expand throughout the whole planet.”

She impugns the Left for not recognizing that liberal thought and intellectual generosity can't work when they exist only on one side.

Considering herself an “Christian atheist” she rejects various Christian precepts such as turning the other cheek (which encourages wickedness) yet remains convinced (and convincing) that “Christianity is the greatest revolution humanity has ever accomplished. By comparison, all the others seem limited.”

The West has spent several millinea developing a rational civilization and improving the lot of humanity. This is now seriously threatened by Islamic imperialism, which speaks “a language that does not contain the words Freedom [or] Liberty, [and] vegetates in a world that, far from rejecting death, sees death as a privilege.”

Being a muscle of sorts, the brain needs to be exercised. The West has become soft and ill-conditioned . . . and less intelligent. In becoming stupid it has “lost the ability to reason [and] to judge, [delivering] itself to the others' already-taken decisions.” Complaisance and luxury have made it squishy; we have come to “love freedom much less than equality.” We tend toward collectivism because it relieves the individual from the burden of responsibility. (In this she echoes Eric Hoffer.)

Europe, and especially Italy, are excoriated for their tolerance of the Islamification of the continent, for which it was she who coined the term “Eurabia.” The Catholic Church, along with Europe, is committing suicide, intentionally, by intellectually supporting Islam. The Left, a creation of Western freedom, is illiberal, intolerant, autocratic and totalitarian, just like Islam! About that she is adamant. “Anyone who denies individualism denies western civilization.” She then undertakes the documentation of her multifaceted diatribe.

Today's Troy burns in Europe—fortunately not yet in America. Yet how to awaken a Europe which “is no longer capable of reasoning?” She hopes that her books will do so.

Her passionate dedication to and love of the West occasionally drives her over the top with her attacks, but for the most part she is right, just more aggressive than most in refusing to modulate her language. She, too, is intolerant--of the Left--which will not defend Western civilization; justifiably so in my opinion.

A riveting read which should be required for all who are concerned about the future of the planet! (and the most productive $40 you'll ever spend. I presume the third in the trilogy will be out in a few months, and also be $20.)

Posted by respeto at 4:00 PM