#BookReview: War By Other Means by Daniel Akst

WWII Like You’ve Never Seen It Before. This is an account primarily of WWII and specifically a few particular people and their associates within the war – and these are people who you may have heard of, but likely never heard of their actions within the WWII period. As the description states, some of these people became quite famous indeed *after* WWII for their actions during the Vietnam / Civil Rights era – but those actions were originated when they were 20 years younger, during the trials and travails that history now knows as World War 2. As an anarchist who strives toward pacifism himself, learning of these people – several of whom I had never heard of before, and the others of whom I had never heard of this side of before – was utterly fascinating, and indeed actually eye opening, as even I had never heard of the philosophy of personalism before reading this book. Now, I intend to research it further.

The *singular* detriment to this book is that while it is clear in the narrative that the book is quite well researched indeed… the Advance Reader Copy of this text I read had barely any bibliography at all, clocking in at just 5% of the overall text when a minimum of around 20% is much more common for even barely-researched-at-all texts.

Still, even if the publisher doesn’t correct this flaw at actual publication, this is absolutely a worthy read and one that anyone who wishes to discuss the events and impacts of WWII needs to study in order to have a more complete picture of that era. Very much recommended.

This review of War By Other Means by Daniel Akst was originally written on October 20, 2022.

#BookReview: The Battle For Your Brain by Nita A Farahany

Well Documented Examination And Discussion. This book is, quite simply, one of the best documented books I’ve ever come across – 48% of the text of the ARC I read months before publication was documentation. Within the narrative itself, Farahany does a great job of using the principles espoused in John Stuart Mill’s 1859 book On Liberty as a recurring touch point on the need for liberty of the mind and brain – the last bastion of true privacy left in this increasingly interconnected world of multiple overlapping surveillance systems. Farahany does an excellent job of showing both the biological and the social side of what is happening when, and the various implications it can have for everything from criminal prosecution to employment, and many other topics as well. Written from a decidedly libertarian, pro-freedom perspective, this is absolutely a book that everyone will need to read and contemplate. Very much recommended.

This review of The Battle For Your Brain by Nita A. Farahany was originally written on October 1, 2022.

Featured New Release of the Week: A Libertarian Walks Into A Bear by Matthew Hongoltz-Hetling

This week we’re looking at a superbly written yet shoddily cited story of how one town’s historic pursuit of freedom potentially led to some creative bears. This week, we’re looking at A Libertarian Walks Into A Bear by Matthew Hongoltz-Hetling.

The title of this book is one that grabs you, and it grabbed me more than most because of my own former work as both a Libertarian Party official and a more general libertarian political activist. In those roles, I actually knew a handful of Free Staters myself, though only one that I ever had any direct interaction with is cited in this book – Christopher Cantwell, who I once had to argue against in my proclamation that killing cops outside of active self defense – ie, when they are actively and directly causing an imminent threat of death or severe bodily harm to someon – was wrong. But despite the Free Staters being a bit extreme by their nature, most weren’t quite the level of Cantwell… despite Hongoltz-Hetling’s efforts here to portray them as being at least as bad. (Though to be clear, Cantwell himself is discussed only very briefly late in the book.)

Instead, Hongoltz-Hetling spins some yarns about creative bears with critical thinking skills far beyond any research I’m aware of showing them to possess, with minimal at best documentation of his claims even in this regard. He then combines these bear yarns with stories of the Free Staters of Grafton, NH, which seem to be a splinter group from the main Free State Project types to begin with – at the time of this writing the weekend after Easter 2020, I’ve reached out to my one remaining contact from the FSP from those days but have yet heard back from him. Hongoltz-Hetling then spends the majority of the book focused on Grafton and only mentioning another FSP targeted town, Keene, late in the book and even then only briefly. Indeed, he only gets to Keene at all after having established repeatedly that the Free Town Project of Grafton was the originator of the Free State Project, despite the FSP’s own historians noting that their effort began even before Hongoltz-Hetling is quite clear in his assertions of the beginning of the Grafton effort.

Throughout the text, Hongoltz-Hetling’s disdain for the very people he is writing about, and seeming preference for the bears themselves, becomes quite abundantly clear. Though the bear stories are indeed entertaining, and the prose itself is quite great. The structure of the book into three parts – which this author calls books – seemingly follows that great libertarian magnum opus, Atlas Shrugged, which the author references a few times but seems to have never fully understood – if he ever even fully read it. (To be clear, this writer has read it on three separate occasions, one of the only books to have been re-read during my eReader era.)

Overall an entertaining book, if not quite accurate enough for a book claiming to be non-fiction, this would probably be better suited had the author changed the effort into simply creating a novel out of the same material. Still, recommended for entertainment value alone.

As always, the Goodreads/ Amazon review:
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#BookReview: Mayor Kane by Glenn Jacobs

Mostly Memoir. Part Treatise. Some Genuflecting. The biggest thing to know about this book is that it is mostly memoir of Glenn Jacobs’ life *pre* becoming Mayor of Knox County, TN. Indeed, the longest chapters and the most chapters overall deal specifically with his 20+ years working for Vincent Kennedy McMahon in World Wrestling Federation/Entertainment. Which is where at least part of the genuflecting comes in – his praise of Vince… well, Kane has been known to employ less smoke than Jacobs blows when speaking of McMahon. (And don’t get me wrong, I’m one of the fans that generally thinks McMahon has truly been one of the smarter men in sports entertainment over the last 30+ years, largely for the reasons Jacobs elaborates on quite a bit.)

The next largest part of the book is Jacobs’ mostly general political philosophy with a few specifics. Here, Jacobs actually makes a very strong case for libertarianism and those that find themselves agreeing with his thoughts here should look into a newly announced (at the time of writing this review) Presidential candidate John Monds, the first Libertarian ever to earn more than 1 million votes. However, this is also where more of the genuflecting comes in, as Jacobs devotes a fair amount of time to praising the current occupant of the White House. If you like that person, you’ll like what he says here. If you don’t, know that this is a small section of the book overall, but coming near the end leaves a bit of a bitter taste in the mind of that type of reader.

Ultimately primarily sports entertainment memoir, this is one of the better written ones I’ve come across, and I’ve read several from over half a dozen of Jacobs’ contemporaries and even a few legends. Very much recommended.

This review of Mayor Kane by Glenn Jacobs was originally written on February 13, 2020.