Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Christmas Book Lists

FrontPage magazine and The American Spectator continue their annual ritual of asking distinguished scholars, politicians, writers, and pundits their Christmas book lists. Here is my favorite:

Blind Side by Michael Lewis commits the intellectual gaffe of portraying evangelical Christians as they really are: good-hearted people of boundless love and charity who in this case bring a hulking, homeless, hopeless, orphaned, 16-year-old, 80-IQ black youth in off the streets, make him a part of their family, help him develop into an A's-and-B's college student, and a disciplined athlete who is currently the prize in the NFL draft for 2007 with an $8 million-plus-per-year contract to look forward to: Ole Miss star Michael Oher.

Guests of the Ayatollah by Mark Bowden is engrossing, gorgeously reported, breathtakingly detailed and shows that pre-Bowden we knew next to nothing about that notorious first blow in the jihad of today, the Iranian hostage crisis.

Since it's far too late to talk about N-- Journalism, let's just say that Lewis and Bowden light up the 3rd-millennial sky with journalism that is literature of a high order.

In Our Hands by Charles Murray sets forth a sly, modest proposal known only as The Plan. In The Plan every American citizen 21 years or over gets $10,000 a year, for life, from the government-and Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, Welfare, Aid to Dependent Children, and all other government payments that go only to certain classes of people are done away with. In this book Murray is as brilliant and outrageous as ever. But he's not kidding. Remember, his "heartless," "draconian," "rightwing radical" proposal in Losing Ground, so roundly denounced by the New York Times, became the basis for the Clinton administration's successful welfare reforms.