Sunday, June 8, 2008

Sunday reviews: "Bush's Law," RAND, and The Slaves' War

"Get it out of your head that 'Bush’s Law' is another high-minded, high-umbrage, A.C.L.U.-channeled eulogy to the United States Constitution, which died on the table at the hands of Bush administration surgeons," writes Jeff Stein, about Eric Lichtblau's new book, BUSH’S LAW: The Remaking of American Justice, in the New York Times. "No," he continues, "it’s Stephen King country, a collection of horror stories every bit as mouth-drying and finger-curling as Kathy Bates’s taking the lumber to James Caan in 'Misery.'"
Pravda called the RAND Corporation the "academy of science and death," and "it's not hard to understand why the conspiracy theories developed," after reading Alex Abella's new book, The RAND Corporation and the Rise of the American Empire, writes Joshua Kucera in the San Francisco Chronicle. Rand gave the author "unprecedented access to its archives, and sure enough, Rand played a central role in some of the most secret, high-stakes military strategy during the height of the Cold War."

Andrew Ward's The Slaves' War: The Civil War in the Words of Former Slaves is an "innovative and powerful new study of the Civil War," writes Adam Kirsch in the New York Sun. "By combing through thousands of slave narratives and autobiographies — above all, the series of interviews with former slaves conducted by the Federal Writers' Project in the 1930s — Mr. Ward has cobbled together a fractured, incomplete, but fascinating account of the way the slaves understood the history they lived through."

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