Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Suggested Christmas Gifts

Today kiddies your humble WordBearer will offer up a few gift suggestions for the up coming Christmas season. Most of them will be books because I believe that the best gift anyone can ever give is a book. I get positively excited when I get something new to read.

1. Heaven on Earth: The Rise and Fall of Socialism - Joshua Muravchik provides a wonderfully researched and highly engaging history of the meteoric rise, and catastrophic collapse of the religion of Socialism. Muravchik is a former Chairmen of the Young Socialist League who saw the light and renounced his former faith.

The book is a little dry in the initial chapters, but once one gets to his chapters on Lenin and Mao, the book comes into its own.

I found the chapter on the Jewish Kibbutz system interesting in that I had little experience with the institution. It also provided useful fodder for frequent arguments I engage in with all the unreformed Marxists that pervade my campus. The Kibbutz proves that even when pulled off peacefully, Socialism does not work.

2. A Christmas Story - Probably the best Christmas movie I have ever watched. A heart of stone is required for one not to love this movie.

The story centers on the life of a young boy named Ralphie living in the late 40's. His heart's one desire is a Red Rider BB Gun for Christmas. His quest for this "gift of gifts" is great. The movie is populated with characters everyone can relate to and is the perfect film to watch with the family.

3. The Republic - Plato's best known dialogue has given me many sleepless nights with its plethora of riddles and problems. It is the best place to start if one seeks to get in touch with Western philosophical traditions. Bloom's translation is the one I was trained on, and I find it superior to the others I have since encountered.

4. Bias - Bernard Goldberg seminal look at the bias in the American media.

His take is fresh and it makes you pity the poor dolts in the MSM who don't seem to even realize they are biased. I love this book.

5. Death in the Long Grass - Peter Capstick's great collection of tales from his experiences as a professional hunter in Africa. The book is broken down into chapters centered around stories about specific animals such as lions, elephants, and leopards.

Capstick's prose is breathtaking and makes the reader feel the heat of the African sun, the cold steel of a loaded barrel, and the pounding fear that a maneater is right around the next tree.

I find that kids really love these stories. They are a far better representation of the behavior of African wildlife than they get in their P.C. documentaries.

Capstick will have you looking over your shoulder at times to ensure that a lion is not about to pounce on you. You will never feel the same in the zoo after this book.

6. The Rebirth of Classical Political Rationalism - Leo Strauss' great series of essays that tackle a variety of subjects pertaining to political philosophy. I particularly like the one entitled "The Problem of Socrates". Great gift for anyone who loves philosophy.

7. Cromwell - Ok I must admit that I have a soft-spot for Oliver Cromwell. I simply find him to be one of histories most fascinating and misunderstood figures. Richard Harris's portrayal of him in this film is at times a little to rosey, but I find the finally scene to be a perfect lesson on how the anarchy caused by a corrupt legislator can lead to despotism. Gives me shivers with every viewing.

8. Carnage and Culture: Landmark Battles in the Rise of Western Power - I have read this book about eight times and still can't get enough of it. Hanson has a writing style that keeps the reader thristing for more.