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Book Reviews

The Three Trillion Dollar War, The True Cost of the Iraq Conflict

by Joseph E. Stiglitz  (winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics) and Linda J Bilmes.

The liner notes state: "The Iraq War is now America's most expensive conflict since World War II.  Prewar estimates projected a cost of some $50 billion, but America has already spend close to a trillion dollars, and there are hundreds of billions of bills still due - including staging costs to take care of the thousands of injured veterans, providing them with disability benefits and health care. And the meter is still ticking.  In contrast with previous wars - where taxes were raised to pay for increased government spending - as America went into the current conflict, taxes were reduced, As a result, the war has been financed by borrowing, adding to our already-enormous national debt.  In this sobering study, Nobel Prize winner Joseph E. Stiglitliz and the Kennedy School of Government's Lidia J. Bilems reveal a wide range of costs that have been hidden from U.S. taxpayers and left out of the debate about our involvement in Iraq.  The authors conservatively estimate the total costs of the war will be more than $ 3 trillion.
    "In chapter after chapter, Stiglitz and Bilmes provide the chilling facts we need to understand the financial, economic, and social consequences of our involvement in Iraq and our options for moving forward in the wake of war.  Perhaps most importantly, offer a set of recommendations that promise to form the core of a movement for reform.  With language as simple as its details are disturbing.  The Three Trillion Dollar War will forever change the way we talk about Iraq and war."

Trillion Dollar Meltdown, Easy Money, High Rollers, and the Great Credit Crunch

by Charles R. Morris book cover liner notes state: "We are living in the most reckless financial environment in recent history."

According to acclaimed financial writer Charles R. Morris, the sub-prime mortgage crisis is only a preview of the havoc that will play out across the full spectrum of financial assets.  Arcane credit derivatives bets are now well into the tens of trillions.  The astronomical leverage at major banks and their hedge fund and private equity clients virtually guarantees massive disruption in global markets.  This is a crash weigh not firebreaks.  Quarter centenary of free-market zealotry that t extolled assed stripping, abuse lending, and hedge fund secrecy will go down in flames with it.  The required restructurining will be at least as painful as the very difficult period of 1997-1983.
    "In crisp, gripping prose, The Trillion Dollar Meltdown explains the arcane financial instruments, the chicanery, the policy misjudgments, the dogmas, and the delusions that created the greatest credit bubble in world history.  Paul Volcker slew the inflation dragon in the early 1980s, and set the stage for the high performance economy of the 1980s and 1990s. But Wall Street's prosperity soon tilted into gross excess.  Now global confidence in American securities has been shattered, the dollar debased, and the crown jewels of American industry put on auction for foreigners.  Continued denial and concealment could cause the crisis to stretch out for years, but financial and government leaders are still down playing the problem. The Trillion Dollar Meltdown is indispensable to understanding how the world economy has been put on the brink - and the radically reshaped political/economic landscape that will define the post-crash era."

Free Lunch, How the Wealthiest Americans Enrich Themselves at Government Expense (and Stick You With the Bill)

by David Cay Johnston, Pulitzer Prize - Winning Reporter

The book's liner notes state; "How does a strong and growing economy lend itself to job uncertainty, debt, bankruptcy, and economic fear for a vast number of Americans ?  Free Lunch provides answers to this great economic mystery of our time, revealing how today's government policies and spending reach deep into the wallets of the many for the benefit of the wealthy few.
    "Johnston cuts through the official version of events and shows, how, under the guise of deregulation a whole new set of regulations quietly were in effect - regulations that thwart competition, depress wages, and reward misconduct.  From how George W. Bush got rich off a tax increase to a $100 million taxpayer gift to Warren Buffet, Johnston puts a face on all of the dirty little tricks that business and government pull."  A lot of people appear to be getting free lunches - but of course there's no such thing as a free lunch, and someone (you the taxpayer) is picking up the bill.  Johnston's many revelations include:

  • How we ended up with the most expensive yet inefficient health-care system in the world
  • How homeowners' title insurance became a costly, deceitful, yet almost invisible oligopoly
  • How our government gives hidden subsidies for posh golf courses
  • How Paris Hilton's grandfather schemed to retake the family fortune from a charity for poor children
  • How the Yankees and Mets owners will collect more than $1.3 billion in public funds

    "In these instances and many more.  Free Lunch shows how the lobbyists and lawyers representing the most powerful 0.1 percent of Americans manipulated our government at the expense of the other 99.9 percent.
    "With his extraordinary reporting, vivid stories, and sharp analysis, Johnston reveals the forces that shape analysis, Johnston reveals the forces that shape our everyday economic lives - and shows us how we can finally make things better." [Also see Johnston's book Perfectly Legal]

The Shock Doctrine, The Rise of Disaster Capitalism

by Naomi Klein author of No Logo.

The liner notes state; "At the most chaotic juncture in Iraq's civil war, a new law is unveiled that allow Shell and BP to claim the country's vast oil reserves.  Immediately following September 11, The Bush administration quietly out sources the running of the 'War in Terror' to Halliburton and Blackwater.  After a powerful tsunami devastates the coasts of Southeast Asia, the pristine beaches are auctioned off to tourist resorts.  New Orleans's residents, still scattered from Hurricane Katrina, discover that their public housing, hospitals and schools will never be reopened.
  "These events are examp0les what Naomi Klein calls 'the shock doctrine': the use of public disorientation following massive collective shocks - wars, terrorists attacks, natural disasters - to push through highly unpopular economic shock therapy.  Sometimes, when the first two shocks don't succeed in wiping out all resistance, a third is employed: that the electrode in the prison cell or of the Taser gun.
   "Based on breakthrough historical research and four years of on-the-ground reporting is disaster zones.  The Shock Doctrine explodes the myth that the global free market triumphed democratically.  Disaster capitalism - the rapid-fire corporate reengineering of societies that are reeling from shock - did not begin with September 11, 2001.  In this courageous new book, Klein traces the intellectual origins of disaster capitalism back to the University of Chicago's economics department under Milton Freedman, whose influence is still felt around the world, The Shock Doctrine draws new and surprising connections among economic policy, 'shock and awe' warfare and the covert CIA funded experiments in electroshock and sensory deprivation that shaped the torture manuals used today in Guantanamo Bay.
    "As Klein shows how the deliberate use of shock doctrine produced world-changing events, from Pinochet's coup in Chile in 1973 to the Tiananmen Square Massacre in 1989 and the collapse of the Soviet Union in1991, she tells a story radically different from the one we usually hear.  Once again Naomi Klein has written a book that will reframe the debate."

The Limits of Power, The End of American Exceptionalism

by Andrew J. Bacevich.

"The Limits of Power identifies a profound triple crisis facing America today: the economy, in remarkable disarray, can no longer be fixed by relying on expansion abroad; the government, transformed by an imperial presidency, is a democracy in form only; the nation's involvement in endless wars, driven by a deep infatuation with military power, has been a catastrophe for the body politic.  These pressing problems threaten us all, Republicans and Democrats.  If the nation is to solve its predicament, it will need the revival of a distinctly American approach; the neglected tradition of realism.  Andrew J. Bacevich, uniquely respected across the political spectrum, offers a historical perspective on the multiple illusions that have governed American policy since 1945. The realism he proposes includes respect for power and its limits; sensitivity to unintended consequences: aversion to claims of American exceptionalism: skepticism of easy solutions, especially those involving the use of force and a conviction that, at the end of the day, the books will have to balance. Only a return to such a principles, Bacevich argues, can provide a common ground for dealing with America's urgent problems."

Recommended Books

Title Author Publisher
The Whistleblowers Handbook Stephen Martin Kohn Lyons Press
Failed States, The Abuse of Power and the Assault on Democracy Noam Chomsky Metropolitan Books, Henry Holt and Co.
Fissile Materials in a Dark Glass, Darkly Dr. Arjan and Annie Makhijani IEER Press
Free Fall Joseph E. Stiglitz W. W. Norton
With Liberty and Justice for Some Glenn Greenwald Metropolitan Books, Henry Holt
Hopes and Prospects Noarm Chomsky Haymarket Books
The Torture Memos, Rationalizing the Unthinkable David Cole The New Press
It Takes a Pillage, Behind the Bailouts, Bonuses and Backroom Deals from Washington to Wall Street Nomi Prins John Wiley & Sons
Secrets of the Temple, How the Federal Reserve Runs the Country William Greider Simon & Schuster
The Enemy Within, The High Cost of Living Near Nuclear Reactors, Breast Cancer, and Other Radiation-Induced Immune Deficiency Effects Jay Gould, with members of the Radiation and Public Health Project, Ernest Sternglass, Joseph Mangano, William McDonnel Four Walls Eight Windows
The Limits of Power, The End of American Exceptionalism  Andrew J. Bacevich  Metropolitan Books, Henry Holt, 2008
Shut Down, Radiation is Causing Cancer and Birth Defects, Nuclear Power on Trial John Goffman, PHd. Earnest Sternglass, PHd. The Book Publishing
The Day We Bombed Utah, America's Most Lethal Secret John G. Fuller Signet Book, New American Library
Deadly Deceit, Low-Level Radiation High-Level Coverup Jay Gould, Benjamin A Goldman Four Walls Eight Windows
Radioactive Heaven and Earth, The health and environmental effects of nuclear weapons testing in, on and above the earth IPPNW International Commission to Investigate the Health Effects of Nuclear Weapons Production and the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research Apex Press and ZED Books
We Almost Lost Detroit, The shocking truth could Hiroshima Happen Here, It could and almost did. John G. Fuller Ballantine Books
Fallout, An American Nuclear Tragedy Phillip L. Frandkin University of Arizona Press/Tucson
Killing Our Own, The Disaster of America's Experience with Atomic Radiation Harvey Wasserman, and Norman Soloman, With introduction by Robert Alvarez and Eleanore Walters and Dr. Benjamin Spock Delta Book
Hope in Hard Times, America's Peace Movement and the Reagan Era Paul Loeb Lexington Books
Burdens of Proof, Science and public accountability in the field of environmental epidemiology with a focus on low-dose radiation and community health studies Tim Connor, Energy Research Foundation  
No Immediate Danger, Prognosis for a Radioactive Earth Rosalie Bertell The Book Publishing Co
The Angry Genie, One man's walk through the Nuclear Age Karl Z. Morgan and Ken M. Peterson University of Oklahoma Press/Norman
Atomic Harvest, Hanford and the Lethal Toll of American's Nuclear Arsenal Michael D'Antonio, with forward from Stewart Udall Crown Publishers
Hanford Radioactive Fallout, Hanford's Radioactive Iodine-131 Releases (1944-1956) , Are there observable health effects. Allen B. Benson. Ph.D. High-impact Press
Atomic Audit, The Costs and Consequences of U.S. Nuclear Weapons since 1940 Stephen I. Schwartz Brookings Institute Press
Fissile Materials in a Glass, Darkly, Technological and Policy Aspects of the Disposition of Plutonium and Highly Enriched Uranium Arjun Makijani, Ph.D., and Annie Makhijani IEER Press
Justice Downwind, America's Atomic Testing Program in the 1950's Howard Ball Oxford University Press
Nuclear Disaster in the Urals, After Years of Suppression by the USSR and the CIA here at last is the story of the terrible explosion of a Soviet nuclear waste disposal area and the massive contamination which resulted Zhores A. Medvedev W.W. Norton and Co
Plutonium Deadly Gold of the Nuclear Age Special Commission of the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War and the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research International Physicians Press
Nuclear Culture, Living and working in the largest atomic complex Paul Loeb New Society Publishers
ISBN 0-86571-088-0


Nuclear Wastelands, A global guide to nuclear weapons production and its health and environmental impacts Arjun Makhijani, Howard Hu, and Katherine Yih The MIT Press
ISBN 0-262-13307-5


Nuclear America, Military and Civilian Nuclear Power in the United States, 1940- 1980 Gerard H. Clarfield and William M Wiecek Harper and Row
ISBN 0-06-05336-9
The Petkau Effect, The devastating  effect of nuclear radiation on human health and the environment Ralph Graeub with introduction by Ernest Sternglass Four Walls Eight Windows
ISBN 1-56858-019-3


High-Level Dollars Low-Level Sense, A critique of presented policy for the management of long-lived radioactive waste and discussion of an alternative approach Arjun Makhihani and Scott Saleska Apex Press
ISBN 0-945257-42-2
Regaining Security- A Guide to the Costs of Disposing of Plutonium and Highly Enriched Uranium William J. Wedia Ashgate Press
ISBN 1-859872-516-3
American Ground Zero, The Secret Nuclear War Carole Gallagher Free Press, Random House, Doubleday, and New Directions
ISBN 0-262-07146-0
Downsizing Democracy, How America Sidelined its Citizens and Privatized its Public Matthew A. Crenson and  Benjamin Ginsberg Johns Hopkins University Press
ISBN 0-8018-7150-6
Undue Risk, Secret Experiments on Humans Jonathan D. Moreno W.H. Freeman and Company
The Plutonium Files, America's Secret Medical Experiments in the Cold War Eileen Welsome A Delta Book by Dell Publishing
Running on Empty, How the Democratic and Republican Parties Are Bankrupting Our Future, What Americans Can Do About It Peter G. Peterson Farrar, Straus and Giroux


Cult of the Atom, The Secret Papers of the Atomic Energy Commission  Dan Ford Simon and Schuster (1982)
Great War for Civilization Robert Fisk Alford Knopf (2005)
Hegemony or Survival Noam Chomsky Metropolitan Books, Holt & Co (2003)
Failed States, The Abuses of Power and the Assault on Democracy Noam Chomsky Metropolitan Books, Holt & Co (2006)
Bush in Babylon, The Re-colonization of Iraq Tariq Ali Verso (2003)
War Talk Arundhati Roy South End Press (2003)
Freedom Next Time, Resisting the Empire John Pilger Book
Shock Doctrine Naomi Kline Book
Secret History of American Empire John Perkins Book
War Made Easy Norman Solomon video
End of America Naomi Wolf  Book Published (America Freedom.org)
Trillion Dollar Meltdown, Easy Money, High Rollers, and the Great Credit Crash Charles R. Morris Book Published by Public Affairs, New York
The Trillion Dollar War, The True Cost of the Iraq Conflict Joseph E. Stiglitz and Linda J. Belmes Book Published by W. W. Norton & Co
Free Lunch, How the Wealthiest Americans Enrich Themselves at Government Expense and Stick You With the Bill David Cay Johnston Penguin Group Books, New York NY