June 2, 2012

Review Corner

I have another data point, if not a direct answer to Brother jg's superb post on "Underdogma."

[Author Michael] Prell's premise is that our country's electoral preference for collectivist policies stems not from ignorance, but from a healthy American proclivity to root for the underdog.

On my brother-in-law's recommendation, I just read Winston Groom's Patriotic Fire which details Andrew Jackson and Jean Laffite and the battle of New Orleans. Underdogs indeed.

I'll reach back to a pre-blog Review Corner. One of my favorites and a book that launched my interest in history is What If? A collection of counterfactual essays well, I'll let the subtitle say it: "The World's Foremost Military Historians Imagine What Might Have Been." This 12 year old book is cheaper in paperback than Kindle but it moved me because the continuation of our American Experiment is so improbable. It starts (working from memory) with Washington and the Battle of Brooklyn. Without an unusual fog to hide the General's audacious retreat, American Independence would have been a footnote in British textbooks.

Thirty years in, we find ourselves back at war with the world's foremost military and, much as I dig James Madison, things ain't going well. Then a curmudgeonly Anglophobe General leads a small band of untrained and ill-equipped militia and a band of pirates to defend a near-undefendable city. [Spoiler alert -- the US wins!]

Staggeringly improbable! A great read. Four stars.

Review Corner Posted by John Kranz at June 2, 2012 10:30 AM
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