Saturday, January 6, 2018

Realpolitik II

Victor Davis Hanson: Carnage and Culture: Landmark Battles in the Rise of Western Power; New York: Anchor, 2001. Told in vignettes of the great battles from Greeks vs. Xerxes and the Persians several centuries before Christ to the Tet Offensive in Vietnam in 1968, Hanson's thesis is that ruthless discipline, superior tactics and morale driven by sense of purpose are necessary but rarely individually sufficient ingredients in military victory. Examples: A very small number of Spaniards took Mexico and Peru from many times the number of natives because they were possessed of moral conviction to rationalize their greed. And loss of morale, despite superior discipline and armament, figured in both Rome's fall to the Goths... and France's and America's failure in Southeast Asia. 

H. L. A. Hart: Law, Liberty and Morality, Palo Alto, CA: Stanford Univ. Press, 1963. From a review: "...Hart first considers John Stuart Mill's famous declaration: 'The only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community is to prevent harm to others.' During the last hundred years this doctrine has been sharply challenged by several including... James Fitzjames Stephen... and Lord Devlin, who both argue that the use of the criminal law to enforce morality is justified. The author examines their arguments, then sets out to demonstrate that they... espouse a conception of the function of legal punishment that few would now share." Except that righteous retribution never really disappeared, mostly because it plays better in "law & order" politics.

Alexander Haslam, Stephen Reicher: Contesting the "Nature" of Conformity: What Milgram and Zimbardo's Studies Really Show; in PLOS / Biology, Vol. 10, No. 11, November 2012. "... individuals' willingness to follow authorities is conditional on identification with the authority in question and an associated belief that the authority is right." Moral convictions are an issue, moral convictions are socially conditioned; they're the result of nurture, not nature. And they're far different in Tehran and Mogadishu than they are in San Francisco and Paris.  

Christopher Hayes: Twilight of the Elites: America After Meritocracy; New York: Broadway Books, 2013. Thesis: Rewarding the New Meritocracy of corporate CEOs who make the investors happy in the short term (without consideration of the "unintended consequences") has produced a managerial elite that is so far removed from reality that it is inherently dangerous to the American economy as well as to American society in general.  

Patrick Heck, Joachim Krueger: Social Perception of Self-Enhancement Bias and Error; in Social Psychology, October 2016; 1 DOI: 10.1027/1864-9335/a000287 Egotistical, narcissistic braggers were seen as more competent in the short run but less moral in the long. (But don't tell The Donald.) 

Chris Hedges: Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle; New York: Nation Books, 2010. Thesis: Most people are stimulus-seeking, addiction-prone, authority-following pinheads who cannot see what is actually happening. Keep 'em snowed, and they'll continue to baffled by all the bullshit. (Hasn't changed much since the era of the Roman Circus so far as I can see.)

Chris Hedges: Death of the Liberal Class; New York: Nation Books, 2010. "...the pillars of the liberal class: the press, universities, the labor movement, the Democratic Party, and liberal religious institutions have collapsed." Because, asserts Hedges, they got so cocky and self-righteous about their moral superiority they stopped seeing how social and religious conservatives were reacting to the LGBT movement, and how small (as well as large) stockholders were increasingly dismayed at the cost of regulation by OSHA, the EPA, FEPC, SEC and a slew of other "socialist" agencies.

George W. F. Hegel: The Phenomenology of Spirit (aka: Science of the Experience of Consciousness); orig. pub. 1806; tr. Miller, A. V., New York: Oxford U. Press, 1979. The foundation of dialecticalism "has been praised and blamed for the development of existentialismcommunismfascism, the 'death of God,' and nihilism." But these days, dialectical (interactional, Taoist) -- as opposed to dichotomous (polarized, dualistic) -- awareness is The Coming Thing. Given the consequences of continuing to ignore actual -- instead of stipulated -- reality in the very atmosphere we breathe, let us hope the rational empiricists make a comeback.

Jules Henry: Culture Against Man; New York: Random House, 1963. A liberal arts classic since it landed on the college campuses like a bomb (and certainly one of the precursors of the "student revolution" of the time), this book de-constructs most of the socialized cult-ural norms of its day. Pecuniary materialism, consumerism, authoritarianism on both sides of the Iron Curtain, poisonous parenting, teenage wasteland, familial crazy-making, and human obsolescence and warehousing of the elderly are savaged with wrenching clarity. 'tain't light reading at bedtime, for sure.  

Jules Henry: Pathways to Madness; New York: Random House, 1972. Fingernails-on-a-blackboard observation of how five, seemingly "normal" American families selected a duty victim among their innocent children and drove them into florid schizophrenia to protect the family secrets and satisfy the dire need for emotional comfort of the parents and other siblings. Along with similar work by Theodore Lidz, Murray Bowen, Ronald D. Lain, Aaron Esterson, Don D. Jackson, Jay Haley and Eric Bermann (not included on this list), this is one of the seminal tomes on how unconscious but excessive authoritarianism and confusing language are used by millions of parents to inject the previous generation's insanity onto the next.

Jules Henry: On Sham, Vulnerability and other forms of Self-Destruction; London: Allan Lane Penguin Press, 1973. A posthumously published collection of the author's de-constructionist essays on the power elite's manipulation of the minds of the unsuspecting working, and more religious segment of the managerial and professional, classes. (As per Martin Seligman, "learned helplessness" is... learned. He and Henry saw all but the one percent of the One Percent as rats and dogs in Skinner boxes.)    

Elena Hensinger, Ilias Flaounas, Nello Cristianini: Modeling and Explaining Online News Preferences, in Pattern Recognition - Applications and Methods Advances in Intelligent and Soft Computing, 2013 DOI: 10.1007/978-3-642-36530-0_6Reader demographics and emotional content tend to strongly influence who reads what online. (Well, duh.)

Edward Herman & Noam Chomsky: Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media; New York: Pantheon, 1988, 2002. From Wikipedia: "...the mass communication media of the U.S. 'are effective and powerful ideological institutions that carry out a system-supportive propaganda function, by reliance on market forces, internalized assumptions, and self-censorship, and without overt coercion,' by means of the propaganda model of communication." Were the authors -- especially Chomsky, who was once a very respected cognitive theorist -- a bit less fast and loose with some of the results of sprimary and secondary research, I'd have been a lot more comfortable with their "revelations."   

M. J. Hetherington & J. D. Weiler: Authoritarianism and polarization in American politics; New York, NY: Cambridge University Press, 2009. The go-to resource on the topic during the post-Bush / evolving "neo-con" (but actually "neo-Libertarian") era. To wit: "...affective polarization is rooted in the rise of elite partisan divisions over issues that tap into authoritarianism, such as sexuality, gender, law and order, immigration, and terrorism."

Warren Hinckle & William Turner: Deadly Secrets: The CIA-Mafia War Against Castro and the Assassination of J.F.K.; New York: Thunder’s Mouth Press, 1981, 1992. More JFK assassination speculation. Included here because it points to elements of what seems to be the most likely conspiracy scenario. A bit "reachy" here and there (as they all are), it's far better rooted in the Freedom of Information Act declassified material than was the early, closer-to-the-event theorists like Mark Lane, Jim Mars, Henry Hurt, Michael L. Kurtz, Gerald D. McKnight, Anthony Summers, and Harold Weisberg.

Adolph Hitler: Mein Kampf; orig. pub. 1925/1926 in two volumes, New York: Houghton Mifflin, 1943. Many talk about it. I only know a few who've actually read it. (My third wife's great uncle sat in the cell in Munich are took the dictation, btw. Uncle Rudolph was handsomely rewarded for his secretarial skills some years later. So I decided to read the thing.) While the paranoia, racism and xenophobia are evident, and the reasoning is stretched pretty thin much of the time, Hitler's thesis of the unfair pillaging of post-WW1 Germany -- especially by the French -- at Versailles and thereafter is cogent and reasonable. (Even if it ignores what the Bismarckian Germans did to the French 45 years earlier.) As a first-hand explanation of German resentment and authoritarian loathing of liberal "weakness," it is at least informative.

Walter Hixson: Parting the Curtain: Propaganda, Culture and the Cold War, 1945-1961; London: Macmillan, 1997. Though it is a largely pro-American view of the USIA, VOA, RFE and cultural exchange efforts' effects upon the Soviet populace and asserts that the program had a long-range effect culminating in the communist collapse in 1991, it's a worthwhile read for anyone who knows better and/or wants to know the details and reasoning behind them.    

Eric Hobsbawm: The Age of Revolution: 1789-1848; New York: New American Library, 1962. The first of the five-volume series covering the political, military, sociological, artistic and cultural events of each period through the lenses of constructivism, constructionism and dot-connecting in a manner that Makes Sense of who what doing what to whom and why... each volume laying a firm foundation for the next. And thus, ranking with Gibbon's work as some of the most explanitory and clarifying available in digest form. This volume focuses as much (or more) on the industrial as on the philosophical and violent aspects of the times, largely on the European continent and British Isles.     

Eric Hobsbawm: The Age of Capital: 1848-1875; New York: Random House, 1975. How production and consumption for the sake of taxation and expansion drove the growth of shareholder investment, albeit in less detail than in Goetzmann's Money Changes Everything. 

Eric Hobsbawm & Terence Ranger (ed.): The Invention of Tradition; Cambridge: Cambridge U.  Press, 1983. Many "traditions" which "appear or claim to be old are often quite recent in origin and sometimes invented." Thesis: The elites invent them to provide rationales for mass behavioral compliance with their financial, political and military imperatives. Religion, philosophy, politics, child rearing pedagogy and sports are the most obvious, but there are many other forms. 

Eric Hobsbawm: The Age of Empire: 1875-1914; New York: Random House, 1987. Thesis: Greed, authoritarianism and manipulation of populist traditionalism (including religion) set Europe up for the horrors of the early 20th century.

Eric Hobsbawm: The Age of Extremes: A History of the World, 1914-1991; New York: Pantheon, 1995. The (supposedly) happy times (for the middle & upper classes, at least) of the Victorian & Edwardian era collapse with the almost complete dismantling of The Ancien Regimes of Russia, the Ottoman Empire and Germany, along with the financial devastation of England and France. America and Japan become pre-eminent... for a time. Germany and Russia re-emerge.. for a time. Then everyone slips back into the unfinished business again, abetted by mass media manipulation of the "new" traditions.

Eric Hoffer: The True Believer: Thoughts on the Nature of Mass Movements; New York: Harper and Row, 1951, 1966. Another if the Most Important books on a list of many others here. Thesis (from Wikipedia): "...even when their stated goals or values differ, mass movements are interchangeable, that adherents will often flip from one movement to another; the motivations for mass movements are interchangeable. Thus, religious, nationalist and social movements, whether radical or reactionary, tend to attract the same type of followers, behave in the same way, and use the same tactics and rhetorical tools." A fool is a fool is a fool.

Richard Hofstadter: The Paranoid Style in American Politics and Other Essays; New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1966; Cambridge, MA: Harvard U. Press, 1996. "The distinguishing thing about the paranoid style is not that its exponents see conspiracies or plots here and there in history, but that they regard a vast' or gigantic' conspiracy as the "motive force" in historical events... The paranoid spokesman sees the fate of this conspiracy in apocalyptic terms -- he traffics in the birth and death of whole worlds, whole political orders, whole systems of human values. He is always manning the barricades of civilization."

Ralph Hood, Jr.; Peter Hill; W. Paul Williamson: The Psychology of Religious Fundamentalism; New York: Guildford Press, 2005. Inside (and largely unaware of) the authoritarian, belief-bounded box the authors may be, but they at least explain in psychological terms how religion came to be as an explainer of frightening phenomena and means of social support for the nervous masses struggling to survive in a world that actually doesn't care if they do or don't.

Sidney Hook: Reason, Myths, and Democracy; Buffalo NY: Promethius Books, 1940, 1991. From a review: "... a startling clarion call to embrace reason and rationality as the only way to solve social problems." Hook was a rational empiricist. The thesis here was that democracy can survive only when those who have say in it know what they're talking about and voting for or against. One may ask, of course, how often that is actually the case.

Max Horkheimer: Authoritarianism and the Family Today, in R. N. Anshen, ed.: The Family: Its Function and Destiny; New York, Harper, 1949. "The family in crisis [meaning the industrial age weak father / domineering mother family of colluded pseudo-relationship due to lack of actual psychological economy] produces the attitudes which predispose men for blind submission."

Neil Howe & William Strauss: Generations: The History of America’s Future, 1584 to 2069, New York: Quill Harper Collins, 1992. Best-selling (actually Taoist and dialectical) thesis asserting that the majority of Americans are authoritarian, traditional and conservative -- then egalitarian, truth-seeking and progressive -- in wave-like stages that occur in progressions of four, one approximately 25-year-long generation at a time. The authors' research dates back to the arrival of the "pilgrims" in the early 1600s and proceeds to the "Generation X" era that followed the "Baby Boomers" born between 1946 and 1964. They also predicted accurately how the Millennial generation would live in a world dominated by authoritarian, traditional and conservative beliefs and attitudes as dissimilar as possible from those preponderant during the 1960s and '70s. For the authors, the waves of the future are predictable as reactions to the waves of the past.

Miao Hu, Derek D. Rucker, Adam D. Galinsky: From the Immoral to the Incorruptible: How Prescriptive Expectations Turn the Powerful Into Paragons of Virtue; in Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, June 2016 DOI: 10.1177/0146167216644428 "When the powerful think about how those with power do behave, such as descriptive expectations, they behave more unethically and cheat more," says Hu. "However, when the powerful think about how those with power should behave, as in prescriptive expectations, they behave more ethically and cheat less." Supports my theory that the elites are less socialized to conventional morality, and are more cynically conscious.

Aldous Huxley: Brave New World;  New York: Harper & Brothers, 1932. Far in the future, the World Controllers have created the ideal society. Through clever use of genetic engineering, brainwashing and recreational sex and drugs, all its members are happy consumers. Huxley feared we would become a trivial culture, preoccupied with some equivalent of "the feelies, the orgy porgy, and the centrifugal bumblepuppy." The civil libertarians and rationalists who are ever on the alert to oppose tyranny "failed to take into account man's almost infinite appetite for distractions."

Aldous Huxley: Science, Liberty and Peace: A thoughtful analysis of the individual today and his future in the world;  New York: Harper & Brothers, 1946. “If offered the choice between liberty and security, most people would unhesitatingly vote for security” “the most important lesson in history... is that nobody... learns history's lessons” National pride “denies the value of a human being as a human being… affirms exclusiveness, encourages vanity, pride and self-satisfaction, stimulates hatred...” “what will happen when India and China are as highly industrialized as pre-war Japan and seek to exchange their low-priced manufactured goods for food, in competition with Western powers..."

Walter Isaacson & Evan Thomas: The Wise Men: Six Friends and the World They Made; New York: Faber & Faber, 1987. Traditionalist (let's say, Foreign Affairs magazine) history of the early Cold War from the "great man," biographical perspective. So widely read that the phrase "wise men" has come to mean these particular six in circles where "diplomacy" is spoken. They were Dean Acheson, Charles "Chip" Bohlen, W. Averell Harriman, George F. Kennan, Robert A. Lovett and John J. McCloy. All were members of "Yankee Establishment." Most were Skull & Bonesmen, but moderately liberal mercantilists. Between them (during the Truman years), they fashioned NATO, the World Bank, the Marshall Plan and the "containment" of communism (mostly) to Eurasia, all of which bolstered US hegemony -- and domestic prosperity -- for a generation.   

Karl Jaspers: The Axial Age of Human History, in Maurice Stein et al (editors): Identity and Anxiety: Survival of the Person in Mass Society; Glencoe, IL: The Free Press, 1960. "The highest possibilities realized in [learned, insightful] individuals [during the classical era in ancient Greece] did not became common property because the mass of men could not follow." Jaspers, it seems, was a "rational romanticist." who longed no more or less than Rousseau or Franklin in the late 1700s for a return to the open-mined, egalitarian & anti-authoritarian ways of Aristotle and Plato in the West, and Confucius and Lao-Tse in the East... in an era before the quest for money and power overwhelmed open discussion of what is for the next two millennia.

Pupul Jayakar: Krishnamurti: A Biography; San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1988. To date -- and so far as I know -- the single best source available of the Indian philosopher's grasp of how the mind works and fuels all forms of social endeavor. Superior to his own books (even those of the 1950s), because it recounts his observations from before the HUAC and other agents of the powers that began to threaten revelations of How It All Works at the most basic level. 

Julian Jaynes: The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind; Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1976. Jaynes's studies of writings from antiquity (including "Homer's" Iliad and Odyssey) suggested to him that there was a time when mankind was directly privy to the "voice of God," but that as commercialism, militarism and technology developed in the second millennium BCE, man lost his "ears." In this murky but much discussed volume (see also Kuijsten below), the author spelled out a theory that some prominent psychiatrists and psychologists believed had potential to "explain" schizophrenia. Social psychologists also found possible dot connecting in the development of rhetoric as the mechanism of authoritarian belief and destroyer of direct spiritual connection to what is. 

Philip Jenkins: The Great & Holy War: How World War I Became a Religious Crusade; New York: HarperOne, 2014. "Thanks to the emergence of modern media, a steady stream of patriotic and militaristic rhetoric was given to an unprecedented audience, using language that spoke of holy war and crusade, of apocalypse and Armageddon." Edward Bernays (see Bernays, and Tye) was a major player in it.

Nelson Johnson: Boardwalk Empire: The Birth, High Times, and Corruption of Atlantic City; Medford, NJ: Plexus Publishing, 2002. Later used as the platform for the HBO TV mini-series, the book runs down the history of Atlantic City, New Jersey, from useless marshland in the 1800s through its first iteration as a seaside resort for those with train fare from Philadelphia and New York City and onto its first "sin city" era in the early 20th century. It also rolls out the history of the Republican-dominated politics and ball-playing with pre-syndicate gambling entrepreneurs before Havana and then Vegas displaced it in the 1930s and '40s. (The place was a shambles when I arrived there in 1978, though it was on the verge of the Trump Era.) 

Christopher D. Johnston: Authoritarianism, Affective Polarization, and Economic Ideology, in Advances in Political Psychology, Vol 39, Issue Supplement S1, February 2018. DOI: 10.1111/pops.12483. So far as I have been able to find after considerable searching, this is the most empirical-research-grounded, clearly articulated and easy-to-understand explanation of the influence of authoritarian child-rearing and belief-binding upon conservative and neo-Libertarian psycho-political affinity at this time. To wit, "...among the politically engaged, child-rearing values are very strongly associated with both party affect and economic conservatism, trumping income and other common predictors of economic ideology in terms of explanatory value."   

David Johnston: Temples of Chance: How America Inc. Bought Out Murder Inc. to Win Control of the Casino Business; New York: Doubleday, 1992. Details Holiday Inn Corp's, Wynn's and Trump's early acquisitions and failures in AC. According to this, at least, the Donald had huge elbows and was anything but a man of his word.   

Lynn Joiner: Honorable Survivor: Mao’s China, McCarthy’s America and the Persecution of John S. Service; Washington, DC: Naval Institute Press, 2009. The scion of a State Department family I was honored to meet and talk with at length in 1996 got a half-page obituary in The New York Times when he died three years later. For good reason: He was the only real contact the Roosevelt and Truman Administrations ever had with Mao Zedong and Zhou Enlai before, during and after WW2. He was, of course, pilloried for doing his job by the HUAC, Joe McCarthy, Dick Nixon, and the rest of the red baiters of Cold War era. JFK "rehabilitated" Uncle Jack in the early '60s. And Henry Kissinger used him as a trusted go-between to finesse Nixon's sea-changing personal call on Mao & Zhou in Beijing in '72.   

Kirsti M. Jylhä, Clara Cantal, et al: Denial of anthropogenic climate change: Social dominance orientation helps explain the conservative male effect in Brazil and Sweden; in Personality and Individual Differences, Vol. 98, October 2016.  DOI:10.1016/j.paid.2016.04.020 "...climate change denial correlates with political orientation, authoritarian attitudes and endorsement of the status quo.... tough-minded personality (low empathy and high dominance), closed-mindedness (low openness to experience), predisposition to avoid experiencing negative emotions"

Ryota Kanai, Tom Feilden, Colin Firth, Geraint Rees: Political Orientations Are Correlated with Brain Structure in Young Adults; in Current Biology, Vol. 21, No. 8, April 2011. Brain scans show that rightists have more gray matter volume in the fear-triggering, right amygdala; leftists more in the self-regulatory anterior cingulate cortex. Also see Kaplan et al.

Immanuel Kant: A Critique of Pure Reason; orig. pub. 1781, London: Cambridge U. Press, 1999. "All our knowledge begins with the senses, proceeds then to the understanding, and ends with reason. There is nothing higher than reason." "I had to deny knowledge in order to make room for faith." "We are not rich by what we possess but by what we can do without." "He who is cruel to animals becomes hard also in his dealings with men." One of the bedrocks of the European Enlightenment.  

Jonas T. Kaplan, Sarah I. Gimbel & Sam Harris: Neural correlates of maintaining one’s political beliefs in the face of counterevidence; in Scientific Reports, December 2016 DOI: 10.1038/srep39589 "...people who were most resistant to changing their beliefs had more activity in the [fear producing] amygdalae." Also see Kanai et al.

Stuart Kauffman: Reinventing the Sacred: A New View of Science, Reason and Religion; New York: Basic Books, 2008. Thesis: There must be a "God" because everything is both too complex and too organized to have not evolved with a "creative intelligence." One of who knows how many books asserting facts not in actual evidence but that (somehow) must be "true" because the authors are too far down inside the box of human-like egoism to be able to see outside of it. 

Michael Wayne Kearney: Analyzing change in network polarization, in New Media & Society, 2019; 146144481882281 DOI: 10.1177/1461444818822813 "...rather than increasing exposure to diverse viewpoints or sheltering users with self-reinforcing filter bubbles, social media [in this case, Twitter] simply amplifies and reflects the trends found in broader media environments."

Dan Keating, Laris Karklis: The Increasingly Diverse United States of America, in The Washington Post, Nov. 28, 2016, at Coast to coast: The northern US tends not to be ethnically diverse at this time but is changing rapidly... while the southern US tends to be highly diverse already.

John Keegan: The Face of Battle: A Study of Agincourt, Waterloo and the Somme; New York: Penguin, 1983. Slightly superior technology and greatly superior tactics win battles. Duh. But useful for military minds.

John Keegan: The Mask of Command: Alexander the Great, Wellington, Ulysses S. Grant, Hitler, and the Nature of Leadership; New York: Penguin, 1988. Consciously applied knowledge and superior tactics wins; delusion -- even with superior tactics -- loses.

George Kennan: Memoirs 1950-1963, New York: Pantheon, 1983. His famed "long telegram from Moscow" of 1946 and early notions about "containment" are re-examined in light of further evidence by one of the six "wise men."  

Paul Kennedy: The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers: Economic Change and Military Conflict from 1500 to 2000; New York: Random House, 1987. Thesis (from Wikipedia): "Great power ascendancy correlates strongly to available resources and economic durability. Military overstretch and a concomitant relative decline are the consistent threats facing powers whose ambitions and security requirements are greater than their resource base can provide for." The author saw Russia slipping (owing to the quagmire in Afghanistan) and China gaining traction before most of us, but incorrectly (for the next 30 years, anyway) suggested that the US was too injured by the Vietnam War to maintain its position at the top of an admittedly increasingly competitive heap.  

Sara B. King: Military Social Influence in the Global Information Environment: A Civilian Primer; in Analyses of Social Issues and Public Policy, Vol. 11, No. 1, December 2011. From the abstract: "Many military strategists are now convinced that modern warfare is centered on a battle for public opinion, rather than a battle for physical terrain. As a result, new military periodic literature, texts, doctrine, and initiatives are increasingly likely to place social influence at the core of military operations. Unfortunately, this literature and doctrine is developing... almost completely independent of civilian university-based scholarly [input]." Goes way into PSYOPs used to try to grease the wheels with the locals, much as was done in rural South Vietnam in the '60s. Because the military had very little grasp of the culture or relevant history, it was poorly done then, and -- the author contends -- poorly done in Afghanistan and Iraq, as well, creating more unintended consequences than it solved.

Stephen Kinzer: The Brothers: John Foster Dulles, Allen Dulles, and The Secret World War; New York: St. Martin's Griffin, 2013. Foster, the contentious ideologue, and his baby brother, Allen, the charismatic fraud, bollocks up the world during the early Cold War.  

Henry Kissenger: Diplomacy; New York: Simon & Schuster, 1994. In the tone of Metternich (of whom Henry is a huge fan), we get a (from Wikipedia) "...a sweep of the history of international relations and the art of diplomacy.." from a "...great believer in the realist school of international relations, focuses strongly upon the concepts of the balance of power in Europe prior to World War Iraison d'État and Realpolitik throughout the ages." His behavior, however, suggests that Kissinger's realism -- while usually "better" than many of his contemporaries -- was colored by beliefs that at times did not square with reality, although they quite effectively served the purposes of his employers.

Henry Kissenger: On China; New York: Penguin Press, 2011. Suggests by inference that hyper-ideological, alt right Trumpism in the '10s may be more akin to "cultural revolution" Maoism in the '60s than it is to "black shirt" fascism in Italy in the '20s or "brown shirt" Nazism in Germany in the early '30s. (Only time will tell for sure.) But 1) showed that Henry had definitely done his historical homework on the Opium Wars and colonial concession periods, and 2) also clarifies his and Nixon's gambit to split the communist block in the early '70s as a major factor in the "unintended consequences" of more recent times. (Well. Would China be where it is today if Nixon's "prying" hadn't occurred, and the Soviet Union hadn't collapsed?) Read along with Gao's hugely informative Zhou Enlai, On China does a fine job of orienting moderns to what has been and is actually so back of the bamboo curtain. 

Henry Kissenger: World Order; New York: Penguin Press, 2015. From Wikipedia (with significant modifications): "Kissinger explains four systems of historic world order: the [carefully bartered, power-pleasing] Westphalian Peace of 17th-century Europe in the era following the Lutheran and Calvinist reformation of the Holy Roman Church, the central imperium ["we are the center of -- and most evolved and truly sophisticated culture in -- the universe"] philosophy of China, the [righteous] religious supremacism [and highly effective cultural constructivism] of political Islam, and the [idealistic, though thoroughly commercial and self-serving] democratic [ideology] of the United States." Pretty well put, and pretty well done, though Hobsbawm would have done it better. 

R. Khan, K. Misra, V. Singh: Ideology and Brand Consumption; in Psychological Science, 2013; DOI:10.1177/0956797612457379. Conservatives are -- owing to their tendency toward linguistic reductionism and penchant for "labeling" -- more blindly brand-loyal, while liberals are more consciously concerned with the qualities of the product itself and brand-disinterested.

Jeffrey Klaehn, ed.: The Political Economy of Media and Power; New York: Peter Lang, 2010. From a review: "This important volume brings together insightful commentators who expose the insidious roles of power and profit in controlling and manipulating 'news', information and debate." Highly critical of major media punditry, liberal and conservative talk radio, and (mainly) cable television "fake" news (which is -- eight years later -- little other than spin and propaganda, regardless of which of the Big Three one is half-consciously "watching"). Makes the point, however, that while tens or hundreds of millions are invested, trillions of dollars are at stake.  

William Klingaman: 1919: The Year Our World Began; New York: St. Martins Press, 1987. Focusing mainly of the shenanigans at the Versailles Conference in Paris after WW1, the book details 1) Clemenceau's vengeful ruthlessness toward post-Wilhelmine Germany, 2) Ludendorff's heated, pre-Nazi reactions thereto (Adolph was clearly a fan), 3) Hindenberg's sleepy-headed acquiescence in the face of almost pandemic influenza and citizen disgust, 4) Lloyd-George's concerns about hanging onto what was left of The Empire, as well as the Irish Problem, 5) Wilson's possibly dementia-induced, delusional, democratic idealism, 6) Lenin's absence while he was trying to consolidate power during an immense civil war, and 7) emerging Japan's cautious opportunism vis the Pacific Islands formerly controlled by the Germans. The odious results of which hit the fan 20 and 22 years later.   

William Klingaman: 1941: Our Lives in a World on The Edge; New York: Harper-Collins, 1988. Well. Hitler was already vacationing in places like Oslo, Vienna and Paris by New Year's Day. And Tojo was tearing it up from the Korean peninsula all the way to Canton. FDR was still slugging it out with the remaining isolationists and America Firsters in DC, while taking daily calls from Winnie begging for More Help! The majority of the French had no stomach for any more of the blood baths in Flanders that had wiped out a generation of young men from 1914-18. So they checked out in a few weeks in May & June of the previous year. But, the good news was that Hitler lost his balance during and after Goering's Luftwaffe failed to win the Battle of Britain... and headed east for some liebensraum, deciding foolish on a meal beyond even the Wermacht's capabilities in Stalin's endless farmland.

Lawrence Kohlberg: The Psychology of Moral Development: The Nature and Validity of Moral Stages; San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1984. The basic primer on the levels of moral interpretation in the face of observed or experienced environmental challenge. The concepts are easily locatable online.

Claudia Koonz: The Nazi Conscience; Cambridge MA: The Belknap Press of Harvard U. Press, 2003. Presents the acceptance of Nazism as the result of unrealistically high Bismarckian expectations smacking an economic wall in the '20s inducing a cultural delusion that was transformed into rationalized sociopathy. Most Germans claimed after the war that they had no idea what was going on at Belsen, Treblinka and two dozen other death camps. But they sat still for Krystalnacht right across the street in '38. The facts seem to support that what had been a sense of relief from the horrible depression and intolerable libertinism of the '20s was an attempt to rationalize and distract themselves from the price paid for that relief by the late '30s. Few Americans can appreciate it now. But they may learn the hard way if the understandable resentments of the alt right get out of hand here.   

Joel Kramer & Diana Alstad: The Guru Papers: Masks of Authoritarian Power; Berkeley, CA: Frog , Ltd., 1993. A husband and wife team with an informed taste for Krishnamurtian realism take on the sophisticated manipulations of the entire spectrum of thought reform cults, though less by name than by revelation of how the corruptions of Brahmanism and Taoism actually work. Political polarizations and totalitarian governments included. Owing to the authors' considerable experience as practicing Pali Canon (vs. "church") Buddhists, this one stands in a class of its own among the top ten tomes on cults since Lifton's day.  

Jiddu Krishnamurti: Education and the Significance of Life; San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco (1953) 1975. Wherein the little Bengali who was trained from childhood to have been the Theosophical movement's "world teacher," but said, "No, thank you," back in '29 digs into the sham of Western commercial-industrial-technological "education" with a uniquely southern Asian twist on the style of the mostly European de-constructivists of his day. No wordy "philosophe" like Rousseau, Cooley, Weber or Foucault, Krishnamurti pulls far fewer few punches here than he would later on before his FBI files piled up. If asked to sum it all up, I'd have to say that his favorite theme was, "There's more to life than your shoddy (a word he loved) little prestige and possessions. Quit listening to the authorities and go find out for yourselves what really matters in life with your own eyes and ears."   

Jiddu Krishnamurti: The First & Last Freedom; New York: HarperCollins, 1954. Because there are now more than fifty published volumes of his writing and transcribed dialogues, it's difficult to point to any one of them as "best," but... because he was "toothier" when Alan (The Wisdom of Insecurity) Watts first brought him to the Big Stage in America in the early '50s, this one may be the most representative of his real ideas, compared to the "safer," less anti-cult-ural publications that began to appear when he was a Big Deal on the New Age lecture circuit in the '60s through early '80s. Rarely anti-establishmentarian, anti-theoretical or anti-Freudian in any name-calling way, he was at least as responsible for the human potential movement of the '60s through '80s as he was for the mindfulness-based psychotherapeutic movement of the '00s and '10s. The truth really will set one free, but one needs to know how to find it (right in front of you). And this guy showed them.  

Jiddu Krishnamurti: Freedom from the Known; New York: HarperCollins, 1969. By dint of numbers sold, Krishnamurti's most widely read book. And a fine place to walk through the door into the dimension of what actually is... by seeing through all that which actually is not. (One of K's regular and repeated themes, btw, is the failure of political reform to accomplish much other than lead the learned helpless citizenry into yet further unrealistic expectations. No doubt, what he saw in newly independent, but still strife-torn, ignorantly religious, and politically at odds, Hindu India and Islamic Pakistan fueled his point of view.)

Marcel Kuijsten: Reflections on the Dawn of Consciousness: Julian Jaynes's Bicameral Mind Theory Revisited, Henderson NV: Julian Jaynes Society, 2006. A collection of mostly illuminating and explanatory essays on Jaynes and The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind written up to 30 years after the original work, several by Jaynes himself. Somewhat adds to the relevance of the BMT with respect to its utility in historiography, pre-authoritarian (organized) religion and philosophy, psychology and psychotherapy. 

Gary Langer, Gregory Holyk, et al: Huge Margin Among Working-Class Whites Lifts Trump to a Stunning Election Upset; ABC News, November 9, 2016. won whites without a college degree by 39 percent; the largest in exit polls since 1980, which exceeds Ronald Reagan’s 32-point win in that group in 1984. I will allow the reader to come to his or her own conclusions, TYVM.

Michael Langone, ed.: Recovery from Cults; New York: W. W. Norton, 1993. A co-author of a seminal report on the growing influence of mind-control cults in America along with Margaret Singer (see below), Langone pulled together much of the better work on the topic of exit counseling and de-programming available at the time. Included are essays by Langone, Singer, Janja Lalich, Philip Zimbardo, Paul Martin and other experts. A must for any professional tackling such psychiatric patients (hint: the market segment is growing fast), but not yet aware of the upshots of cult enmeshment as symptoms of "spiritual abuse" and resulting post-traumatic stress disorder.         

George Lakoff: Moral Politics: How Liberals and Conservatives Think, 2nd Ed.; Chicago: U. of Chicago Press, 2002. "In the conservative moral hierarchy, our country is taken as simply better than other countries. This is jingoism, not true patriotism." Lakoff is a liberal and inside the box of his own beliefs, but the book is worth reading in part for that reason... as well as all the peer-reviewed, journal-published research cited in it, even if it is a bit out of date now.

Christopher Lasch: The Culture of Narcissism: American Life in an Age of Diminishing Expectations; New York: W. W. Norton, 1979, 1991. Thesis: Blind, deaf and senseless, infantile Freudian narcissism in ostensibly "adult" minds as the common cult-ural defense against the painful truth. And because it is just about ubiquitous, few really see it. Worse, all the Really Big (marketing) Money is pouring far more gas on the fire than the de-constructivists will ever be able to pour water.   

Christopher Lasch: The Revolt of the Elites and the Betrayal of Democracy; New York: W. W. Norton, 1996. "[T]he new elites, the professional classes in particular, regard the masses with mingled scorn and apprehension... Middle Americans, as they appear to the makers of educated opinion, are hopelessly shabby, unfashionable, and provincial, ill informed about changes in taste or intellectual trends, addicted to trashy novels of romance and adventure, and stupefied by prolonged exposure to television. They are at once absurd and vaguely menacing."

T. J. Jackson Lears: No Place of Grace: Antimodernism and the Transformation of American Culture, 1880-1920; Univ. of Chicago Press, 1994. Examines the corruption of late 19th century Romanticism into the retreat to the exotic, the pursuit of intense physical or spiritual (actually more religious) experiences in tent show revivalism, and the search for cultural self-sufficiency in both rural and big city America during the "melting pot" era. William Jennings Bryan and Clarence Darrow are, of course, featured, although the "monkey trial" happened later. Agrarian, "middle" America was decidedly upset about what was happening to the sons and daughters who moved away from the repression of authoritarian rural cultures to seek their fortunes. Lears argues -- convincingly -- that America split into two diverse "realities" henceforth and forever... and we're still living with the upshots.    

Jackson Lears: Rebirth of a Nation: The Making of Modern America, 1877-1920; New York: HarperCollins, 2009. On religious revivalism, racism, culturism, righteous imperialism and manifest destiny during the "gilded age." Significant now because -- as Howe & Strauss (see above) predicted -- it looks like we've come full circle right on time. Picks up on the themes and theses he advanced in No Place of Grace, though the scope is far wider, and the current implications are clearer.   

Gustav LeBon: The Crowd: A Study of the Popular Mind; orig. pub. 1895, Minneola, NY: Dover Publications, 2002. Thesis: Suggestibility, contagion and belief in omnipotence were the fuel of such as the "reign of terror" during the French Revolution, the subservience to the "man on the horse" that followed, and the pogroms of Eastern Europe. With, of course, current implications for evangelical Christianity, radical Islam, reactionary totalism, violent racism and violent reverse racism. A freshman sociology classic in better schools for over a century. 

Melvin Lerner: The Belief in a Just World: A Fundamental Delusion; New York: Springer, 1980. "...the just-world hypothesis is the tendency to attribute consequences to—or expect consequences as the result of—a universal force that restores moral balance. This belief generally implies the existence of cosmic justicedestinydivine providencedesertstability, or order." Significant, of course, because this belief is a fundament of Tart's "consensus trance," as well as a regular component of "social constructivism." It has its utilities for socialization, social organization and moral normalization. But, because such fantasies are so easily manipulated, it comes at a cost every time we hold an election.  

David Lick, Adam Alter, Jonathan Freeman: Superior Pattern Detectors Efficiently Learn, Activate, Apply, and Update Social Stereotypes, in Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, July 2017; DOI: 10.1037/xge0000349. "People with better pattern detection abilities are at greater risk of picking up on and applying stereotypes about social groups," observes Lick. "However, ...people with higher cognitive ability also tend to more readily update their stereotypes when confronted with new information."

Paul Lieberman: Gangster Squad: Covert Cops, the Mob, and the Battle for Los Angeles, New York: St. Martin's Griffin (Macmillan), 2012. If the film based on the book served the interests of those who'd really like to see a return to the "shoot first and ask questions later" style of law enforcement vs. the current era of video cameras clipped to cops' pockets and bending over backward to make sure no "suspects' rights" were violated, the book itself may be disquieting. It's a bit before the L.A. Confidential era here, but not much. This is set squarely in the days of the grisly "Black Dahlia" murder, Morris "Mickey" Cohen, Benjamin "Bugsy" Siegel, Jack "The Enforcer" Whalen and the Dragna brothers. (A bit before William H. Parker became chief of the LAPD... largely because of this sort of thing.) Nowhere near the tommy gun madness of the film, the book is, however, a solid peer into the politics of prostitution, gambling and heroin during the "keep them darkies down there in scoots" era.      

Robert J. Lifton: Methods of Forceful Indoctrination, in Maurice Stein et al (editors): Identity and Anxiety: Survival of the Person in Mass Society; Glencoe, IL: The Free Press, 1960. A chapter from the book described below.

Robert J. Lifton: Thought Reform and the Psychology of Totalism: A Study of Brainwashing in China; New York: W. W. Norton, 1961. The original go-to book for anyone interested in persuasion, indoctrination, and thought control. ... "loading the language leads to the language of non-thought" ... "doctrine over person is central to the success of ideological totalism, be it implemented by authoritarian regimes or democratic ones" ... "...there is no emotional bondage greater than that of the man whose entire guilt potential - neurotic and existential - has become the property of ideological totalists."

Robert J. Lifton: Revolutionary Immortality: Mao Tse-Tung and the Chinese Cultural Revolution; New York: Random House, 1968. No one in this era understood thought reform, brain-washing, mind control, and cult dynamics in general better than Lifton. Moreover, no one before or since has understood Mao as the most "successful" guru of all time. (Even the Kims in North Korea have to take a back seat to Mao. Though their brand of brinksmanship via cult dynamics in North Korea far surpasses that of their teacher's.) Read this -- and/or Gao's superb Zhou Enlai -- and one will see into the mind of a man rather like The Donald in some very significant ways: A game-changing, charismatic manipulator of barely literate battalions of Hoffer's True Believers. (The Donald reminds me more of Benito Mussolini, however, but that's another story.) Most observers believe the Cultural Revolution of the late 1960s nearly tore China apart. I'm not one of them. Like Zhou (who suffered horribly), the objectives are as obvious as Trump's and the hard alt right's: Upset the Old Order with a just-this-side-of-calamity anarchy to establish a new one. Thanks to Lifton and Gao, anyone who cares to read this will see the present --as well as the past -- with greater clarity

Richard Lingeman: The Noir Forties: The American People from Victory to Cold War; New York: Nation Books, 2012. Thesis: WW2 changed everything. This is a truly sophisticated, sociology- and social-psychology-informed treatise of the tidal shifting of ethos, values and identity when men marched off to face the horror of war on a grand scale, as well as cultures and values beyond their imagination... and women marched into the defense plants and found their sense of self as something other than baby maker and "little" woman. The bright, shiny, keep-your-chin-up hopefulness of the films of the '30s and early '40s gave way to a jaded worldliness described in brief in Capra's The Best Years of Our Lives. The Cold War and the return of paranoia didn't help. Neither did the in-dependence of the New Woman, even if she really had been waiting to see Johnny come marching home. But who was this Johnny? What really threw the culture off the tracks was sex, booze, tobacco, horrors embedded in memory, and an epidemic of post-traumatic stress disorder unseen since Reconstruction... and long since forgotten. The Boomers, and all who followed the Greatest would pay the price, as well.  

Walter Lippmann: Public Opinion; orig. pub. 1922, New York: Simon & Schuster / Free Press, 1997. “Where all think alike, no one thinks very much.” ... “There can be no liberty for a community which lacks the means by which to detect lies.” ... “It requires wisdom to understand wisdom: the music is nothing if the audience is deaf.”

Marco Tullio Liuzza, Torun Lindholm, et al: Body odour disgust sensitivity predicts authoritarian attitudes, in Royal Society Open Science; February 2018; Vol. 5, No. 2. 171091 DOI: 10.1098/rsos.171091 "BODS is positively related to authoritarianism. Authoritarianism fully explained the positive association between BODS and support for Donald Trump."

Edward Luce: The Retreat of Western Liberalism; New York: Atlantic Monthly Press, 2017. "The West's quasi-religious faith in the linear progression of history teaches us to take democracy for granted. Reality tells us something troublingly different." And points out that Trump is not the cause, but merely a symptom. Thus, the author -- a long-time commentator with the Financial Times of London points at the waxing and waning of both egalitarianism and authoritarianism over the millennia. What he doesn't adequately articulate, however, is the essence of religious-type belief (vs. rational empiricism) among the greatly expanded and poorly educated electorates in the West that sets them up to go running after "strong men" and "rescuers" when their own "live-like-the-kings-of-old" prerogatives are threatened.  

Robert Lull, Brad Bushman: Do Sex and Violence Sell? A Meta-Analytic Review of the Effects of Sexual and Violent Media and Ad Content on Memory, Attitudes, and Buying Intentions; in Psychological Bulletin, 2015; DOI: 10.1037/bul0000018 A very large-population meta analysis found that memory for brands and ads was significantly impaired in programs containing sex, violence, or both sex and violence. Will the discovery translate to less of it on the free tube? And more of it on pay one?  

David Lykken: The Case for Parental Licensing (1995), in Theodore Millon, et al's Psychopathy: Antisocial, Criminal, and Violent Behavior; New York: Guilford Press, 1998. A truly chilling indictment of Diana Baumrind's "authoritarian" and "neglecting" parenting styles, showing with mountains of research that they are reason we are manufacturing criminals by the millions... and imprisoning more people per capita in America than in any other nation on the planet.  

Niccolo Machiavelli: The Prince: On the Art of Power; orig. pub. 1512, New York: Bantam Classics, 1984. Wanna be a successful enlightened despot? The author believed that one could be if they understood 1) the different types of principalities or states, 2) the different types of armies and the proper conduct of a prince as military leader, 3) the character and behavior of the prince (basically: say what you need to to get over, and do what you need to to stay in power). While it is not quite as germane to elected leadership in suffrage democracies, it continues to be a fine guide for despots in sub-Saharan Africa, as well as Central and South America. Few are those who look down on The People who haven't sucked this one down. (Did The Donald read it? Did he like it? Hahahaha.)

Nancy MacLean: Democracy in Chains: The Deep History of The Radical Right's Stealth Plan for America; New York, Random House: 2017. Koch & Buchanan develop a plan in the '70s to recapture America for the elites. Not quite a program for a return to antebellum feudalism, albeit presented that way by liberal author. Significant because it demonstrates how the alt right is using Karl Marx's and Vladimir Lenin's playbooks almost precisely.

B. Major, A. Blodorn, G. Major Blascovich: The threat of increasing diversity: Why many White Americans support Trump in the 2016 presidential election; in Group Processes & Intergroup Relations, October 2016; DOI: 10.1177/1368430216677304"Reminding White Americans high in ethnic identification that non-White racial groups will outnumber Whites in the United States by 2042 caused them to become more concerned about the declining status and influence of White Americans as a group (i.e., experience group status threat), and caused them to report increased support for Trump and anti-immigrant policies, as well as greater opposition to political correctness."

Thomas Malthus: An Essay on the Principle of Population; orig. pub. 1798, Oxford: Oxford U. Press, 1998. "The rate of population growth is unsustainable..." (based on a Christian sermon given circa 1790 postulating the future of the world upon the advent of the... Industrial Revolution.) (Was anyone listening then? Is anyone listening now?

William Manchester: The Arms of Krupp: The Rise and Fall of the Dynasty that Armed Germany at War; New York: Harper & Row, 1968. Epic account of the founding and growth of the munitions manufacturer and its influence on the unification-and-expansion-minded Prussians (including the Great Unifier, Otto von Bismarck) in general and weak-minded Hohenzollerns in particular in the original "military-industrial complex." Would the arms race of the late 19th and early 20th century have occurred without them? Probably, but they mined it for millions of DMs.

William Manchester: The Glory and the Dream: A Narrative History of America, 1932-1972; Boston: Little, Brown & Co., 1974. A leading liberal's retelling of the Golden Age of Progressivism from Franklin Roosevelt's bet on priming the pump via the National Recovery Administration, Civilian Conservation Corps, the Tennessee Valley & Rural Electrification Authorities, Social Security and other bet-on-the-future-for-bread-on-the-table-now measures to try to pull America out of the Great Depression. (P-the-P didn't really work well at the time, but it prepared America for war, and saved a lot of people's lives.) As well as the Securities & Exchange Commission to get some control of Wall Street after it had speculated itself into free fall during the late '20s. And, of course, America as the arsenal of the free world during and after the biggest war in history. The Kennedy years were properly romanticized though little was accomplished other than scaring off the Russians in Cuba and ultimately landing on the moon during the second Golden Age during the Johnson presidency. Along with the passage of the Voting Rights Act and Medicare. The concept of "unintended consequences," of course, is not mentioned. The Vietnam War is. (It's difficult to avoid it after all.)  

William Manchester: American Caesar: Douglas MacArthur 1880-1964; Boston: Little, Brown & Co., 1978. Odd perhaps that an egalitarian liberal would undertake to provide the one of best biographies of an arch conservative and authoritarian ever published, not to mention one that is largely laudatory. But it's true. MacArthur raised eyebrows when he (and his aid, Dwight Eisenhower) put down the WW1 veteran "bonus marchers" in downtown DC in '32 in violent fashion, but he and his protégé more than made up for following President Hoover's orders during the third term of the Roosevelt administration. Ike proved to be more graceful and less pretentious, but he made it clear who he learned his chops from. For his own part, MacArthur proved to be a fair, insightful and first-rate governor general in post-war Japan, much as his father had been in the post-insurrection Philippines. He didn't however, get high marks from any but the rabid red baiters for his stated desire to use nuclear weapons in North Korea or even China, nor for dissing his boss, Harry Truman.        

William Manchester: The Last Lion: Winston Spencer Churchill: Visions of Glory, 1874-1932; Boston: Little, Brown & Co., 1983. The son of aristocrats and graduate of all the right schools, it's no surprise that young Winston was a rabid imperialist and seeker of imperial adventure once and for all. If he'd had his way, Britannia would still have ruled the waves (and a third of the occupied planet) when he finally left office for good in 1955.     

William Manchester: The Last Lion: Winston Spencer Churchill: Alone, 1932-1940; Boston: Little, Brown & Co., 1988. Warned everyone who'd listen that the Germans were coming again. Few listened until they did.

William Manchester: A World Lit Only by Fire: The Medieval Mind and the Renaissance -- Portrait of an Age; Boston: Little, Brown & Co., 1992. From Wikipedia: "Manchester scathingly posits, as the title suggests, that the Middle Ages were ten centuries of technological stagnation, short-sightedness, bloodshed, feudalism, and an oppressive Church wedged between the golden ages of the Roman Empire and the Renaissance." It's not really true, but the author was onto the intense repression empowered by -- and empowering -- the great land-owning families and the church they used to dull the minds of the powerless serfs they used as virtual slaves. (One is instantly reminded of similar circumstances in Latin America during the 16th through 18th centuries, as well as the antebellum southeast of North America in the 18th and 19th. Medievalism may be on the wane, but it's still far from historical. The rentier class rather prefers it, it you know.) As for the Renaissance, it came and went (much like the Enlightenment) and left some useful residue in its wake.   

William Manchester & Paul Reid: The Last Lion: Winston Spencer Churchill: Defender of the Realm, 1940-1965; Boston: Little, Brown & Co., 2012. Proven right when the huns invaded Poland, France and Scandinavia, Winnie got an even better job than First Lord of Admirality, despite memories of his horrible blunder at Gallipoli in 1915: The Torries made the irritating drunkard Prime Minister, if for no better reason than that the detestable, unwashed slobs they'd need to fight the bloddy war and make the guns, ships and airplanes to fight it loved him. His finest accomplishment was actually getting America warmed up to get into the war soon enough to provide the means and material for a few feints into non-strategic territory to get some good newspaper stories while the British Commonwealth countries (like India, Australia, Canada and South Africa) and America trained up enough troops and built enough bombers to get the job done later on. Despite it all, he was almost instantly sacked in favor of bread-&-butter, chicken-in-the-pot and higher wages Clement Atlee as soon as the war ended. The Cold War gave him another run at it in the '50s, but by then, the Empire was history. Oh, well.  

Alf Mapp: The Faiths of Our Fathers: What America's Founders Really Believed; Lanham, MD: 2005. Calvinist Presbyterian piety here vs. revolutionary Rationalism there. Sometimes in the same people. Most Americans forget -- if they ever actually knew -- that the Founding Dads were mostly a bunch of very wealthy rentiers with thousands of slaves and tens or even hundreds of thousands of acres in tobacco and cotton, most of it fetching piles on the London Commodities Exchange. They went to church on Sundays, for sure (all the better people did in those days for both social and pecuniary reasons), but weren't all that crazy about Christianity save for its ability to keep the common folk in line. The author here did a nice job of disguising the facts in Apologetic rhetoric, so don't think what I wrote above came directly from this drivel.   

Marta Marchlewska, Aleksandra Cichocka, et al: Populism as Identity Politics, in Social Psychological and Personality Science; 2017; 194855061773239 DOI: 10.1177/1948550617732393. "People who perceive they are part of a disadvantaged group are more likely to have an unrealistic belief in the greatness of their nation and support populist ideologies..." Sure as hell worked for The Donald in Wisconsin and Michigan. (Like I said before, Republican hacks actually read this stuff.) (And utilize it.)

Walter Martin: The Kingdom of the Cults; Minneapolis: Berthany House, 1967, 1977, 1987. Calling itself "the standard reference work on the subject" on the cover (when it is decidedly not) should be a warning. But the contents actually aren't bad for the period of time the book was originally published. Hardly the "standard reference," it is -- when thee apologias are filtered out -- at least a useful addition to the more supra-paradigmatic literature from the likes of Lifton, Singer, Langone, Galanter, Langone, Altemeyer, Hassan, Taylor and Ross.

Karl Marx: Das Kapital (A Critique of Political Economy); orig. pub. 1867, New York: Penguin, 1992. The average voter thinks it was a book about "communism." It wasn't. It was, however, one of the first of a slew of de-constructions of capitalism, and not, actually, a very good one. (Read the first chapter. If you can make sense of it, explain it to me, will you?) Influential it was, but not because of its theses about capital beyond simple value addition and the "theft" of the profits from those who actually labored to produce the added value. (Well; to be fair, it is true that the smarties at the top of the pyramids were making millions while the shop workers at the bottom were carrying lunch pails and snorting horrible air.) What made the book's -- and the author's reputation -- was it's use as a cudgel against oppressive Big Business during the turn of the 19th to 20th centuries to foment excitement and energy in the worldwide labor movement.  

Jane Mayer: Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right; New York: Doubleday, 2016. From one point of view (the liberal author's): the Fabulous Koch Brothers, the DeVos family, Prof. Buchanan, and the leverage of petroleum profits to get America back on the yellow brick road of worldwide economic empire. From another, the realization that continuing control of a fair share of the world's natural resources is what puts meat and potatoes on the table not only in America, but throughout the rest of "free" (shrug) world that plays ball with us. I'm not averse to the author's suggestions, but I am ambiguity-tolerant and dialectical enough to understand that there are Russians, Chinese, Islamics and others who want an ever bigger piece of the pie to feather their own nests, and that so doing has direct effects on how I (and you) get to live.

Robert McChesney: Digital Disconnect: How Capitalism is Turning the Internet Against Democracy; New York: The New Press, 2013. "...the sharp decline in the enforcement of antitrust violations, the increase in patents on digital technology and proprietary systems and massive indirect subsidies and other policies have made the internet a place of numbing commercialism." And, in late 2017, some de-regulation of Internet service providers vis delivery speed of downloads from less profitable sites. 

Alfred McCoy: The Politics of Heroin: CIA Complicity in the Global Drug Trade; Brooklyn: Lawrence Hill Books, 1972, 1991. Chiang's troops controlled the Golden Triangle in northern Laos with CIA help to finance the "friendlies" during the Vietnam War, addicting tens of thousands of mostly Af-Am US troops and pouring heroin into American inner cities.

Alfred McCoy: In the Shadows of the American Century: The Rise and Decline of US Global Power; Chicago: Haymarket Books, 2017. Not on a par with his 1972 fame maker. Good info; near-commie, one-sided  interpretations. Will his predictions stand up? 

David McCullough: 1776, New York: Simon & Schuster, 2005. How we almost lost the war and continued to be a British colony then member of the Commonwealth. Though that's what finally happened anyway. 

M. McCluskey, Y. M. Kim: Moderatism or Polarization? Representation of Advocacy Groups' Ideology in Newspapers; in Journalism & Mass Communications Quarterly, September 6, 2012, doi: 10.1177/1077699012455385. "... groups that expressed more polarized opinions on political issues were mentioned in larger newspapers, appeared earlier in articles, and were mentioned in more paragraphs."

William McDougall: The Group Mind: A Sketch of the Principles of Collective Psychology; orig. pub. 1920, North Stratford: Ayer Company, NH, 1973. The unorganized group is "excessively emotional, impulsive, violent, fickle, inconsistent, irresolute and extreme in action, displaying only the coarser emotions and the less refined sentiments; extremely suggestible, careless in deliberation, hasty in judgment incapable of any but the simpler and imperfect forms of reasoning, easily swayed and led, lacking in self-consciousness, devoid of self-respect and sense of responsibility and apt to be carried away by the consciousness of its own force, so that it tends to produce all the manifestations we have learnt to expect of any irresponsible and absolute power."

Iain McGilchrist: The Master and His Emissary: The Divided Brain and the Making of the Western World; Cambridge MA: Yale University Press, 2009. How the elites disconnected the perceptive right hemisphere from the conceptual left and turned it into a blind follower of authoritarian leadership.

Jena McGregor: To improve diversity, don’t make people go to diversity training. Really., in The Washington Post, Jul. 1, 2016, at Krishnamurti was right about social engineering: Several research projects demonstrate that compulsory diversity training is counter-productive.

Marshal McLuhan, Quentin Fiore: The Medium is the Massage; New York: Penguin Books, 1967. Glib, artsy-craftsy, meme-ridden, de-constructivist thumb-through (you can "read" it in a hour) of graphic illuminations of mass media manipulation.

Robert McNamara: In Retrospect: The Tragedy and Lessons of Vietnam; New York: Times Books, 1995. A mea culpa, sort of. But lots of rationalization, as well. Clarifies how little was known about the history of Asian colonialism by those running the show in America on both sides of the aisle.

Harry McPherson: A Political Education, Boston: Little, Brown & Co., 1972. From several reviews: "... one of the best books on life in Washington to have been published in this century." "One of the most illuminating political memoirs of our time." "There is in the book the poise and quiet passion of a man who sees the absurdities of politics and politicians and who still believes this nation can be governed for good ends." "If you will imagine a compound of Rousseau, Henry Adams, and East Texas, you will have some sense of the dimensions and the pleasures of this extraordinary book." A native Texan, McPherson went to Washington in 1956 as an assistant to Senate Majority Leader Johnson, serving subsequently in key posts under Presidents Kennedy and Johnson. Ward-healer liberalism can be rough and tumble.  

James McPherson: Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era; London: Oxford U. Press, 1988. From a review: "Particularly notable are McPherson's new views on such matters as the slavery expansion issue in the 1850s, the origins of the Republican Party, the causes of secession, internal dissent and anti-war opposition in the North and the South, and the reasons for the Union's victory." Democratic feudalists reigned supreme in the Old South. And the big tobacco, sugar cane & cotton growers wanted more liebensraum in the new states on the central plains. Wall Street and the Republican captains of industry wanted no part of that. They sold the war to Union volunteers on moral and ethical principles, but ran into a wall when the war went on and on, and Lincoln was forced to draft white conscripts who were no friends of the flood of Negroes heading north. (As the horrible draft riots and lynchings in downtown Manhattan made clear.) In the end, the Grant's & Sherman's bloody attrition strategy, the Union's superior manufacturing ability, and the naval blockades of weapons coming in from an England addicted to Dixie cotton produced put an end to it.

Joost Meerloo: The Rape of the Mind: The Psychology of Thought Control, Menticide, and Brainwashing; orig. pub. 1956, 2nd ed. 1961, Eastford, TC: Martino Fine Books, 2015. From a review: "...describes the new age of cold war with its mental terror, verbocracy, and semantic fog, the use of fear as a tool of mass submission and the problem of treason and loyalty." See also his essay in Stein, Vidich & White (see below), in which he wrote: "A new profession of specialists [in the CIA, as well as in Germany, China and North Korea] has emerged whose task it is not to cure, but to aggravate and manipulate the weaknesses of selected victims so that they might become more easily amenable to influence, and to prescribed political ideologies." In Meerloo's view, they did so by recreating elements of scenarios from childhood in which "The overanxious mother, with her threatening eye or warning finger, may use the loveliest words, but nevertheless, her frightening gaze can cause the child to withdraw or become very defensive towards her." Widely read, the book -- along with his lectures and journal articles -- created quite a stir. 

Gita Mehta: Karma Cola: Marketing the Mystic East; Orig. Pub. 1979, New York: Random House / Vintage International, 1991. A very clever author's often hilarious account of her encounters with the Americans and Europeans who flooded India in the 1960s and '70s in the hunt for spiritual enlightenment. And who found, instead, a corruption of Hinduism and Buddhism similar to what the truly enlightened can see in Christianity back home. 

Philip Melanson & Peter Stevens: The Secret Service: The Hidden History of an Enigmatic Agency; New York: MJF Books, 2002. Focusing largely on its failures to protect JFK, Gerald Ford and Ronald Reagan, it's also a history of the agency morphed from a Treasury Department branch meant to prevent currency counterfitting into a bunch of body guards after the McKinley assassination.

See also Realpolitik I and Realpolitik III.

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