The Littlest Soapbox

June 4, 2010

The Daily Bulletin 6/4/10

Filed under: Books,News & Politics — mikecgannon @ 3:48 PM

I’m combining my news and book features today into one gloriously condensed, readable post!

Talking about both books and politics, Amity Shales has a wonderfully insightful piece on why academia not only hates Glenn Beck, but is on the warpath against him.

Every author is glad to sell books. But the victory is far more Mr. Beck’s than any individual writer’s or publisher’s. His genius has been in his recognition that viewers do not want merely the odd, one-off book, duly pegged to news. They want a coherent vision, a competing canon that the regulated airwaves and academy have denied them. So he, Glenn Beck, is building that canon, book by book from the forgotten shelf. Since the man is a riveting entertainer, the professors are correct to be concerned. He’s not just reacting or shaping individual thoughts. He is bringing competition into the Ed Biz.

Charles Krauthammer opines on the evolution of Israel’s defense strategy over the past few decades, and how, short of committing national suicide, the Jewish state has done everything it can to appease its detractors. Sadly, Israel’s enemies won’t be satisfied with anything but its complete destruction, hence the not-backing-down on the Gaza blockade.

Elaine Ecklund’s new book, Science vs. Religion: What Scientists Really Think, looks fascinating and even-handed, on the basis of this review from the Washington Post.

The Times of London reviews a new biography of John Henry Cardinal Newman, the famous Anglican turned Catholic theologian and cleric, written by John Cornwell. I’m not a fan of Cornwell’s other works, particularly his pseudo-history Hitler’s Pope (see this book by Rabbi David Dalin for a devastating rebuttal), but with Cardinal Newman about to be beautified, this book warrants further examination.

Finally, it is always a pleasure to see when writers go from writing good literary fiction to writing good popular fiction, and are amply rewarded. Oh, and there are vampires. Scary, scary vampires. Not to jump on the bandwagon, but The Passage by Justin Cronin has been added to my summer reading list. Out on June 8.

Have a great Friday!

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