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"Tradition?? The only good traditions are food traditions. The rest are repressive."

"There are two ways to think. The first is to trust to your ancestors, your religious leaders, or your charismatic professors. The second is to question, to challenge, to explore history for meanings, and to analyze issues. This latter is called Critical Thinking, and it is this that is the mission of my web site. "

Dr. Laina Farhat-Holzman  

July 2018

James R. Clapper: Facts and Fears: Hard Truths From a Life in Intelligence, Viking Press, 2018.


For a first-hand account by somebody whose entire almost life (he is over 80) was spent in the Intelligence community, it would be difficult to find a better guide. This memoire covers the successes and failures of an institution designed to protect us from external forces meaning us harm. Clapper is honest to a fault, considered blunt and fearless in speaking truth to power (see some of his Congressional hearings) and yet the first to acknowledge that the human beings in Intelligence ca more...

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Clash of Civilizations


Western Civilization does not have all the answers to those wanting a perfect society. Even the excellent American Creed (everyone is an equal citizen under the law) does not have all the answers, but both are far better than any other older, traditional civilizations.

Modern intellectuals do not like to repeat what seems to be the arrogance of 19th century Europeans and Americans who looked down on all other cultures. We shudder at the notion that only White people of No more...

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Michael V Hayden: The Assault on Intelligence: American National Security in an Age of Lies

Penguin Press, NY 2018., Random House, 2018.

Reviewer: Laina Farhat-Holzman

The unexpected election of Donald Trump to the presidency in 2016 has spurred a library of new books explaining to the public how America?s most important institutions work and why we have them. This particular president has little patience for institutions that may constrain his authority, which differs from the norms followed by most of our former presidents, regardless of political part more...

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Jon Meacham, The Soul of America: The Battle For Our Better Angels,

Random House, 2018.
Reviewer: Laina Farhat-Holzman

Jon Meacham, a Pulitzer Prize winning presidential biographer, had already written books about George Herbert Walker Bush, Thomas Jefferson, Andrew Jackson, and books about the Founding Fathers, the relationship between FDR and Winston Churchill, and the Civil Rights movement. The election of a most unusual president, Donald J. Trump, in 2016, spurred him to give us a perspective on the American presidencies, the best and more...

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Michael McFaul: From Cold War to Hot Peace: An American Ambassador in Putin?s Russia.


Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2018.
Reviewer: Laina Farhat-Holzman

For those of you who keep up with TV news, Michael McFaul is the go-to person for insight into Russia. He served as American Ambassador from 2008-2010 during the Obama presidency, a somewhat rare appointment of an academic expert rather than political appointee. But he was not new to the White House, having been an advisor to George Bush?s administration before being tapped by Obama.

It more...

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