Two Books (23 cents)

John Dean, former Nixon aide, sure sounds angry in his “Conservatives Without Conscience”, published in 2006; he must be angrier today, because the situation he describes in the book – conservatives losing their focus and turning into authoritarians – has only become worse. While I agree with most of what Dean says about such miscreants as Newt Gingrich, Bill Frist and John Boehner, I am not sure that he correctly remembers what he must think is a conservative golden age, and it is absolutely unclear what he expects to happen next. In many respects, he sounds more like a Democrat than a Republican, and this book won’t make him friends in any Republican circles. He is also very bitter – bitter as to how he was treated after Watergate, and especially bitter (most likely justifiably so) after accusations were made against his wife by the authors of “Silent Coup” that she was involved with a prostitution ring, and that somehow, this was the reason for Nixon cover up. And perhaps his bitterness and anger have taken over, as his book comes across as unnecessarily intemperate. Would I recommend the book? It’s a pretty easy read, so I would. But not necessarily for its logical content.

I also read David Harris’ “Dream Die Hard”, another very personal book published almost 30 years ago, this time about Allard Lowenstein, his killer Dennis Sweeney and, yes, David Harris. It is a memoir of the sixties, about three central figures, and reprises the student movement, the anti-draft movement, the anti-Vietnam War movement, the civil rights movements and the dump Lyndon Johnson movement. It is also the story of Lowenstein’s energy and influence, his attraction to attractive younger men, and how one of them, an unfortunate Stanford drop out/activist who developed paranoid schizophrenia, decided that Lowenstein was directing every aspect of his life, and speaking to him in voices, and how he killed him. The prose is not the best, the editing a bit lacking, and many characters are identified not by name but by role (“the biographer”, the “Boston girl”) [I assume there is a back story here]. But this is definitely a book to read to put you back in that very strange time in the history of the country.

Other than these books, the holidays have taken up a lot of time (understandable) and Nats games (not at all understandable at this point). Nothing to report.

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