Nonfiction

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Author: John Demos

Genre: Nonfiction, History

Rating: **** (4 Stars)

Summary:


John Demos is a professor and scholar of history.  The Enemy Within is “the end product of an almost half-century engagement with witchcraft study” dating back to a term paper he wrote as a grad student in 1960.  Demos observes that “witch hunt” is a widely used metaphor in today’s world, and sets out to compare and contrast modern metaphorical witch hunts with the literal witch hunts of the past.  He begins with the Roman persecution of Christians in the 2nd century A.D., continuing up to the Salem witch trials in 17th century Massachusetts. Demos notes consistent patterns in events leading to accusations, people who were accused, and how witch-hunts sometimes spiral out of control as the accused name others in attempts to save their own lives.

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Subtitle: From Dating, Shopping, and Praying to Going to War and Becoming a Billionaire- Two Evolutionary Psychologists Explain Why We Do What We Do

Authors: Alan S. Miller and Satoshi Kanazawa

Genre: Nonfiction

Rating: ***** (5 stars)

Summary:

Why Beautiful People Have More Daughters is an insightful look at how natural selection has influenced how we behave, asserting that certain behavioral tendencies made our ancestors more likely to survive and reproduce, and that we, as their descendants, have the same tendencies, which, taken together, constitute “human nature.” Many of these tendencies are better suited to a world that existed thousands of years ago, rather than the present day, and result in many of our social problems of today.

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Author: Geraldo Rivera

Genre: Nonfiction

Rating: **** (4 Stars)

Summary:


His Panic is, as the title suggests, about immigration, immigration reform, and the prevalent negative attitude of Americans toward Hispanic immigrants.  Geraldo Rivera sets out to to address many of those perceptions and make a case for a more liberal immigration policy.

The author compares the current wave of central and south American immigrants to the past migrations of Europeans, including the Irish after the Potato Famine.  He cites the example of violence toward Irish immigrants in New York City, and suggests that current attitudes are simply history repeating itself with the hatred focusing on a different group.

Geraldo addresses a number of negative perceptions surrounding Hispanic immigrants, asserting that most immigrants are law-abiding, hardworking, patriotic and benefit the United States by their presence here.  He also accuses certain radio and TV commentators of spreading misinformation to sway public opinion against immigration reform, citing and refuting several examples.

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Author: Iain Carson and Vijay V. Vaitheeswaran

Genre: Nonfiction

Subject: Alternative Fuel Technologies

Rating: ***** (5 Stars)

Summary:


Zoom, written by two correspondents for The Economist, is a discussion of the problems that result from our dependence on oil, and some of the solutions that are taking shape.  It discusses how the oil and auto industries grew together to become the giants they now are; why the Detroit automakers are suffering while Toyota experiences runaway success; and why the world’s dependence on oil is unsustainable for political, economic, and environmental reasons.  Zoom then explains some of the possible solutions and where they are being developed.  It’s hard to put this book in a nutshell, but here are some snippets to give you a picture of what it’s all about:

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Author: Joel Comm

Genre: How-To, Business

Rating: ***** (5 Stars)

Summary:


For those who don’t know, Google AdSense is a context-based advertising medium, through which website and blog owners can make money by showing advertisements on their sites. Google’s software reads, or “crawls” each page, figures out what type of ads are appropriate, and shows them in spots designated by the site owner. Site owners are usually paid per click, although some ads pay based on “impressions” – how many times they are seen.

The AdSense Code is exactly what the title suggests – a strategy book for optimizing your use of AdSense on a blog or website in order to make the most money possible. The author, Joel Comm, speaks from his own experience making hundreds to thousands per day with his own websites. Comm takes the attitude that the “AdSense pie” is big enough for everyone to participate, and that one person’s success with it does not in any way detract from his own.

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Author: Bill Clinton

Genre: Nonfiction

Rating: ***** (5 Stars)

Summary


Since leaving the White House in 2001, Bill Clinton has been involved with a number of charitable endeavors, many of which are profiled in Giving. He describes needs that exist, and the people and organizations that are working to meet them, all the while maintaining a positive, upbeat tone.

Everyone has different ways they can contribute. Some people are in a position to donate money while others share their time. Some organizations exist to pair “social entrepreneurs,” people who have good ideas but need funding, with people who want to donate money to a cause they can believe in. Clinton discusses all of these and more, organizing his book with chapters that focus on gifts of time, money, goods, skills, and gifts of “reconciliation and new beginnings.” He goes on to discuss “model gifts,” programs that have proven effective everywhere they have been tried, and can be “replicated with predictable positive results;” roles of government; and ways that markets and non-profits can be organized for greater benefit.

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Author: Drew Curtis

Genre: Nonfiction

Rating: **** (4 Stars)

Summary


Have you ever uttered the words, “Must be a slow news day?” Have you ever been disgusted with the level of coverage minor or irrelevant events receive? Are you tired of hearing about the latest celebrity political comment, verbal gaffe, or drunk driving arrest?

According to the author, “Fark is what fills space when mass media runs out of news. It’s not news, it’s Fark. Fark is supposed to look like news…but it’s not news.” It’s Not News, It’s FARK is an in depth, yet humorous look at why Mass Media so often delivers inaccurate, rehashed, or just pointless information. The book is based around eight trends Curtis has noticed in mainstream media, including Media Fearmongering, Headlines Contradicted by Actual Article, Equal Time for Nutjobs, and the Out-of-Context Celebrity Comment. He devotes a chapter to each trend, complete with examples from real news stories, then concludes by discussing what needs to change in order for traditional media outlets to survive and better serve their customers.

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