Friday, June 24, 2011

Book review - The Ezekiel Option.

The Ezekiel Option by Joel C. Rosenberg is a 2005 follow-up to his earlier novel, The Last Jihad. The 414 page book is set in the near future and deals with a growing crises involving Israel and the United Nations. Much of the book reads like a Tom Clancy novel but with much less drinking and no sex. Both improvements in my opinion.

The book starts off with a gripping account of a mid-air hijacking of an airliner. This throws the U.S. president on the horns of a dilemma with no good alternative. From there the plot weaves through an international storyline and several twists and turns. The end of the book follows Biblical prophecy but still leaves one final twist before the close of the back cover.

What I found interesting about this book was its believability. The chain of events foretold by Ezekiel unfolds in modern times. The story is not far-fetched and really doesn't call for many chance occurrences. No suspension of belief is needed to stay on board the train of thought.

Overall I would give The Ezekiel Option two thumbs up. The story is riveting and very well written. I found that I had a hard time putting the book down. Thoroughly enjoyable and thought provoking at the same time. Rush Limbaugh, Tim LaHaye, and U.S. News & World Report are right - Joel Rosenberg is a gifted author and his books are not to be missed.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Book review - Daniel Webster.

Daniel Webster is a 352 page biography written by Henry Cabot Lodge. The copy I read was part of a larger set of biographies of American Statesmen and was printed in 1899. The original release of the book was in 1883.

Lodge is well known as a prolific biographer of famous persons, mostly from American history. This volume is the first I have read by him and I was interested to see if he could live up to his press. I must say that my initial impressions are mixed.

Mr. Lodge skims quickly over Mr. Webster's childhood and personal life. Most of what he concentrates on is Webster's political career. The book is well written but does drag a bit from time to time. It is obvious from the book that it was written with the memory of Mr. Webster still fresh in the national memory.

Mr. Lodge presents a mostly unvarnished portrait of his subject. He finds Webster's early political stands against compromise with the South to be admirable and credits him with laying the groundwork upon which the North rested in the course of the Civil War. While giving him credit for this and for his great intellect Mr. Lodge does not spare Mr. Webster criticism. In particular he finds fault with Webster's March of 1850 speech advocating compromise with the South.

Mr. Lodge skewers Mr. Webster for reversing his earlier stands on the issue of compromise. He states that the speech irreparably damaged Mr. Webster's reputation and legacy. That it may have. I found the criticism to be somewhat inconsistent on Mr. Lodge's part though. Early in the work he cites Mr. Webster's inconsistency as an evidence of his great mind, stating in part that consistency is "the bugbear of small minds..." Later in the book this inconsistency is pointed to as proof of flaws and moral failings in Mr. Webster's character. A reversal indeed.

All in all I found Daniel Webster to be an interesting read. Mr. Lodge presents a clear picture of Mr. Webster's political career. While I found the lack of personal details to be disappointing I still learned a lot from the book. It fills many gaps in the period between the Founding Fathers and the Civil War. An interesting read and one that anyone would be wise to take advantage of.