Thomas Sowell

When the joy of Christmas starts turning to the desperation of trying to find the right gift, that is the time to turn to that old standby -- books.

You don't have to know someone's measurements to buy a book, nor does it have to match their current wardrobe or fit in with the decor of their home. One size may not fit all but there is a right book for everybody from two years old to ninety-two.

This year has had a large crop of outstanding new books, so you ought to be able to find something for almost everyone.

If you want to conduct a demolition derby on popular liberal notions, there is "Are Cops Racist?" by Heather Mac Donald of the Manhattan Institute, "FDR's Folly" by Jim Powell of the Cato Institute and "No Excuses" by Abigail and Stephan Thernstrom, of the Manhattan Institute and Harvard University, respectively.

What these new books all have in common is that they subject fashionable notions -- about the police, about the role of the New Deal during the Great Depression and about the education of minority children today -- to hard facts and cold logic.

If you have heard that the police are engaging in racial profiling, take a look at the evidence cited by those promoting that conclusion -- and discover how flimsy and misleading that evidence is. When you finish reading "Are Cops Racist? " you may have your own question: Are the people who keep making that charge dishonest?

If you think President Franklin D. Roosevelt got us out of the Great Depression of the 1930s, read "FDR's Folly." Some economists have said for years that FDR actually made the Depression longer and worse than it would have been if he had done nothing. Even a liberal icon like J. M. Keynes said at the time that some of FDR's policies were actually hindering economic recovery. But this is the first time that it is all spelled out in plain English for people who are not economists.

The Thernstroms' new book, "No Excuses," shoots holes in the cant and propaganda that dominate discussions of American education today -- especially the education of minority children. They accept no excuses from teachers, students, or "experts" for the dismal failure of our public schools.

Thomas Sowell

Thomas Sowell is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institute and author of The Housing Boom and Bust.

Creators Syndicate