Christmas Books

Thomas Sowell

12/12/2007 12:01:00 AM - Thomas Sowell

Books are good gifts to receive and even better gifts to give because you can get books without half the hassles involved in buying many other kinds of gifts. You can easily buy books from the Internet and avoid the mob scenes at the shopping malls.

This has been a good year for books that shoot down false and nonsensical notions on major issues of our time.

"The Immigration Solution" is an excellent new book that discusses illegal immigration without the political rhetoric, spin, demagoguery, and unsubstantiated claims that have become all too common in the media and among politicians.

It was written by three scholars at leading think tanks -- Heather Mac Donald and Steve Malanga of the Manhattan Institute and Victor Davis Hanson of the Hoover Institution at Stanford University. Unlike many other scholars, they know how to write so that the general public can understand what they are saying.

"Mugged by Reality" by John Agresto is an eyewitness account of life inside Iraq by someone who does not take either the Bush administration line or the Congressional Democrats' line. Nor does he hesitate to admit that what he saw in Iraq changed the opinions with which he first entered the country.

It is a sobering and insightful account of what has happened and of the problems with various alternative courses of action. It is one of those books that adds a new dimension to your understanding, whether you agree or disagree with the author.

"The Prince of Darkness" by Robert Novak is a big book detailing half a century of his experiences in Washington, dealing with both political figures and other members of the print and broadcast media. He names names.

This book should be especially valuable to those young people who have been brainwashed with the notion that it is somehow nobler to be in "public service" than in the private sector.

For those who like history, there is a new history of one of the most decisive decades in American history -- the decade of the Great Depression of the 1930s -- titled "The Forgotten Man" by Amity Shlaes.

It tells a revealing story of the people and the policies that shaped that decade, as that decade has shaped much of what has happened with government intervention in the economy ever since then.

For those who want more in-depth analysis of the economic consequences of New Deal policies, Jim Powell's book "FDR's Folly" would make an excellent supplement to Amity Shlaes' book.

"Until Proven Innocent" by Stuart Taylor and K.C. Johnson is an account of the Duke University "rape" case that goes far beyond the misdeeds of the disgraced District Attorney Michael Nifong.

"Until Proven Innocent" turns over a lot of rocks and shows what was crawling underneath -- in the media and in academia, as well as in law enforcement, that produced a lynch mob atmosphere in which evidence meant nothing.

Because Duke University is by no means unique in the attitudes of its faculty and administration, what happened at Duke could happen at any number of prestigious universities around the country. It is something to think about for those who have their hearts set on getting into Prestige U.

An excellent present for those parents and students who want to find academic institutions that have not succumbed to the ideological corruption found at Duke and other colleges and universities would be the book "Choosing the Right College."

The latest edition, just published, is over a thousand pages long and goes into the campus atmosphere at numerous colleges and universities, in addition to dealing with academic questions, such as the presence or absence of a curriculum.

A very moving account of the life of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas can be found in his very readable and insightful memoir, "My Grandfather's Son," which has been on the best-seller list for eight weeks thus far.

In these politically correct times, we are only supposed to say "happy holidays," lest we offend someone by being politically incorrect, but I wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!