True Review
Current Issue Number 79 Vol. 22 January 2012
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
The Price of Civilization

THE PRICE OF CIVILIZATION:

THE PRICE OF CIVILIZATION, by Jeffrey D. Sachs. Random House (www.atrandom.com), 2011, 324 p.p., $27. ISBN 978-1-4000-6841-8

It would probably seem like I’m taking the easy way out when I write:

The world and our country are in a mess. And author Jeffery Sachs can tell you why.  And show us how to fix it.

But it’s true. In the last year, numerous books have been written extolling the reasons why we’re in the mess we are in – and what to do about it.

However, this book takes readers on a comprehendible, step-by-step “here’s-how-it-happened-and-why” trip to explain the real issues.

I’m not an economist – and not planning to be one anytime soon. When terms such as GDP and GNP start bouncing around, well, my eyes glaze over. I suspect I’m not alone. The average American isn’t schooled in economics – we just want the basic facts and suggestions on what to do about it from someone we can trust.

Ah, there’s the rub.

The fact is we are where we are because of greed. At least that’s a big reason. Sachs asserts we’ve lost our way in more ways than one. He rattles off the list of former Presidents and administrations and spells out the good, bad, and the ugly (and it’s often ugly) as to who did what and what that did to all of us. You can’t help wondering how all these people could have been so wrong or asleep at the wheel. Few emerge unscathed. So much for trust.

In addition, we Americans are lazy. We’ll stand in line for hours to buy the latest gadget or tickets to a big concert or plop ourselves in front of the boob tube for hours watching the latest reality (not!) show drivel. But educate ourselves on our problems or the issues? Heaven forbid! No, we just whine. And point fingers. And assume.

Sachs explains in simple terms the many fallacies in our thinking. For example, he states that many Americans greatly overestimate federal spending on programs such as foreign aid or “welfare” for poor families. Seems we believe they are a dominant part of the budget, when in fact they are a very small part of spending. That’s just one of many misconceptions.

Ironically, just before I received this book, I began attending a program called “Solidarity: Government, the Federal Budget, and the Common Good,” which is offered by a faith-based organization called JustFAITH. The group provides educational programs on social justice issues to churches around the country. The program and Sach’s book parallel each other to a T in their description of the issues and the fact that we’ve lost our moral compass and common sense on many issues.

With all the doomsday comments flying around, this book is an oasis of comfort. Challenging – but hopeful that we can once again reclaim the glory that was and can be America. But we have to get smart to do so.

So read this and get smart and get mad and do something (legal!).

I have made my own journey to an Occupy event, standing on the steps of the state capitol in Harrisburg, Pa., to see what the organizers had to say. My take on it all? Forget the Occupy Movement. Americans should be calmly occupying the halls of our state capitals, converging on our representatives to tell them to knock off the stupidity and paybacks, and start doing the right thing – or get out. And while they are at it, do the same with the major corporations in this country. No more golden parachutes and mega-salaries and bonuses for lackluster (or downright criminal) performance, period.

Knowledge and buying power is power. We should use them wisely – and often.

Kudos to Sachs for explaining this mess in terms we can understand. This book should be required reading for every adult American.

Debra-Jackson Andrews

 

In This Issue

SUPERVOLCANO ERUPTION FLASHBACK Click on book cover for review. The Astounding, The Amazing, By Malmont FUTURE MEDIA

Urban Fantasy Blood and Other Cravings The Haunting of 20th Century America Ghosts by Gaslight A Pleasure to Burn

The Gift A Dublin Student Doctor   The Price of Civilization The Deception at Lyme

Next Time In True Review
Realms of Fantasy - Aug. 2011

REALMS OF FANTASY:

REALMS OF FANTASY, August 2011. Damnation Books (www.rofmag.com), $5.99.

There’s a great essay in here about “Women in Fantasy: The Images, the Artists” with illustrations of some of the best. The essay looks into the “urban fantasy babe” and her predecessor, the “woman warrior.” A sexist image? Some of the best illustrators are included, with Virginia Lee and Stephanie Pui-Mun Law.

Andrew M. Andrews
Realms of Fantasy - Oct. 2011

REALMS OF FANTASY:

REALMS OF FANTASY, October 2011. Damnation Books (www.rofmag.com), $5.99.

Another great illustrator interview with (and profusely illustrated by) Ruth Sanderson, conducted by Karen Haber. Check this out!

Andrew M. Andrews
Deed To Death - cover

SAINTS ASTRAY:

SAINTS ASTRAY, by Jacqueline Carey. Grand Central Publishing (www.HachetteBookGroup.com), 2011, 356 pp., $14.99. ISBN 978-0-446-57142-5

Loup and girlfriend Pilar escape from military custody to be high-priced bodyguards for a British rock band. But they can’t leave their past behind – including their chance to stay in Outpost 12, a Texas border town, and bring out those they have abandoned.

Andrew M. Andrews
No Rest for The Dead - cover

THE PENGUIN BOOK OF VICTORIAN WOMEN IN CRIME:

THE PENGUIN BOOK OF VICTORIAN WOMEN IN CRIME, ed. by Michael Sims. Penguin (us.penguingroup.com), 2011, 340 pp., $16.00. ISBN 978-0-14-310621-0

Michael Sims, editor of the PENGUIN BOOK OF GASLIGHT CRIME, brings together a wealth of authors to showcase the work of some great crime-fighters that could compete with Holmes and other classic sleuths.

Andrew M. Andrews
Promises To Keep - cover

MIRROR MAZE:

MIRROR MAZE, by Michaele Jordan. Pyr/Prometheus (www.pyrsf.com), 2011, 368 pp., $16.00. ISBN 978-1-61614-529-3

Jacob Aldridge is the victim of a curse, beginning with the death of his fiancée, encountering her doppelganger, all the while a demon stalks him, and draws others close to him into the dangers that await.

Andrew M. Andrews
Eyes to See

EYES TO SEE:

EYES TO SEE, by Joseph Nassise. Tor (www.tor-forge.com), 2011, 319 pp., $22.99. ISBN 978-0-7653-2718-5

The story of a classics professor who, desperate to find out why his young daughter disappears, performs an arcane ritual that robs him of his eyesight in order to “see that which is unseen.” His new powers allow him to do some great things for people but also send him up against a terrible force that could cost him his own life, as well as that of others.

Andrew M. Andrews
Thomas World

THOMAS WORLD:

THOMAS WORLD, by Richard Cox. Night Shade Books (www.nightshadebooks.com), 2011, 396 pp., $14.99. ISBN 978-1-59780-308-3

Almost Philip K. Dick-like, the protagonist in this book, Thomas, sees his life spinning out of control. He believes that his life has been scripted, perhaps by his own doppelganger-like soul, watching him . . . why?

Andrew M. Andrews

Next Time In True Review

THE MAGNIFICIENT MEDILLS, by Megan McKinney. HarperCollins (www.harpercollins.com), 2011, 456 pp., $27.99. ISBN 978-0-06-178223-7

NEWSPAPER TITAN: THE INFAMOUS LIFE AND MONUMENTAL TIMES OF CISSY PATTERSON, by Amanda Smith. Borzoi/Alfred A. Knopf (www.aaknopf.com),
2011, 716 pp., $37.50.

KAFKAESQUE, Stories Inspired by Franz Kafka, ed. by John Kessel and James Patrick Kelly. Tachyon (www.tachyonpublications.com), 2011, 284 pp., $15.95.
ISBN 978-1-61696-049-0