Category: Book Reviews

GJR book review: Opening the Pentagon Papers

BY SCOTT LAMBERT / Whistleblowers, leakers, and a battle between the working press and the government. James Goodale’s “Fighting for the Press: The Inside Story of the Pentagon Papers and Other Battles” tells a story that has just as much importance today as it did in 1972, when the battle for press freedom reached the U.S. Supreme Court.

GJR book review: ‘This Town’ offers no prescription for reforming America’s gilded capital

BY CHRIS BURNETT / The funerals of Tim Russert, longtime host of Meet the Press, and Richard Holbrooke, American diplomat and advisor to Democratic presidents, involved two men who would seem on the surface to have had little in common. Holbrooke, the hard-charging special envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan at the time of his death in 2010 moved in the highest diplomatic circles, never shied away from controversy and made no attempt to keep his ego in check. Russert, who died two years earlier, was the avuncular everyman, known for his fair-minded but tough questioning of American political figures. He clearly had an ego too, but he kept it under check, preferring to talk and write about his affection for his father, Big Russ.

GJR book review: McChesney critique mired in Marxist ideology

BY JACK YOUNG / The “collapse of journalism” is a hot topic these days. Although its decline preceded the Internet, the Internet appears to be the preferred news medium and a major cause for the failing media business model. Professor Robert McChesney’s latest foray into the discussion over the Internet’s impact on journalism can be found in his newest book, “Digital Disconnect: How Capitalism is Turning the Internet Against Democracy”.

The Hunger Games offers a cautionary tale of media control

The Hunger Games, a New York Times bestseller written by Suzanne Collins, has drawn hearty reviews from fans and critics alike for its brilliant plot paired with a steady dose of suspense for both the reader and movie-goer.

The first book of the trilogy, whose movie adaptation has been No. 1 at the box office for four weeks, follows Katniss Everdeen, a 16 year old girl living in District 12 of Panem. Panem is a post-apocalyptic country, which now occupies where North America once was. The country is made up of 13 districts and the Capitol, a well-developed metropolis that holds absolute power over the rest of the districts. Prior to where the book begins the narrative, District 13 started an uprising against the Capitol and the Capitol retaliated by leveling the district. District 13 is used as an example to the rest of the districts of what happens when the districts exercise any type of individual thought.

Left Turn: How Media Bias Distorts the American Mind

America’s true political center can be found by examining the state of Kansas, Salt Lake County, Utah, and NASCAR fans.

Many liberals may have just blanched at that thought, but this is the argument Tim Groseclose makes in “Left Turn: How Media Bias Distorts the American Mind.” Groseclose argues that a liberal media bias distorts the average American’s political viewpoint and tilts the political field to the left. He also claims conservative news organizations such as Fox News actually present a centrist point of view.

Will the Last Reporter Please Turn out the Lights: The Collapse of Journalism and What Can Be Done to Fix it

The newspaper industry is bottoming out; print media is in dire need of a eulogy. This has been the message thrust upon the public. And with an increasing number of people looking for the quickest way to get their news (not always waiting for their morning paper — and why? Because they don’t have to), it is not completely unfounded.

“Will the Last Reporter Please Turn out the Lights: The Collapse of Journalism and What Can Be Done to Fix it,” addresses this debate through a collection of 32 thoroughly edited essays written by journalism professors and media professionals. The collection is organized in three sections, structuring the book to flow from what is known about the media crisis, to a discussion of the crises framed around American tradition and finally to essays proposing various solutions.

Book Review: “The Warmth of Other Suns”

Jim Crow had many faces. One face of Jim Crow was the simple act of many white southerners stepping on a bus. If they didn’t want to sit with people in the front of the bus, they grabbed the colored-only sign and moved it back a row. Blacks in the back would then be forced ever farther to the back, while just one white person sat in the seat for whites only.