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On the bookshelves…

By Josh Richman
Tuesday, January 12th, 2010 at 10:45 am in books.

A few recent books for the politically minded…

A New American Tea Party: The Counterrevolution Against Bailouts, Handouts, Reckless Spending and More Taxes” by John M. O’Hara (Wiley, $24.95)

A New American Tea PartyThe spokesman for the conservative Heartland Institute tees off on the tea party movement, presenting “the voices behind the growing discontent among everyday citizens with increased government spending, taxation, and intervention into both the private sector and our private lives.” After a foreword by grenade-hurler Michelle Malkin, O’Hara walks readers through the movement’s genesis (the financial bailout, disdain from the liberal-biased media and Obama Administration, the health care debate) before presenting a “Tea Party Manifesto” and “Rules for Counterradicals.”

It’s pretty much as you’d expect: The feel-good hit of the late winter for those who spent the late summer shouting down members of Congress in town-hall meetings. Among the author’s thoughts:

“Anyone who attended or watched the tea parties knows that the events were not about race and that any assertions to the contrary are sad attempts at hurting a strong movement many on the left fear.” – p. 84

“ACORN calls the tea parties partisan because it does not want Americans to believe that social change can occur in nonradical ways.” – p.148

“Most Americans believe that you have the right to work hard and keep as much of your earnings as possible to do with what you see fit. The Left is different. Theirs is a philosophy of entitlement. People on the Left don’t believe you are free to pursue happiness as you please (except in matters of sexual conduct). Rather, they believe you are entitled to the happiness that they determine is best for you.” – p. 229

Footnotes in Gaza” by Joe Sacco (Metropolitan Books, $29.95)

Footnotes in GazaThe renowned journalist/cartoonist delivers 50 years of Gaza Strip history, starting from two late-1956 incidents in which Israeli troops killed masses of Palestinian civilians and tracing the reverberations through today’s sorry state of affairs. Supporters of Israel may ask why Sacco didn’t draw and write about victims of Palestinian suicide bombers; be that as it may, Sacco’s interviews and research are detailed and extensive, and his art is compelling. Like Art Spiegelman (“Maus,” “In the Shadow of No Towers”) and Marjane Satrapi (“Persepolis”), Sacco must be considered among the world’s foremost graphic chroniclers of the (in)human condition. If you’re a fan of journalism and/or graphic novels (and I’m both), you should check it out.

More after the jump…

Dirty Water” by Bill Sharpsteen (University of California Press, $27.50)

Dirty WaterSharpsteen, a Los Angeles writer, photographer and documentary producer, admiringly tells the tale of Howard Bennett, an LA schoolteacher who helped birth the region’s coastal water quality movement in the mid-‘80s by using over-the-top rhetoric to fight pollution in Santa Monica Bay.

Bennett, who swam in that bay every day, found Los Angeles had sought a Clean Water Act waiver to keep dumping sewage there, and so he started staging stunts like wrapping brown ribbon around city hall and presenting officials with Dirty Toilet Awards. In time, the waiver was denied, the bay was cleaned up and a movement was born that continues today.

Tee Time in Berzerkistan: A Doonesbury Book” by G.B. Trudeau (Andrews McNeel, $16.99

Tee Time in BerzerkistanTrudeau launched Doonesbury 40 years ago this coming October, and he’s still encouraging the world to laugh (rather than cry) at its political absurdities, four to eight frames at a time. This book collects recent daily and Sunday strips in which our tried-and-true protagonists grapple with the blowback of 21st-century international relations. The amoral Duke is lobbying for a Middle Eastern dictator who hopes his world-class golf course will distract American lawmakers from his recent ethnic cleansing just long enough to sign over an arms package. Football and war hero B.D. is helping an Iraq vet recover from traumatic brain injury. My hero, Washington Post reporter Rick Redfern, is kicked to the curb while his son interns with the CIA in Afgahnistan and television journalist Roland Hedley is busy putting the “twit” in “Twitter.” If you’re a fan, pick it up.

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  • RR, Uninvited Columnist

    None of the books you mention is worth a thinking person’s time.