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Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Presidential Reading List

Hardly the books usually read on a softie vacation. And one more thing, hardly the books, that a dullard or moron would dare to read:



Tuesday, Aug. 16, 2005 10:34 a.m. EDT
President Bush's Summer Reading List

Students who struggled with difficult summer reading assignments had company - President Bush took three intellectually challenging books with him for his vacation reading. Prominent among them was "Salt: A World History" by Mark Kurlansky, a chronicle of salt's incredible importance in world affairs in ways that oil occupies the world's attention today. According to the Los Angeles Times, the White House listed two other books on the president's summer reading schedule: "Alexander II: The Last Great Tsar" by Edvard Radzinsky and "The Great Influenza: The Epic Story of the Deadliest Plague in History" by John M. Barry.
All three books deal with history. "The president enjoys reading and learning about history," White House spokeswoman Dana Perino told the Times.
The Times took note of the striking analogies between salt and oil, explaining: "For most of recorded history, salt was synonymous with wealth. It established trade routes and cities. Adventurers searched for it. Merchants hoarded it. Governments taxed it. Nations went to war over it. More than four centuries ago, Queen Elizabeth I warned of England's growing dependence on foreign salt. France's salt tax, the gabelle, was one of the grievances that gave rise to the Revolution of 1789."
Salt lost its flavor as a precious commodity by the time of the 20th century, when refrigeration robbed it of value as a preservative and the world became aware that the stuff was everywhere.
"It seems very silly now, all of the struggles for salt," the book's author, Kurlansky, told the Times. "It's quite probable that some day, people will read about our struggles for oil and have the same reaction."
Kurlansky, a self-described "virulent" Bush critic, expressed surprise that the president is reading his work. "My first reaction was, 'Oh, he reads books?'" he told the Times, adding, "What I find fascinating, and it's probably a positive thing about the White House, is they don't seem to do any research about the writers when they pick the books."
The president's choice of Barry's book on the 1918-19 influenza pandemic that killed an astounding 21 million people worldwide, including 500,000 Americans, is not surprising. The author of "The Great Influenza: The Epic Story of the Deadliest Plague in History" has been frequently consulted by the administration on the potential for another similar pandemic striking the world.
Barry, another Bush critic, told the Times he has been investigating what steps public officials could take to lessen the severity of a flu pandemic. In his book Barry charges that the 1918 outbreak was worsened in America because of the government's attempts to minimize its significance, partly to avoid undermining efforts to win World War I.
"One lesson is to absolutely take it seriously," Barry told the Times. "I'm not a great fan of the Bush administration, but I think they are doing that. The Clinton administration I don't think paid much attention to it as a threat."
The third book the president took with him to the Crawford ranch, "Alexander II: The Last Great Tsar" by Edvard Radzinsky, is a history of the troubled reign of the tsar who ruled Russia from 1855 until he was assassinated in a terrorist bombing in 1881. Alexander was known as the "Czar Liberator," having freed 23 million Russian slaves in 1861, two years before Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation.
His reforms sparked violent reactions from both the left and the right, creating a leftist political movement that employed terrorism including a wave of killings and bombings.
"We, Russia, created the first great terrorist organization in the world," Radzinsky told the Times during a phone interview from Moscow. "We are the father of terror, not Muslims."
After surviving six attempts on his life, Alexander II was assassinated by a group of anarchists who tossed home-made bombs at him as he was riding in his carriage on the streets of St. Petersburg.
Radzinsky told the Times he assumed Bush had drawn the connection to the terrorists of today. "Very noble young people who dreamed about the future of Russia became killers, because blood destroys souls," Radzinsky said. "That for me is the most important lesson."
Peter Osnos, of the PublicAffairs publishing house in New York, told the Times that the books Bush took with him to Crawford represented a sophisticated reading list, even for an intellectually curious chief executive.
"It's a fair bet that George W. Bush is the only person in the entire United States who chose those three books to read on vacation," Osnos told the Times, adding that "There's nothing on that list that is a beach read, or even a busman's holiday."


  • At 11:41 AM, Blogger Kevin said…

    So I'm confused...

    It needs to be recognized that the President of the United States, the leader of the free world, reads books that highschool students read?

    Shouldn't that be a given? ...or so we would hope.

  • At 1:03 PM, Blogger NDwalters said…

    Those aren't high school level books.

    Liberal Boy strikes again.

    I don't see high schoolers, let alone many adults reading on The Czars of Russia, Salt, and The Pandemic of 1919 for fun, let alone for school.

  • At 4:32 PM, Blogger Kevin said…

    Fine. College, post-college, what's the difference. The point is the same.

    I am pretty certain I could get through all 3 of those books (a dreaded thought), so I sure as hell hope that the President could.

    The fact that a press release stating that 'the president can read' is just entertaining enough.

    And I don't mean that in a pick-on-Bush sort of way. But WTF?? ...of course he can fucking read.

    now pronounce words -- thats a different story.

  • At 5:31 PM, Blogger owdbob said…

    Give that $20 to Feed the Whales.
    Michael Moore needs a trip to Burger King.

  • At 5:45 PM, Blogger NDwalters said…

    OK Kevin, pronounce this work hippopotamus....

    Have fun, I know my bosses do. (shaking head in shame)

    Myers take your $20 bucks and shove it.

    Here's what an average conservative knows about Czar Alexander II of Russia

    Son of Nicholas I
    Czar from 1855 to 1881, when he was assassinated by radicals (much like your cabal of morons)

    Freed the serfs officially from their feudal servitude.

    Sold Alaska to Secretary Henry Seward in 1867.

    Fought a war against Turkey in 1877, finished the Crimean War in 1856 (well they lost).

    Son Alexander III, grandson Nicholas II (the last czar).

    Want more facts?

  • At 5:42 AM, Blogger NDwalters said…

    Myers, shut your arrogant piehole. Again, why do you keep posting here and deleting others posts? WTF kind of hypocrite are you?

    Your posts are as welcome here as Michael Jackson in a pre-school.

  • At 9:35 AM, Blogger NDwalters said…

    Mooney, you and the rest of the types just need to stick to sniffing glue.

    Either contribute, talk about the books, or SHUT UP!

  • At 10:16 AM, Blogger Kevin said…

    ...ummm, it's going to be difficult to 'pronounce' these words. Remember, this is only a TEXT blog.

    Also, it's spelled onomatopoeia, so that one would have been especially difficult to pronounce.


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