Book Club Page
Book Club Archive 2019
January 20, 2018
Home of Linda Greenberg
Dreamland, Sam Quinones

Sam Quinones describes the genesis, spread and often mortal consequences of the Opioid crisis in the United States: an epidemic of pain-killers in pill form prescribed too freely by some U.S. doctors followed and amplified by black-tar heroin sold by Mexican drug dealers. Quinones describes the impact of opioids on regions, towns, families, and individuals as well as the attempts by law-enforcement to restrict the supply and punish the dealers.

The book provoked discussion of the boundaries between government and individual liberty.  Do we want a nanny-state? Can we afford to allow addicts to choose? Do addicts have the capacity to choose? What role does social disfunction play: unemployment and de-industrialization in the heartland? How can and should family and community respond?

Hillbilly Elegy, J.D. Vance

J.D. Vance's memoir of life in a self-described Hillbilly family in Ohio and Kentucky poignantly describes a young boy's struggle to survive and thrive in a family and community that seemed to believe the American Dream was dead and that failure was guaranteed. Failed by his drug-addicted, single mother, separated from his birth-father, and repeatedly disappointed by his mother's numerous but short-lived partners, he eventually finds salvation in the home of his hillbilly grandmother and the structure of the U.S. Marines.

Elegy raised issues of family and community in the lives of children in our deprived communities. It illustrated the importance of a stable family environment which in turn depends on stable jobs which in turn produce a community resilient to the siren-call of drugs. 

February 17, 2018
Home of Linda App
Adios America, Ann Coulter

Immigration was the issue of the day.  However, rather than just read the conservative point of view on the issue with which we are all too familiar, we decided to double down and also read something that expressed the opposite viewpoint.

Ann Coulter's book, Adios America: The Left's Plan to Turn Our Country into a Third-World Hell Hole, illicited strong views on both sides of the spectrum.  We all agreed with her conclusions, but part of the group did not like the hectoring tone she used to express them or the series of anecdotes she told to support them, whereas the majority found her style stimulating, and entertaining and liked the examples she provided to support her case.

Killing the American Dream, Pilar Marrero

As might be expected, no-one agreed with the thrust of Pilar Marrero's book, Killing the American Dream: How Anti-Immigration Extremists are Destroying the Nation, which seemed to advocate a completely open border policy. Those who liked Coulter's style found Marrero sent them to sleep, while others found her writing more palatable and appreciated her factual account of the history of US immigration laws, even though she did not seem to want to obey them. Perhaps the most annoying aspect of Marrero's work was her repeated conflation of legal and illegal immigration.

March 170 2018
Home of Pauline Bacaj
The Righteous Mind, by Johnathan Haidt​

Most people were disappointed in Haidt’s book. He took a long time to come to a fairly obvious conclusion not only that people bring to the table heir opinions but that those opinions are based on personal experience and culture.He does think there is a lack of civility in society today and that officials,administrators and others are abdicating their responsibility when they take the side of the screaming mob. Letting them get away with shutting down opinions that are not their own, just encourages them to do it more often. 

Hacks, by Donna Brazile

Hacks, is a very good read. The book follows Ms Brazile from her appointment as Head of the DNC during Clinton’s candidacy until after the inauguration of Trump. We were amazed to learn that the DNC was totally broke when Donna became head of the DNC. Obama took $8 million, but she never explains why or why it was allowed. Also, Debbie Wasserman Schultz did not like to raise money and did not take the hacking of the DNC seriously. Clinton financed the DNC, so called all the shots from her campaign headquarters in New York. Great explanation on Robby Mooks campaign strategy. She does not believe Seth Rich’s death was a burglary as nothing was stolen(wallet, computer, jewelry). She insinuated that Seth gave info to Wikileaks. She also gave an in-depth explanation of the the cyber attacks and expresses her fear for her life. 

Overall, an easy read with an unbelievable explanation that she cannot remember releasing the CNN questions to Hillary during the CNN debate.

April 21, 2018
Home of Jan Bates
Media Madness, by Howard Kurtz

Howard Kurtz's Media Madness is written by a journalist about journalists. Kurtz descirbes the madness that took over the media as they tried to come to terms iwth a Trump presidency. 

Everone present liked the book, finding it easy to read and perhaps surprisingly very Trump and his staff. Particularly touching was the picture painted of Sean Spicer and Kelly-Anne Conway's travails trying to deal with journalists that would be nice to their faces and then produce a very negative article.  If you didn't live through the era, the book would be very informative. For those like us who did experience it ourselves, there was little that the book had to teach us.

May 19, 2018
Home of Susan Yonts-Shepard
Defeating Jihad by Sebastian Gorka

Sebastian Gorka's book got mixed reviews. We all liked his explanation of the term "Jihad" and how its meaning has evolved over the years, but few were satisfied with his prescriptions for combatting the threat it poses, which lacked substance.
A surprising bonus for those who remember the Cold War was  Appendix A which contained the National Security Document (NSC-68) that analyzed the threat posed by the USSR. It is this document, perhaps, that carries the solution to the problem of defeating Jihad, just as it carried the solution to defeating communism.
July 21, 2018
Home of Linda Greenberg
American Pravda: My Fight for Truth in the era of Fake News, by James O'Keefe.

A very rainy day did not dampen the spirits of the Book Club at our July meeting. Discussion was lively as always as we welcomed Margery, a DC resident, to our monthly gathering.

While the methods used by James O'Keefe and his Project Veritas group involve subterfuge and impersonation, it is all in the service of a laudable goal: revealing the truth to the publlic at large through the use of secret video recording.

The Pravda of the title, which means "truth" in Russian, refers to this goal as well as to the newspaper of record of the Communist Soviet Union, renowned for its scorn for truth. American Pravda describes the many ways in which the left of the political spectrum shades the truth and even outright violates it in the pursuance of their political goals and what Project Veritas has done and is doing to expose them since the mainstream press does not.

September 22, 2018
Home of Susan Yonts-Shepard
Liars, Leakers, and Liberals, by Judge Jeanine Pirro. 

As the first meeting after the summer vacation, the club spent the first half hour discussing the books to be read in the coming months. See the resulting schedule above.

As for our book for this month, most people really enjoyed it. The Judge writes in the same straight forward, pull no punches way she talks. The only difference is when she talks you might miss something and in her book you can go back and read a passage over!

She is very suspicious of the “deep state” and really does believe there are forces inside and outside of government that would love to see President Trump and his agenda fail. If nothing else the book makes you think. And given recent events, underlines the need to get out there and VOTE!

October 20, 2018
Home of Laurie Kirby
The Briefing, by Sean Spicer

For October, we read Sean Spicer’s book, The Briefing, and did our first book exchange. Since we are all readers and we have an abundance of books we decided to try and exchange books we’ve read for those we haven’t. It worked really well and we decided to continue the exchange. 

Our discussion on Sean Spicer’s book centered on how surprised we all were that religion played such an importance role in his life and in the life of his family. Although the book did give a little insight into the early days of the White House, it is not a “tell-all” and is very complimentary of the staff and the President. It is an easy read and very enjoyable.

We are delaying the next book club meeting until December 1 due to Thanksgiving. It will be held at Susan Shepard’s house. If you need directions to Susan’s house, email her at seysrLs For the December 1 meeting we are reading, Contempt, A Memoir of the Clinton Investigation by Ken Starr. Bring your lunch and books for the exchange and we will discuss behind the scenes of the Clinton Presidency. 
December 1, 2018
Home of Susan Yonts-Shepard
Contempt, by Ken Starr

A very interesting, behind the scenes look at everything Clinton. Starr was originally hired to investigate the Whitewater, Madison Guarantee scandal. He soon found himself investigating Vince Foster’s death and when Linda Tripp called about an intern involved in an intimate relationship with the president, both Eric Holder and Janet Reno tossed the hot potato to Starr and his team. 

It was somewhat disheartening to see how biased the press was even then in favor of the Clintons and how they cherry picked facts to put Starr in a bad light. And all of us in the Book Club were puzzled as to how Bill and Hillary, who are clearly out for themselves, could depend on their loyal “friends” taking the fall for them. Something they enjoy to this day.

Starr writes very well, and he is very good at stitching together all the different threads that is the Clinton finance scheme. There is quite a bit of information in the book that was never covered by the press so even those members of the Club who remember “The Starr Investigation” were surprised by some of the information and his honest depiction of all the major players. 

The book also serves as a cautionary tale for current Republicans generally and Members of Congress on how vicious the Democrats can be when the TV cameras are on and they are playing to their base. One interesting little bit of information that most of us didn’t know before reading the book was that Bret Kavanaugh was part of the Starr investigating team. Could explain why the democrats were so nasty to him, don’t you think?