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Tim Boxer

[ Making the Golden Years Golden ] [ The Persian Night ] [ American National Security ]
[ The Suicide of Reason ] [ Page Turners: Tempest in the Temple, The Composer Is Dead, Key Words in Islam,
Atlas of the Middle East, The Murmuring Deep ]

Making The Golden Years GoldenPrepare For Your Future

ABY BOOMERS, born between 1946-64, are entering the golden age of life, and find they’re facing elder shock. Many are not prepared for life on Social Security. In fact, they’ll have to overcome obstacle as they apply for such aid.

"We did not maintain the system which now has to absorb increasing numbers of the elderly," says Eva Mor, and epidemiologist and specialist in gerontology and health care management.

In an interview at her home on Fifth Avenue, Mor explained how the system has not improved. People today have to wait longer to have their cases established than they did 10 years ago. Government cost cutting measures have resulted in computers not being upgraded, staff downsized and offices closed.

What’s more, there aren’t enough professionals to provide services for the elderly. And it will only get worse as the numbers continue to increase. "Within 10 years there will be 77 million people over age 50," she said.

Don’t wait. Guide yourself with Eva Mor’s Making The Golden Years Golden ($19.95 Amazon.com Price: $17.95).


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The Persian Night: Iran under the Khomeinist RevolutionTo Reconstruct The World

URING the era of the shah Iran was a strong nation in a region of newly created states. For the succeeding mullahs Iran has become an Islamic powerhouse with messianic ambitions to conquer the world in the name of Allah. All that stands in Iran’s way to replace the revolution-bred Soviet Union, now dead and buried, and export its Islamist revolution to the world is—the American Great Satan.

How this plays out is the theme of Amir Taheri’s The Persian Night: Iran under the Khomeinist Revolution, a fascinating study of this vibrant modern nation-state. The author, Amir Taheri, was the executive editor of Kayhan, Iran’s largest newspaper, before the mullahs seized power. He has since been writing for the Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, Commentary and other publications.

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Taheri says, believes that the world is heading for "a clash of civilizations" in the Middle East, with Iran leading the Muslim world against the "Crusader-Zionist camp" led by America.

Iran is a cause, not a country. The vision of the Khomeinist revolution is to conquer the world for Islam much as Hitler aimed in the name of the Aryan master race and Stalin dreamt in the name of communism.

So the issue comes down to this: who will shape the future of the Middle East and the world beyond—Iran or the U.S.? (Encounter, 413 pages, $25.95, Amazon.com Price: $17.13)


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American National SecurityKeeping Up With National Security

OR one with an interest in national security strategy—which should include every one of us—there is one text that is essential to study. That book is the sixth edition of American National Security.

This exhaustive tome made its debut in 1980 as a textbook conceived at the United States Military Academy’s department of social sciences. It has since been updated several times, and the new sixth edition serves as a very important source of knowledge on national and international security issues.

Although the Chinese have made significant inroads in economic power on the global panorama, its military stance poses no threat in the near term. As China has no aircraft battle groups or long range bombers, few destroyers on the open ocean, and no military bases abroad, according to the four authors, it poses no challenge to U.S. global leadership in the near term.

As for facing the al-Qa’ida threat, the authors urge the U.S. leadership to make "difficult—yet necessary—policy changes" in the Middle East. Progress will be measured in decades, not years.

The eminent authors are Amos A. Jordan, a former Deputy Undersecretary of State; William J. Taylor, Jr., former director of national security studies at the U.S. Military Academy, West Point; Michael J. Meese, deputy head of the department of social sciences at the U.S. Military Academy, and Suzanne C. Nielsen, director of the international relations and national security studies program at the U.S. Military Academy. (Johns Hopkins University Press, softcover, 663 pages, $30.00, Amazon.com Price: $27.31)


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The Suicide of Reason: Radical Islam’s Threat to the WestThe Enemy Is Us

ESTERN liberalism is not guaranteed to survive into the future. It’s a dangerous illusion to believe that its triumph is inevitable. In The Suicide of Reason: Radical Islam’s Threat to the West we learn, "Modernity, for us, is the cure for Islamic ‘backwardness’; for many Muslims, modernity is the disease to be wiped out," says author Lee Harris.

Actually the threat to our future in the West emanates from two sources. One is from within. We live in a carpe diem society in which the highest good is to follow your bliss. It stresses "the individual over the community, rights over duties, the present over the future, feeling good about yourself over trying to improve."

However, "the liberal West may be more threatened today by its own ethos than it is by the very different threat emanating from a culture like Islam, in which individuals, instead of following their own bliss, are willing to die—and, alas, kill—in order to impose their cultural traditions on those who have lost all sense of the precious value of their own."

It is up to the liberals in the West and the East to defend their basic rights. As Harris states, "In order for fanaticism to get the upper hand in a culture or society, he fanatics need not be the majority—all that is necessary is for the majority to stand aside and let the fanatics take charge." (Basic Books/Perseus, softcover, 290 pages, $16.95, Amazon.com Price: $11.53)


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Tempest in the TemplePage Turners

Tempest in the Temple is a disturbing account of child sex abuse in the Jewish community. Eleven rabbis, lawyers, sociologists and scholars contribute nine chapters to bring this issue out of the closet by exposing religious leaders who violate sexual boundaries in the synagogue and the yeshiva. Rabbis who betray their trust through active pedophilia has become a shanda among embarrassed Jews. Who are they and how can that happen? (Brandeis University Press/University Press of New England, 272 pages, $35.00, Amazon.com Price: $26.60)

The Composer Is Dead and the inspector sets out to uncover the culprit. The book is an adaptation of a musical whodunit for narrator and orchestra that was commissioned by the San Francisco Symphony in 2006. Written by Lemony Snicket (aka Daniel Handler), with music by Nathaniel Stookey, the musical has become a family favorite of orchestras everywhere. The picture book, with an accompanying CD, will amuse readers 5 and up to no end. Enjoy the video interview with Snicket and Stookey at www.youtube.com/sfsymphony. (HarperCollins Children’s Books, $17.99, Amazon.com Price: $12.23)

Key Words in IslamKey Words in Islam is a little book with lots of definitions. Ron Geaves, professor of religious studies at the University of Chester, has produced a Key Words series of religious terminology, glossaries, of Islam, Christianity, Hinduism, Judaism and general religious studies. In each of these pocket-size guides are some 400 essential concepts you need to know when reading about the world’s great religions. (Georgetown University Press, paperback, 130 pages, Amazon.com Price: $13.96)

Atlas of the Middle EastAtlas of the Middle East, 2d ed., is an excellent resource to understanding this volatile region. Published by the National Geographic, you are assured of accurate and capacious data, including maps and profiles of all the countries, plus special pages devoted to regional conflicts in Iraq, Darfur, and Israel/Palestine, and graphs and maps on the languages and religions of the area. (National Geographic, softcover, 128 pages, 75 color photographs, 15 black and white photographs, 100 maps plus graphics and charts, $421.95, Amazon.com Price: $14.93)

The Murmuring Deep: Reflections on the Biblical Unconscious brings us profound biblical interpretations from the Jewish sages of the Talmud, Midrash and the mystical Zohar. Aviva Gottlieb Zornberg, a teacher in Jerusalem who lectures in the U.S. and U.K., probes the ancient narrative from a psychoanalyst’s perspective. Her analyses are so enthralling, you navigate from Adam and Eve, to Noah’s flood and Abraham’s journey to the saga of Ruth the Moabite, an alien from Moab destined to become the ancestor of King David and the messiah. (Shocken, 441 pages, $27.95, Amazon.com Price: $18.45)


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