Each month the books to be discussed at Digging Deeper, the study circle of United for Peace of Pierce County that meets from 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. each Monday evening at the Mandolin Café in Tacoma (3923 S. 12th St.), are voted on by participants.  --  And the books selected for the month of June are...



DIGGING DEEPER meets every Monday from 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the Mandolin Café, 3923 S. 12th St., Tacoma, WA.

June 1, 2009: DIGGING DEEPER LXXXIII — Sustainability and waste

Derrick Jensen and Aric McBay, What We Leave Behind (Seven Stories Press, 2009). — “[A] piercing, impassioned guide to living a truly responsible life on earth. Human waste, once considered a gift to the soil, has become toxic material that has broken the essential cycle of decay and regeneration. Here, award-winning writer Derrick Jensen and activist Aric McBay weave historical analysis and devastatingly beautiful prose to remind us that life—human and nonhuman—will not go on unless we do everything we can to facilitate the most basic process on earth, the root of sustainability: one being’s waste must always become another being’s food.” —Book description.

June 8 & 15, 2009: DIGGING DEEPER LXXXIV — Redeeming America from the arrogance of power

Russ Baker, Family of Secrets: The Bush Dynasty, the Powerful Forces That Put It in the White House, and What Their Influence Means for America (Bloomsbury Press, 2008). — “An arresting new look at George W. Bush, his father George H. W. Bush, their family, and the network of figures in intelligence, the military, finance, and oil who enabled the family’s rise to power.  Baker’s exhaustive investigation reveals a remarkable clan whose hermetic secrecy and code of absolute loyalty have concealed a far-reaching role in recent history that transcends the Bush presidencies. Baker offers new insights into lingering mysteries—from the death of John F. Kennedy to Richard Nixon’s downfall in Watergate.” —Book description.

William Greider, Come Home, America: The Rise and Fall (and Redeeming Promise) of America (Rodale Books, 2009). — “[Greider] outlines the full substance of the predicament we find ourselves in as exhibited by the financial collapse: a culmination of our decaying democracy, the negative effects of globalism, the dominance of militarism in our financial policy, the destruction of the middle class, and the threat of global climate change. Greider argues that spreading our style of democracy through force is a new form of imperialism stemming from an arrogance of power. He sees much pain in our future if we remain on our current course but finds hope for a day of reckoning when mass social movements and a third front that fills the space between big government and the private sector will take power back into the hands of ordinary citizens. While those in power may claim that Greider’s ideas are defeatist or unpatriotic, it is during times like these that his dissenting ideas are likely to resonate with a large and angry audience.” —Booklist.

June 22 & 29, 2009: DIGGING DEEPER LXXXV — Mobilizing to save civilization in an era of nationalism

Eamonn Fingleton, In the Jaws of the Dragon: America’s Fate in the Coming Era of Chinese Hegemony (Thomas Donne, 2008). — “America's fate looks dicey in the showdown with the Chinese juggernaut, warns this vigorous jeremiad. Fingleton (In Praise of Hard Industries) argues that China's ‘East Asian’ development model of aggressive mercantilism and a state-directed economy ‘effortlessly outperforms’ America's fecklessly individualistic capitalism. Nor will economic development democratize a ‘quasi-fascist’ Confucian culture. More likely, Fingleton contends, is ‘the Confucianization of America’ as Chinese wealth subverts American politics and media. Fingleton's brief against Confucian societies can seem vague and paranoid; fortunately, his economic analysis is incisive. His most telling critique is of American business élites and policymakers, who have wrecked the U.S. economy, he insists, by promoting laissez-faire nostrums, free trade, and a hollowed-out service economy. More compelling than Fingleton's exaggerated dread of the Confucian dragon is his well-supported case for economic nationalism.” —Publishers Weekly.

Lester R. Brown, Plan B 3.0: Mobilizing to Save Civilization (W.W. Norton, 2008), rev. ed. (orig. ed. 2003). — “In this updated edition of the landmark Plan B, Lester Brown outlines a survival strategy for our early twenty-first-century civilization. The world faces many environmental trends of disruption and decline, including rising temperatures and spreading water shortage. In addition to these looming threats, we face the peaking of oil, annual population growth of 70 million, a widening global economic divide, and a growing list of failing states. The scale and complexity of issues facing our fast-forward world have no precedent. With Plan A, business as usual, we have neglected these issues overly long. In Plan B 3.0, Lester R. Brown warns that the only effective response now is a World War II-type mobilization like that in the United States after the attack on Pearl Harbor.” —Book description. [NOTE: Plan B 4.0 is scheduled for publication in October 2009.]


NOTE:  On May 25, 2009, Digging Deeper will continue our discussion of James W. Douglass, JFK and the Unspeakable: Why He Died and Why It Matters (Orbis, 2008). “A credible, coherent, and convincing narrative for the events surrounding JFK's assassination. [Douglass] uses resources from U.S. and Soviet archives, firsthand accounts of people now willing to talk, dogged researchers over the years challenging the Warren Commission and others. One hundred pages of fine-print footnotes back up 400 pages of text. Douglass establishes a clear motive and case for CIA involvement. He also paints a complimentary picture of Kennedy's courage and conviction in bucking the power and prestige of the CIA and the Joint Chiefs. This book implicitly raises the question of whether today's politicians are willing to risk proposing far reaching changes in war/peace policies that challenge the ‘unspeakable.’” —E. Snyder.

__________________________________________________________________________________________________ Since July 2004, United for Peace of Pierce County has been conducting “Digging Deeper,” a Monday-evening book discussion group, often in the form of a study circle. Topics have included peak oil, climate change, the corporation, torture, Iran, U.S.-Iran relations, the writings of Robert Baer, Islam, American immigration policy, Barack Obama and the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr., Saul Alinsky’s life and writings, war and human nature, parallels between the U.S. and ancient Rome, the sustainability revolution, 9/11, energy geopolitics, the debt crisis, and the 2000 and 2004 U.S. presidential elections, as well as abiding themes of war, peace, politics, and social change. Occasionally, the group has spent several weeks reading longer works, like Daniel Yergin’s The Prize or Robert Fisk’s The Great War for Civilisation. -- Participation is free; anyone interested is welcome. For copies of books, try King's Books (218 St. Helens Ave., Tacoma) or other local bookstores for copies. More information:  contact Mark Jensen (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.).