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.[1] ...


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March 1, 2010: DIGGING DEEPER CXV: The monstrosity of Christ

Slavoj Zizek, The Monstrosity of Christ: Paradox or Dialectic (MIT Press, 2009). — "In this corner, philosopher Slavoj Zizek, who represents the critical-materialist stance against religion's illusions; in the other corner, 'radical orthodox' theologian John Milbank, an influential and provocative thinker who argues that theology is the only foundation upon which knowledge, politics, and ethics can stand.  In The Monstrosity of Christ, Zizek and Milbank go head to head for three rounds . . . Their debate in The Monstrosity of Christ concerns nothing less than the future of religion, secularity, and political hope in light of a monsterful event—God becoming human.  For the first time since Zizek's turn toward theology, we have a true debate between an atheist and a theologian about the very meaning of theology, Christ, the Church, the Holy Ghost, universality, and the foundations of logic.  The result goes far beyond the popularized atheist/theist point/counterpoint of recent books by Hitchens, Dawkins, and others.” —Book description.


March 8, 2010: DIGGING DEEPER CXVI: Greg Mortenson's vision

Greg Mortenson & David Oliver Relin, Three Cups of Tea: One Man's Mission to Promote Peace . . . One School at a Time (Viking Penguin, 2006; paperback 2007). — “Dangerously ill when he finished his climb in 1993, Mortenson was sheltered for seven weeks by the small Pakistani village of Korphe; in return, he promised to build the impoverished town's first school, a project that grew into the Central Asia Institute, which has since constructed more than 50 schools across rural Pakistan and Afghanistan.  Coauthor Relin recounts Mortenson's efforts in fascinating detail . . . Captivating and suspenseful, with engrossing accounts of both hostilities and unlikely friendships, this book will win many readers' hearts.” —Publishers Weekly.

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Greg Mortenson, Stones into Schools: Promoting Peace with Books, Not Bombs, in Afghanistan and Pakistan (Fiking, November 2009). — “Greg Mortenson picks up where Three Cups of Tea left off in 2003, recounting his relentless, ongoing efforts . . . He shares for the first time his broader vision to promote peace through education and literacy, as well as touching on military matters, Islam, and women-all woven together with the many rich personal stories of the people who have been involved in this remarkable two-decade humanitarian effort.” —Book description.

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March 15, 2010: DIGGING DEEPER CXVII: The Kennedy legacy

Edward M. Kennedy, True Compass: A Memoir (Twelve, 2009).—"Drawing upon a series of oral history interviews, and with the help of Ron Powers (Flags of Our Fathers), Kennedy devotes more than half of the book to the first half of his life-growing up as the youngest of his generation, gaining a political education . . . After a brief section on Chappaquiddick, Kennedy tends to the anecdotal when discussing his political career from clashing with Nixon over Supreme Court nominations to campaigning for Barack Obama.” —Publishers Weekly.

March 22 & 29, 2010: DIGGING DEEPER CXVIII: Nuclear terror

Garry Wills, Bomb Power: The Modern Presidency and the National Security State (Penguin, 2010).—"Written in Wills' characteristically accessible style, Bomb Power is a well-argued denunciation of our constitutional gatekeepers that is as sad and fascinating as an account of the decline of the Roman republic. . . . [Wills's] credentials as a historian are impeccable. His breadth of knowledge is awe inspiring, but he never goes over the reader's head: He is a scholar with the heart of a journalist.” —Miami Herald.

Neil Sheehan, A Fiery Peace in a Cold War: Bernard Schriever and the Ultimate Weapon (Random House, 2009).—A "deeply researched, compulsively readable and important book. . . . Sheehan succeeds by using the same technique he employed in his splendid book A Bright Shining Lie (1988) . . . [In 1954 Gen. Schriever] was asked to supervise, on highest priority, the creation of some kind of ICBM force. . . . Sheehan describes Schriever’s buccaneering techniques, his many bureaucratic struggles and shrewd collaboration with von Neumann and other scientists like Wernher von Braun.” —New York Times Book Review.


Since July 2004, United for Peace of Pierce County’s “Digging Deeper,” a Monday-evening book discussion group, has examined more than 285 books. (Summaries of many of them have been posted online on the website Scribd.) Topics discussed have included the Iraq war, Peak Oil, climate change, torture, the corporation, Islam, Iran, U.S.-Iran relations, Barack Obama and the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr., the writings of Robert Baer, parallels between the U.S. and ancient Rome, Israel/Palestine, sustainability, war and human nature, the nature of money, September 11, energy geopolitics, the debt crisis, American immigration policy, the 2000, 2004, and 2008 presidential elections, financial crisis, the politics of assassination, and Saul Alinsky’s life and writings, as well as abiding themes of war, peace, 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 and open; anyone interested is welcome. Try King’s Books (218 St. Helens Ave., Tacoma) or other local bookstores for copies of books. More information: contact Mark Jensen at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or see