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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August 2, 2010: DIGGING DEEPER CXXXI: The nature of kindness

Frans de Waal, The Age of Empathy: Nature's Lessons for a Kinder Society (Harmony, 2009). — “[A] renowned primatologist culls an astounding volume of research that deflates the human assumption that animals lack the characteristics often referred to as humane . . . [His] aim [is] to reveal that the idea that humans are naturally calculating, competitive, and violent is grounded in a falsehood willfully and selfishly perpetuated.”  —Publishers Weekly.


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August 9, 2010: DIGGING DEEPER CXXXII: Iran & Turkey

Stephen Kinzer, Reset: Iran, Turkey, and America's Future (Times Books, 2010). — "Kinzer (Overthrow), columnist at the Guardian, takes an iconoclastic approach in this smart policy prescriptive that calls for elemental changes in America's relationships with Israel and Saudi Arabia, and even more remarkably, for the U.S. to find more sensible and natural allies in Turkey and Iran, the only Muslim countries in the Middle East where democracy is deeply rooted.  This radical break from diplomatic convention has its roots deep in the Cold War history that Kinzer spends most of the book attentively mining."  —Publishers Weekly.

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August 16, 2010: DIGGING DEEPER CXXXIII: The fate of Western social democracy

Tony Judt, Ill Fares the Land (Penguin Press, 2010). — "In October historian Tony Judt gave a lecture at New York University, where he [was] a professor and director of the Remarque Institute, on the fate of Western social democracy.  The talk was remarkable not only for what was said but for how.  Judt—who ha[d] advanced amyoptrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), or Lou Gehrig's disease, and [was] paralyzed from the neck down—had memorized his talk, which he delivered from his wheelchair, his face partially obscured behind the breathing apparatus he calls his 'facial Tupperware.'  Several months later he published a version of the talk in the New York Review of Books, and when that caught fire he expanded the talk into a short book.  Ill Fares the Land traces the history of the postwar state in the United States and Europe, showing how rampant privatization, an excess of individualism, and the worship of the market have produced unacceptable levels of inequality.  Disparaging both extreme left- and right-wing solutions, Judt makes a case for social democracy, advocating a new conversation about our collective responsibilities as citizens, humanists, and human beings."  —Christine Smallwood. —NOTE:  Tony Judt died on Aug. 6, 2010.

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August 23, 2010: DIGGING DEEPER CXXXIV: CIA splinter groups and their private intelligence network

Joseph J. Trento, Prelude to Terror: Edwin Pl Wilson and the Legacy of America's Private Intelligence Network (Basic Books, 2005; Caroll & Graf paperback, 2006). — "After eight years of research, Joseph Trento has written the authoritative exposé of CIA splinter groups and their private intelligence network.  America began to experience the result of this reckless intermingling of intelligence with business and politics on September 11, 2001, a legacy that continues to play out in today's headlines.  Trento reveals the history of a corrupt group of spymasters—led by Ted Shackley—who were marginalized during Jimmy Carter's presidency, but who maintained their intelligence portfolio, using their contacts to effectively create a private intelligence network."  —Book description.

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August 30, 2010: DIGGING DEEPER CXXXV: The light of genetics illuminates human history

Spencer Wells, The Journey of Man: A Genetic Odyssey (Princeton University Press, 2002; Random House paperback, 2003). — "In this surprisingly accessible book, British geneticist Wells sets out to answer long-standing anthropological questions of where humans came from, how we migrated and when we arrived in such places as Europe and North America. . . . By explaining his terminology and methods throughout the book, instead of in a chunk, Wells makes following the branches of the human tree seem easy."  —Publishers Weekly.


Since July 2004, United for Peace of Pierce County’s “Digging Deeper,” a Monday-evening book discussion group, has examined more than 300 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