This past week I’ve read a few books which haven’t gotten full reviews, but I wanted to mention them anyway:.
Scam Me if You Can, Frank Abanagle Jr. If that name sounds familiar to you, Abnagle’s youthful feats in fraud and bamboozling earned him a brief prison sentence, a movie based on his life called Catch Me if You Can, and a new vocation as a security consultant. In that last light he writes this guide in conjunction with the AARP. While it’s targeted toward seniors who have to worry about investment scams and the like, there’s also a lot of general advice on protecting your digital information online, and not being roped into rackets run by scammers pretending to be IRS agents.
Next up, The United States of Beer. It’s…an entertaining if light survey of beer’s history in America, beginning with the Anglo-Saxons bringing it with them from the continent. Beer’s role has fluctuated enormously with politics, long before prohibition: it was touted as an American drink against British-imported rum and other spirits, at least until being undermined by an even MORE American drink: corn whiskey. I enjoyed it well enough, but it wasn’t altogether compelling. (It probably didn’t help that I’m not a beer enthusiast, preferring more ardent spirits.)
Last was Brion McClanahan’s Founders Guide to the US Constitution, a review of the Constitutions meaning as ratified. McClanahan examines the arguments within the convention, and those made in the public forum as the Constitution was being debated, to determine what constitution people thought they were getting. I was going to do a full review but writing about the excesses of the US government does things to my blood pressure. Long story short: strong Congress, much smaller president, and supreme court; much larger role for the States as States, etc. As McClanahan concludes, if today we lived under the Constitution as ratified, we’d have little reason to fear the government. Instead — –
Well, that’s it for the quickies. Later this week…the Navajo in WW2, geology by airplane, annnd maybe international crime.