Sunday, July 22, 2007

The iPINIONS Journal

The iPINIONS Journal
Commentaries on Current Events Volume II
by Anthony Livingston Hall
(iUniverse / 0-595-43203-5 / May 2007 / 366 pages / $23.95)

This particular book selected for review represents a very special milestone in the development of iUniverse Book Reviews. In many ways, Anthony Livingston Hall's two books, of which this is obviously the second, are more like my own than any other books I have reviewed so far. The iPINIONS Journal is the sort of iUniverse book I always knew had to be out there in the ozone. This is topical nonfiction that has been published by iU simply because the author lacks celebrity talking-head credentials. It is a serious book, comprised of previously released news commentaries in the author's daily columns of 2006. The language is articulate and the author's use of vocabulary is commendable. This is not a book for the moronic multitudes. It is a book for the thoughtful, informed reader who wishes to become even better informed of the crucial issues of our world. The first volume, not reviewed here, contained the stories of 2005. Unlike most every other book selected for review, this sequel is more appropriate for review now than its predecessor simply because the subject matter is derived from some of the more significant international news stories of 2006, instead of those from the prior year. Otherwise, I would never review an author's second book in a series before I had read the first one.

Anthony Livingston Hall has led a charmed life. Born in The Caribbean and educated on the mainland, he is a lawyer who works on K Street. He is also a syndicated columnist, fellow blogger, and a certified fitness trainer. Some of the news stories covered in The iPINIONS Journal deal specifically with issues indigenous to his Caribbean homeland, especially those that are closely entangled with U.S. policy. A good example of one such article deals with how the U.S. federal government shut down online gambling operations that operated offshore, but the massive numbers of customers were U.S. citizens. On this issue and the multitude of others on which Mr. Hall expresses his opinion, there is no yelling like Bill O'Reilly or smug self-righteousness like that of Sean Hannity. Unfortunately, there is very little buoyant humor to remind the reader of Michael Moore or Bill Maher, either, and therein lies one of my two complaints. The other negative is that I had to call the proofreading police on Mr. Hall. Although the errors are of the least serious type of infractions, the typos denigrate such a highly researched, detailed volume of political comment. You don't have to be leftwing to be entertaining; nor do you have to be a clown to have a sense of humor. The author's left/right balance is nearly perfect. I am simply suggesting that the number-one difference between his books and mine is that I place the fun to read concept at the top.

Anthony Livingston Hall has brought back all those memories of the names of foreign leaders we have heard numerous times on television and generally, subconsciously, tuned them out. We have done this because (a) We could not pronounce the name; (b) We could not spell the name; and (c) The news story referred to something happening over there somewhere that was way too far from Lindsay Lohan and Paris Hilton for us to care. The thing Mr. Hall does so well is to refresh our memories of these vitally important, international news events, explain them concisely and succinctly, and help to us to care after all. Anthony Livingston Hall is a very serious author, indeed. With the drudge and drivel we currently have impersonating television news, we need unbiased, thoughtful commentators like Anthony Livingston Hall. Wasn't he the nerd in Sixteen Candles?

See Also: Tabitha's B&N Review

Interview with Anthony Livingston Hall

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