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December 21st, 2011

Ten books you should be reading this winter

Chris Stevenson

This is my list of must-read books from the past four or five years, but I wouldn’t recommend them to you if I didn’t read most of them myself.

10: "Putsch!" - A classic book on Adolph Hitler by Richard Hanser.

Can a dreamer and vocational failure become an petty-minded narcissist and then a mass-murderer? This book was written in 1970 by a former Psychological Warfare Specialist against the Third Reich. Hanser goes back deep into the history of a young boy who had aspirations of becoming an artist and poet, while his father tried pushing him into civil service. "It is tempting to speculate on how different the history of the world might have been if the young Hitler had been able to find fulfillment as an artist, if his gift for drawing and design had been great enough to absorb his energies and divert him from becoming the Shatterhand of European politics."

Young Adolph grew up basically shy, friendless except for one or two, an introvert. When he left home to enter the Academy of Fine Arts to study painting, he thought he was on his way. The Academy thought otherwise, and he failed the entrance exam: "Adolph Hitler took the tests twice, and failed completely both times. Anger, frustration, poverty, homelessness and false consciousness followed young Adolph’s worst defeat. After a move to Munich, Hanser noted: "Having failed in Vienna to make even a start as either painter or architect, he now represented himself as an ‘architectural painter’... he only added to his mounting store of hatreds and resentments by conceiving a boiling animosity against those who were succeeding where he was so obviously failing." This book will astound you as to how such shockingly devastating events as WWII and the Holocaust developed decades away from the beginnings of personal everyday setbacks, misinterpreted as the faults of others.

9: "From ‘Superman’ to man: A Fearless and Penetrating Discussion of America’s Greatest Problem" by J.A. Rogers

How did the black man go from being the "Superman" of ancient times to being just a man in the last 400 years? This book is actually a point/counterpoint discussion between a black passenger train porter and a white Southern Senator during the late 1960s. Well-written and only 130 pages, it’s packed with historical information on Black and African history, and you’ll marvel at how this sleeping car porter calmly overcomes the objections of the highly-bigoted and arrogant Senator.

8: "The Historical Origin of Christianity" by Walter Williams.

From the same author who gave you "The Historical Origin of Islam," Williams is among the first author/pundits who refutes the existence of Jesus and most of the Bible characters, and says Christianity is nothing more than a tool of distraction invented during the middle-ages by Europeans, to prevent mankind and especially Blacks from knowing that the ancient Egyptians were black, and understanding how important that Empire was and how important people of African decent are today. Having met Williams and interviewing him a couple of times, I can honestly say he has done a lot of homework. He even offers a reward of $5,000 to any faithful churchgoer, historian, layman, or anyone who can prove to him that there was ever a man who walked the earth named Jesus Christ.

7: "Push Has Come to Shove: Getting Our Kids the Education They Deserve - Even if it Means Picking a Fight" by Dr. Steve Perry

If you think national recognition and being seen on networks like CNN has softened Perry’s passion on education and race, then you get an F. The co-founder of Capital Preparatory Magnet School continues with his take-no-prisoners attack and this time it’s against the American Public School system. If you think this is just a series of rants against urban schools and you live in the suburbs believing your OK then you’re in for an eye-opener: He charges that the school system is sabotaging the futures of millions of children, black and white.

6: "I Choose to Stay: A Black Teacher Refuses to Desert the Inner City" by Salome Thomas-El with Cecil Murphy

This is one of the best books of the decade, and should be made into a major film. This book deals with the success of a group of black kids instead of just one, even more numerous than the team on "The Great Debaters." Miller-El comes from a good traditional family in Philadelphia, went to good schools and East Stroudsburg University during the Reagan years. Some time after graduating he was eager to go back to Philadelphia and teach the inner city kids from the community he came from. After some time he opted to go to one of the toughest schools in Philly; Vaux Middle School. To inspire the students he would have to reach back into one of the school’s best and long-dead traditions; chess. What happened was the formation of one of the best chess teams in the world, and it inspired the academic turnaround for countless students.

5: "An Act of State: The Execution of Martin Luther King" by William Pepper

This book is the ending of 25 years of research into the killing of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Pepper knew him personally. The names you’ll read that he links to the assassination aren’t what you’ve heard of over the news; Loyd Jowers, Betty Spates, Frank Holt, Willie Atkins, Raul, H.L. Hunt, The Reverend Samuel "Billy" Kyles (who admitted in court that he spent that last hour of Dr. King’s life in his hotel room with him, but later on the balcony stepped aside so the shooter could get a clear shot), Frank C. Liberto, and the ones who basically started the ball rolling; Army intelligence.

4: "Curveball: The Remarkable Story of Toni Stone" by Martha Ackmann

The Negro Leagues weren’t always for men only. Some owned or co-owned a team, others coached, and one girl defied convention and became the first female player.

3: "Colorblind: The Rise of Post-Racial Politics and the Retreat from Racial Equity" by Tim Wise

This book explores President Obama’s most glaring weak point; his fear of appearing too Black, and the issues surrounding the philosophy the author sees him as adopting. Wise is a brilliant author/columnist/lecturer free of delusion or illusion. He identifies Post-Racial liberalism as a race-neutral and colorblind public policy that has attempted to succeed civil rights, it means well, but just doesn’t cut the mustard.

2: "Madden" by Brian Burwell

Having read John Madden’s first two autobiographies, I got more than I expected, because I was unaware then of how much time the Madden family had devoted to the care and rehabilitation of late New England Patriots wide receiver Darryl Stingley, considering it was one of Madden’s players that paralyzed him during a preseason game. So what I got was a look into what’s really in the heart of the man who helped mold what would become known as the most ruthless team of players in any sport; the Raiders.

1: Hype & Soul: Behind the Scenes at Motown by Al Abrams

Motown was an inspiration to millions around the world. Who else can lay claim to such a dream job as Motown Publicist/Press Agent Al Abrams? This beautiful-bound book is full of pictures and press-clipping from the earliest days of R&B from its best-known record company. "Hype & Soul" is 288 pages of mostly glossy pictures as well as news clippings, important letters and memos that Abrams collected over the years and saved for just this occasion.

5 / 5 (2 Votes)

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