Summer Reading Blues Antidotes

, Malcolm A. Kline, Leave a comment

Not content to rest on their laurels for the summer break after nine solid months of no-thrill drills, college faculty and administrators try to keep their charges from getting rusty over the summer break. Although one third of the summer is nearly over, Accuracy in Academia would like to offer some summer reading suggestions to fill in the gaps left by university recommendations.

Dutch Country Educational Drama

Call it a mystery with a moral but first-time novelist John DeFrank delivers both with stunning success in Condemned to Freedom, set in a public school in the Pennsylvania Dutch Country.

It is a milieu DeFrank knows well, having spent three decades plus as a teacher/counselor/administrator in the Lebanon County school system in the keystone state.

When a school superintendent is found dead by a hand or hands other than his own, there are, as DeFrank shows us, no shortage of suspects but the clues unearthed by the local and state police point to one—an iconoclastic football coach turned guidance counselor.

Condemned to Freedom is well-constructed and paced with skillfully developed characters. Moreover, DeFrank’s points about honor and responsibility are well taken, especially at a time when adolescence among public figures from across the political spectrum seems to segue right into middle-age. (A full review of this title will appear on this page on Tuesday).

What Would Buckley Do?

Two years after his death, William F. Buckley, Jr., the ultimate conservative man of letters, still has a lot to teach the young and the rightward. In turn, there is no better person to pass on these lessons than the man who has become the preeminent historian of the conservative movement—Lee Edwards, a senior fellow at the Heritage Foundation— in his invaluable new book, William F. Buckley, Jr.: The Maker Of A Movement.

For one thing, the much-noted current disarray of the Conservative movement is nothing new. “But after twenty often frustrating years of building a conservative alternative to the liberal establishment, Buckley could not help wondering what there was to lead,” Edwards writes of his subject in the 1970s. “In a November 1975 interview, a saturnine Buckley said: ‘As of this moment [the movement] is going nowhere.’”

“Buckley described in detail the leftward tilt of Western civilization, led by American capitalists ‘fleeing into the protective arms of the government at the least hint of commercial difficulty.’” The eerie parallels to today’s economy also jump off the page at you.


Republicans who decry academic biases against the Grand Old Party may, in turn, be suffering from misinformation about their own party’s political history, particularly when they lionize the ultimate “Big Government Conservative”—Teddy Roosevelt. Thanks to Sidney M. Milkis’s masterful Theodore Roosevelt, the Progressive Party, and the Transformation of American Democracy, we can see just how, er, robust, Colonel Roosevelt was.

“The ends of government are to secure a high average of moral and material well- being among our citizens,” TR said in Columbus, Ohio in the 1912 campaign where he ran on a third party ticket. “It has been well said in the past that we have paid attention only to the accumulation of prosperity, and that from henceforth we must pay equal attention to the proper distribution of prosperity.”

From Bluebook to Blueprint

In the book, The Blueprint: Obama’s Plan to Subvert the Constitution and Build an Imperial Presidency, the two authors, Ken Blackwell and Ken Klukowski did fairly exhaustive research on their subject. Blackwell, the former Secretary of State in Ohio, also served in the UN under President George H. W. Bush. Klukowski is a senior legal analyst with the American Civil Rights Union.

“One great example of a dangerous Obama czar who will have to testify before Congress and did undergo Senate confirmation hearings is John P. Holdren,” Ken Blackwell and Ken Klukowski point out in their book, The Blueprint: Obama’s Plan to Subvert the Constitution and Build an Imperial Presidency. “Dr. Holdren is President Obama’s ‘science czar,’ meaning he is the director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.”

“He supports radical measures to save the environment, including a ‘Planetary Regime’ (world government) to regulate the world’s population and allocation of resources,” the two Kens claim of Holdren.

Another AIA favorite who Blackwell and Klukowski make note of is former University of Chicago professor Cass Sunstein, who now directs the White House office of Information and Regulatory Affairs. “He believes that animals should have legal rights like human beings, including the right to sue in federal court,” Blackwell and Klukowski allege.

Malcolm A. Kline is the Executive Director of Accuracy in Academia.