Title: The Paul Society
Author: Jonathan Clark
Length: 210 pages
The Rundown Federal Deficits. National Debt. Sequestration. Stimulus. Tax Policy. Sovereign Debt.
No, you haven’t accidently stumbled into the Financial Times website. Occasionally, we at Underground Book Reviews put down our novels and short stories and swerve into the oft-neglected lane of independently published non-fiction. Today, we look at Jonathan Clark’s debut book, The Paul Society
, a primer explaining the current fiscal crisis.
From the internet to the nightly news, one can’t avoid the reality that western governments are drowning in debt. Regarding the United States, The Paul Society
boldly asks one question: Why? The question itself is a lightning rod for controversy. Like aloe over a burn, Clark coolly and unemotionally tries to remove the passion from the subject, replacing it with fact. The Paul Society
is well researched, logically organized, and employs many real-world examples. It feels like Clark is sitting across the kitchen table with a cup of coffee, calmly explaining why America’s fiscal situation is so messed up. Cool and calm, yes, but never boring, TPS
is a perfect book for someone new to the subject. TPS
divides federal spending into different buckets, such as welfare, healthcare, defense
and subsidies. For a given “bucket” Clark details how congress converts taxpayer money to influence, influence to power, power to spending, and spending into more votes. Clark sorts out the powerful players, from corporate lobbyists, to unions, to special interest groups. In each bucket Clark keeps coming back to the same theme: The root of the problem is corrupt and entrenched politicians, unaccountable lobbyist, and an apathetic (or complicit) electorate. One thing Clark doesn’t do, however, is get partisan.
To be blunt, I expected this book to be a run-of-the-mill right-wing rant against big government. It wasn’t. Clark ignores that trap and instead dispassionately indicts both political parties, showing under the surface they often have the same agenda – convert taxpayer money into personal wealth and power. If you put a group of Tea Partiers and Occupiers in the same room and made them read this book, they might stop yelling at one another and find they have much in common. Clark clearly identifies the enemy and, in my opinion, that makes The Paul Society
Corporate executive, small business owner and entrepreneur, Clark possesses a great deal of credibility. He never raises his voice and makes his case so logically even a Vulcan would smile. At only 210 pages, The Paul Society
keeps moving and is never boring. More importantly, Clark offers hope. His answers are not easy, but ones most American’s can get behind. They start with getting informed and then getting involved, both of which begin with reading The Paul Society
. Jonathan Clark Links:
The Paul Society on Amazon
Jonathan Clark's Blog
Facebook If you enjoyed this review follow Underground Book Reviews on Facebook and Twitter or subscribe to our newsletter. You can also follow Brian Braden on
his blog, Facebook and Twitter and buy his books, Black Sea Gods or Carson's Love.
review by Kimberly Shursen
Title: Married or . . . Merry? Or, The international Greek Book of Marriage or 40 Plus Reasons Not To Get Married. Author: Kate Papas
Genre: humor, satire
Publisher: Self- published Summary: Love is in the air. Today is the day you’ve dreamed about all your life. You glide down the aisle to Mendelssohn’s Wedding March towards the man of your dreams. The church is filled as two star-crossed lovers’ eyes meet and repeat the words “I do.” Oh blissful, happy day when two shall come together as one.
Whoa! Stop the organ music! According to Kate Papas’s Married or . . . Merry? you'd best turn on your heels, pick up your long white gown and run as fast as you can! Ms. Papas is happy to inform you that your wedding day is the last day of bliss you’ll ever know until . . . the divorce is final. What led Kate Papas to write Married or . . . Merry? Surely it wasn’t for the sake of condoning marriage. According to Kate, instead of becoming angry about the state of her native Greece, she turned to writing humor. “It is bitter and sad. It's a nightmare, no one could imagine that would happen to Greeks and to our beautiful country,” Kate writes in an e-mail, “we have a fabulous past (our ancient history) and a miserable present.” In the first 40 days after the book was released in Greece, 2,000 copies were sold. After 7,000 copies were purchased, Kate decided to translate Married or . . . Merry? into English and send it across the Atlantic.
Quote: Reason Number Six entitled: “Thou Shalt Not Commit Adultery, (Mosaic Law; 7th Commandment) “In my opinion this is the most inapplicable, unattainable and unrealistic commandment. Purely utopian! For god’s sake, my friends! Do you think it possible not to commit adultery, not even once, in your life not even mentally, not even in your imagination? (for that counts, alas!) And whoever claims that is it possible is either: 1. A pathological liar 2. Totally inexperienced 3. Extremely naïve 4. Very recently married!” Opinion: Married or . . . Merry? is brilliantly written using quotes and sayings from comedians to philosophers, Bible verses and commandments as a premise for each rule. This book of only l7,000 words will take those of us who have been, or are married, on a laughable journey into “I’ve-been-there-land” for at least one, if not numerous reasons. Satire sweeps every page that range from matrimony being harmful to your health, to the notion that you need another person to become whole when you were already whole to begin with. I could actually envision this performed by on stage by a comedian as making fun of real-life situations is the basis of great comedy. Recommendation: NOT for those who do not enjoy reading rebuttals of Biblical doctrine. I recommend the book to those light-hearted enough to enjoy the humor and pitfalls of every marriage. Oh, in answer to your question, yes, Ms. Papas is married. TOP PICK: 5 star ratingLinks: Find it on Amazon
Like it on FacebookFollow Kate Papas on Twitter
Name: Losing the HateAuthor:
Not until Simon Palmer is 41 years old does he decide to tell the world of the dark secrets that molded his life. When he was 10, a trusted and respected teacher asked Simon’s parents if he could photograph their son for pictures that would be displayed at a upcoming parent-teacher’s night. The private photo shoot, however, turns dark when Simon obeys the male teacher and removes his clothing. Simon tells no one of his shameful secret that continues not only with the teacher, but leads to other inappropriate sexual encounters. The abuse is carried forward when Mr. Palmer physically and mentally abuses his wife and anyone else who tries to care about him. A life of self-loathing, fear to trust anyone, hatred for those who abused him, Simon Palmer’s life continues to catapult until he finds himself inside the dark isolated world of hardcore drugs and alcohol. Reaction:
A small book written with a heavy heart, Losing the Hate
suffers from the same grammatical pitfalls of many e-published books. I chose, however, to review the gut-level, emotional trauma that made Simon Palmer’s book haunt me. If only to read the poignant meaningful poetry that weaves in and out of Losing the Hate,
the book is well worth the experience. Simon Palmer’s words will ‘rock’ every parent’s world as they begin to question if their own children have secrets too dark, too shameful to share. There were times I questioned why Mr. Palmer’s parents didn’t realize something evil was happening to their son as they watched Simon’s personality quickly change from compliant to hateful; content to angry. In all fairness, however, as parents we are told that our children will go through stages and they will eventually grow out of it. For Simon Palmer, however, it took 30 years to confront his demons. Through prose and memoire, Mr. Palmer relays that sometimes there are ‘secrets’ so dark, so evil, they will only lead to despair and isolation. One of Simon’s Many Poems:
Silence raining down,
Lost within my thoughts,
Self destruction all around.
Lost in a bed-sit,
Demons flooding back,
Enfolded by a darkness,
Shadows cold and black.
Crying in a bed-sit,
Ashamed of what I’ve done,
A hatred for myself,
And all that I’ve become.Recommendation:
Recommended for parents and teenagers or those who have experienced the trauma of abuse. Although raw and riveting, the sexual content is not graphic or explicit. I would, however, suggest a parent read the book before suggesting it to their teenagers. My personal thoughts are that anything that encourages our youth to share what is going on in their lives is significant.Rating:
4.5 out of 5 starsBuy it:Amazon.com (eBook and Paperback)Barnes & Noble (Paperback)WHSmith (Paperback)If you enjoyed this review, you can subscribe to the Underground or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.