2008 saw the publication of a number of nonfiction books, ranging in subjects from history to politics to science. Here are a few:
Liberal Fascism: The Secret History of the American Left by Jonah Goldberg
After reading Liberal Fascism, one will never look at political history in quite the same way again. It is Jonah Goldberg’s thesis that political ideologies, including communism, fascism, Nazism, and modern, progressive liberalism have common characteristics. Each of these famous isms have as its central thesis that the State should control as much of human existence as possible. The one controversial contention that Jonah Goldberg makes is how similar progressive liberalism, begun under Teddy Roosevelt and Woodard Wilson, refined by FDR, and now adhered to by modern Democrats, is to more violent, tyrannical systems such as Nazism and communism. The difference, suggests Goldberg, is that while pure fascism is a boot on the face forever, liberalism is a hug forever. But what, Goldberg asks, one does not want to be hugged?
The Failure Factory by Bill Gertz
The War on Terror, as common with other wars, is not without its problems. Bill Gertz, who writes on national security issues for the Washington Times, examines a disturbing problem of how the Washington bureaucracy, especially in the State and Defense Departments, are undermining American war strategy and are thus threatening national security. They are motivated by political correctness, bureaucratic wool gathering, or just personal ego. The Failure Factory is a disturbing and illuminating book.
How to Live on Mars by Robert Zubrin
Years ago, Robert Zubrin, and engineer, writer, and visionary transformed the way we think of exploring Mars with his now classic book, The Case for Mars. In late 2008, Zubrin returned to Mars with a new book, How to Live on Mars. As with his previous Mars books, Robert Zubrin continues his thesis that the planet Mars represents the best hope of a frontier in order to challenge the energies and excite the imagination of the human race. Much of How to Live on Mars is series, discussions of ways to get there, space suits, and habitats. But some of How to Live on Mars goes into the whimsical, such as a discussion of how to meet the opposite sex on the Red Planet.
A Passion for Mars by Andrew Chaikin
Andrew Chaikin, who wrote A Man on the Moon, the best modern account of the Apollo program, has now done the same for efforts to explore Mars. Chaikin’s account has such disparate people as Wernher von Braun, Carl Sagan, Ray Bradbury, among others, who at one time or another dreamed of expeditions to Mars. A Passion for Mars is also a history of fleets of unmanned probes, starting with Mariner 4 in the mid 1960s, and including the Viking probes, Mars Pathfinder, and those two little rovers that have lasted for years past their designed lifespan. A Passion for Mars is a story that is still unfolding, as humans dream of new footprints on other worlds.