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Monday, July 20th, 2009

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1:12a
Great political memoir ...
For those of you playing along at home, I'm almost caught up with getting reviews done for the big stack of books that had built up here ... I just have three left to go, and they're all political, and they're all pretty "stale" at this point ... this one having waited nearly nine months for me to getting around to it. While I have general impressions of this from when I read it, the details have faded a bit, so I'm going to be fairly cursory on this.

Never Again: Securing America and Restoring Justice is something of a "political memoir" by former Attorney General John Ashcroft ... while having certain solid opinions, this book doesn't have a particular "axe to grind", and follows through several years (from Ashcroft losing his Senate seat to a deceased opponent to his resigning the A.G. office due to poor health) of some of the most tumultuous history the country has ever known.

Of course, the "elephant in the room" throughout the book, and what spurs the title, was the attacks of September 11th, 2001, but that is just one aspect of this, the efforts around that are interwoven with many other crises and challenges that Ashcroft had to face.

Not surprising, one of the main challenges he had was trying to resurrect the Justice Department after it had devolved into a subsidiary of the Clinton "dirty tricks" operation under Janet Reno. The festering morass of the Clinton regime (which created "the wall" between the CIA and the FBI to prevent the FBI getting wind of all the under-the-table cash deals that had been going down between the White House and the PRC) is dealt with in shocking detail in the early parts of this, with the horror show of the very people (Jamie Gorelick, etc.) who had intentionally crippled our intelligence services during the Clinton regime ending up on the "9/11 Commission"!

Of course, this is Ashcroft's version of the events, so I guess it's not surprising that the reader comes away with a bit of "heroic vision" of the man, but in the course of reading this my opinions of him shifted from "ambivalent" (having absorbed some of the unrelenting left-wing attacks from the media) to quite admiring his service to the country. However, I suspect that liberals and leftists of various stripes would, were they even able to pick up the book, have a total freak-out over it.

The writing here is pretty solid (not a given for a political book), and the "pacing" is pretty good. Needless to say, there was a lot of drama over the "Ashcroft years", so the subject matter doesn't need much "punching up". It provides a very interesting window into the G.W. Bush administration, and counters many of the "general knowledge" lies the Media has put out there about those years. I can only hope that THIS will be the historical view of the era, and not the deliberate propaganda campaign the execrable MSM spewed out for the previous eight years!

I am happy to report that Never Again is still in print, although I got my copy at the dollar store. It's a bit pricey for what it is ... there are "new" copies, however, available from the Amazon new/used vendors for as little as 1¢ ($4.00 with shipping), so that would be my recommendation, unless you're feeling real flush and wanting to make sure Mr. Ashcroft gets his royalties. Again, I very much enjoyed this book, but I suspect that the extent that you will love or hate it falls very much on how you feel on Clinton/Bush and Reno/Ashcroft scales!


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