Part memoir, part political manifesto, from a controversial conservative who sounds like he’s preparing to run for public office. There is no doubting his sincerity or the courage of his convictions, as West details his formative years as the African-American son of a close-knit family that stressed education and had generations of military service.
The turning point for the author came when he was a battalion commander and received information that an Iraqi policeman had been conspiring with terrorists to help ambush American troops. “The policeman had been stonewalling our interrogators, and we needed results,” he writes. “So I made the decision to put additional pressure on him with a psychological intimidation tactic. I drew my pistol and threatened to kill him if he did not provide information.”
He got his information but lost his command, received a fine and a reprimand, and left the military with an honorable discharge. He subsequently served a single term as a Florida congressman and has been a commentator on Fox News. West, whose political positions aren’t as distinctive as his military experience, believes black voters are ill-served by a Democratic Party that takes them for granted: “[W]hen the left wins, our community loses. The result of such blind loyalty is that many black voters have come to resemble Vladimir Lenin’s ‘useful idiots.’ ” The Lenin reference isn’t gratuitous, for the author sees signs of communism, or at least creeping socialism, throughout a government that has grown bloated while betraying the principles of the Founding Fathers. “On college campuses,” he writes, “there are far too many political science departments following the dogma of Marx rather than Jefferson.” So what about the Republican Party? It is “slowly diluting itself into oblivion as it listens to talking heads say it can only be successful as ‘Democrat Lite.’ ”
With his philosophy shaped by the likes of Ayn Rand, no one will tag this author Democrat Lite.
Book Review from Kirkus Reviews
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