Photo of Bill Moyers Bill Moyers Journal
Bill Moyers Journal
Bill Moyers Journal
Watch & Listen The Blog Archive Transcripts Buy DVDs

« When One Becomes Two... | Main | Growing Up Muslim in America »

Bill Moyers Reads...

Many viewers have asked about what Bill Moyers is reading. We've compiled some of the books and articles that have recently come up on his radar.

As always, tell us what' you're reading and thinking about.

In the news

"Beyond the News"
Mitchell Stephens for the COLUMBIA JOURNALISM REVIEW: "Journalists worry that the Web threatens the way they distribute their product. They are slower to see how it threatens the product itself."

"Newt Would Make a Great Show"

Former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay makes his case for Gingrich as a 2008 contender. June 19, 2007

"Unmarried couples lose legal benefits"
States that have banned gay marriage are beginning to revoke the benefits of domestic partners of public employees. Marisol Bello, USA TODAY, June 19, 2007

House Subcommittee on Commercial and Administrative Law
The Continuing Investigation into the U.S. Attorneys Controversy and Related Matters hears from outgoing top deputy to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales Deputy Attorney General, Paul McNulty on June 21, 2007.

Another Look

Pardon Him? Scooter Libby
As his jail date gets closer there's still talk about a pardon for Scooter Libby.

"Libby Attorneys Request Prison Term Delay"
ABC News, June 19, 2007

"Will Libby Remain Free?"
THE NATIONAL REVIEW's Byron York reconsiders his Sunday Morning talk show pronouncement on Libby's fate. June 19, 2007

Private Equity
Last week the labor leader Andy Stern talked about the influence of private equity firms. This week, the debate over the Blackstone Group's massive offering and proposed new Congressional regulation heats up.

"Blackstone IPO Faces Roadblock In Senate"
David Cho, THE WASHINGTON POST, June 15, 2007

"Blackstone to Set a Stock Offering Price Sooner Than Expected"
Michael J. de la Merced, THE NEW YORK TIMES, June 20, 2007

"Private Equity Eyes Next Tax Move By Congress,"
Kevin Drawbaugh, Reuters, July 19, 2007

"Hands off Private Equity"
THE NATIONAL REVIEW's Phil Kerpen on "a misguided proposal from senators Baucus and Grassley." June 20, 2007.

Find out what's happened since Christian Parenti's June 8, 2007 appearance on the JOURNAL.

"UK 'in Afghanistan for decades'"
"The UK presence in Afghanistan will need to remain for decades to help rebuild the country, British ambassador Sir Sherard Cowper-Coles has said." BBC, June 20, 2007.

"Aid groups decry Afghan civilian deaths"
Alisa Tang, Associated Press, June 19, 2007.

On the Bookshelf

Historian Elizabeth Brown Pryor re-evaluates the received image of Robert E. Lee through a trove of never-before studied personal letters.
Read an excerpt

A University of California historian examines how the nation's rise to power and globalization have made us unique but vulnerable to potentially destructive hubris.
Read an excerpt
Eric Rauchway on why be became a historian

Walter Nugent, "The American Habit of Empire, and the Cases of Polk and Bush. WESTERN HISTORICAL QUARTERLY, 38, Spring 2007
The President of the Western History Association takes a look back — and forward:

"Americans' historic experience with western expansion habituated them to empire-building, underpinned by the axiom of exceptionalism and the goal of extending liberty. This essay compares two examples of empire-building involving war: Polk in Mexico and George W. Bush in Iraq."


TrackBack URL for this entry:


I think that we should pull back are troops from the war in Afganistan.

Please offer for sale DVD/VHS of Secret Government: Constitution in Crisis. It is becoming even more relevant today.

Please put "the Secret Government" on DVD ASAP. I want everybody to see this magnificent reporting.

I would like the opportunity to buy a DVD of the 1987 documentary "The Secret Government: The Constitution in Crisis".

Three important things:
1.Yesterday the House of Representatives went into secret session (very rare procedure) to discuss matters of national security. No one can say publicly, but it may pertain to events in South America and the ramping up of covert action against Venezuela and other hegemony resistant states. Manufactured evidence is emphasized in the media (including former CIA field operative Diane Rheim's Show today). Just what ze Faderland needs, another war front.
2. Winter Soldier hearings are in progress at the National Labor College in Silver Spring, Md. Testimony will continue today and throughout the weekend. It is available streaming on Pacifica affiliates, especially WPFW in Washington, D.C. Accounts of soldier mistreatment as well as war crimes are expected. Do service members have to mutiny for sanity and justice? Will these facts make it into mainstream media? Moyers?
3.Staff leaks tend to confirm Clinton and Obama as wishy-washy on such issues as universal healthcare and quick withdrawal from Iraq occupation. They seem to indicate a real-politick behind empty promises. Meanwhile McCain promises 100 more years in the face of economic cascade failure.(exceeded only by Ron Paul's stone age politics) How will we hold Democrats to their word without real actions such as general strikes, boycotts and demand marches? Sit there in front of your TV while your livelihood is usurped as corporate profits then!
Bill Moyers has now been a hostage 41 days and can't talk about any substantive issues....

I saw your program on March 11, 2008. (Bill Moyer Journal)
The thing you did not bring up is: how the house of representatives and the Senate voted on the critical resolutions. Both the houses never questioned thae data presented to them and to their committees.War on Afghanistan should have been more specific and not allow the President to to pre-emptively strike any country (if they supposedly harbor or support terrorists). The Iraq resolution: We had total control Iraq Air and Ground. How come the Congresss and the Senate raise the Question: Show and support your conclusion!How come they voted for them? I think your program should have taken the elected official to task and light a fire under them for failing to do their job. Perhaps it is our fault, but I think you should relay the message on the next program.
Inam Haque

I saw some clips of the 1987 documentary "The Secret Government: The Constitution in Crisis" on the Web and would like to buy the DVD as well. This DVD would make a great present for friends and family.

This is also a good DVD for elderly relatives because they aren't on the web much, but statistically they vote more than anyone else.

Every person in the US needs to see this film.

Please make it available in the NPR Shop.

I too would like the 1987 documentary "The Secret Government: The Constitution in Crisis" on DVD. It can't be that expensive or time consuming to burn any any requested back episode, can it? Re-release, please.

Does anyone know who owns the 1987 PBS documentary:
The Secret Government: The Constitution in Crisis, by Bill Moyers.
Although this video is widely available to watch for free over the internet it seems impossible to find a DVD copy of it for purchase.
Not terribly interested in 'have you tried' replies so much as anyone with direct knowledge of where one can purchase a quality DVD of it.
Thank you.

Overthrow by Stephen Kinzer
All the Shah's Men by Stephen Kinzer

Both are quite eye opening about the U.S. role in puppeteering governments and insight into some of the reasons why many 'hate us'!

Ron Paul is also:
Against Net Neutrality.
Does not believe in separation of church and state.
Does not support federal subsidy. programs like student loan, grants, Medicare,
Medicaid, federally funded flood insurance, etc. (This is in keeping with his far right political views).
Is against National Health care.
Supports vouchers-Government funding of private and religious schools.
Against stem cell research.
Voted to BAN Family Planning funding.
Voted to EASE procedures on the purchase and registration of firearms (Hello! Virginia Tech, Columbine, etc!!).
Wants to ABOLISH Medicare.
Voted NO to increase the Minimum Wage.
Voted YES to make the Bush tax cuts permanent.
Poor record on environmental issues.
Poor record with unions, education, AARP, League of Conservation Voters, Bread for the World, Partnership for the Homeless.
Wants to abolish Roe v Wade.
A+ rating by Gun Owners of America and Rated A by the NRA so accepts no safety or rational precautions on gun laws.

I recommend the book, "Mistakes Were Made, but Not By Me" by Carol Tavris and Elliot Aronson. Both authors, skilled social psychologists and writers, explain with clarity the self-serving biases to which we are all liable. This may be the single most important book concerning the built-in mechanisms in the human brain for rationalizing, and stubbornly sticking to courses of action that is proving obviously mistaken. Perhaps Mr. Moyers might even host these compelling authors on his show!

Angel On Vacation by NVM: it's funny, it's credible, and it answers all important questions!

The Forgotten Cause of the Civil War: A New Look at the Slavery Issue (Paperback)
by Lawrence R. Tenzer

Tenzer shows that the white Southern slaves produced by a combination of racial mixture and the maternal descent rule were viewed as white people by Northerners, who had good reason to fear that any white person ("mixed" or "pure") could be kidnapped by slave catchers and sold into slavery in the South.

Tenzer also destroys the argument of those neo-Confederates who contend that the Southern states (called The Slave Power in the North) were merely resisting the tyranny of a federal government. The Slave Power effectively controlled Congress and the Presidency for most of the antebellum period. The "3/5 Rule" gave congressmen from the slave states the right to represent slaves (people who obviously couldn't vote), thereby giving them far more power than they would have received if they had been limited to repre! senting free persons.

Free states exercised "states' rights" by passing personal liberty laws to nullify the effects of the federal Fugitive Slave Law. This law gave the accused slave no rights to bring witnesses, have a jury, or any other forms of due process. The judge was authorized by the law to receive a larger fee if he ruled against the slave than if he ruled in his favor. Tenzer also shows that, when you consider the low wages of the average Southern white male, coupled with sharp rises in slave prices, slave catching was a tempting business. The slave catcher would earn more with one kidnapping expedition than he could earn by a year or two of hard labor.

Many liberals historians ask why Northern whites would fight a civil war to free "blacks" they didn't consider equal. The obvious answer is that they saw slavery as a threat to whites. There was not only the issue of the white slaves, but the constant denigration of a free society by the! intellectual defenders of slavery. Slavery apologists con! stantly stated that their slaves were better off than free white laborers in the North. More than that, the pro-slavery intellectuals defended slavery as a good in and of itself, regardless of "race" or "color." Tenzer shows that Republican party political literature of the antebellum period took the threat of white enslavement seriously.

I have a concern, that I believe will have a major negative affect on the Middle Class in the US.

It is now an accepted practice for Companies that have outsourced to countries like India to now identify individuals on the US Mainlnad that are paid more than the individuals in India - it is now a practice to replace these US Citizens with Indian Nationals.

This is a direct attack on the middles class in America and is morally repugnant and unpatriotic.
I do know of one fortune 500 company (for a fact) and is being pursued as we speak.

Are there other companies out there applying this policy of replacing US Citizens with Indian Workers - soon to be expanded to China, Vietnam etc .

'tis the season...

What a Party!

by Terry McAuliffe

some of it is laugh out loud stuff.

I'm recommending a book I haven't yet read, which was discussed on a local program last night. It is "The Navajo People and Uranium Mining" by Doug Brugge - firsthand accounts from the survivors of the mining done in the Navajo region in the early days of setting up nuclear power plants. Very important reading for anyone who thinks that nuclear is "clean and green."

I am reading "They Thought They Were Free - The Germans 1933 - 45" by Milton Mayer

It is a book written in 1955 discussing the conversations and beliefs of Germans regarding their private lives and thoughts during the Nazi regime. It explains how it came to pass that Hitler was allowed to take over their nation, a cultured, religious nation. The author is a gifted writer and the subjects are contemporaries of his who survived the war. They discuss their views while they work side by side rebuilding their neighborhoods after WWII.

The eye opening aspect of the book is that as I read it I keep forgetting it is about Germany during the rise of the Third Reich. It is so contemporary and it sounds EXACTLY like life in the United States of America TODAY; during what I believe to be the rise of the Fourth Reich. This book is a real eye opener. Written in 1955 when our nation was so anti fascist and gung ho for the working man, it is hard to believe that this could -- and would happen in our country.

I have finally learned how it was that the German people "let it happen" and I have shifted my feelings of "fault" to include my own people.

Dear Sir,
I just watched your program about the inaccurate journalistic reporting leading up to the war in Iraq. As a veteran of both VietNam and the 1991 Gulf War I was pleased to see such a story.
I have long known that our country is in the habit of putting dictators in power, then not being able to control the results.
Good examples, Castro, Allende, Noriega,the Shah of Iran, Saddam Hussein, and most of the leaders of the VietNam war to mention a few. Hell, we even sold the Japanese the steel that made the planes that bombed Pearl Harbor.
As a veteran of the Gulf War I can say that we should have and could have dispatched Saddam Hussein with one S.E.A.L. team. Why didn't we? Simplest reason of all..Politics, and Saudi oil. I was a nurse in that war and had a chance to speak with an Iraqi Air Force Captain who had defected. His verbage to me was that the war was all about oil and control in the middle east.
He was right. Do you know that per capita of troops in Iraq vs. VietNam we have lost more in this present conflict?
So, when are the American people going to stop believing the "spin" our corrupt officials give us and elect statesmen instead of self-serving politicians?

I'm in the middle of "Blackwater"the story of how US mercenaries came into being, who started them and where they are now being used all over the world. I find it one of the scariest books I have read in a long time, since they are under no military or civilian authority while on 'duty'. Most Americans don't even know about them, that they were used in New ORleans after the flood (the state's Nat. Guard was mostly in IRaq) and how they have been setting up bases for supplies and staging for a possible war with Iran for the last two or three years.

Current books: _Infidel_, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, intense, troubling, and enlightening. George Tenet's _At the Center of the Storm_, so far a bit whiny. Will see if he improves. Re-reading Mary Austin's _Land of Little Rain_ and Rachel Carson's _Silent Spring_, with particular concerns about that stupid "fence" on the Texas-Mexico border, where I grew up.

I am reading "Cosmic Jackpot" by Paul Davies, on Why our Universe is just right for life. He covers physics in a way that a layman can understand, with many graphs and illustrations. He brings in current knowledge and doesn't presume to have all the answers. In fact, he leaves the reader looking forward to the next 'genius' with the next step in the further expansion of knowledge.

I am reading Irshad Manji's "The Trouble with Islam".
What an incredibly honest and informative book from an exceptionally briliant, brave and passionate Canadian-Islamic woman. She even offers one of the possible explanations as to why so many young Muslim men are willing to die as suicide bombers - the promise from recruiters of access to 70 virgins in heaven. No kidding. A must read for anyone wanting to understand more about how we all got into this mess of misunderstanding. It may all be in the translation, as they say, or in the some cases within the Bible and the Koran, the inaccurate translations. Misinterpretation and manipulation are right up there too! Brain tingling.

I am reading "Holding the Bully's Coat: Canada & the US Empire," by the wonderful Toronto Star journalist Linda McQuaig. She sharply criticizes the current conservative government and its business constituents for enabling the Bush administration in some of its worst excesses. She argues that the below-the-radar economic integration negotiations between the two countries not only undermine the health and wealth of individual Canadians but also threaten Canada's reputation as a fair player and voice for peace in world affairs. Since most media have not covered the economic story, it seems likely that once again ordinary Canadians and Americans will be sacrificing their quality of life for the sake of a few business elites.

I started reading Are We Rome?: The Fall of an Empire and the Fate of America by Cullen Murphy after seeing him on Colbert's show. I'm planning to follow it with a second reading of The Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire.

What's really on my mind, and why I'm posting here, is Mr. Moyer's 1987 PBS documentary The Secret Government: The Constitution in Crisis that I recently found posted on the internet. I was only four years old at the time but I couldn't help but draw parallels between it and the current administrations efforts to circumvent the law.

Twenty years after Iran-Contra, it would be appropriate for PBS to compare the challenges and scandals our nation faced confronting communism with those we face today. It's important for the people of my generation who never experienced the cold war to know the road we are heading down before it's too late.

I've just finished reading THE TIPPING POINT by Malcolm Gladwell. In a similar vein to the terrifically engaging FREAKONOMICS, it studies the root causes of things, with a particular focus on the types of people that makes small things become big things.

Be aware that the CIA has a long-standing program to "change our culture"

Especially through writers!

A european TV documentary made it public recently.

I highly recommend the new book by David C. Korten, "The Great Turning: From Empire to Earth Community." Although I have not yet finished it, it seems that this may be one of the most important books of our time, at least in my view.

Although this phrase is over-used, I enthusiastically put this book in the MUST READ category!

As always, thank you Mr. Moyers for your incredible balance, logic and reason. Your work brings light to much of the darkness in our current society.

I recommend reading Cowboy in Caracas, a book by Charlie Hardy which describes in detail some of the shenanigans the US has pulled in Venezuela and what we are continuing to do to undermine a democratic Country in South America

I also have been reading Chalmers Johnson, also Young J. Edgar, by Kenneth Atkinson which explains the roots of government attacks on free speech after WWI, and Gertrude Bell, Queen of the Desert by Georgina Howell which tells the story of the Bell Maps and the dividing up of the Middle East after WWI.

I have been reading Chalmers Johnaon, Norm Chomsky, Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, The Record of a Newspaer, and Empire's Workshop. I have ordered Al Stern's book.

please have Ron Paul on Your show he’s agents the war and wants to bring our tropes home get rid of homeland security get us out of nafta
Randell Marsh

Post a comment

THE MOYERS BLOG is our forum for viewers' comments intended for discussing and debating ideas and issues raised on BILL MOYERS JOURNAL. THE MOYERS BLOG invites you to share your thoughts. We are committed to keeping an open discussion; in order to preserve a civil, respectful dialogue, our editors reserve the right to remove or alter any comments that we find unacceptable, for any reason. For more information, please click here.

A Companion Blog to Bill Moyers Journal

Your Comments


THE JOURNAL offers a free podcast and vodcast of all weekly episodes. (help)

Click to subscribe in iTunes

Subscribe with another reader

Get the vodcast (help)

For Educators    About the Series    Bill Moyers on PBS   

© Public Affairs Television 2008    Privacy Policy    DVD/VHS    Terms of Use    FAQ