Book review time. As our country wills itself deeper into the morass, I’d like to point out three books, among others, that provide insight into what is going on. I’ve previously noted Jane Mayer’s Dark Money, the nuts and bolts of how the ultra- rich – think Koch brothers, corporate money – think Citizens United, and the reactionary right, have waged a campaign to buy state and federal elections, appoint judges, and control or manipulate the media and academia to overturn the liberal humanistic impulses of the ’60s. I’m currently reading Andrew J. Bacevich’s America’s War for the Greater Middle East, which documents our egregiously failed military campaigns, in Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere in the Middle East, sewing chaos and sectarian violence as we go, all the while periodically exclaiming “mission accomplished.” Yeah, it’s a good read. Finally, I recently read (courtesy of my daughter Amy at McGill-Queen’s University Press) Invasion 14, Maxence Van der Meersch’s “lightly fictionalized” account of life in German occupied France during the first world war, a truly gripping and nuanced look at the complexities of what happens when one power occupies another and attempts to impose its values. The account resonates with the current day because people don’t change, whether it’s in France or Vietnam or Iraq and Iran. They don’t take lightly to being coerced or told what to do. And often what one gets is a lesson in unintended and often tragic consequences.