More from the Shaggy Man: Essays by Leslie Evans

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August 7, 2013 · Posted in Our Ebooks 

386 pp. in paper. Kindle price: $9.50

This second volume of Leslie Evans’ Shaggy Man essays offers fifteen new selections. “On the Track of the Elusive Baron Long” offers the only extensive biographical sketch of one of Southern California’s most fascinating characters, creator in the little industrial city of Vernon, California, what is reputed to have been the first real night club in America. Long later hired a nineteen-year-old high school dropout to design the most exquisite and expensive hotel and casino in the Western Hemisphere.

 

Two pieces look at Peak Oil, challenging today’s hype that fracked oil in North Dakota and Texas will solve America’s energy problems. “Symptoms of U.S. Decline” presents statistics that show the United States has fallen far behind all the other advanced countries and even many from the third world on a wide range of indices from education to infrastructure, poverty, homelessness, healthcare, upward mobility, economic inequality, and prison populations.

 

“The Strange Case of Ahmad Kamal” tells how the CIA in the 1950s foolishly introduced the Muslim Brotherhood into Europe in hopes it would win over Soviet Muslims, as well as the story of the American adventurer Cimarron Hathaway, who, under the pseudonym of Ahmad Kamal, devoted his life to fighting for the independence of the Muslim peoples of Turkestan. “The Left and the Jews,” traces the attitude of the Marxist and anarchist left toward the Jews. Originally antisemitic, the socialist and Marxist Left came to welcome assimilationist Jews, while remaining hostile to Jewish national aspirations, calling on the Jews to disappear as an identifiable people.

 

“Why the Middle East Is Always in Crisis” traces the fatal decisions of the Western Powers at the end of World War I to create states in the former Ottoman Empire that threw together peoples with profound religious and ethnic hostilities, making the Middle East a region of perpetual violent turmoil.

 

“Bygone Days in West Adams” looks at some of the people and their homes in this once vaunted community on the edge of Downtown Los Angeles, from the days when a former gunslinger and singing waiter could become the richest man in America and an Italian immigrant farm worker could found the largest winery in the country.

 

“The Hunger Ahead” looks at the end of the Green Revolution as population continues its geometric growth, while arable land erodes, aquifers are drained, and global warming increasingly imperils food supplies.

 

Others look at the modern dictators and their opponents, the rightward evolution of the Republican Party, recent discoveries about the ancient religion known as Gnosticism, and L. Frank Baum’s Oz books.

Amazon Kindle ebook edition $9.50

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