Book Hints

A selective mention of books received


Authors with a nongovernmental bias seem to be slowly infiltrating the textbook market, most recently with Peter H. Aranson's American Government: Strategy and Choice (Cambridge, Mass.: Winthrop Publishers, 1981,689 pp., $18.95). Aranson analyzes public policies and institutions from the approach that "the fundamental unit of analysis should be the individual human being," and his harsh criticisms of public policy have distressed some more liberal reviewers.

A more specialized text by James D. McCawley, Everything That Linguists Have Always Wanted to Know about Logic (But Were Ashamed to Ask) (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1981, 508 pp., $12.50 paper), is prefaced with the author's warning that he views logic "as a resource to be exploited according to one's aims rather than as a legal code to be obeyed, and of logicians as merchants and manufacturers of potentially useful products that one is free to buy or not." There follows a quote from Bakunin on the limits of authority (and authorities).

Of more general interest is Interests and Rights: The Case against Animals by R.G. Frey (Oxford, N.Y.: Clarendon Press, Oxford University Press, 1980, 176 pp., $24.95). Frey takes the now-unpopular view that the capacity to feel pain cannot be used as the moral basis for animal rights and that animals have neither interests nor desires nor beliefs. He refers to two pieces by Michael Martin on animal rights appearing in Reason Papers (Fall 1976 and Winter 1979). The Philosophy of Human Rights (Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1980, 272 pp., $27.50), on the other hand, offers international and historical perspectives on the concept of human rights, including an essay by REASON Senior Editor Tibor A. Machan on the application of human rights to societies emerging from semifeudalism.

Followers of Trends may be familiar with the ongoing United Nations Law of the Sea Conference, which is attempting to set up an "international" governing authority to control the use of a collectivized ocean. Ross D. Eckert's The Enclosure of Ocean Resources (Stanford, Calif.: Hoover Institution Press, 1979, 390 pp., $16.95) defends the thesis that national 200-mile-enclosure zones rather than a "public" ocean will more effectively reduce any overexploitation of ocean resources. Two brief examinations of disastrous government interventions are Stuart M. Butler's critique of intervention in the housing industry, More Effective Than Bombing (London: Adam Smith Institute, 1980, 23 pp., £.1.00), and Rep. Ron Paul's explanation of how the US currency was ruined, Gold, Peace, and Prosperity (Lake Jackson, Tex.: Foundation for Rational Economics and Education, 1981, 52 pp:, $5.00).

Practical approaches to dealing with governmental encroachments on private lives can be found in these next three books: How to Totally Avoid Estate Taxes by Gilbert M. Cantor (Wilmington, Dela.: Enterprise Publishing, 1981, 282 pp., $19.95) expounds the "Cantor Loophole" (Cantor is an attorney and a Harvard Law School graduate), while Small Claims Court (Washington, D.C.: HALT-Americans for Legal Reform, 1981, 61 pp., $15/membership is one of five legal manuals that HALT distributes to first-year members. The other step-by-step manuals are on shopping for a lawyer, real estate, probate, and using a law library. Also published by Enterprise is Ted Nicholas's How to Form Your Own Non-Profit Corporation without a Lawyer for under $75 (1981, 141 pp., $14.95). Like Nicholas's previous down-to-earth how-to books, this one is replete with tear-out forms, sample papers, and relevant addresses.

Also rife with names and addresses (over 400 suppliers) is a catalog for survivalists edited by Martha Henderson, The Great Survival Resource Book (Boulder, Colo.: Paladin Press, 1980, 185 pp., $19.95). A more esoteric catalog ranging from the bizarre to the mundane is a new entry from Loompanics, 1981 Main Catalog (Mason, Mich., 1981, 147 pp., $3.00). Proprietor Michael Hoy warns in his preface that some of the books offered may be revolting to some (The Executioner's Handbook indeed!) but, murder and torture section aside, it does offer a listing of some hard-to-find books.

Speaking of which, Prometheus Books brings us a reprint of Houdini's classic exposé Miracle Mongers and Their Methods (Buffalo, N.Y., 1981, 240 pp., $13.95) with a foreword by conjuror James Randi. Randi is also a contributor to another Prometheus volume, Paranormal Borderlands of Science (1981, 490 pp., $12.95), containing 47 articles that examine the more "publicized claims of paranormal phenomena. It is edited by Kendrick Frazier, a former editor of Science News and now editor of the Skeptical Inquirer. Prometheus has also just published Antony Flew's The Politics of Procrustes: Contradictions of Enforced Equality (1981, 216 pp., $16.95.). In it, Flew discusses some of the key topics at issue between libertarians and statists in a down-to-earth yet rigorous manner.