Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Book Write-Up: What Works, by Cal Thomas

Cal Thomas.  What Works: Common Sense Solutions for a Stronger America.  Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2014.

Cal Thomas is a conservative syndicated columnist.  In What Works, Thomas bemoans what be believes are problems in America, and he proposes solutions.  The “problems” include reliance on government, sexual immorality, family breakdown, and radical Islam.  Thomas’ “solutions” include tax cuts, school choice, and spiritual revival.  Thomas maintains that his conservative beliefs are what works—-that many of them have worked in the past, and they can work now.

Thomas depicts himself in the book as one who is above the partisan fray, as one who believes that we should focus on what works rather than who gets the credit.  Yet, Thomas so often in the book criticizes Democrats and liberals.  The book, in my opinion, would have been much better had Thomas sought common ground with Democrats and liberals, or at least acknowledged the good things (according to his worldview) that Democrats and liberals are doing.  There are Democrats and progressives who are for helping poor people to find work, who are open to school choice, and who support reducing the number of abortions.  Thomas praised the other side (if you will), on some level, when he lauded the Nordics for entitlement reform and for bringing down their national debt.  If only I had seen more of this attitude in the book.

The book had some parts that I really appreciated.  Thomas told inspiring stories, stressed the need to help unemployed poor people find training and support so they can enter the work force, and promoted a justice system focused more on restoration than locking people up.  Progressives will probably disagree with a lot of what Thomas says and how he says it, but my hunch is that they will agree with him on some points.

Note: I received a complimentary review copy of this book through the BookLook Bloggers (http://booklookbloggers.com/) book review bloggers program.  The program does not require for my review to be positive, and my review reflects my honest reaction to the book.

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