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Mammon has lately diverted our attention from recording our thoughts, but not from fortifying them through daily reading. While today’s review is of Book #44 of 2012, the current tally stands at sixty.

Title: The Roots of Obama’s Rage, by Dinesh D’Souza

Motivation: Widely bruited in the conservative press

Completed: June 24, 2012 (#44)

Recommendation: Difficult to assess–A Superfluous Man is generally unfamiliar with the President’s writings and thus lacks the requisite background to form an educated judgment. “The better part of valor is discretion; / in the which part I have saved my life.”

Having recently read a biography of Benjamin Franklin, who discreetly declined to publish his more scandalizing thoughts, I will refrain from commenting publicly on so fraught an issue as the President’s intellectual biography. For those interested, Mr. D’Souza’s book advances the theory that the President’s thought derives neither from the socialist nor civil rights traditions but rather from the anti-imperialist writings of such authors as Franz Fanon, mediated via the President’s well-known Freudian quest for the father who abandoned him as a child.

A Superfluous Man is perhaps less inclined than most to view the lives of prominent American politicians as dramatic arcs leading ineluctably to White House apotheosis. There is something prurient about the President’s, his supporters’, and his detractors’ fixation upon the details of his life prior to becoming a household name in 2008. Sometimes, biography is simply events happening in sequence, no more, no less.

Be the President enraged or not, be he the second coming of Eugene V. Debs or of Gandhi, A Superfluous Man joins Candide: Il faut cultiver notre jardin.

A trailer for Mr. D’Souza’s upcoming movie is available here: