Good Information with a Few Flaws
Reviewed in the United States on 13 March 2004
I just finished reading Deliver Us from Evil (I'm in school and did not have time to read it before spring break). I am pleased with the book overall, even though it has a few problems.
Just so you know my bias, I have been a strong conservative for the last three or four years. I listen to Sean Hannity when I get a chance, which isn't often anymore.
In chapters 2-4 of Deliver Us from Evil, Hannity does an excellent job of showcasing political evil in the world during the 20th century. He details nations' reactions to such incidents as Nazi Germany's aggression, the fall of the Shah the Ayatollah's rise to power in Iran, the buildup of the Soviet bloc, and Saddam Hussein's invasion of Kuwait. He identifies who confronted evil (Churchill, FDR, Reagan, George H.W. Bush) and who appeased it (Neville Chamberlain, Carter).
Next, in chapters 5-8, Hannity applies those lessons learned throughout the 20th century to the 1990s and the 21st century. He illustrates how the Clintons, during their presidency, opted for the Chamberlain-Carter path and allowed evil to persist, grow, and recruit followers. He mentions that the United Nations has followed the same path for a very long time. He also shows that President George W. Bush has confronted evil, much like Churchill and Reagan did, and has left the world safer as a result of standing up to al Qaeda and Saddam. Hannity recommends that we continue to elect leaders who will confront evil, not only because such confrontation works, but because it is morally right.
Chapter 9 and the epilogue are essentially detailed lists. First, Hannity explains why none of the 2004 Democrat presidential candidates is suitable for strong defense (at the time of writing, no primaries had happened, so it was not known that John F. Kerry would be the nominee). Then, in the epilogue, Hannity lists rogue nations and terror organizations with whom we need to deal in the near future before they deal with us. This material is extremely relevant, especially in the wake of yesterday's horrific terror attacks in Madrid.
STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESSES
I like the book, for two main reasons. First, while it won't win any converts from the far left, it will make decent people think about the need to oppose evil, including political and terrorist evil. Hannity states that Republicans are united in opposing evil, that Democrats are united in being on both sides of the issue, and that Republicans are correct on this particular issue. There is good and there is evil, not several shades of gray, and we should fight evil with force. There is a time for diplomacy but not at the risk of our security. This is Hannity's most important point, and he makes it brilliantly.
Second, Hannity's book voices a grievance that I have had against the anti-war left for a while. The grievance is that it is unreasonable to think that Saddam did not have any weapons of mass destruction (WMDs). Chapter 8, "Playing Politics at the Water's Edge," shows how the Democrats are pretending that there are no WMDs and using that non-fact to their political advantage. With everything we know about the materials and documents found after the war, as well as Saddam's expulsion of UN weapons inspectors years ago, no honest person can say that Saddam did not have WMDs. Yet the Democrats are saying just that en masse, as Hannity illustrates. If they cared about the nation and not just about political power, they would not say, "Why did we attack Iraq if there were no WMDs?" Instead, they would say, "Where in the world are the WMDs, and why haven't we found them yet?" This issue should scare Americans to death, but the Democrats twist it to oppose the President. I'm glad that Hannity is saying this, because President Bush hasn't had the presence of mind to push it.
While I'm impressed with the book, I'm unimpressed by two features of the book. First, I feel that Hannity is too strong in condemning the Clintons for Saddam's atrocities and for September 11. I agree that the Clintons should have stood up to evil more when they were in power. But early in the book, Hannity talks about personal responsibility for evil choices, and he is inconsistent when he then blames the Clintons for things like September 11. The terrorists and the dictators are responsible for the attacks and the atrocities. I cannot blame the Clintons for those.
Second, the literary style is unprofessional and amateurish in some ways. There are typographical errors (things spellcheck doesn't catch, like "an" instead of "at") and grammar problems, and while these don't make the content less important, they distract the reader. Also, the writing is more informal than I expected, the type I would expect if I were reading a really deep article in Sports Illustrated. A hardcover book is not a pop magazine or a radio show, and I expected more professionalism. An editor could have and should have caught things like this because they distract from the book's important content.
This is a fine book packed with good information on the evils of terrorism, despotism, and liberalism, and why they must be defeated. Hannity won't win many new friends, but he does fire up the base with his second book. I strongly recommend reading it if you have sincere doubts about the War on Terror.
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