The iPINIONS Journal Vol XV

Commentaries on the Global Events of 2019—Volume Xv

Non-Fiction - Cultural
488 Pages
Reviewed on 03/16/2020
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Grant Leishman for Readers' Favorite

The iPINIONS Journal: Commentaries on the Global Events of 2019 is exactly what the title suggests; a collection of opinion blogs written and published (in real time) on author Anthony Livingston Hall’s weblog. This collection, one of many over the years, highlights the tumultuous events - political, cultural, sporting, and more - worldwide of 2019 and contains many controversial topics but also many which readers will not have come across in other political or even current affairs blogs. Hall, a Bahamian American, doesn’t just focus on the United States’ events but casts his current affairs net far and wide to look much more at the global perspective than the narrowly focused U.S. political perspective as many bloggers are wont to do. You will find considerable sections here devoted to such disparate events as riots in Egypt, Sudan, Venezuela, and elsewhere, through to Remembrance Day and the reasons we display poppies on our clothes on November 11th; from the great orange joke that is Trumpism through to why women’s basketball gets such lousy treatment from broadcasters. What are Putin’s and Xi’s motivations and why do we care? Hall seems to have an opinion on it all. I think it is fair to say that if it happened in 2019 and it was newsworthy (and sometimes even if it wasn’t) you’ll find it here and Hall’s often insightful but always interesting opinions on it.

As a collection of personal opinions, The iPINIONS Journal is always going to be just one man’s personal opinion but that is the beauty of these blogs. You may not always agree with author Anthony Livingston Hall’s personal opinion on a topic but I guarantee it will make you think and, more importantly, make you try to justify your own opinion within your own mind (well, that’s if you’re a rational, thinking, human being, it will, anyway). Sadly, and Hall is quick to point this out in numerous commentaries, many of us have become conditioned to accepting one paradigm and one only, usually that espoused by our preferred media source, be that CNN (Liberal) or Fox News (Conservative). We believe what they say, hook, line, and sinker, and often refuse point-blank to consider alternatives. What I liked most about Hall’s commentaries was although he is clearly a liberal and perhaps even a democratic socialist in his ideals, he doesn’t allow partisanship to deter him from calling out what he sees as folly on both sides of the political divide. He is just as likely to go after stupid decisions of, say, Obama as he is to criticize the buffoonery of Trump and his acolytes. To be fair, Trump gives us many more opportunities to ridicule him than Obama ever did to criticize him. I loved his comment; yes, the world is laughing at the U.S. and Trump but the jokes on us, folks, coz, we’re the bozos that elected him (paraphrased).

His comments on the failure of African leadership and the irony of African countries now seeking protection from their former colonial masters were both enlightening and incredibly sad. A review is way too short to possibly summarize the message in this excellent book. I, therefore, urge everyone to buy the book and sign up for this blog, as I now have, and get some variety and challenging opinion into your sanitized news diet. What an excellent read this truly was.

Lex Allen

The iPINIONS Journal Vol XV: Commentaries on the Global Events of 2019—Volume Xv by Anthony Livingston Hall was a surprise for me. First, I’d never heard of him or his work, and second, his journal entries were not only informative but also factual and impactful. I loved the always interesting, never dull writing style. Obviously, Mr. Hall has been around a while. He’s published an annual journal of global events since 2004, so I expected some interesting insights into global politics and events covering the year 2019. I got much more. Commentary and reviews of his journals have remained consistent throughout these past fifteen years and I deeply regret not reading any of them. I intend to make up for that oversight. Above and beyond a journal of major events, Hall provides commentary and intuitive understanding of these events in a way that brought to mind a combination of a modern-day Will Rogers and a more journalistic George Carlin, both heroes of mine.

Below are a couple of examples from previous reviews:
2007: "The commentaries by Anthony Livingston Hall are quietly reflective, tasteful, articulate, intelligent, and lack the notorious left/right bias that corporate America has so carefully cultivated." - Floyd M. Orr, July 20, 2007

I agree. I think it is difficult, if not impossible, to keep one’s personal opinions and prejudices from muddying the commentary waters. Hall does so seemingly effortlessly in a way reminiscent of my above-mentioned heroes—Rogers and Carlin.

2012: For Hall, like Shakespeare, all the world’s a stage, and all the men and women are players (often to be lampooned), with their entrances and their exits ("where it is truly shocking how soon we forget them"). As always, Hall tackles all of these topics and many more in his latest volume with his trademark confidence, flair, and humor. Highly recommended reading. - Caribbean News Now, May 31, 2012.

I found The iPINIONS Journal Vol XV fascinating, eye-opening and urgent in context and applicability to today's world. I was often shocked and simultaneously impressed by Anthony Livingston Hall’s ability to succinctly list an event, credit the media source, tie the event to the overall impact on world politics, economics, sports, social, etc., and include his own take on the subject in so few words. I’ve often pondered how our world, in general, got into its current malaise in regard to social aspects, politics, climate change and wars that have created tens of millions of refugees and hundreds of thousands of deaths. It’s easy to say that Trump is to blame, the globally political shift towards right extremism, the rise of religious bias and hatred, the list goes on, but there’s so much more to it than these generalizations. Mr. Hall should get a Pulitzer Prize for reporting all those bits and pieces that make up the generalizations that have led us to our (the human race) current situation of angst.

Romuald Dzemo

The iPINIONS Journal Vol XV: Commentaries on the Global Events of 2019—Volume Xv by Anthony Livingston Hall is a thought-provoking book that covers some of the most important moments of 2019. The author shares his thoughts and commentaries on a wide range of topics and issues, at times controversial, at times unveiling startling discoveries and details that are important enough to shift the reader’s perspective. In this volume, the author picks key topics and events from around the world and, with forensic clarity, analyzes them, inviting readers into a conversation about the effects of Trump’s art of diplomacy on Europe’s relationship with Iran, the ousting of African dictators (Mubarak of Egypt and Bashir of Sudan), the Ebola crisis, and much more on Africa.

Then there are contentious situations like the declaration by PM Netanyahu that Israel is ‘Only for the Jewish People,’ the implications of Brexit, Hurricane Dorian, and the social, cultural, and political impact it had. The author shares thoughts from unique angles on the Trump presidency, the Collusion story, and the Trump impeachment. From Africa to Europe to Asia, the author shares his views on the events that rocked the world in 2019. This is an interesting volume filled with social and political commentaries and what makes it unique is the author's invitation to readers to look past the obvious.

The iPINIONS Journal Vol XV is a fascinating read filled with a common-sense analysis of contemporary events. The effortless writing, the profusion of ideas, and the clarity of thought are distinctive elements of Anthony Livingston Hall’s work. The author invites readers into conversations over a wide range of topics and issues affecting contemporary culture, global economics, politics, and the ways we interpret current issues. He touches on a wide range of themes, including terrorism, racism, immigration, climate change, sports and entertainment, and a lot more. The writing is eclectic and readers with different tastes will definitely find something to ponder on within these pages. It is refreshing, entertaining, and a powerful invitation to embrace the one gift that is scarcely used by society these days — common sense.