S3 E03 – A Deep Dive into Putin’s Playbook with former DIA Agent Rebekah Koffler

As the Russian invasion of Ukraine commences and captures worldwide headlines, what people might not know is this is only a small portion of Vladimir Putin’s long game. What does he have planned next? What is the bigger picture? How does he plan to go about his ambitious goals?
With me on Book Spectrum for this episode is Rebekah Koffler, a Soviet-born former US intelligence officer with the DIA and author of the book, “Putin’s Playbook: Russia’s Secret Plan to Defeat America”
As we are seeing some of the Russian President’s games play out these days, Koffler says this has been in the works for a while. In Putin’s Playbook, Koffler goes in-depth on how Putin rose to power from behind the scenes to pushing himself onto the world stage. She also delves into:
Why Putin wants to rebuild the old USSR under his rule
How Putin wants to cement his legacy
Why Putin sees himself as the “Good Guy” amid the controversies with some of the former Soviet Republics
Putin’s disdain for NATO before and after publicly declaring the western treaty group as a threat to Russia’s existence.
When why and how Putin picks and chooses the times and circumstances involved with executing his plans
Are the US and the rest of the NATO nations strong enough to go against Putin in a potential world war or are they too weakened by internal wokeness policies to respond to the Russian threat?

Koffler’s goes inside the mind of the Russian oligarch in Putin’s Playbook.

S3 E01 – M K Lever Reveals the Dark Side of College Sports in Surviving the Second Tier

We kick off Season 3 of Book Spectrum with a new author, M. K. Lever, whose new book Surviving the Second Tier depicts a dystopian world with an all-powerful NCAA which consolidated every collegiate sport into one super smackdown league. Lever’s knockout debut book weaves major issues and themes throughout a parallel Earth and the main character, “Sis,” to display the real world truths that face athletes in the college athletic world as told by someone with experience inside and a track record of in-depth research into the system.

“I wrote this book to educate readers about the reality of the college sports industry, as someone who has been there before,” Lever says. “Sometimes, facts and statistics don’t stick with people and since we are intrinsically wired to follow narratives, I wanted to tell people a story in hopes that the message would resonate in a unique and powerful way. I wanted to give college sports the 1984 treatment and create a narrative that would be impactful and a little unsettling.”

Lever, a former Division 1 athlete and PhD candidate at UT Austin, combines her personal experiences as a student athlete and the weight of her academic research in areas concerning NCAA rhetoric, discourse, and policy to create her stunning and emotionally driven literary debut. She tells the story through “Sis,” who competes in the only NCAA sport, a no-holds-barred fighting league while dealing with trying to keep winning and maintaining a perfect GPA.

M. K. Lever is a doctoral candidate at the University of Texas, researching NCAA rhetoric and policy, and working as a freelance sportswriter and sports consultant. She graduated from Western Kentucky Univiersity with a B.A. in Communication Studies and an M.A. in Organizational Communication. While at WKU, she was a Division 1 athlete running track and cross country and was a two-time Sun Belt Conference champion in track and field (indoor and outdoor).

S2 E20 – Scott Shay Exposes Anti-Jewish Conspiracy Theories Being Taught at US Universities

While writing a tribute to his father, a survivor of the Holocaust who educated him on the importance of faith and Jewish values, Scott Shay was disturbed and dismayed to discover the presence of extremist anti-Zionist professors (Far Left and Far Right) on the faculty of his alma mater, Northwestern University. As a student of Jewish thought, history, and current events, who has written extensively on contemporary Jewish issues, he was compelled to take a deep dive into the world of anti-Zionist conspiracy theories and academia.

“I learned that Northwestern University, my beloved alma mater and a jewel of American academia, has enabled some of its professors to openly promote conspiracy theories,” says Shay. “Sadly, many academics can no longer even identify conspiracy theories. Professorial proponents insist that far from being conspiracy theorists, they are brave truth tellers.”

Set against the framework of Northwestern University’s motto, Conspiracy U not only illustrates the issues present when serious and trustworthy scholarship is abandoned in favor of theory and ideology, but proposes that the motto itself points toward a better option. Rather than dismissing ideology or giving it undue precedence, Shay suggests that the motto and the Golden Rule together form an unbiased and universally applicable framework which provides the intellectual and moral criteria to distinguish between facts and conspiracy theories, leaving room for diversity while also excluding approaches that devalue our common humanity.