Tempting Faith by David Kuo.
This is a fast easy read. The book is mis-represented by most of the reviews that I have read. They greatly over-emphasize the fact that politicians exploit the religious. The reviewers use this as more proof of the evil of Bush. The sense of the book is more that this is inherent in all politicians (both left and right) and that both the Democrats and the Republicans have exploited their religious supporters (the religious right and the black churches respectively). There is not a sense of outrage. There is a sense that this is the inevitable nature of politicians, and that the religious should understand this and not fall into the politicians traps.
Kuo points to the "Screwtape Letters" as a prime example of how this exploitation was clearly visible to CS Lewis as well. It is the stronger message of Kuo and Lewis that the religious should not look to politics as the path to build a better world. They should build a better world through their own efforts, using politics as a secondary or defensive mechanism. He looks at the many politically oriented messages and finds very little of the Christian virtues that he loves.
Mao, the untold story
This is a massive tome. The tone is very hostile towards Mao, who is uniformly a narcistic, evil man. His life seems to be that of the successful psychopath, leaving misery in his wake. He has even less personal appeal than Hitler or Stalin.
It does make clear the extreme obsession with "secret communist sympathizers" found in the 1950's cold war. A great deal of Mao's final success in seizing China rested on having fully penetrated the Chinese Nationalists with sleeper agents who were activated after many years of secrecy. The origin of the success was the chaos after the collapse of the Chinese empire into a mass of competing warlords. The creation of the Chinese republic out of this chaos left many openings for the planting of sleeper agents. I had earlier thought this as irrational behavior. It now seems just to be an over-reaction to the Chinese experiences.
It is well written, easy to read, and a good overview of Chinese history during the Mao period.
Mask Market, Vachss
Another Burke book. This is a lesser effort. It's worth reading as a continuation of the Burke series, but it is not as powerful or involving as most of the earlier books. It is not a good introduction to either Vachss or the Burke series.