Saturday, March 31, 2012

GF Yeast Bread

Several years ago, I posted about the challenges of creating a good gluten free yeast bread.  And truthfully, I've not progressed much beyond that.  I can probably count on one hand the number of times I've made a from scratch gluten free bread.  I just don't.  We simply do without bread for the most part.

But this year for the soup and sandwich suppers that the youth group at our church puts on during Lent, a couple of my kids were assigned sandwiches for two of the weeks.  And we were asked to provide a gluten free option for those who need it.  (There are several people in our congregation who eat gluten free, so most of the groups that provide for our various activities also kindly provide gluten free selections.)

Hmmm.  Gluten free sandwiches for church...What are my options?  An outrageously priced store bought loaf of cardboard like slices.  Use one of the many mixes available these days, also somewhat expensive, but also a bit inconvenient, since it would mean remembering to put the unusual item it on my list when I go to town.  Or bake bread from scratch.

Now the from scratch is not impossible.  Really, it's not even difficult.  But I had this curtain of fear built up over the years.  I was going to putz around with a lengthy process, to arrive at a less than satisfactory final product.  Who wants to do that?  Especially when I have to first, find my kitchen counter top; and second, pull out the big mixer that sits in the corner behind everything. 

Sad when culinary decisions are made based upon the amount of mess in the kitchen.  Really, really sad.  But so it is in this season of my life.  It has not always be so, and I'm confident it will not always be.  But since that's where I'm at right now, I have to work from that starting point.

The first week, I had found out there would only be two GF eaters at church that night.  So that got me off the hook a bit.  I found a loaf of Ener-G brand Tapioca Loaf Joe had in the freezer and offered sandwiches on that.  Not my proudest moment as far as offering food for a public occasion.  But it got the job done.

The third week, I was assigned corn bread muffins to accompany the chili, so that was great.  Very easy to adapt for gluten free. No problems there.

But I really wanted to make some nice bread to offer our GFers at the last soup supper.  So I set my mind to it and got it done.

(I won't go into details, however on the two jelly roll pans of bars I was also supposed to provide, and totally spaced out. Sorry everyone.  I was concentrating so hard on the Gluten Free bread I forgot the bars.  I might also add, in my defense, that since we have four children in LYS now, we are assigned four items and I somehow I got mixed up on which child was supposed to bring what.  Between the pickles, crackers, and GF and Reg sandwiches, I thought that was it.  But unfortunately, I found out the hard way, that the sandwiches were all one, and the pickles and crackers also went together.  Arrgh!  Oops, I guess I did go into details.  Sorry.  Slip of the keyboard.)

For the bread, at which I was successful, I used Kelli and Pete Bronski's recipe from their Artisanal Gluten Free Cooking.  I use their flour mix for my primary GF baking mix, so I thought their bread recipe would be a good place to start.  I was also pleased to find out that their recipe does not need a big stand mixer, so I wouldn't need to drag mine out of the corner.  The Bronskis have recently put the finishing touches on a new and improved edition of their original cookbook.  I can't wait to see it after it is released in early June.  According to the description on Amazon, "This expanded and updated edition, now four-color throughout, includes 50 all-new photographs, 25 new recipes such as Penne a la Vodka, Bagels, and Red Lentil Dal, and more nods to vegetarian and vegan eaters."

  • 2 1/4 c milk
  • 2 tbs sugar
  • 1 tbs salted butter
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
Combine in small saucepan over medium heat until butter is melted, and the ingredients have warmed to about 120F. 
  • 3 c GF flour blend
  • 1 c sorghum flour
  • 1 tsp xanthan gum
  • 1 1/4 tsp yeast
Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl.  Add the milk mixture and mix to combine.  The dough will be very sticky.

Spread dough into greased 9x5" bread pan.
Cover and let rise in a warm, draft free location.
Bake in a preheated 375F oven for 40 minutes.

GF Date Cake

For a dessert, this cake can't be beat served warm and topped with a dollop of freshly whipped cream.

For a simple and yummy breakfast cake, I mix my dry ingredients the night before and soak the dates overnight.  I also leave a post-it note on the lid of the storage container noting the few remaining ingredient I have to remember in the morning.  Then, even through my morning fog, I can still pull off a good breakfast for the kids.

I often have one of the kids make up a dry mix on the weekend, as part of their weekend chores, and it's ready for use whenever I need it.

When I use it for breakfast, I also cut the sugar to one cup.  It's really good with the full amount; but no matter how tasty, we probably don't need a dessert for breakfast.

GF Date Cake
  • 3 c GF flour blend (I use the Bronski's Artisan blend)
  • 1 c almond meal
  • 1 1/2 c sugar (I use evaporated cane juice crystals)
  • 4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 tsp xanthan gum
  • 1/2 c coconut oil
  • 1/2 c butter
Mix dry ingredients together and cut in fats.  If you are premixing it, you can cover and label at this point.
  • 1 1/2 c snipped dates
  • 1 c boiling water
Combine and let soak at least an hour, or overnight.
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla
Mix all together and pour into greased cake pan.  I use a 10x15" pan and bake it for about 35 minutes at 350F.

If you use the standard 9x13" cake pan, you will have to tweak it.  I suspect one 9x13 will be very full and may not bake well.  But you could try it and see, just adding baking time to account for the extra thickness.  Or use a 9x13" plus either a 9x9"  or 9" round; or even two 9x13" pans.  Or cut the recipe by 1/4 or so.  But that takes an awful lot of thought;  you're on your own there.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Laughter and Tears and Happiness

I got it all on the trip into Oklee today to pick up the Wednesday school kids. 

First off I heard Sara Evans singing Suds in the Bucket.  OK, no problem there.  I'm glad I'm not sentimental about music or kids growing up.

"Our little pony-tail girl growed up to be a woman
Now she's gone in the blink of an eye"

Oh-oh, in a spit second I went from just fine and enjoying the song, to tears springing up and even sobs wracking forth.

Can you say Looney Tunes?

In course of time, I recovered from that shocking outburst.  Shwew!

(The video I linked is hilarious, by the way.  Not at all sentimental.  Unless of course, I'm just seeing it through the lens of another of my wildly swinging moods.  Maybe?  Well, whatever.  Take what you want from it.)

Next up was Luke Bryan's Drunk on You.

"Girl you make my speakers go "BOOM BOOM""

Baaaah, haaaa haaaaaaaaaaa!  Belly laughter.  Oh my.  Really?  That's the kind of lyrics that make my sister so mock country music.  Puh-lease.   Speakers go boom booom.  Heard it called alot of things...  Haaaa, haaa, haaa.

After that I heard pretty much nothing.  Flipping through the stations for something good.  But then on the way home after getting all the kids loaded up, flipping through the stations again, I hit the jackpot.  I heard the announcer say something like, "Next up, Zac Brown Band with Chicken Fried."  All right!  Now that's more like it!  A great band's great song about the simple things in life.  Food, clothing, home, family and freedom.  And to acknowledge that we owe God above the thanks for all of it.  All that set in Zac Brown Band's richly textured musical style.

What more could a person ask for in a song?

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Etch-A-Sketch Anyone?

Oh, my goodness!  Etch-A-Sketch?  Really, Mr. Fehrnstrom?

In an attempt to explain away GOP hopeful Mitt Romney's perceived conservatism, Romney's senior campaign advisor Eric Fehrnstrom offered these words of assurance, "I think you hit a reset button for the fall campaign. Everything changes. It's almost like an Etch-A-Sketch. You can kind of shake it up, and we start all over again."

So this is supposed to comfort and re-asssure us about Gov. Romney.

Ever hear the term Kinsley gaffe?  I hadn't until now, but I certainly think Mr. Fehrnstrom's statement could qualify.  A Kinsley gaffe is when a politician, in a moment of carelessness, accidentally tells the truth.  

Conservatives have been saying throughout the campaign that Gov. Romney is not a true conservative; and that he has shifted his alleged views too many times over the years to be trustworthy.  Now his campaign advisor has publicly agreed. 

The pundits are divided on whether or not it will make a difference.  Some say it will help, because Romney needs the moderate vote and will be more likely to get it after this statement.  If I was a moderate, I'd find that idea somewhat insulting.  It seems to imply that moderates have no opinions and are only swayed by the persuasive language of any given day.

Others have hoped it will crush him, and allow one of the more conservative candidates to ascend.

And still others have asserted that it will make no difference at all.  I tend to kind of agree.  Political and current event memory is often very short in this day of 24/7 news.  This is not to say that we are all wishy-washy and can only keep our mind on current things.  But it is more a result of the vast amount of news and information that is yet to come out  Many choice tidbits surrounding any candidate will continue to first trickle out and then eventually gush forth. This escalating flow of inflammatory soundbites and other derogatory information will effect all candidates (but especially, of course, the conservatives) between now and first, the Republican convention in Tampa Bay, in August; and later the eventual November election.

To see a time lapse Etch-A-Sketch of Candidate Romney, see artist, Bryan Lee Madden's cool Etch-A-Sketch blog.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

In the Pursuit of Coffee

Our coffee maker has punked out again.  This time it was the result of a child (who's identity remains a mystery) spilling half of a crockpot of beef bone broth all over the kitchen counter, including down the front of the coffee maker where the switch was located.

But a small appliance malfunctioning is a common thing for us.  Everything around our house gets used well and is subjected to a greater than average amount of wear and tear.  The dishes get done by kids.  Sometimes food and drink get served by kids.  Meals get prepped by kids.  Things meet a faster demise in this scenario, because kids are learning and they make mistakes.  And when a family has this many children, the mistakes and accidents are numerous.  TheMom has less time and energy to deal with timely and thorough clean-up of such mistakes, or the proper training in such clean-up.  And the kids have to be more independent to improvise their own solutions to such accidents.

This time, however, the mistake was not cleaned up at all.  Apparently, no attempt at cleaning up was even made.  Instead the spilled broth sat all over the countertop, spattered atop, and skimming in amidst and congealing beneath the appliances, until I discovered it several hours later. 

Alas, the coffee maker could not be salvaged.  I wiped it all off and filled it as usual, and tried to set the timer.  But the digits would not show up.  Hmmm.  Well, maybe the coffee will still brew with the manual switch.  Come morning, however, the water sat comfortably in the well and stubbornly refused to enter the filter and so pass through the waiting grounds.  Hmmm.

But not to worry.  We've been without automatic drip coffee makers before and are well-prepared to make coffee in other manners.  We have a stove-top percolator.  We have a campfire percolator.  We have several different sized triangular plastic filter holders, into which we can place a filter, and which is then balanced over a jar or thermal carafe while the boiling water is poured through.

I'm not in the mood for dealing with the percolator.  This is just too putzy for my current state of mind.  But the triangle filters, they too have their own brand of putziness.  They tend to get plugged up and then drip slowly enough that the first coffee is cooling off before the later pourings have seeped into the carafe.

Yes, I do realize I could just go buy a cheapo, junky coffee maker at Wal-Mart or elsewhere.  I could do that.  But really,...$20 for a piece of junk?  I find more and more often that I simply cannot do it.  Generally, I try to find my replacement, small appliances used.  But this time, I have no immediate plans to get anywhere to search the thrift stores.  

When considering all of the above, I had to call forth an extra measure of creativity this morning.  I decided to use the filter holder thing from the now defunct automatic drip coffee maker.  I placed within it a filter and some grounds.  Then I balanced it above the thermal carafe. Through this contraption I planned to pour my boiling water.

But there was yet one puzzle to be solved.  One challenge to be surmounted.  Recall, please, how most drip coffee makers now come with a handy little gizmo?  The thing that plugs the drip hole to allow one to remove the glass carafe in mid cycle to fill their coffee cup, without the coffee continuing to drip all over the heating plate?  Well, that handy gizmo is not so handy when one is attempting to pour water through the filter while it's sitting on top of a carafe and not in the coffee maker.  In this situation, something that was designed to be a help, can be a bit of a nuisance.

But I am blessed with an inordinate ability to "make do."  Necessity is the mother of invention, and all that.  After a bit of rummaging around my kitchen drawers, I found I could wedge a measuring spoon into the lever that is supposed to flip closed when the glass carafe is removed from the coffee maker.  The lever cannot close with the spoon wedged in.  With this solution in place the tantalizing brew can now pour freely through the drip hole and into the thermal carafe. 

And from there, soon..., oh soon..., into my waiting mug, to be slowly savored for the rejuvenation of my spirit.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Mystery Illness Solved!

This post may only be of interest to others who have as a hobby, the collection of strange medical factoids.   Some might call it hypochondria or Munchhausen syndrome.  But really, it's not either.  I find the human body immensely interesting, wonderfully amazing, and incredibly full of curiosities;  I just can't help myself when once I get started wondering about something. 

The kids have mentioned lately the many kids at school who have a red rash on faces, hands and arms.  Sophie exhibited a little bit of rashiness on her knuckles the other day.  A toddler at church the other day suddenly had a mysterious rash.  I don't know if they were all the same thing, but I figured that at least the ones at school were likely to be fifth disease.

This was not very mysterious, because one of the strange and unusual ailments I've read about is fifth disease, a relatively benign childhood illness caused by Parvovirus B19.  In children it can cause a slight fever or general malaise, but the most common symptom is a red rash, which can give the child a slapped face look, or appear lacy and mottled on the extremities.  When we pulled up some images on a google search, the school kids and Joe (who also had seen some of this rash on the kids at Wednesday school and church) all thought the google images of fifth disease were very similar to those rashes exhibited by the school kids.

I didn't really give it much more thought.  And although I've not yet seen such a paper, the kids said today that the condition is currently so prevalent among the kids in the elementary school, that the teachers have now sent a note of explanation home to the parents.  And that the rash is, in fact, fifth disease.

Score one for theMom.

Joe and I have been suffering from what we presume to be a virus of some sort, with a different set of symptoms.  We've had a few days of general malaise and fever, followed by a week or more of somewhat severe joint pain.  Joe's joint pain lasted a week in its acute stage, but is still with him a little bit, especially if he does not get enough rest.  It was debilitating enough during the first week that he napped at least once a day, and hobbled and groaned around much the rest of the time.  And used a copious amount of analgesic meds.

Let me take a moment to explain here that, probably because his celiac disease inhibits complete and proper absorption of nutrients, Joe tends to come down with more frequent, stranger and longer lasting illnesses than the rest of us.  So when he comes down with yet another mystery illness, I don't take it too seriously.  If I have any extra energy, I might baby him a little bit, but mostly he just waits it out, and tries to work as much as he can while it lasts.

And so all last week as Joe was hobbling around with his sore joints, I mostly ignored him.  Not really in a bad way, but in the sense that I didn't give it much thought, but went on with life and figured it would run its course as most of his strange things do.

Until this one hit me.

On Friday last week, I ran a low grade fever.  Not really anything to speak of.  I didn't even take any acetaminophen or ibuprofen, but chose to ride it out and let my body do what it is supposed to do, namely, fight that germ.  The fever and slight chills lasted only a day; I rested most of the day and considered myself fine.  Saturday, too, I took it easy, as much as I could on a day with all the kids home, and in and out; weekend chores to orchestrate and monitor; and meals and laundry to get done.

But by Sunday night I was quite worn out.  Ill even.  Done in.

Sundays are always a bit wild, getting everyone ready for church.  But we all got there; the Sunday school kids sang; I substitute taught for Louisa; and we had annual dinner in Grygla for St. Petri after Oak Park was done.  We got home in time for me to take Louisa and Elsie into Oklee for their SADDs trip.  Then I came home and crashed.  I attributed it simply to doing too much when coming off a flu bug.

But I was starting to get achy.

And by night, I was itchy.

I felt as though my feet were going to explode.  They were slightly puffy.  My joints, every one of those tarsal, meta-tarsal, and phalanges joints, hurt like the beegeebers.  And they itched intensely.  A deep down itch like one might have in the week or two following a bee sting.

So I asked Joe a little more about his mystery illness from the previous week, and we decided that probably I was experiencing the same set of symptoms.  And let me tell you.  After four days of it, now, I'm feeling a little bit guilty for not giving Joe a little more attention.  Oh, my!  I've never had anything quite like this.  One day it's my feet and elbows, then the next, maybe my knees might kick in.  Later still, it might be my fingers, toes, and hips.  I took Benadryl for the itch that first night and that seemed to help. The itch receded after the first night.

But this joint pain...I compare it to having teeny tiny balloons between each set of bones, which are being inflated, and so push against everything.  Or like my wrist or elbow has felt occasionally when I have slept on it wrong and wake up with it all kinked, and with the nerves all haywire from the strange position.  My wrists and elbows have been the worst, as my grip is weak, and it hurts to lift anything.  But sitting and standing is uncomfortable in my knees and ankles; or the motion of going from sitting standing or vice versa.  I feel like an arthritic elderly person.  I toss and turn on my bed at night trying to get comfortable.

Today I picked up a van load of kids for Wednesday school, and they were all talking about this fifth disease.  The older kids, being in the junior high and highschool campus in Oklee, had not heard of the elementary school epidemic, so were asking many questions about how contagious it was and if older kids could get it, too.

So that got me thinking.  I had read at some point that fifth disease is one of those viruses that can be asymptomatic in many people.  That many adults, when tested, have the antibodies, but have no recollection of ever having had any symptoms of it.

That led then to the further thought, "But what about those adults who do contract the virus as adults?  Is there a separate set of symptoms for such people, since adults do not generally get the rash?  And (drum roll, please) might those symptoms include joint pain and inflammation?"

Well, what do you think?  From the CDC website,
People with fifth disease can also develop pain and swelling in their joints (polyarthropathy syndrome). This is more common in adults, especially women. Some adults with fifth disease may only have painful joints, usually in the hands, feet, or knees, but no other symptoms. The joint pain usually lasts 1 to 3 weeks, but it can last for months or longer. It usually goes away without any long-term problems.
And further, the government medical library site describes a study done on adults suffering from diagnosed Parvovirus B19, describes two phases.  The first phase is a mild fever and general malaise.  The second, with onset a few days later, is a phase of joint pain and swelling.

Score two for theMom.

Call me a hypochondriac.  Say I'm suffering from Munchhausen's.  But, hey, at least I have added another strange medical factoid to my collection.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Spring has Sprung!

I'm liking this forecast an awful lot.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

New Old Psalm

I first read through the Psalms when I was in highschool.  It started out as a curiosity thing.  I had noticed that many Bibles came in just a New Testament and Psalms.  I also carried around a stereotype of older people getting all sentimental about the Psalms.  I'm not sure if it was based in any kind of reality, or if it was a Hollywood thing.  I think I had also been told that during times when, and for people for whom, books were not readily available, the Psalms had been used as a summary of all the truths of the Bible.

So I was curious.  I read through all the Psalms and kept a little notebook to summarize each one.  I was astounded at the violence depicted in some of them.  I was also confused by the fact that in many places they seemed to encourage animosity and revenge.  But I kept plugging along.  I think I might still have that notebook packed away with some highschool memorabilia.  It might be interesting to see my interpretations.  But probably it would just be embarrassing.

We've tried to make a point of including readings form the Psalms in our family devotion time.   Even if the kids don't always understand what they read, they are still hearing God's Word.  But besides that, it's important to lay a groundwork of familiarity with the more difficult portions of Scripture. 

As an aside, Joe has also tried to do this for our family with the prophetical books.  He periodically includes them in our family devotional readings, both to teach, and to build a familiarity.  But I must confess to still being totally clueless and even sometimes irritable about these readings.  I grit my teeth and tell myself it's for our own good.  But they are so difficult for me to wrap my brain around that I get a bit squirrelly about it.  I suspect it comes from my own vanity.  Since I am so unfamiliar with them, I feel inadequate to pass the wisdom from such portions of God's Word on to my children.  I confess it is hard for me to humble myself to sit and learn along with the children.  Thankfully God's Word works in our hearts, and in the hearts of our children, in spite of our lack of familiarity,  understanding, and even through a peevish attitude.

Throughout the years I've picked up a few things that make reading the Psalms easier.  I've been taught some of the literary devices common in Hebrew poetry.   I'm more familiar now with the cadences and the vocabulary that I used to be.   I do still encounter some sections that are difficult.  But for the most part, I've come to very much appreciate reading the Psalms.

This morning, I discovered a new Psalm.  Yes, I do realize it's been there all along, but it's new to me.  Psalm 65 does not seem to be as familiar as are some other Psalm, but there are many things to enjoy in it.

In verse three the Psalmist clearly speaks of our sin and God's salvation through Christ.

This is followed immediately in the next verse, 4, with an acknowledgement of God's election.  We cannot choose God, He chooses us.  Later in the same verse, we see an allusion to the Means of Grace.  Where do we go to hear God's truth?  Where do we find message of His goodness?  In His house and His courts.

The middles verses, 5-7, speak of God's might.  We read of His power over the natural world, with references to creation, the flood, and the many times He miraculously calmed (and Jesu
s would later calm) the seas.

Verse 8 is a kind of transition.  It starts with more of God's almighty power, but finishes by talking about how such things affect us, humanity, here on earth.

And the rest of the Psalm, continuing through to the end is a testimony to God's providential care.  The imagery in this last section is profoundly rich.  I was planning to highlight my favorite word pictures, but they are all too good.  I find I cannot choose.
Psalm 65

1 Praise is awaiting You, O God, in Zion;
And to You the vow shall be performed.
2 O You who hear prayer,
To You all flesh will come.
3 Iniquities prevail against me;
As for our transgressions,
You will provide atonement for them.

4 Blessed is the man You choose,
And cause to approach You,
That he may dwell in Your courts.
We shall be satisfied with the goodness of Your house,
Of Your holy temple.

5 By awesome deeds in righteousness You will answer us,
O God of our salvation,
You who are the confidence of all the ends of the earth,
And of the far-off seas;
6 Who established the mountains by His strength,
Being clothed with power;
7 You who still the noise of the seas,
The noise of their waves,
And the tumult of the peoples.
8 They also who dwell in the farthest parts are afraid of Your signs;
You make the outgoings of the morning and evening rejoice.

9 You visit the earth and water it,
You greatly enrich it;
The river of God is full of water;
You provide their grain,
For so You have prepared it.
10 You water its ridges abundantly,
You settle its furrows;
You make it soft with showers,
You bless its growth.

11 You crown the year with Your goodness,
And Your paths drip with abundance.
12 They drop on the pastures of the wilderness,
And the little hills rejoice on every side.
13 The pastures are clothed with flocks;
The valleys also are covered with grain;
They shout for joy, they also sing.

Friday, March 2, 2012

We have lost a husband, a father, a son, a brother, a dear friend, a patriot and a happy warrior.

The title of this post is from Larry Solov at Big Journalism, honoring Andrew Breitbart, who passed away suddenly early yesterday  in the morning hours. Breitbart was one of the leaders of the New Media. To put it more plainly, the free media that the left is perpetually trying to silence because such media outlets don't toe the correct philosophical line.

Michelle Malkin, in her memorial piece, included the following video from of Breitbart's CPAC speech last month.    I have read things written by Andrew Breitbart, but I had never seen him speak.  I found his speech inspiring.  Refreshing.  Fun.  Not too dry.  Not too brutal.  This is definitely a speech, however, aimed at those who are already Conservatives.  It is not going to educate or convince anyone who is unsure of where they stand politically, or those who are consciously of a different mindset.  If you want to learn more about the issues Breitbart addresses in his speech, you will have to go elsewhere.  But if you want to get a little flavor of Andrew Breitbart, his personality, his charisma, please watch the video.

"There are two paths.  One is America and the other one is Occupy. " (12:49)

Earlier this week, Mitt Romney solidified his Republican primary season standing, with victories in both Michigan and Arizona.  And yet, there are still four candidates in the battle for the Republican nomination.  The various polls show that any of the four candidates still have a chance to win.  We will perhaps know more after next week's Super Tuesday races.

Most conservatives do not prefer Romney.  But I think most conservatives would agree whole-heartedly with the sentiment expressed by Andrew Breitbart in the above quote.  Sure we'd all prefer a candidate whose views are closest to those we espouse.  But we will stand behind whatever Republican candidate gets the nomination.   Our country is sliding further into chaos.  And this chaos is exactly what the Progressive leaders want to see.

There area some in the Progressive movement, I have no doubt, who believe in the agenda.  They believe in making the world a better place through the intervention of world governments.  The problem is, it never works.  It has been tried and tried and tried; and it has always let to more oppression.  More poverty.  More fear.

At the heart of any of the Marxist style socialist movements is a power grab.  Read Marx.  Read  Hitler.  Read Alinsky.  For an comprehensive analysis of the history of the various modern socialist traditions, read Jonah Goldberg's Liberal Fascism.  Goldberg includes a very extensive bibliography; so after you are done with his book, if you still have your doubts, you can read even further on the subject.

The sad thing is that history shows after any socialist regime has succeeded, after those who opposed the movement have been silenced (and yes, it's usually the permanent kind of silencing) it is always the foot soldiers who suffer.  Those who have valiantly and from the heart supported the movement, recruited new followers, and rallied the troops, those are the first to be thrown under the bus.

It doesn't matter whether it's Franco in Spain, Stalin in Russia (and the entire history of the USSR during the cold war), Hitler, Mussolini, Tito, Castro, has always been the same. The movement needs numbers.  The speech is pleasant to the ear.  The energy is contagious.  But the end result is betrayal and oppression.