We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
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Sunday, July 28. 2013
I'm reading two books right now:
Niall Ferguson's The Great Degeneration
Halldor Laxness' Independent People: An Epic
What are y'all reading?
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Well, for light reading/time killing I'm rereading the Discworld series by Terry Pratchett only I'm using a different order than chronological - I'm going by characters. 27 books and one more on the way - Guy was an amazing writer. High recommend the Discworld series if you want a terrific combination of crazy science, fantasy and magic and wonderful settings and characters.
Just to keep my hand in things, Journey Though Genius: The Great Mathematical Theorems part theory, part biography, part historical, wonderful read even for the non-math inclined - lots of insight into the how, where and why. Great book so far.
Prime Obsession:Bernhard Riemann and the Greatest Unsolved Problem in Mathematics. Riemann was the subject of my dissertation in particular the practical application of his Manifold theory. Fascinating guy and subject.
That's it - that's all I got.
I too am reading "The Great Degeneration."
He seems to sum up the Tea Party meta-position while being non-partisan, if you can believe that.
BTW, just finished Tom Wolfe's "The Bonfire of the Vanities" and a biography - "Unlikely Prince - The Life and Times of Machiavelli."
I've started reading This Time Is Different by Reinhart and Rogoff. It's so hopeful! :-)
I should have given the whole name of the book:
This Time Is Different: Eight Centuries of Financial Folly
I just finished all three of Thomas Cahill's Hinges of History series - "How the Irish Saved Civilization", "The Gifts of the Jews". and "The Desires of the Everlasting Hills". All very good. His skills as a classical scholar in how he synthesizes classical history for the general reader. I'm about to start G.K. Chesterton's "The Everlasting Man", his biography of Jesus.
"Life" (Keith Richards)
"Shake Hands With The Devil The Failure Of Humanity In Rwanda" (LtGen Romeo Dallaire & Major Brent Beardsley) another HUGe UN fiasco...very sad.
So far I'm getting through Cryptonomicon, Asimov's Foundation series (four titles) , The Western Intellectual Tradition, Tom Wolfe's Back to Blood, and (sigh) The Carbohydrate Addicts Diet.
I enjoyed Cryptonomicon, but not the next in the series. I didn't make it very far into it.
"Preachin' the Blues" by Daniel Beaumont, a biography of Son House.
"Moby Dick" by Herman Melville. I reread this every 10 years or so. It never gets old.
Eddie James "Son" House - Master of the Resophonic guitar.
That's a great book - at least I thought so.
Savior Generals. A good read. If you've read some of his other stuff, you can skim the part on WT Sherman. The sections on Pericles and Belisarius are very informative for someone like me whose exposure to the history of the classic period had the intellectual depth of an Obama speech.
Hanson's books are all worthwhile. Although I have not read his novel about Epanimondes destroying Sparta or his book about the contribution small scale agriculture made to the development of the Greek city state.
The History of the Arab conquest of Spain,
and back into a pile of Andre Norton
What do you think? I've read divergent reviews. Manchester is a personal favorite but I wonder if it is anything like the fist two volumes.
--i kind of devour WWII memoirs, and Goodbye Darkness is a titan in the field. He reacted to the JFK murder by among other things throwing into the Potomac the Model 1911 he carried through Pacific island combat --a gesture of panging pain that despite the book title informs unforgettably the entire memoir. Another thing about the book, if anything under the sun was ever 'before its time', it is.
Freedom's Forge: How American Business Produced Victory in World War II, by Arthur Herman -- best book I have read in a couple of yars. Thanks, Jim W.
Julius Caesar, the play. Bruce Catton's This Hallowed Ground.
"Caliphate", by Author: Tom Kratman. Best part is chapter nine, helps explain where the US is going in the next 3 years because of the o in the oral office.
"Childhoods End", by Arthur C Clark.
Best parts are near the end of the book.
"Atlas Shrugged", by Author: Ayn Rand.
The whole book is a prophesy of where the US is now and where the US is going. This written in the 1950's she saw this coming to this country.
Adam Tooze, The Wages of Destruction - if you have ever wondered how Nazi Germany's economy worked, start here.
The European 1930s: two all-but-landlocked dictatorships investing through their armed forces in the potentially free labor and raw materials of the democracy-on-the-border.
I first heard of Independent People: An Epic as one of the novels that helped earn the author a Nobel Prize for literature. I am always on the lookout for literature that has had a significant impact on history or reflects our cultural achievements. Having read it last winter, the description of the shack (generous!) the family lived in has made me very appreciative of the rather humble (but paid for!) cape my family and I occupy now.
I hope you enjoy the book.
Real Love by Greg Baer, MD
The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein
Who I Am by Pete Townshend
Deadhouse Gates by Steven Erikson, and half a dozen assorted cookbooks from the local lie-berry.
Charles O'Malley the Irish Dragoon by Charles James Lever
Dissonance by David Detzer (about the events of April 1861 in Virginia and Maryland)
The Irish Brigade in the AOP shines so brightly in history, that few now know of the rebel Irish who fought, mainly in the ANV, for the 'secesh'.
Just finished Archer Garrett's 3 books. All good reads well written with good plot lines and characters.
Finished Atlas Shrugged last week . Ayn rand called it 60 years ago and its coming true now.
I recently finished reading "The Red and the Black" by Stendahl - great book but not easy reading. I suggest the most recent translation by Roger Gard. (The original is in French.)
I'm currently reading "Tess of the D'Urbervilles" by Thomas Hardy. Another great book but also not easy reading. Hardy uses many words I can't even find in the dictionary. Also, he writes in the vernacular of 1890's England. Still well worth reading.
"Mickey Sees the USA"
Well, we can't all read weighty tomes of deep intellect.
Barack Obama Dreams From My Father, I hear it's going to win the Nobel Prize for literature
Definitely worth the read. Not as great literature, but because it shows how a future POTUS wanted to present himself to the world.
I just finished "Brothers Karamazov." Not an easy read. Now I'm on "Battle: The Story of the Bulge" by John Toland.
Diana West's American Betrayal
William Voegeli's Never Enough
and next, Keith Lowe's Savage Continent Europe in the Aftermath of World War II
The Psychopath Test by Jon Ronson. Almost a written documentary of psychopathy in the past forty years. Really interesting.
Coolidge by Amity Shlaes (fantastic)
Antifragile by Taleb (sequel to Black Swan) (fascinating)
Black April by Vieth (shameful lack of support to American ally)
Morgan by Strouse ( a person of significance)
Darwin's Doubt by Meyer (sequel to Signature in the Cell) a case for Intelligent Design (fascinating)
A Soldier of the Great War by Halprin (great novel)
Finished Manchester's Last Lion vol. 3 ... fascinating if a bit of a slog; two thirds thru Antifragile ... perhaps a manifesto to the libertarian mindset; working on Sowell's reissued Intellectuals and Society. Anybody read or recommend Ralph Peters' Cain at Gettysburg or The Man Who Saved the Union (by H W Brands ... about U.S. Grant)???
So...was this a good idea, BD? Great list that will take me through the winter. However:
I'm just trying to get through the Common Core crap that the government demands your kids/grandchildren read. Anyone read Howard Zinn's "A People's History of the United States" for a total rewrite of everything my folks encountered and is required propaganda from K - 12 and beyond? Scary.
"Critical Theory" --the Zinn mastery of, goal of K-12 Common Core.
Critical (from Thesaurus.com)
Part of Speech: adjective
Definition: fault-finding, detracting
Synonyms: analytical, belittling, biting, calumniatory, captious, carping, caviling, cavillous, censorious, censuring, choleric, condemning, critic, cutting, cynical, demanding, demeaning, derogatory, diagnostic, disapproving, discerning, discriminating, disparaging, exacting, exceptive, finicky, fussy, hairsplitting, humbling, hypercritical, lowering, nagging, niggling, nit-picking, overcritical, particular, penetrating, reproachful, sarcastic, satirical, scolding, severe, sharp, trenchant, withering
Antonyms: complimentary, laudatory, praising
'critical theory', normative vs ideational:
normative: I am, because ma & pa wanted a baby.
ideational: I am, because ma & pa succumbed to cultural oppression and exploited their fecundity in order to make gains against the collective.
A counter history is Paul Johnson's History of the American People. Bought extra copies for my daughter. Its an excellent book to dip into.
Just finished Mr. Johnson's short biography of George Washington, part of an Eminent Lives series.
My constant companion - Sir Martin Gilbert's biography of Winston s. Churchill. I'm just about ready to begin volume 5 of 8. It's not nearly as dry as one would think.
The Long Ships by Frans G. Bengtsson. Only 3% of the way through but so far it's quite droll.
Common Core / Howard Zinn
Years ago I bought and tried to read the hard cover 20th Anniversary edition of Zinn's "A People's History". I couldn't finish it, even throwing it across the room. What crap. Zinn even admitted it wasn't so much history as polemic. As some one who has spent my entire professional career in the history field (museums, historic sites, now teaching high school) I do feel Zinn's writing is an important piece of historiography. As an argument, it is pure ideology, not good history.
In a recent issue of The American Educator the author Sam Wineburg wrote a good article about the problem of using Zinn in the classroom. Find it here -
Of course teenagers love him, it is a constant rant. And after reading boring textbooks, written by committees to satisfy bureaucrats, who wouldn't get a kick out of a good rant.
I probably should spend some time reading the common core too. Though, probably not. More indoctrination. The problem is that most history teachers really don't have the intellectual or philosophical framework to ferret out what is lurking in the core. So, they will teach what they are told.
--i think this July 2008 piece is close to an example of that. Read all the glow --the header, sub, captions, lead para, about the brilliant, courageous intellectual pictured writing on the chalkboard --then read what he's writing.
One can almost hear the sharp intake of breath from the students --
"Professor Obama, do you REALLY mean to say that commercial relationships are formed on the basis of 'self-interest'?"
"Self-Interest vs Altruism"
Self-interest: You sell your corn crop.
Altruism: You willingly donate your corn crop to the state, because your neighbor farmer didn't, and got audited, arrested, and shot "while trying to escape".
I am enjoying downloading free copies of classic literature onto my Kindle. Currently reading "Moby Dick". Next up, probably "The City of God".
Rules for Radicals Defeated: A Practical Guide for Defeating Obama/Alinsky Tactics
I am reading "The President and the Assassin" by Scott Miller. I recommend it to all history lovers. What I have read so far has taught me so much about McKinley, the Spanish American War and the beginning of the Anarchist movement . It's well written and I'm finding it to be a great read!