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Still too Busy to Blog Properly….But Hey, Look What I’m Reading!

Tuesday, November 24th, 2009

Were it not for guest posts, November would have seemed like I went on hiatus ūüôā¬† Normal blogging will resume in a few weeks.

I did find time to pick up a few new books to read in the late hours of the night, one of which will be the subject of a book review by a new guest poster.

         

The Genius of the Beast: A Radical Re-Vision of Capitalism by Howard Bloom

The Shia Revival: How Conflicts within Islam Will Shape the Future by Vali Nasr

Nixonland: The Rise of a President and the Fracturing of America  by Rick Perlstein

The only thing these three tomes have in common is that the authors have a penchant for contradicting conventional wisdom, at least to a degree. 

Howard Bloom is an offbeat, pop science to pop culture¬†master of horizontal thinking whose earlier work, Global Brain, I very much enjoyed and highly recommend. Bloom’s intellectual reach is first rate and he is one of the few writers who can take very difficult concepts from wildly disparate fields and¬†tie them together for a lay audience¬†with comprehensible analogies and anecdotes¬†.

I put Vali Nasr’s The Shia Revival¬†on my list back after the high praise Thomas P.M.¬†Barnett gave¬†Nasr in his book,¬†Great Powers – in my experience, Tom does not hand out comments of “brilliant”¬†all that¬†often ( Great Powers, BTW, is also a “must read” book for those interested in strategy and geoeconomics). I am approximately 80 pages in to The Shia Revival and I will say that as a writer, Nasr does not waste time getting to key points in explaining his subject – concise but not simplified.

Rick Perlstein, while far to the Left, has the uncommon quality among leftwingers of working very, very hard at the scholarship of attempting to understand conservatism and leading conservatives ( must be a legacy of attending the University of Chicago). Much like Orangemen in Ulster, eavesdropping¬†on a Catholic mass, I suspect the essence of conservatism¬†eludes Perlstein, but at least he takes the ideas seriously.¬† That Richard Nixon is¬†Perlstein’s subject is an added draw, since Nixon’s foreign policy was an area of historical research for me. Very interested to see how Perlstein’s take on Richard Nixon¬†compares to that of Robert Dallek and Richard Reeves.

“Let me make one thing perfectly clear….”


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