The last weeks, if not months, I have again been offline for quite long periods of time. Most of that time, I spent reading. I did read quite a lot and this post is all about what I read and liked. The books I liked shall be mentioned under this short and utterly useless introduction.
“L’Asie orientale face aux périls des nationalismes” by “Barthélémy Courmont“. Now this truly is an exceptional bit of reading experience even though it has been written in French and is by there most probably not very interesting for the non French speaking. There might be a translation somewhere, but in all honesty, I can’t be bothered looking it up. What this book is about is the rising economical powers in Asia and the political problems that may arise by the rapid ascension.
The next one is called “The Persian Puzzle” by “Kenneth M. Pollack“. Generally it explains and talks about the conflict between Iran and America – which interestingly is also the subtitle of the book – go figure. Anyhow, in my opinion this book has to be read by just about everybody who wants to take part in the debate on Iraq.
“The Pentagon’s new map – war and peace in the twenty-first century” by “Thomas P.M. Barnett” is very, very interesting as well. Actually, it might be the best presentation linking defence policy and globalization analyses if you listen to Robert Orr who is the Vice-President and Washington Director, Council on Foreign Relations. Frankly, I can’t put it any better than that.
You’ll soon see that I got a hang of the Middle East. Another book, and in my opinion the best book, I will present today is “A peace to end all peace – The Fall of the Ottoman Empire and the Creation of the Modern Middle East” by “David Fromkin“. The book explains in great lengths the history of the Middle East. There is no other way to describe it than go out, grab a copy and spent a week or so reading. From the Balfour Declaration to Hussein – everything is mentioned. Just go get it.
For the computer science and art freaks there is “Hackers & Painters – Big Ideas from the computer age” by “Paul Graham“. I will cite a small bit from the cover only: “Why do kids who can’t master high school end up as some of the most powerful people in the world? What makes a startup succeed? Will technology create a gap between those who understand it and those who don’t? Will Microsoft take over the Internet? What to do about spam? Hackers & Painters examines these issues that we’ve all wondered about.” Another go and get it, terrifically good read.
And here we go for another geopolitical book: “Crossing the Rubicon – The decline of the American Empire at the end of the age of oil” by “Michael C. Ruppert“. Again a citation “The attacks of September 11, 2001 were accomplished through an amazing orchestration of logistics and personnel. Crossing the Rubicon discovers and identifies key suspects – finding some of them in the highest echelons of American government – by showing how the acted in concert to guarantee that the attacks produced the desired result. A superbly detailed scrutiny of the events of 9/11, the book also ranges across the terrain of rapidly diminishing hydrocarbon energy supplies, geopolitics, narco-traffic, intelligence and militarism – without which 9/11 cannot be understood”. Nothing to add from my part.
Then there is “Richard Dawkins” “The God delusion“. Citations all the way it seems for here is another one: “While Europe is becoming increasingly secular, the rise of religious fundamentalism, whether in the Middle East of Middle America, is dramatically and dangerously dividing opinion around the world. In America, Australia and elsewhere, a dispute is being drummed up by propagandists for ‘intelligent design’ against Darwinism, which is seriously undermining and restricting the teaching of science. Medieval religious dogma still serves to abuse basic human rights. Dawkins shows how religion fuels war, foments bigotry and abuses children. And all for a God whose existence lacks evidence of any kind.”
On to the “lighter” stuff. I won’t go through the pain to explain what those are about, however here’s the list:
“The doors of perception & heaven and hell” by “Aldous Huxley”
“The Hagakure – The heart of the Warrior” by “Yamamoto Tsunetomo”
“Les mots” by “Jean-Paul Sartre”
“Narziß und Goldmund” by “Hermann Hesse”
At the moment I am into “The Economics of Innocent Fraud” by “John Kenneth Galbraith” – I will try to leave feedback here once I got through it.