Books

Book Excerpt – Red Star Over the Pacific: China’s Rise and the Challenge to U.S. Maritime Strategy.

Toshi Yoshihara and James Holmes present the second edition of their important work on this timely topic. China has a dream. Chinese Communist Party (CCP) officials tell us so. Toshi Yoshihara and James Holmes The National Interest President Xi Jinping, who ranks first among them, made “Chinese Dream” his credo soon after ascending to China’s top post in 2012. And this is no mere slogan; it encapsulates CCP officialdom’s vision of China’s purposes and aspirations, first and foremost of which ... Read More »

End the Innovation Obsession

Some of our best ideas are in the rearview mirror. TORONTO — A year ago I stepped into the Samcheong Park Library in Seoul, South Korea, and saw the future. David Sax The New York Times The simple building in a forested park had a nice selection of books, a cafe at its center and a small patio. Classical music played while patrons read, reclining on extra-deep window benches that had cushions to sit on and tables that slid over ... Read More »

Guide To The Classics: The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran

Kahlil Gibran (original spelling at birth “Khalil”) is a strange phenomenon of 20th Century letters and publishing. Antonia Pont The Conversation After Shakespeare and the Chinese poet Laozi, Gibran’s work from 1923, The Prophet, has made him the third most-sold poet of all time. This slim volume of 26 prose poems has been translated into over 50 languages; its US edition alone has sold over 9 million copies. Its first printing sold out in a month, and later, during the ... Read More »

The ancient Greeks would have loved Alexa

Classical mythology is full of robots, automata, artificial intelligence and technology. Think not only Pandora, but self-opening gates and libation-pouring statues Peter Stothard The Spectator Among the myths of Ancient Greece the Cyclops has become forever famous, the Talos not so much. While both were monsters who hurled giant boulders at Mediterranean shipping, the… The Talos was more alien, by some accounts a mere machine, manufactured in metal by a god and pre-programmed only to sink ships and roast invaders ... Read More »

‘We didn’t expect all 13 out alive’: Inside the Thai cave rescue

Twelve boys and their coach trapped deep within a cave complex. An international team of divers planning one of the most dangerous missions ever to bring them out. And time was running out. By James Massola The Age Summer rains were about due on the hot, humid Saturday afternoon of June 23 in the remote northern Thai border town of Mae Sai. The 12 young members of the Wild Boars soccer club and their 25-year-old-coatch, Ekapol ”Ek” Chantawong, rode their ... Read More »

‘I felt like I failed’: Michelle Obama opens up on miscarriage, IVF

Michelle Obama says she felt “lost and alone” after suffering a miscarriage 20 years ago and she and Barack Obama underwent in vitro fertilization to conceive their two daughters. The Canberra Times AP “We were trying to get pregnant and it wasn’t going well,” Mrs Obama, 54, writes in her upcoming memoir. “We had one pregnancy test come back positive, which caused us both to forget every worry and swoon with joy, but a couple of weeks later I had ... Read More »

What would it be like?

Swati Dhingra and Josh De Lyon on the realities of a No Deal Brexit London Review of Books More than two years after the referendum, there is still a possibility that the UK will fail to reach a withdrawal agreement and an agreement on future relations with the EU. If a deal cannot be reached by 29 March next year, when the UK will cease to be a member of the EU, the consequences will be severe; many of them ... Read More »

A 1965 Novel About an Unhinged President Is Being Rereleased

A 1965 Times review of Fletcher Knebel’s “Night of Camp David” called the book “too plausible for comfort.” Alexandra Alter The New York Times A couple of months ago, prominent political pundits began buzzing about a provocative book by a Washington journalist. The book — which raised questions about what Congressional leaders should do if the president was mentally unstable and unfit for office — wasn’t a new expose about the Trump administration. It was a 1965 political thriller by Fletcher ... Read More »

What Thucydides Knew About the US Today

On the morning after the 2016 presidential election I tried to distract myself by reading some pages of Thucydides that I had assigned for a class the next day, and found myself reading the clearest explanation I had seen of the… Edward Mendelson The New York Review of Books In the third book of his History of the Peloponnesian War, Thucydides describes the outbreak of civil war on the northern island of Corcyra in 427 BC: There was the revenge taken in ... Read More »

The Double Battle

Frederick Douglass’s moral crusade. Eric Foner The Nation Let me begin on a personal note. Over half a century ago, my uncle, the historian Philip S. Foner, rescued Frederick Douglass from undeserved obscurity. Beginning in 1950, he edited four volumes of Douglass’s magnificent speeches and writings, each with a long biographical introduction that chronicled his rise to international renown as a… It is difficult to believe, given his prominence during his lifetime, but Douglass was virtually unknown outside the black ... Read More »

Who’s Really Afraid of Nationalism?

Yoram Hazony has written a polemic against what he perceives as the conventional wisdom—a refutation of the “paradigm of the European liberals” for whom the European Union is the highest stage of political excellence. Michael Kimmage The National Interest Yoram Hazony, The Virtue of Nationalism, (New York: Basic Books, 2018), 273 pp., $26.99. It was the best of times in Europe, in the 1990s, and it was the worst of times in Russia. The Soviet Union had ignominiously collapsed in ... Read More »

Belfast-born author becomes first Northern Irish writer to win the Man Booker Prize

A Belfast-born author has won Britain’s most prestigious literary award with a novel about a teenage girl being stalked by a middle-aged paramilitary. Brian Ferguson The Scotsman Anna Burns has become the first author from Northern Ireland and the 17th female writer to win the Man Booker Prize. The 56-year-old, who drew on her own experiences of the “Troubles” to write Milkman, was one of four female contenders for the award. The six-strong shortlist included the youngest ever author, 27-year-old ... Read More »

Booker Prize 2018: Anna Burns wins, but the big publishers are the real victors

In the literary world and among those for whom fiction is an interest beyond simply reading books, a great deal of attention will be given to the winner of 2018’s Man Booker Prize, Milkman, by Anna Burns. Leigh WIlson The Conversation The chair of the judges, philosopher Kwame Anthony Appiah, said Burns’ novel, about a young woman being sexually harassed by a menacing older man and set in Northern Ireland, “is a story of brutality, sexual encroachment and… Of course, ... Read More »

Stephen Hawking’s last warning from beyond the grave

Acclaimed physicist Stephen Hawking’s last message to the universe is a plea for unity in the “isolated and insular” age of Brexit and Trump, and his fear that a “global revolt against experts” might get in the… Nick Miller msn Hawking’s family gathered at London’s Science Museum on Monday to launch his last book, Brief Answers to the Big Questions, which he began but did not finish before his death in March, aged… With tears in her eyes, Lucy Hawking ... Read More »

The Unstable Identities of The Caregiver

Samuel Park’s last novel explores how one person’s sense of self can be absorbed into another’s need. ROSA INOCENCIO SMITH The Atlantic The Caregiver BY SAMUEL PARK SIMON & SCHUSTER Samuel Park’s new novel, The Caregiver, is a study in fragility: that of bodies, of boundaries, and of identity itself. Centering on two relationships—a mother and her daughter, and the daughter and her patient—it explores the complex bonds between people who are linked by the need that one has for the… The Unstable Identities… Read More »

Housegirl Complicates the Diaspora Narrative

The debut from the Ghanaian British author Michael Donkor explores the life of a domestic worker in London, while rejecting the common impulse to focus on more aspirational immigrant stories. Hannah Giorgis The Atlantic The Ghanaian British author Michael Donkor’s U.S. debut, Housegirl, is full of movement. The novel follows a 17-year-old domestic laborer named Belinda as she travels from Ghana to London. Before the start of the novel, Belinda has already journeyed from her home village to Kumasi, one of ... Read More »