Books (Featured)

Enrico Fermi: nuclear physicist and childish practical joker

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The Nobel prize-winner was an undoubted genius. But his fascist sympathies and teasing cruelty alienated his family and colleagues. Andrew Crumey The Spectator Enrico Fermi may not be a name as familiar as Einstein, Feynman or Hawking, but he was one of the greatest figures of 20th-century physics, with a reputation for infallibility. In Rome, pioneering atomic science under Mussolini, he was nicknamed ‘the Pope’. Escaping to America where he created the world’s first nuclear reactor, he was dubbed ‘the ... Read More »

The secret to Henry Kissinger’s success

WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 29:  Former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger testifies before the Senate Armed Services Committee January 29, 2015 in Washington, DC. The committee heard testimony from Kissinger, former U.S. Secretary of State George Schultz and former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright on the topic of global challenges and U.S. national security strategy.  (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Many think the retired diplomat’s closeness to one man — Richard Nixon — was the source of his power. That gets Kissinger dangerously wrong. By NIALL FERGUSON Politico About halfway through writing my biography of Henry Kissinger, an interesting hypothesis occurred to me: Did the former secretary of state owe his success, fame and notoriety not just to his powerful intellect and formidable will but also to his exceptional ability to build an eclectic network of relationships, not only to ... Read More »

Revising or Applying the Just War Tradition?

U.S. Army Rangers assigned to 2nd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, fire a 120mm mortar during a tactical training exercise on Camp Roberts, Calif., Jan. 30, 2014. Rangers constantly train to maintain the highest level of tactical proficiency. (US Army photo by Pfc. Nathaniel Newkirk/Not Reviewed)

Review of Dubik’s Just War Reconsidered Surely it was not a coincidence that my exposure to James M. Dubik’s Just War Reconsidered coincided with my reading of a memoir by one of now retired Lt. General Dubik’s esteemed U.S. Army colleagues. J. Daryl Charles Providence As Dubik informs the reader, General Stanley McChrystal, who commanded special operations forces in Iraq and later in Afghanistan, took the responsibilities for that command with utmost seriousness. During the dark period of the Iraq conflict in ... Read More »

Che, Stalin, Mussolini and the Thinkers Who Loved Them

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Why are intellectuals and thinkers, who normally face persecution and risk under dictatorial regimes, nonetheless attracted to tyrants and would-be liberators? Aram Bakshian Jr. The National Interest  Paul Hollander, From Benito Mussolini to Hugo Chavez: Intellectuals and a Century of Political Hero Worship (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2016), 325 pp., $29.99. WE LIVE in the age of self-proclaimed “public intellectuals,” although precisely what they are has never been adequately explained. Are public intellectuals, like public transportation, providers of a…  Che, Stalin, Mussolini… Read More »

Pushkin’s pride: how the Russian literary giant paid tribute to his African ancestry

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His black great-grandfather was abducted as a child and raised in Peter the Great’s court. A new Pushkin translation includes the little-known history of Russia’s Shakespeare Jonathan McAloon The Guardian For Russians, Alexander Pushkin inhabits a space beyond taste, where nationalism has given subjective art the patina of fact. He is the undisputed father of their literature in the way Shakespeare is for Brits. Given the insular nature of contemporary Russian politics, it might be hard to imagine that the creator of ... Read More »

Crossing the Line: Australia’s Secret History in Timor Sea, Kim McGrath

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“Kissingerian realism” and an associated hard nose for the “national interest”, or “Wilsonian idealism”? Robert Murray The Australian Nowhere has this timeless tension in foreign affairs challenged Canberra more than over our nearest neighbour, East Timor. It has made prime ministers from William McMahon to Malcolm Turnbull look mean and tricky, and yet, Kim McGrath suggests in this brisk account of it all, it might be one of those ­issues where the Wilsonian approach would have served the national interest ... Read More »

Reading Norman Davies’s global history is like wading through porridge

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From Azerbaijan to Tahiti, much of the material is familiar — or available (as Davies himself admits) on Wikipedia For many of us, life has become global. Philip Hensher The Spectator Areas which were previously tranquil backwaters are now hives of international activity Leisure travel has given us the possibility of first-hand exposure to once very remote places. You don’t have to be particularly privileged or adventurous to go on holiday in January to south-east Asia: two weeks in a ... Read More »

‘Slow, painful death’ of Yazidi woman’s body and soul while enslaved by the Islamic State

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The Islamic State’s attempt to exterminate the Yazidi people of Iraq did not involve only murder Alia Malek When the militants swept through the north of the country after taking Mosul in the summer of 2014, they executed the religious minority group’s men and elderly women. The Washington Post The children and the other women they took captive. They brainwashed and conscripted the young boys and turned the women and girls into sexual slaves. This enslavement was justified by edicts ... Read More »

Mythos review – the Greek myths get the Stephen Fry treatment

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Fry’s retellings have stiff competition, are limited in selection and sometimes appear to be set in North London Edith Hall But they have real charm The Guardian Ever since William Godwin persuaded Charles Lamb to retell The Odyssey as a novel for younger readers in The Adventures of Ulysses (1808), the myths of ancient Greece have been retold in contemporary prose by every generation. Most of these retellings were originally poetry – the epics of Hesiod, Homer and the philhellene Latin poet Ovid, the ... Read More »

Photos of the New Futuristic Library in China with 1.2 Million Books

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China recently opened a new futuristic library that contains a staggering 1.2 million books Michael Zhang If you enjoy architectural photography, Dutch photographer Ossip van Duivenbode‘s images of the library will be a feast for your eyes. PetaPilexThe new Tianjin Binhai Library in Tianjin, China, was designed by the Dutch architectural firm MVRDV to look like a giant eye. The five-story, 360,000-square-foot library features shelves spanning from the floor to ceiling — many of the shelves double as stairs and seats in the ... Read More »

‘We are not very caring’: Michelle de Kretser on Australian society

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In her new novel The Life to Come, the Miles Franklin-winning author critiques Australia’s character, and the boom that made us bad Brigid Delaney The Guardian Children of Australia’s long boom – who travel the world only to complain about lack of good coffee, who signal virtue by retweeting an asylum seeker story, who couldn’t imagine living in a house with only one bathroom, who are “really into food” – may find Michelle de Kretser’s new book an uncomfortable read. ... Read More »

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee taken off Mississippi school reading list

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<link rel=”stylesheet” type=”text/css” href=”https://assets.guim.co.uk/stylesheets/3182ded386486b8933feafdc9cbe6aff/content.css”/> Official: ‘some language in the book makes people uncomfortable’ Story of racism in the US south has been removed from schools before Guardian staff and agencies To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee’s classic novel about racism and the American south, has been removed from a junior-high reading list in a Mississippi school district because the language in the book “makes people… The Sun Herald reported that administrators in Biloxi pulled the novel from the 8th-grade curriculum ... Read More »

10 books about the politics of now: from the left-behinds to reborn radicals

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Brexit Britain, racial strife in the US and a crisis of capitalism: today’s political world is turbulent Read the rest of the Observer’s 100 political books series here All Out War by Tim Shipman (2016) An essential primer for anyone seeking to understand the politics of the Brexit referendum Julian Coman  The Guardian Shipman, the political editor of the Sunday Times, gives a vivid and compelling account of the Westminster gambles, compromises and miscalculations that unleashed social forces that prime minister ... Read More »

Debunking Climate-change Deception

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In his new e-book, An Inconvenient Deception: How Al Gore Distorts Climate Science and Energy Policy, climatologist Roy Spencer dismantles and debunks climate alarmist and former Vice President Al Gore’s new movie, An Inconvenient Sequel, the follow-up to Gore’s hugely successful 2006 propaganda film, An Inconvenient Truth. James Murphy New America Spencer’s book is currently outselling Gore’s companion book to his new film by a wide margin. As of Monday, the Amazon Seller’s rank for Spencer’s book was 244th, which ... Read More »

Rasmussen scrutinizes not only Hume and Smith’s personal relationship, but also the indispensable part that they played in shaping the Scottish Enlightenment.

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Rasmussen scrutinizes not only Hume and Smith’s personal relationship, but also the indispensable part that they played in shaping the Scottish Enlightenment. Jacob Heilbrunn The National Interest Dennis C. Rasmussen, The Infidel and the Professor: David Hume, Adam Smith, and the Friendship that Shaped Modern Thought (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2017), 336 pp., $29.95. IN AUGUST 1776, a large crowd gathered in front of a grand neoclassical mausoleum. It was designed by Scotland’s greatest architect, Robert Adam, and stood on Calton Hill in ... Read More »

Ruth Davidson ‘is next Margaret Thatcher’, says Jeffrey Archer

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He knows a thing or two about power and ambition, has seen them up close as a friend of Margaret Thatcher’s and captured them in the novel that gave him his literary breakthrough nearly 40 years ago. Paris Gourtsoyannis The Scotsman Jeffrey Archer, who returns to the Edinburgh Festival to mark the 100th edition of Kane And Abel, said he sees Thatcher’s steely determination in another leading woman in the Conservative Party – but it isn’t Theresa May. Archer said ... Read More »