Category Archives: Book Reviews

Book Review — Legacy of Ashes

Legacy of Ashes: The History of the CIA by Tim Weiner, Doubleday, 2007 This was a very depressing book to read.  According to Weiner’s account, all the horror stories you’ve heard about the CIA are true, and then some.  Apparently the Agency has never been good at what I thought its main mission was —

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Book Review — The Money Makers

They don’t call economics “the dismal science” for nothing.  Yet it’s such a critical part of our lives.  And it’s such an important part of history. As a history nerd, I’ve found books that provide a historical perspective in many different ways — wars, natural disasters, disease, pests, and even sex.  (How would English history

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Why Do We Need Words To Think?

Every so often I see a questions that brings me up short.  For example, we need words to talk, but why do we need words to think? Durham University psychologist Charles Fernyhough has been studying this.   Fernyhough thinks approximately 20 to 25 percent of our waking time is spent with language directed at ourselves.  Why? 

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Between Two Cultures

What is it like to be caught between two cultures, not completely identifying with either and not completely being accepted by either?  I’ve met people who are the offspring of mixed-race marriages, but two distinct cultures? If you’re wondering, too, one insight into a European-Middle Eastern dichotomy is a published series of comic strips entitled

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Are You Ready For Some Good News?

During this political silly season, it’s easy to think this country is in serious trouble, that we’re not great anymore, that we have serious problems, especially with crime and race relations. Well, I lived through the 1960s and 1970s, which means I saw firsthand the civil rights struggles and the Vietnam protests, and anecdotally I

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The Post-American World?

From the “Don’t Judge a Book By Its Cover” department — Awhile back I received an email from a conservative friend with a picture of President Obama getting off Air Force One with a book under his arm.  You could just read the title: The Post-American World by Fareed Zakaria.  Apparently my friend was offended

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