August 30, 2009
August 26, 2009
Siebert, Horst, Rules for the Global Economy (Princeton & Oxford: Princeton U. Press, 2009) (“In this book, I analyze the institutional arrangement that deal with global economic issues. The principal question to which my study tries to give an answer may be put in the following way. Under which conditions do international rules come into existence? That is to say, under which circumstances do national approaches prove no longer sufficient to solve economic problems, so that sovereign states are prepared to cede part of their sovereignty to international rule systems? And, finally, do international rules contribute to an improvement in the human condition?” Id. at ix. What Siebert does in this book is to layout a transaction-costs approach to answering the two questions raised. Those readers familiar with Coase’s The Problem of Social Cost, will comprehend the basic argument. This is a very worthwhile read for students of international law and those concerned with international trade, international environmental protection, international human rights, that is, just about any issue where you have reached that point to enlightenment where you know that international cooperation is a necessity.).
August 19, 2009
Beha, Christopher R., The Whole Five Feet: What the Great Books Taught Me About Life, Death, and Pretty Much Everything Else (New York; Grove Press, 2009).
Caldwell, Christopher, Reflections on the Revolution in Europe: Immigration, Islam, and the West (New York: Doubleday, 2009) (See Fouad Ajami, "Strangers in the Land," The NYT Book Review, Sunday, August 2, 2009).
Ciorciari, John D. & John B. Taylor, The Road Ahead for the Fed (Stanford: Hoover Institution Press, 2009) (Of course, so many problems, and in so many areas of concern, are caused and compounded by the failure of decision makers to think long. “The effort to think long, to think ahead, to consider future consequences, is especially important at a time of crisis when attention is understandably focused on the immediate. Further, I believe that the effectiveness of immediate measures is substantially improved when people can see that long-term issues are being kept in mind and dealt with sensibly.” From George P. Schultz, “Think Long,” reprinted here at 3.).
MacMillan, Margaret, Dangerous Games: The Uses and Abuses of History (New York: A Modern Library Chronicles Book/The Modern Library, 2009) (“On the evening of September 11, 2001, the American writer Susan Jacoby overheard two men talking in a New York bar. ‘This is just like Pearl Harbor,’ one said. ‘What is Pearl Harbor?’ the other asked. ‘That was when the Vietnamese dropped bombs in a harbor, and it started the Vietnam War,’ the first man replied. Does it matter that they got it wrong? I would argue that it does, that a citizenry that cannot begin to put the present into a context, that has so little knowledge of the past, can too easily be fed stories by those who claim to speak with the knowledge of history and its lessons. History is called in, as we have seen, to strengthen group solidarity, often at the expense of the individual, to justify treating others badly, and to bolster arguments for particular policies and courses of action. Knowledge of the past helps us to challenge dogmatic statements and sweeping generalizations. It helps us all to think more clearly.” Id. at 165. Also see David M. Kennedy, "What History is Good For," The NYT Book Review, Sunday, July 19, 2009).
Schmidle, Nicholas, To Live or To Perish Forever: Two Tumultuous Years in Pakistan (New York: Henry Holt, 2009) (See Joshua Kurlantzick, “Eyewitness: Pakistan,” The NYT Book Review, Sunday, July 11, 2009).
Shell, Ellen Ruppel, Cheap: The High Cost of Discount Culture (New York: The Penguin Press, 2009) (Ellen Ruppel Shell may not put it precisely this way, but I will. We may not always get what we pay for when we pay value to get value. Yet we do get what we deserve when we try getting things on the cheap. It doesn’t matter whether it is a car, clothing, food, or even an education. Also see Laura Shapiro, "Nothing for Nothing," The NYT Book Review, Sunday, July 19, 2009).
August 10, 2009
Brendon, Piers, The Decline and Fall of the British Empire 1781-1997 (New York: Knopf, 2008) (see the review, "Little Britain," by Geoffrey Wheatcroft in the NYT, Tuesday, November 11, 2008).
Brinkley, Douglas, The Wilderness Warrior: Theodore Roosevelt and the Crusade for America (New York: Harper, 2009) (See both Janet Maslin's review, "Mother Nature's Son With Big Stick (and Rifle)," NYT, Wednesday, July 22, 2009; and Jonathan Rosen’s review, “Natural Man,” in The NYT Book Review, Sunday, August 9, 2009).
Fennell, Lee Anne, The Unbound Home: Property Values Beyond Property Lines (New Haven & London: Yale U. Press, 2009) (Even at full price, this book would be a very worthwhile investment for any serious law student.).
Goetzmann, William H., Beyond the Revolution: A History of American Thought from Paine to Pragmatism (New York: Basic Books, 2009) (From the “Introduction”: “This book is the story of the search by American intellectuals for cultural self-definition. In some sense it is intended to be a kind of existential epic with those very special people—the intellectuals—as protagonists engaged in the Sisyphean task of forever confronting the new and making it meaningful to society. Intellectuals pursue their tasks--often esoteric and wildly impractical to the common man—because they feel ‘cultural anxiety,’ or a compulsion constantly to redefine the context of reality in which they find themselves. They assume the burden of first sensing, then grappling with, and finally organizing the new, which is of value to civilization itself. More than mere custodians of knowledge, they stand for most of their lives face to face with the terrors and ambiguities of ultimate reality. And as such, in Henry James’s terms, they are the ‘hard core creators of culture.’” In the United States the role of the intellectual currently is not much appreciate. On both the political right and political left, intellectuals are deemed to be ‘elitist.’ They are members of an elite only in the sense that relatively few people have the talent, sensibility, intelligence, and especially the inclination to worry about the culture as a whole. Most Americans prefer to remain caught up in the everyday concerns of living a ‘normal life,’ pursuing limited if special interests, and advocating causes whose origins and meaning they scarcely question.” Id. at xi. Though Professor Goetzmann makes a strong case for the presence of the intellectual tradition in American life, I would argue that the American intellectual tradition and American intellectuals are, and have always been, outnumbered and outgunned by the American anti-intellectual tradition and anti-intellectuals. Though always marching forward, the American intellectual tradition has always been under attack and had to watch it back. Nowhere is this more evident than in American colleges and universities where the “corporatization” is the spirit of the day. Also see Jedediah Purdy’s review, “The Coast of Utopia,” NYT, Sunday, February 19, 2009.).
Linowitz, Sol M. & Martin Mayer, The Betrayed Profession: Lawyering at the End of the Twentieth Century (New York: Scribner’s, 1994).
Meredith, Martin, Diamonds, Gold, and War: The British, The Boers, and The Making of South Africa (New York: PublicAffairs, 2007) (see the review, "A Scramble for Power and Treasure in South Africa," by Janet Maslin in the NYT, Thursday, November 29, 2007).
Vollmann, William T., Imperial (New York: Viking, 2009) (See Lawrence Downes, “Desert Odyssey,” NYT Book Review, Sunday, August 2, 2009. Also see Charles McGrath, “An Author Without Borders,” NYT, Tuesday, July 28, 2009).
Yovel, Yirmiyahu, The Other Within: The Marranos: Split Identity and Emerging Modernity (Princeton & Oxford: Princeton U. Press, 2009).