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).