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Q4 2006 Nonfiction Book Suggestions
Q4 2006 Nonfiction Book Suggestions
This thread is for making nonfiction book suggestions for 4th quarter of 2006 (October, November & December). Please read everything that follows in this first post.
1. Provide the title, author, and a copied and pasted review. Also provide a link to Amazon where we can read more.
2. Do not just suggest books that are already on your bookshelf. We are looking for books that will help BookTalk pull in more members and result in incredible discussions. So think about what will help our community.
3. And PLEASE comment on other people's suggestions. This is probably the most important thing you can do. Don't make a suggestion and then vanish. Be ACTIVE in this thread.
So what would you like to read and discuss for Q4, 2006?Edited by: Chris OConnor at: 9/14/06 2:19 am
How Are We to Live?: Ethics in an Age of Self-Interest.
Nomination: How Are We to Live?: Ethics in an Age of Self-Interest.
Midwest Book Review As Peter Singer wrote, "The problem is that most people have only the vaguest idea of what it might be to lead an ethical life. They understand ethics as a system of rules forbidding us to do things. They do not grasp it as a basis for thinking about how we are to live. They live largely self-interested lives, not because they were born selfish, but because the alternatives seem awkward, embarrassing, or just plain pointless. They cannot see any way of making an impact on the world, and if they could, why should they bother?
I've read Singer's "Practical Ethics", now a classic applied ethics text, and I've just begun to read this book. I'll hold off reading it until end of polling. It will be great for me if it's selected.
Peter Singer is a utilitarian philosopher who is known for his writings on applied ethics or practical ethics. The good thing about Singer is that his writing is very clear and he doesn't assume too much prior knowledge of philosophy or history or whatever. So you can get a good understanding of his ideas, which are thought provoking. Edited by: Chris OConnor at: 8/31/06 12:22 am
Quote:John Dean takes a sobering look at how radical elements are destroying the Republican Party along with the very foundations of American democracy
John Dean's last New York Times bestseller, Worse Than Watergate: The Secret Presidency of George W. Bush, offered the former White House insider's unique and telling perspective on George W. Bush's presidency. Once again, Dean employs his distinctive knowledge and understanding of Washington politics and process to examine the conservative movement's current inner circle of radical Republican leaders
From Publishers Weekly When Sen, an Indian-born Cambridge economist, won the 1998 Nobel Prize for Economic Science, he was praised by the Nobel Committee for bringing an "ethical dimension" to a field recently dominated by technical specialists. Sen here argues that open dialogue, civil freedoms and political liberties are prerequisites for sustainable development. He tests his theory with examples ranging from the former Soviet bloc to Africa, but he puts special emphasis on China and India. How does one explain the recent gulf in economic progress between authoritarian yet fast-growing China and democratic, economically laggard India? For Sen, the answer is clear: India, with its massive neglect of public education, basic health care and literacy, was poorly prepared for a widely shared economic expansion; China, on the other hand, having made substantial advances in those areas, was able to capitalize on its market reforms. Yet Sen demolishes the notion that a specific set of "Asian values" exists that might provide a justification for authoritarian regimes. He observes that China's coercive system has contributed to massive famine and that Beijing's compulsory birth control policyAonly one child per familyAhas led to fatal neglect of female children. Though not always easy reading for the layperson, Sen's book is an admirable and persuasive effort to define development not in terms of GDP but in terms of "the real freedoms that people enjoy."
It's not the sort of thing we usually read (which is, I think, a plus), and I can think of at least one BookTalk regular who ought to like the theme. Sen won the damn prize, so at least we know his work is reputable.
Has there ever been a patch of history more celebrated than the American Revolution? The torrent is endless: volume after volume about the glory of 1776, the miracle of 1787 and enough biographies of the Founding Fathers to stretch from the Liberty Bell to Bunker Hill and back again. The Library of Congress catalogue lists 271 books or other items to do with George Washington's death and burial alone. Enough!By contrast with the usual hagiography, distinguished historian Schama has found a little-known story from this era that makes the Founding Fathers look not so glorious. The Revolution saw the first mass emancipation of slaves in the Americas
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Re: 4th Quarter 2006 ~ NONFICTION Book Suggestions!
I thought I'd throw out one more suggestion -- one that would complicate next quarter's reading, but in an interesting, potentiall fun way. I've already suggested that we read "A Brief History of Infinity". What if we read that book and this one, and talked about both in relation to one another:
The seemingly impossible Zen task--writing a book about nothing--has a loophole: people have been chatting, learning, and even fighting about nothing for millennia. Zero: The Biography of a Dangerous Idea, by noted science writer Charles Seife, starts with the story of a modern battleship stopped dead in the water by a loose zero, then rewinds back to several hundred years BCE. Some empty-headed genius improved the traditional Eastern counting methods immeasurably by adding zero as a placeholder, which allowed the genesis of our still-used decimal system. It's all been uphill from there, but Seife is enthusiastic about his subject; his synthesis of math, history, and anthropology seduces the reader into a new fascination with the most troubling number. Why did the Church reject the use of zero? How did mystics of all stripes get bent out of shape over it? Is it true that science as we know it depends on this mysterious round digit? Zero opens up these questions and lets us explore the answers and their ramifications for our oh-so-modern lives. Seife has fun with his format, too, starting with chapter 0 and finishing with an appendix titled "Make Your Own Wormhole Time Machine." (Warning: don't get your hopes up too much.) There are enough graphs and equations to scare off serious numerophobes, but the real story is in the interactions between artists, scientists, mathematicians, religious and political leaders, and the rest of us--it seems we really do have nothing in common.
From Publishers Weekly Starred Review. One of the CIA's first great moments of institutional reflection occurred in 1953, after American covert operatives helped overthrow Iran's left-leaning government and restored the Shah to power. The agency, then only six years old, had funded ayatollahs, mobilized the religious right and engineered a sophisticated propaganda campaign to successfully further its aims, and it wanted to know how it could reapply such tradecraft elsewhere, so it commissioned an internal report. Half a century later, the most prescient line from that report is one of caution, not optimism. "Possibilities of blowback against the United States should always be in the back of the minds of all CIA officers," the document warned. Since this first known use of the term "blowback," countless journalists and scholars have chronicled the greatest blowback of all: how the staggering quantities of aid that America provided to anti-Marxist Islamic extremists during the Cold War inadvertently positioned those very same extremists to become America's next great enemy. (Indeed, Iran's religious leaders were among the first to turn against the United States.) Dreyfuss's volume reaches farther and deeper into the subject than most. He convincingly situates America's attempt to build an Islamic bulwark against Soviet expansion into Britain's history of imperialism in the region. And where other authors restrict their focus to the Afghan mujahideen, Dreyfuss details a history of American support
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