Some more books. Like everyone, I’m reading The Sleepwalkers: How Europe Went to War in 1914. Actually I read it in January, sketched out a review, and lost the notebook, so reading it again. (Spoiler: there isn’t a happy ending.) Fascinatingly, Christopher Clark swaps the powers around; traditionally, the Germans are evil, the Austrians weird,…Read More Booooks.
I recently read William Langewiesche’s Aloft (Penguin Modern Classics), his collected essays on flight. One of these, justly regarded as a classic, deals with the loss of Valujet 592 near Miami in 1996, an accident which bears a strong resemblance, in his telling, to the parallel experience of rail privatisation in the UK. Deregulation permitted…Read More Aloft
OK, just to clear the schedule a bit, here’s a general books post. Fly By Wire: The Geese, The Glide, The ‘Miracle’ on the Hudson. Various readers recommended this one; being about aviation and by William Langewiesche it wasn’t a hard sell. The book is (obviously) about the US Airways A320 that ditched successfully in…Read More Booooks.
I have recently been reading a lot of books. Ironically, this was in part because I left a Kindle on a plane and had to get the app instead – having the books so temptingly close caused very rapid consumption. Empire Made Me: An Englishman Adrift in Shanghai by Robert Bickers, is the personal history…Read More The personal history of a Lancashire fascist
So I recently read Orlando Figes’ Natasha’s Dance: A Cultural History of Russia and also Svetlana Alexeivitch’s La fin de l’homme rouge : Ou le temps du désenchantement . The first is well known to readers, the second is a kind of oral history of the end of the Soviet Union as seen by self-identifying…Read More Joint review: two books on Russia, and sausages
I have been reading Orlando Figes’ Natasha’s Dance: A Cultural History of Russia. Something I didn’t know, which I’m sure Erik Lund will like: Siberia moved. The original minor khanate of that name expanded to include the vast rich fur-bearing forests further east. As colonisation, and most of all, identity-changing, hybridity, and syncretism, proceeded, the…Read More Where is Siberia? Well, I wouldn’t start from now…
Iain Martin has done a book about the Royal Bank of Scotland, entitled Making it Happen: Fred Goodwin, RBS and the Men Who Blew Up the British Economy after their corporate slogan from the boom era. I’m gradually reading the books that fell out of the banksplosion, and I would rate this one not as…Read More Making It Happen: How Thatcherism Just Happened Like That And It Was Nobody’s Fault
I might start doing regular posts to roundup books. Here are a couple: In Search of Stupidity, Merrill R. Chapman, available here from the book company. This is a pleasantly vicious work that satirises business guru drivel like In Search of Excellence, Good to Great etc and argues cogently that success in the tech industry…Read More Books
David Harvey’s Brief History of Neoliberalism is a pretty decent survey, if you’re a slightly naive People and Planet-ish student just dipping a toe into the idea that perhaps, maybe, something is wrong with society. But then, I suspect that this was precisely the audience he had in mind. That sounds sarcastic, because it is.…Read More read this book, if you’ve not read better books
I have just finished reading The Stones of London: A History in 12 Buildings. Not a gem by any means – far too much broadbrush Tory-ish and not much of an edge – but I did think he had a couple of good points. One was in the chapter on Keeling House and Denys Lasdun,…Read More Not the kittens!