When I was done interviewing Tom Van Vleck, he suggested I might want to read Mechanizing Proof, by Donald MacKenzie. [wc] Which, I did.
Recent discussion in some comments brought up the nature/nurture question and Steven Pinker’s book The Blank Slate.
One of The Commentariat(tm) suggested I might want to read Len Beadell’s various works about the times he spent in the outback surveying roads for the Australian nuclear weapons program, and other things. By the time I was a few pages in to Beating Around The Bush [amazn] I was transfixed with a mix of horror and awe.
What is complete
The valley spirit never dies.
Call it the mystery, the woman.
the Door of the Woman,
is the root
of earth and heaven.
Forever this endures, forever.
And all its uses are easy.
Imagine you’re a graduate student in American History and you write a thesis that’s so good, so striking, and so timely that it’s deservedly a best-seller: 200,000 copies. As Ray Wylie Hubbard says, “careers have been built on less.”
Elsewhere I have implied that the US, UK, Russia, and China are (to some degree or another) oligarchies masquerading as democracies. They probably could be ordered on a scale from greater to lesser – but that’s a debate for another day. Today, we’re going to consider some of Spinoza’s Tractatus Theologico-Politicus as reported by Will Durant in Story of Philosophy. [amazon]
My friend Aaron T. suggested this book to me.
Usually I read military history in an attempt to extract a big picture of events from the details.
So, what’re you reading?
It is essential to the American myth that North America was wilderness when the European colonists began to arrive. Sure, there were people, but they weren’t ‘civilized’ and therefore didn’t count; they could be brushed aside.
Charles C. Mann’s 1491 [amazon] and its sequel 1493 [amazon] oppose that myth. He can only hint at the complexity of the politics of the era but it’s overwhelming. Of course it is, it’s people doing the things people do.
Warning: War, death, violence
I just finished reading Mark Bowden’s Huế, 1968. Since it’s history, I won’t warn you of any spoilers.