Summer is here, so it’s time to get some reading time in. Here are some recent books I’ve read, that I’d recommend adding to your list:
Working (Robert Caro, 2019) – Caro is one of the great reporters and biographers of our time. He wrote huge biographies on US President Lyndon Johnson and all-powerful NY urban developer Robert Moses. In this book, “Working”, Caro discusses the research and interviews he did for those biographies. And through them, you learn about Moses and Johnson and the impressive work ethic and humility of Caro.
Conclave (Robert Harris, 2016) – I randomly found this book on my shelf. I’m a fan of Harris and his historical fiction, especially his Cicero trilogy. In “Conclave”, he creates a page-turner around the Vatican having to pick a new Pope.
Silk Roads (Peter Frankopan, 2016) – the history we are taught is so euro-centric, you would think that history started with the Greeks and Romans, then had a break for a while and resumed with the British/Spanish/French empires. This book throws that narrow focus out of the window and instead uses the Silk Roads as way of discussing world history that draws in the Persians, Chinese, Indian and Arab civilisations. Frankopan also has a new book called “New Silk Roads” which is an extension and discusses China today.
The Fourth Turning (Strauss and Howe, 1997) – a provocative book that uses generations and demographics to describe political and economic events as cyclical. According to the book, we’re in the fourth turning or crisis phase of history.
Heaven On Earth: Varieties of Millenial Experience (Richard Landes, 2011). – I dipped in and out of this book. It describes various apocalyptic/end-of-world/millennialists movements – whether religious or secular. The author focuses on movements outside of the big religions and therefore shows how end-of-the-world ideas or renewal events are common features across societies and across time.
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