Book Bonanza

[by Mark Safranski, a.k.a. “zen“] My usual yuletide haul of books received and purchased….                         The Last of the President’s Men by Bob Woodward Being Nixon: A Man Divided by Evan Thomas Iron Curtain: The Crushing of Eastern Europe 1944-1956 by Anne Applebaum Avoiding Armageddon: […] Read more »

Yezidis / Yazidis: more gleanings

[ by Charles Cameron -- continuing on from Yezidis / Yazidis: first gleanings with a diverse set of data points ] . Here, to get us started, is some Yezidi music which I downloaded to give myself an insight into the heart of the Yezidi and our common humanity: music as touchstone. ** To recap [...] Read more »

John Quincy Adams on Gaza

[redacted with extreme prejudice by Lynn C. Rees] Our relations with Spain the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) remain nearly in the state in which they were at the close of the last session. The convention of 1802 Oslo Accords of 1991 and 1995, providing for the adjustment of a certain portion of the claims of our citizens [...] Read more »

Norway’s “cultural Christian” crusader revisited

[ by Charles Cameron -- a minor incongruity? -- Breivik and Wallander ] . ** This is a quick (I wish) note about something that caught my eye — a character in the British (Kenneth Branagh) version of Wallander is decribed as a “cultural Christian” when he’s in significants way about as far from what [...] Read more »

The play’s the thing but blood is its trumpet

[resuscitated by Lynn C. Rees] A book review of Max Hastings’ book Winston’s War: Churchill, 1940-1945: John F. Kennedy said that in 1940 Churchill mobilized the English language and sent it to battle. But that was the problem. Churchill saw war in rhetorical terms, as pageantry and drama, as though eloquence alone were enough. At the beginning [...] Read more »

Stereocognition, intelligence and the movies

[ by Charles Cameron -- Zero Dark Thirty & Manhunt, fact and fiction, that old saw about who it is that gets to write history, thence onwards to theology & the arts, von Balthasar & Tolkien, winding up watching UK & US versions of House of Cards with son David ] . How’s this for [...] Read more »

Book Review: Kill Decision

Kill Decision by Daniel Suarez  Shlok Vaidya did an early review of Kill Decision here previously. I finally have caught up to Shlok and I’m ready to add my two cents without giving away any spoilers: First, I enjoyed the book. Kill Decision is a tense, fast-moving,  page-turner. As I tend to read books at night before [...] Read more »

Warlords Revisited

“The horror! The horror! Charles Cameron sparked a discussion with his doublequotes post on two colonels, the late strategist John Boyd and the fictional monster,  Walter Kurtz from Francis Ford Coppola’s classic Vietnam War film homage to Joseph Conrad,  Apocalypse Now.  Kurtz is a disturbing figure, one who is recurrent in literature and history going back to [...] Read more »