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pete
10/01/2006, 11:14 AM
Anyone reading any interesting Current Affairs related books? (btw that excludes any Dan Brown material).

tiktok
10/01/2006, 12:12 PM
I read 'Freakonomics' (http://www.freakonomics.com/) recently enough, a really interesting spin on applying ecomonic principles to everyday matters.
Thre author is probably best known for his theory that the crime-rate drop in the States over the 90's was less to do with 'Zero tolerance' and more to do with Roe -v- Wade, which effectively legalised abortion in the states in 1973, excerpt here click (http://www.freakonomics.com/ch4.php)

Currently Reading 'The men who stare at goats' (http://www.jonronson.com/goats_04.html) , about some of the stranger combat training attempted by the US military from the mid 70's to the mid 90's. It's primarily a comic take on the issue, but it's scary to think of the power some of the people signing off on training to walk through walls etc. had.

Also have Robert Fisk's monster book on the Middle East on the go, having to come and go to it, there's well over a thousand pages, excellently written though and very informative (but then I'd be a fan of Fisk's anyway).

pete
10/01/2006, 12:18 PM
Currently Reading 'The men who stare at goats' (http://www.jonronson.com/goats_04.html) , about some of the stranger combat training attempted by the US military from the mid 70's to the mid 90's. It's primarily a comic take on the issue, but it's scary to think of the power some of the people signing off on training to walk through walls etc. had.


Thats bizarre. Just finishing that now. :eek:
Not to be taken too seriously & fairly light book to read through.

Ash
10/01/2006, 12:49 PM
I actually ordered that off amazon the other day!

I got a book for Christmas "Michael Moore is a big fat stupid white man" (http://www.moorelies.com/book/)

Its a fairly easy read, interesting in parts but mainly just points out the
errors and misinformation in some of his films

noby
10/01/2006, 12:59 PM
I'm not a very prolific reader, and usually it's fiction or a biography, but I'm currently plodding my way through Hegemony or Survival (http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/0141015055/qid=1136901338/sr=8-2/ref=pd_ka_2/026-0046715-3309234) by Noam Chomsky.

Interesting, to say the least.

finlma
10/01/2006, 1:07 PM
I read Jon Ronson's other book Them: Adventures With Extremists Its entertaining but doesn't contain a whole lot of information.

I recently read The Iron Wall: Israel and The Arab World (http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/0140288708/qid=1136901940/sr=8-10/ref=sr_8_xs_ap_i10_xgl/202-4127155-2495845). I wanted to have a greater understanding of the whole conflict and I can say I wasn't too upset to hear of Ariel Sharon's stroke the other day.

Risteard
10/01/2006, 1:23 PM
I'm not a very prolific reader, and usually it's fiction or a biography, but I'm currently plodding my way through Hegemony or Survival (http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/0141015055/qid=1136901338/sr=8-2/ref=pd_ka_2/026-0046715-3309234) by Noam Chomsky.

Interesting, to say the least.
You going to his lecture(s) in Trinity?

noby
10/01/2006, 2:01 PM
No. Next week, isn't it?
Wouldn't mind if I could make it, though.

REVIP
10/01/2006, 4:13 PM
I'm not a very prolific reader, and usually it's fiction or a biography, but I'm currently plodding my way through Hegemony or Survival (http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/0141015055/qid=1136901338/sr=8-2/ref=pd_ka_2/026-0046715-3309234) by Noam Chomsky.

Interesting, to say the least.

For someone who says they are not a prolific reader, Chomsky is some undertaking!!!

Just finished Sebastian Faulks' 'Human Traces' - a masterpiece

Lionel Ritchie
10/01/2006, 4:20 PM
I'm reading Carl Zimmers 'Evolution: The Triumph of an Idea' which is very interesting in places and a little tough going in others as he goes into the minutae of cell division, neuron formation etc...

I think it's suitable enough for me to mention it in Current Affairs as -as the author points out - the core tenet of the book is not accepted in sizeable chunks of the developed world -sizeable chunks that help put the most poweful men in the world into office -men who then claim God put them there.

REVIP
10/01/2006, 7:30 PM
I'm reading Carl Zimmers 'Evolution: e.

Faulks' 'Human Traces' is set against the background of the development of pyschology and psychiatry in the late 19th Century. It is immaculately researched (you almost feel it needs footnotes). The Darwinian debate features strongly and you get the feel from the novel that, by the time the story closes in the 1920s, the matter is settled.

It was an interesting read against the backdrop of the debate and court case in Dover Pa.

noby
11/01/2006, 7:23 AM
For someone who says they are not a prolific reader, Chomsky is some undertaking!!!



I know. I'm finding it slower going than the usual light stuff I read. The last time I was buying a book (a Smiths bio), I decided I needed to broaden my horizon a little, so I took a chance on it. I've another music book lined up next, and hope to follow that with something else that may teach me something about the world.

Lionel Ritchie
11/01/2006, 9:47 AM
I know. I'm finding it slower going than the usual light stuff I read. The last time I was buying a book (a Smiths bio), I decided I needed to broaden my horizon a little, so I took a chance on it. I've another music book lined up next, and hope to follow that with something else that may teach me something about the world.

If you're into Smiths/Morrissey might I suggest AVOIDING David Bretts 'Morrissey: Scandal and Passion'. As enjoyable a read as I found it in it's early stages -the further in I got I started to question how well researched it was (dates of releases/tours/chart positions etc... seemed to be off -info that's easily accessable if you didn't go beyond Smash Hits) and also became a bit frustrated with Bretts utter fixation on Morrisseys sexual orientation.

Unfortunately I was at the very end of it and in the discography section when I noticed he was apparently unaware that Morrissey had released an LP of some repute back in 1994 called 'Vauxhall and I'. As far as I can tell Brett thinks Morrissey took 1994 off. As I was reading the paperback I'm presuming this wasn't the first run of the book. If I'd only skimmed through at the beginning and found this I'd have chucked it in the bin.

noby
11/01/2006, 10:02 AM
Actually it was Morrissey & Marr:The Severed Alliance, by Johnny Rogan.
A bit slow going at first, with a little too much detail on Morrissey and his family than I ever needed to know, right back to a few chapters on his parents growing up in Dublin.
Once it got going, though, I thought it was great. It stopped in the late eighties, after the break-up of the Smiths, so no chance of such errors in his solo career.

This is the book that, upon release, Morrissey hoped the author met his end in some grim way or other (actually, before he had even read it), but eventually the book was used in Morrissey's defence in the court case against Joyce/Rourke, as an accurate account of the running of the Smiths.

Lionel Ritchie
11/01/2006, 10:19 AM
Never read it. I must steal a copy from somewhere.

Lim till i die
11/01/2006, 11:39 AM
Not sure how relevant it is but currently reading a book by Misha Glenny called "The Balkans: War, Nationalism and The Great Powers." Surprisingly easy to read and its already dispelled a lot of my youthful mis-conceptions about the region. Turns out they're not all rabid, foaming at the mouth, ultra-nationalist types :)

REVIP
11/01/2006, 12:22 PM
Not sure how relevant it is but currently reading a book by Misha Glenny called "The Balkans: War, Nationalism and The Great Powers."

Think the Balkans are always relevant! Especially now that General Ante Gotivina has been arrested and Croatia is back on track with its EU application.

The Croats seem a fairly laid back group of people, but we only met the ones in Istria, (where we were on holiday in the summer - we drove there from Dublin - don't do it), maybe people on the Serbian borders are different.

Lim till i die
11/01/2006, 12:29 PM
The Croats seem a fairly laid back group of people, but we only met the ones in Istria, (where we were on holiday in the summer - we drove there from Dublin - don't do it), maybe people on the Serbian borders are different.

Seems to be an amazing amount of facist nutcase types in Croatia Particularly along the border with Herczigovina. As a nation they're not nearly as innocent as many in the international community would have you believe.

Another book I'm at at the mo is re-reading Rogue State. A bit namby pamby in places but all about American evils and all fact

Poor Student
11/01/2006, 2:43 PM
Think the Balkans are always relevant! Especially now that General Ante Gotivina has been arrested and Croatia is back on track with its EU application.

The Croats seem a fairly laid back group of people, but we only met the ones in Istria, (where we were on holiday in the summer - we drove there from Dublin - don't do it), maybe people on the Serbian borders are different.

On a Croatian version of Questions and Answers on HTV (their RTE) there was a poll about which they preferred to not help hand over Gotovina or join the EU. The overwhelming majority voted for the EU to shove it.

Dr.Nightdub
11/01/2006, 9:40 PM
Anyone reading any interesting Current Affairs related books? (btw that excludes any Dan Brown material).

Not current affairs, but I just started re-reading "Foucault's Pendulum" by Umberto Eco. It's basically "The Da Vinci Code" with long words.

REVIP
12/01/2006, 6:59 PM
Not current affairs, but I just started re-reading "Foucault's Pendulum" by Umberto Eco. It's basically "The Da Vinci Code" with long words.

Think your allowed past affairs as well as current ones.

Read Eco's 'Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana' in the summer (much of it is in Fascist Italy) it's quite similar to Carlos Luis Zafon 'Shadow of the Wind', (set in Franco's Spain,) which I read straight afterwards and kept getting the stories confused with each other.

tiktok
13/01/2006, 7:42 AM
.......it's quite similar to Carlos Luis Zafon 'Shadow of the Wind', (set in Franco's Spain,)

One of the better books I read last year.

Finished 'The Men who Stare at Goats', wasn't that good in the end.

Just started Joel Bakan's 'The Corporation' (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0743247442/103-3600515-4951034?v=glance&n=283155), tough to stay interested 40 pages in, he assumes a level of knowledge on terms, US laws and organisations that I just don't posess.

Passive
13/01/2006, 3:06 PM
Started Fisk's monster book last week. He's been writing it for 16 years, so it's basically a biography of sorts of his life in the Middle East over the past few decades.

The first chapter deals with his interviews with Bin Laden. Quite interesting, even if you've heard it all before. The fact that he is talking about Bin Laden's facial expressions and movements is almost more interesting that what he is actually saying.

I'm only half way through the second chapter, it deals with the modern history of Afghanistan, mostly post-'79. Again, nothing new but it makes for interesting reading regardless.

Over 1800 pages in total, so I reckon this will be my last contribution to this thread for a while!

pete
13/01/2006, 3:22 PM
Just started Joel Bakan's 'The Corporation' (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0743247442/103-3600515-4951034?v=glance&n=283155), tough to stay interested 40 pages in, he assumes a level of knowledge on terms, US laws and organisations that I just don't posess.

Thats on my shelf waiting for me too. Great minds 'n all that...

centre mid
13/01/2006, 4:21 PM
An oldie but..

Che Geuvara.. A Revelutionary Life
By John Lee Anderson

hamish
13/01/2006, 4:59 PM
The Last Empire - Gore Vidal
Tell me no lies - (edited by) John Pilger
Iraq Confidential - Scott Ritter

Dr.Nightdub
14/01/2006, 9:58 PM
Passive, if you haven't already done so, check out Fisk's "Pity The Nation". Superb account of what happened in the Lebanon and probably the one thing that put him on legend status in my mind.

ken foree
15/01/2006, 1:32 PM
hey i just found the current affairs forum, cool - me not the sharpest, etc! some good sounding stuff rec'd in here.

dunno if this qualifies but it's 'rings of saturn' by w.g. sebald, translated from german. i'll let the publisher take it from here:

Publisher Comments:
A fictional account of a walking tour through England's East Anglia, Sebald's home for more than twenty years, The Rings of Saturn explores Britain's pastoral and imperial past. Its ten strange and beautiful chapters, with their curious archive of photographs, consider dreams and reality. As the narrator walks, a company of ghosts keeps him company Thomas Browne, Swinburne, Chateaubriand, Joseph Conrad, Borges conductors between the past and present. The narrator meets lonely eccentrics inhabiting tumble-down mansions, and hears of the furious coastal battles of two world wars. He tells of far-off China and the introduction of the silk industry to Norwich. He walks to the now forsaken harbor where Conrad first set foot on English soil and visits the site of the once-great city of Dunwich, now sunk in the sea, where schools of herring swim. As the narrator catalogs the transmigration of whole worlds, the reader is mesmerized by change and oblivion, survival and memories. Blending fiction and history, Sebald's art is as strange and beautiful as the rings of Saturn, created from fragments of shattered moons.

it's very great and i think that last analogy works. sections bleed into each other and they are rarely over-long. also discusses roger casement in a small section.

davey
16/01/2006, 9:28 PM
Has anybody read " We wish to inform you that tomorrow we will be killed with our families" by Philip Gourevitch? Possibly the best book I've ever read - and the most disturbing. Its basically an account of the Rwandan genoicide, how it started, its duration and aftermath. For those of you saw Hotel Rwanda and think you want to know more about the worst genocide since ww2 - I urge you to read this book. It will make you angry - but thats not always a bad thing

davey
16/01/2006, 9:29 PM
By the way, I'm looking for a good impartial biography of Michael Collins - any recommendations?

pete
17/01/2006, 9:45 AM
Finished 'The Men who Stare at Goats', wasn't that good in the end.

I agree. Felt like it finished mid sentence & no conclusion at all...

Lim till i die
18/01/2006, 11:27 AM
By the way, I'm looking for a good impartial biography of Michael Collins - any recommendations?

Dunno how impartial some Dev people would call him but Tim Pat Coogan's one is very decent