Obama lists Pakistani author’s book among his best of 2017

Mohsin Hamid’s ‘Exit West’ has been praised by critics and book-lovers alike.
Updated 09 January 2018
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Obama lists Pakistani author’s book among his best of 2017

LAHORE: Former US President Barack Obama has made a point of ending each year by releasing a list of the books and songs that he most enjoyed over the past year and 2017’s list included a novel by Pakistani author Mohsin Hamid.
“During my presidency, I started a tradition of sharing my reading lists and playlists,” Obama wrote on Facebook at the end of the year. “It was a nice way to reflect on the works that resonated with me and lift up authors and artists from around the world. With some extra time on my hands this year to catch up, I wanted to share the books and music that I enjoyed most.”
Hamid’s “Exit West,” a novel that was published in 2017 and deals with emigration and refugee life, made the most recent list. The author’s previous books include “Moth Smoke,” “The Reluctant Fundamentalist” and “How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia.”
The novel, which is part fantasy, follows the journey of a young couple in an unnamed city who seek to escape the civil war raging around them through a series of mysterious doors that take them further and further away.
Hamid’s book has been praised by critics and book-lovers alike — it made it on to Time magazine’s top ten novels of 2017 list and was also longlisted for the Man Booker Prize for Fiction. The book’s film rights have been purchased by American film making team the Russo Brothers, so fans can expect a feature-length film based on the story in the future.
Obama’s list includes a diverse range of female authors and other international writers, including Jesmyn Wards “Sing, Unburied, Sing” and “The Power” by Naomi Alderman.


What We Are Reading Today: The Cognitive Challenge of War: Prussia 1806 by Peter Paret

Updated 15 August 2018
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What We Are Reading Today: The Cognitive Challenge of War: Prussia 1806 by Peter Paret

  • Fields of history that are often kept separate are brought together in this book, which seeks to replicate the links between different areas of thought and action as they exist in reality and shape events

Responding to the enemy’s innovation in war presents problems to soldiers and societies of all times. This book traces Napoleon’s victory over Prussia in 1806 and Prussia’s effort to recover from defeat to show how in one particular historical episode operational analyzes together with institutional and political decisions eventually turned defeat to victory.

The author moves from a comparative study of French and Prussian forces to campaign narrative and strategic analysis. He examines processes of change in institutions and doctrine, as well as their dependence on social and political developments, and interprets works of art and literature as indicators of popular and elite attitudes toward war, which influence the conduct of war and the kind and extent of military innovation. In the concluding chapter he addresses the impact of 1806 on two men who fought on opposing sides in the campaign and sought a new theoretical understanding of war — Henri Jomini and Carl von Clausewitz.

Fields of history that are often kept separate are brought together in this book, which seeks to replicate the links between different areas of thought and action as they exist in reality and shape events.

Peter Paret is professor emeritus at the Institute for Advanced Study. He has written widely on the history of war and society and on the relationship of art, society, and politics. He is the author of Clausewitz and the State (Princeton), now in its third revised edition. Most recently he gave the 2008 Lees Knowles Lectures at Cambridge University, on which this book is based, and was guest curator for the spring 2009 exhibition Myth and Modernity at the Princeton University Art Museum.