What We Are Reading Today: Muqtada Al-Sadr and the Battle for the Future of Iraq

Updated 20 May 2018
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What We Are Reading Today: Muqtada Al-Sadr and the Battle for the Future of Iraq

  • Al-Sadr has reinvented himself as a leader willing to campaign against corrupt government and is opposed to Iranian influence in Iraq’s affairs.

Official Iraqi election results have placed Muqtada Al-Sadr, the volatile Shiite cleric, in the position of kingmaker — a remarkable comeback for a man who once sent his militia fighters into battle with US soldiers.

Since his time fighting the US, Al-Sadr has reinvented himself as a leader willing to campaign against corrupt government and is opposed to Iranian influence in Iraq’s affairs.

This book by Patrick Cockburn offers an insight into how Al-Sadr positioned himself during the years after the US-led invasion of Iraq and the downfall of Saddam Hussein, and examines why he is so pivotal to the future of the country.

Al-Sadr is revealed as a complex character and sophisticated politician.

As he sets about deciding who will form the next government, this maverick figure’s difficult, bloody and at times tragic past makes compelling reading. 


What We Are Reading Today: How to Fall Slower Than Gravity

Updated 14 November 2018
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What We Are Reading Today: How to Fall Slower Than Gravity

Author: Paul J. Nahin

Paul Nahin is a master at explaining odd phenomena through straightforward mathematics. In this collection of 26 intriguing problems, he explores how mathematical physicists think. Always entertaining, the problems range from ancient catapult conundrums to the puzzling physics of a very peculiar kind of glass called NASTYGLASS— and from dodging trucks to why raindrops fall slower than the rate of gravity. The questions raised may seem impossible to answer at first and may require an unexpected twist in reasoning, but sometimes their solutions are surprisingly simple. Nahin’s goal, however, is always to guide readers— who will need only to have studied advanced high school math and physics— in expanding their mathematical thinking to make sense of the curiosities of the physical world.
The problems are in the first part of the book and the solutions are in the second, so that readers may challenge themselves to solve the questions on their own before looking at the explanations. The problems show how mathematics — including algebra, trigonometry, geometry, and calculus — can be united with physical laws to solve both real and theoretical problems.

Historical anecdotes woven throughout the book bring alive the circumstances and people involved in some amazing discoveries and achievements.
More than a puzzle book, this work will immerse you in the delights of scientific history while honing your math skills.
Paul J. Nahin is the author of many popular math books, including In Praise of Simple Physics, Dr. Euler’s Fabulous Formula, and An Imaginary Tale (all Princeton).