What We Are Reading Today: Erasmus, Man of Letters by Lisa Jardine

Updated 23 October 2018
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What We Are Reading Today: Erasmus, Man of Letters by Lisa Jardine

The name Erasmus of Rotterdam conjures up a golden age of scholarly integrity and the disinterested pursuit of knowledge, when learning could command public admiration without the need for authorial self-promotion. Lisa Jardine, however, shows that Erasmus self-consciously created his own reputation as the central figure of the European intellectual world. Erasmus himself—the historical as opposed to the figural individual—was a brilliant, maverick innovator, who achieved little formal academic recognition in his own lifetime. What Jardine offers here is not only a fascinating study of Erasmus but also a bold account of a key moment in Western history, a time when it first became possible to believe in the existence of something that could be designated “European thought.”

Lisa Jardine is professor of Renaissance studies at University College London, where she is also director of the UCL Centre for Humanities Interdisciplinary Research Projects and the Centre for Editing Lives and Letters.


What We Are Reading Today: Vietnam: An Epic Tragedy, 1945-1975

Updated 09 December 2018
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What We Are Reading Today: Vietnam: An Epic Tragedy, 1945-1975

Author: Max Hastings

Deep inside Max Hastings’ monumental Vietnam: An Epic Tragedy sits a minute story that captures the essence of the book.
This is an absorbing and definitive modern history of the Vietnam War from the acclaimed New York Times bestselling author of The Secret War.
Hastings is a British journalist, editor, historian and author. His parents were Macdonald Hastings, a journalist and war correspondent, and Anne Scott-James, sometime editor of Harper’s Bazaar.
Hastings “indicts the US with passion and engaging snark but mostly reinforces old critiques,” stated Mark Atwood Lawrence in his NYT review. “Although American forces often fought effectively on the battlefield, Hastings asserts, those successes proved irrelevant because Americans failed in the more important and far more delicate task of cultivating a South Vietnamese state capable of commanding the loyalty of its own people,” added Lawrence.
Hastings was educated at Charterhouse School and University College, Oxford, which he left after a year. After leaving Oxford University, Max Hastings became a foreign correspondent, and reported from more than 60 countries and eleven wars for BBC TV and the London Evening Standard.