What We Are Reading Today: Places and Names

Updated 19 July 2019

What We Are Reading Today: Places and Names

Author: Elliot Ackerman

Places and Names is another spectacular piece of writing from Elliot Ackerman.
He served five tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan.
“At once an intensely personal book about the terrible lure of combat and a brilliant meditation on the larger meaning of the past two decades of strife for America, the region and the world, Places and Names bids fair to take its place among our greatest books about modern war,” said a review in goodreads.com.
In a review for The New York Times, critic Anne Barnard said Places and Names “is a classic meditation on war, how it compels and resists our efforts to order it with meaning.
“In simple, evocative sentences, with sparing but effective glances at poetry and art, Ackerman weaves memories of his deployments with his observations in and near Syria.”
Barnard said Ackerman pulls off a literary account of war that is accessible to those who wonder “what it’s like” while ringing true to those who — each in his or her own way — already know.


What We Are Reading Today: Democratic Equality by James Lindley Wilson

Updated 17 August 2019

What We Are Reading Today: Democratic Equality by James Lindley Wilson

  • It mounts a bold and persuasive defense of democracy as a way of making collective decisions

Democracy establishes relationships of political equality, ones in which citizens equally share authority over what they do together and respect one another as equals. 

But in today’s divided public square, democracy is challenged by political thinkers who disagree about how democratic institutions should be organized, and by antidemocratic politicians who exploit uncertainties about what democracy requires and why it matters. 

Democratic Equality mounts a bold and persuasive defense of democracy as a way of making collective decisions, showing how equality of authority is essential to relating equally as citizens, says a review on the Princeton University Press website.

James Lindley Wilson explains why the US Senate and Electoral College are urgently in need of reform, why proportional representation is not a universal requirement of democracy, how to identify racial vote dilution and gerrymandering in electoral districting, how to respond to threats to democracy posed by wealth inequality, and how judicial review could be more compatible with the democratic ideal.