What We Are Reading Today: Falter by Bill McKibben

Updated 15 April 2019

What We Are Reading Today: Falter by Bill McKibben

  • It is a powerful and sobering call to arms, to save not only our planet but also our humanity

Falter, the environmentalist Bill McKibben’s latest book about threats to the planet, combines fear of bad outcomes with hope for good outcomes.  It is a powerful and sobering call to arms, to save not only our planet but also our humanity.

McKibben’s worst fear is summarized in his subtitle: Has the Human Game Begun to Play Itself Out?  

In a review published in The New York Times, Jared Diamond said McKibben’s book “is much more about grounds for fear, which take up some 18 chapters, than about grounds for hope, which take up five.”  Diamond added: “Fear will motivate some people who are currently undecided, and increase the motivation of others already convinced. But in my experience most people need a strong dose of hope to be spurred to action.” 

The review also said that McKibben “explains the present dangers to civilization, which include the risk of nuclear war and multiple hazards associated with climate change: Increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide, rising sea levels, and ocean warming and acidification.”


What We Are Reading Today: Presidents of War by Michael Beschloss

Updated 07 December 2019

What We Are Reading Today: Presidents of War by Michael Beschloss

  • It said the book “chronicles the wars of the US from the war of 1812 to the Vietnam War

Author Michael Beschloss has spent nearly 10 years in preparing Presidents of War for publication by reviewing diaries and declassified documents, which is quite apparent in the historical sweep and scope of the book. 

This historical narrative begins in 1807 with the assault on the USS Chesapeake and the measures taken by former President Thomas Jefferson to avoid war through the Bush administration and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. 

“This was a magnificent book that captured, not only history, but the humanity and struggles of our war presidents,” said a review in goodreads.com.

Presidents of War “is an extraordinary work, so extraordinary that it should be required reading for anyone seeking the presidency, vice presidency, a Senate seat, a congressional seat or any Cabinet positions in the US government,” said the review.

It said the book “chronicles the wars of the US from the war of 1812 to the Vietnam War. The author explores the reasons for the wars and often what the leaders did to circumvent Congress to enter the war without congressional approval.”