What We Are Reading Today: The Rules of Contagion by Adam Kucharski

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Updated 12 July 2020

What We Are Reading Today: The Rules of Contagion by Adam Kucharski

The Rules of Contagion is a prophetically timed book from an associate professor at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

It was published immediately prior to the COVID-19 pandemic in the UK.

“From ‘superspreaders’ who might spark a pandemic or bring down a financial system to the social dynamics that make loneliness catch on, The Rules of Contagion offers compelling insights into human behavior and explains how we can get better at predicting what happens next,” said a review in goodreads.com.

“Along the way, author Adam Kucharski explores how innovations spread through friendship networks, what links computer viruses with folk stories — and why the most useful predictions aren’t necessarily the ones that come true,” the review added.

It said that Kucharski “is very effective in setting out how to look at viruses, plagues, and pandemics. In the process, he provides wonderful explanations of all the details that have likely be mystifying many of the people trying to make sense out of the new on COVID-19 — except for the politics, of course.”


What We Are Reading Today: Journalists between Hitler and Adenauer

Updated 03 August 2020

What We Are Reading Today: Journalists between Hitler and Adenauer

Author: Volker R. Berghahn

Journalists between Hitler and Adenauer takes an in-depth look at German journalism from the late Weimar period through the postwar decades. Illuminating the roles played by journalists in the media metropolis of Hamburg, Volker Berghahn focuses on the lives and work of three remarkable individuals: Marion Countess Dönhoff, distinguished editor of Die Zeit; Paul Sethe, “the grand old man of West German journalism” and Hans Zehrer, editor in chief of Die Welt.
All born before 1914, Dönhoff, Sethe, and Zehrer witnessed the Weimar Republic’s end and opposed Hitler. When the latter seized power in 1933, they were, like their fellow Germans, confronted with the difficult choice of entering exile, becoming part of the active resistance, or joining the Nazi Party.
 Instead, they followed a fourth path—“inner emigration”—psychologically distancing themselves from the regime, their writing falling into a gray zone between grudging collaboration and active resistance. During the war, Dönhoff and Sethe had links to the 1944 conspiracy to kill Hitler, while Zehrer remained out of sight on a North Sea island. In the decades after 1945, all three became major figures in the West German media. Berghahn considers how these journalists and those who chose inner emigration interpreted Germany’s horrific past and how they helped to morally and politically shape the reconstruction of the country.