What We Are Reading Today: Republic Of Wrath

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Updated 13 September 2020

What We Are Reading Today: Republic Of Wrath

Author: James A. Morone

Political scientist James A. Morone surveys more than 200 years of partisan discord in this incisive and well-researched history.
Monroe “marshals a vast amount of information into a brisk, accessible narrative, and draws illuminating contrasts between past and present, spotlighting, for instance, stark differences between the politics of Democratic presidential candidates Harry Truman and Hillary Clinton,” said a review of The Republic Of Wrath in publishersweekly.com.
This “nuanced and richly detailed account offers essential perspective ahead of the 2020 election,” said the review.
Jia Lynn Yang said in a review for The New York Times that Morone’s “narrative gains some steam the closer it gets to the present, when the contours of our current political climate become clearer. He offers a useful reminder that the switch of Black Americans from the party of Lincoln to the Democrats was a shocking development — one he credits to Franklin Roosevelt’s expansive social policies, even if they were not always designed to be equitable.”
This history, Morone suggests, means that “we should not try to predict how political alliances may look in the future.”


What We Are Reading Today: Ravenna; Capital of Empire, Crucible of Europe by Judith Herrin

Updated 29 October 2020

What We Are Reading Today: Ravenna; Capital of Empire, Crucible of Europe by Judith Herrin

At the end of the fourth century, as the power of Rome faded and Constantinople became the seat of empire, a new capital city was rising in the West. Here, in Ravenna on the coast of Italy, Arian Goths and Catholic Romans competed to produce an unrivaled concentration of buildings and astonishing mosaics. For three centuries, the city attracted scholars, lawyers, craftsmen, and religious luminaries, becoming a true cultural and political capital. Bringing this extraordinary history marvelously to life, Judith Herrin rewrites the history of East and West in the Mediterranean world before the rise of Islam and shows how, thanks to Byzantine influence, Ravenna played a crucial role in the development of medieval Christendom.

Drawing on deep, original research, Herrin tells the personal stories of Ravenna while setting them in a sweeping synthesis of Mediterranean and Christian history. She narrates the lives of the Empress Galla Placidia and the Gothic king Theoderic and describes the achievements of an amazing cosmographer and a doctor who revived Greek medical knowledge in Italy, demolishing the idea that the West just descended into the medieval “Dark Ages.”

Beautifully illustrated and drawing on the latest archaeological findings, this monumental book provides a bold new interpretation of Ravenna’s lasting influence on the culture of Europe and the West.