What We Are Reading Today: The Moth and the Mountain

What We Are Reading Today: The Moth and the Mountain
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Updated 21 November 2020

What We Are Reading Today: The Moth and the Mountain

What We Are Reading Today: The Moth and the Mountain

Author: Ed Caesar

The Moth and the Mountain restores Maurice Wilson to his rightful place in the annals of Everest and tells an unforgettable story about the power of the human spirit in the face of adversity.
“This is an extraordinary true story about one man’s attempt to salve the wounds of war and save his own soul through an audacious adventure,” said a review in goodreads.com.
Ed Caesar has long been captivated by Wilson, and in The Moth and the Mountain he writes beautifully about the attractions and problems of researching his life.
“Caesar’s fundamental challenge is that very little survives about Wilson beyond official registers, ships’ passenger manifests and some brief diary entries and letters, written in a bland, cheery London slang,” said Rory Stewart in a review for The New York Times.
Caesar is a British author and feature writer who contributes to the New York Times Magazine, the Atlantic, Outside, the Sunday Times Magazine of London and British GQ. Caesar was named Writer of the Year in 2013 by the UK’s Professional Publishers Association.


What We Are Reading Today: The Autocratic Middle Class by Bryn Rosenfeld

Updated 04 December 2020

What We Are Reading Today: The Autocratic Middle Class by Bryn Rosenfeld

What We Are Reading Today: The Autocratic Middle Class by Bryn Rosenfeld

Conventional wisdom holds that the rising middle classes are a force for democracy. Yet in post-Soviet countries like Russia, where the middle class has grown rapidly, authoritarianism is deepening. Challenging a basic tenet of democratization theory, Bryn Rosenfeld shows how the middle classes can actually be a source of support for autocracy and authoritarian resilience, and reveals why development and economic growth do not necessarily lead to greater democracy.
In pursuit of development, authoritarian states often employ large swaths of the middle class in state administration, the government budget sector, and state enterprises. Drawing on attitudinal surveys, unique data on protest behavior, and extensive fieldwork in the post-Soviet region, Rosenfeld documents how the failure of the middle class to gain economic autonomy from the state stymies support for political change, and how state economic engagement reduces middle-class demands for democracy and weakens prodemocratic coalitions.