What We Are Reading Today: The Marshall Plan by Benn Steil

What We Are Reading Today: The Marshall Plan by Benn Steil
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Updated 15 November 2021

What We Are Reading Today: The Marshall Plan by Benn Steil

What We Are Reading Today: The Marshall Plan by Benn Steil

The award-winning author of Battle of Bretton Woods reveals the gripping history behind the Marshall Plan — told with verve, insight, and particular resonance for today.

In the wake of World War II, with Britain’s empire collapsing and Stalin on the rise, US officials under new secretary of state George C. Marshall set out with a plan to reconstruct Western Europe as a bulwark against communist authoritarianism.

Focusing on the critical years 1947 to 1949, Benn Steil’s thrilling account brings to life the seminal episodes marking the collapse of postwar US-Soviet relations — the Prague coup, the Berlin blockade, and the division of Germany, according to a review on goodreads.com.

In each case, we see and understand like never before Stalin’s determination to crush the Marshall Plan and undermine American power in Europe.


What We Are Reading Today: The Tower and the Bridge

What We Are Reading Today: The Tower and the Bridge
Updated 19 May 2022

What We Are Reading Today: The Tower and the Bridge

What We Are Reading Today: The Tower and the Bridge

Author: David P. Billington

What do structures such as the Eiffel Tower, the Brooklyn Bridge, and the concrete roofs of Pier Luigi Nervi have in common? According to The Tower and the Bridge, all are striking examples of structural art, an exciting area distinct from either architecture or machine design.

Aided by stunning photographs, David Billington discusses the technical concerns and artistic principles underpinning the well-known projects of leading structural engineer-artists, including Othmar Ammann, Félix Candela, Gustave Eiffel, Fazlur Khan, Robert Maillart, John Roebling, and many others.

A classic work, The Tower and the Bridge introduces readers to the fundamental aesthetics of engineering.
 


What We Are Reading Today: Restoring the Global Judiciary

What We Are Reading Today: Restoring the Global Judiciary
Updated 17 May 2022

What We Are Reading Today: Restoring the Global Judiciary

What We Are Reading Today: Restoring the Global Judiciary

Author: Martin S. Flaherty

In the past several decades, there has been a growing chorus of voices contending that the Supreme Court and federal judiciary should stay out of foreign affairs and leave the field to Congress and the president.

Challenging this idea, Restoring the Global Judiciary argues instead for a robust judicial role in the conduct of US foreign policy.

With an innovative combination of constitutional history, international relations theory, and legal doctrine, Martin Flaherty demonstrates that the Supreme Court and federal judiciary have the power and duty to apply the law without deference to the other branches.


What We Are Reading Today: The Wordhord: Daily Life in Old English

What We Are Reading Today: The Wordhord:  Daily Life in Old English
Updated 16 May 2022

What We Are Reading Today: The Wordhord: Daily Life in Old English

What We Are Reading Today: The Wordhord:  Daily Life in Old English

Author: Hana Videen

Old English is the language you think you know until you actually hear or see it. Unlike Shakespearean English or even Chaucer’s Middle English, Old English—the language of Beowulf—defies comprehension by untrained modern readers.

Used throughout much of Britain more than a thousand years ago, it is rich with words that haven’t changed (like word), others that are unrecognizable (such as neorxnawang, or paradise), and some that are mystifying even in translation (gafol-fisc, or tax-fish).

In this delightful book, Hana Videen gathers a glorious trove of these gems and uses them to illuminate the lives of the earliest English speakers.

We discover a world where choking on a bit of bread might prove your guilt, where fiend-ship was as likely as friendship, and where you might grow up to be a laughter-smith.

The Wordhord takes readers on a journey through Old English words and customs related to practical daily activities. Each chapter ends with its own “wordhord”—a list of its Old English terms, with definitions and pronunciations.


What We Are Reading Today: Politics and Governance in Bangladesh by

What We Are Reading Today: Politics and Governance in Bangladesh by
Updated 15 May 2022

What We Are Reading Today: Politics and Governance in Bangladesh by

What We Are Reading Today: Politics and Governance in Bangladesh by

Editors: Ipshita Basu, Joe Devine, Geoff Wood

“Politics and Governance in Bangladesh” explores the central issue of Bangladeshi politics: The weakness of governance.

The coexistence of a poor governance track record and a relatively strong socioeconomic performance make Bangladesh an intriguing case which throws up exciting and relevant conceptual and policy challenges.

Structured in four sections — Political settlement, elites and deep structures; democracy, citizenship and values; civil society, local context and political change; informality and accountability — the book identifies and engages with these challenges.

Chapters by experts in the field share a number of conceptual and epistemological principles and offer a combination of theoretical and empirical insights, and cover a good range of contemporary issues and debate, according to a review on goodreads.com.

Employing a structurally determinist perspective, this book explains politics and society in Bangladesh from a novel perspective.


What We Are Reading Today: How to Tell a Story: An Ancient Guide to the Art of Storytelling for Writers and Readers

What We Are Reading Today: How to Tell a Story: An Ancient Guide to the Art of Storytelling for Writers and Readers
Updated 14 May 2022

What We Are Reading Today: How to Tell a Story: An Ancient Guide to the Art of Storytelling for Writers and Readers

What We Are Reading Today: How to Tell a Story: An Ancient Guide to the Art of Storytelling for Writers and Readers

Author: Aristotle

Aristotle’s Poetics is the most important book ever written for writers and readers of stories—whether novels, short fiction, plays, screenplays, or nonfiction. Aristotle was the first to identify the keys to plot, character, audience perception, tragic pleasure, and dozens of other critical points of good storytelling. Despite being written more than 2,000 years ago, the Poetics remains essential reading for anyone who wants to learn how to write a captivating story—or understand how such stories work and achieve their psychological effects.