What We Are Reading Today: The Government of Emergency

What We Are Reading Today: The Government of Emergency
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Updated 04 December 2021

What We Are Reading Today: The Government of Emergency

What We Are Reading Today: The Government of Emergency

Authors: Stephen J. Collier & Andrew Lakoff

From pandemic disease, to the disasters associated with global warming, to cyberattacks, today we face an increasing array of catastrophic threats. It is striking that, despite the diversity of these threats, experts and officials approach them in common terms — as future events that threaten to disrupt the vital, vulnerable systems upon which modern life depends.
The Government of Emergency tells the story of how this now taken-for-granted way of understanding and managing emergencies arose. Amid the Great Depression, World War II, and the Cold War, an array of experts and officials working in obscure government offices developed a new understanding of the nation as a complex of vital, vulnerable systems. They invented technical and administrative devices to mitigate the nation’s vulnerability, and organized a distinctive form of emergency government that would make it possible to prepare for and manage potentially catastrophic events.


What We Are Reading Today: Grant by Ron Chernow

What We Are Reading Today: Grant by Ron Chernow
Updated 16 January 2022

What We Are Reading Today: Grant by Ron Chernow

What We Are Reading Today: Grant by Ron Chernow

Ulysses S. Grant’s life has typically been misunderstood. All too often the American military officer and politician is caricatured as a chronic loser and inept businessman.

These stereotypes don’t come close to capturing adequately his spirit and the sheer magnitude of his monumental accomplishments.

A biographer at the height of his powers, Ron Chernow has produced a portrait of Grant that is a masterpiece, the first to provide a complete understanding of the general and president whose fortunes rose and fell with dizzying speed and frequency, according to a review on goodreads.com.


What We Are Reading Today: ‘The First 90 Days’

What We Are Reading Today: ‘The First 90 Days’
Updated 16 January 2022

What We Are Reading Today: ‘The First 90 Days’

What We Are Reading Today: ‘The First 90 Days’

“The First 90 Days, Updated and Expanded: Proven Strategies for Getting Up to Speed Faster and Smarter,” is a leadership and negotiation book written by Michael D. Watkins.
Watkins is a Canadian-born author and professor of leadership and organizational change at the International Institute for Management Development in Switzerland. The book addresses the process of professional transition, outlining it as an important aspect that should be carefully studied before any career-altering decisions.
The book delves into a universe where transition strategies and principles apply on an intellectually stimulating level.
Watkins provides a critical analysis of countering the transition traps that might befall an individual facing obstacles and uncertainty that could cloud their reasoning and affect their negotiation skills when moving into a new career territory in different organizations.
Harvard Business Review Press referred to the international bestseller as a globally renowned go-to book on leadership and successful career transitions for all levels of seniority.


What We Are Reading Today: Chasing History

What We Are Reading Today: Chasing History
Updated 16 January 2022

What We Are Reading Today: Chasing History

What We Are Reading Today: Chasing History

Author: Carl Bernstein

In Chasing History, Carl Berstein recalls his first years in the world of newspapers, working for the Washington Evening Star, starting at the age of 16.
It was the early 1960s, and he covered many significant events during his time there.
Bernstein joined the newsroom before reporters took on the role of celebrity or newsmaker. The book is laced with names of Washington notables, national politicians, and Washington stores and restaurants which are long gone.
Bernstein “ignores the bad karma engulfing the newspaper industry to recreate his rookie days at The Washington Evening Star, a robust afternoon paper that ceased publication in 1981,” said Jill Abramson in a review for The New York Times.
Another review on goodreads.com said: “Funny and exhilarating, poignant and frank, Chasing History is an extraordinary memoir of life on the cusp of adulthood for a determined young man with a dogged commitment to the truth.”
In Chasing History, Bernstein recalls the origins of his storied journalistic career as he chronicles the Kennedy era, the swelling civil rights movement, and a slew of grisly crimes.
“It is not only a great biography that tells the story of a high school student who joined the newspaper as a copyboy but also the history of what was happening in Washington during the early 1960s,” said the review.


What We Are Reading Today: Watching Darkness Fall

What We Are Reading Today: Watching Darkness Fall
Updated 15 January 2022

What We Are Reading Today: Watching Darkness Fall

What We Are Reading Today: Watching Darkness Fall

Author: David Mckean

A gripping and groundbreaking account of how all but one of FDR’s ambassadors in Europe misjudged Hitler and his intentions.
As German tanks rolled toward Paris in late May 1940, the US Ambassador to France, William Bullitt, was determined to stay put, holed up in the Chateau St. Firmin in Chantilly, his country residence. Bullitt told the president that he would neither evacuate the embassy nor his chateau, an 18th Renaissance manse with a wine cellar of over 18,000 bottles, even though “we have only two revolvers in this entire mission with only 40 bullets.”
As German forces closed in on the French capital, Bullitt wrote the president, “In case I should get blown up before I see you again, I want you to know that it has been marvelous to work for you.” As the fighting raged in France, across the English Channel, ambassador to Great Britain Joseph P. Kennedy wrote to his wife Rose, “The situation is more than critical. It means a terrible finish for the allies.”
Watching Darkness Fall will recount the rise of the Third Reich in Germany and the road to war from the perspective of four American diplomats in Europe who witnessed it firsthand: Joseph Kennedy, William Dodd, Breckinridge Long, and William Bullitt, who all served in key Western European capitals―London, Berlin, Rome, Paris, and Moscow―in the years prior to World War II.


What We Are Reading Today: The World Without Us by Alan Weisman

What We Are Reading Today: The World Without Us by Alan Weisman
Updated 14 January 2022

What We Are Reading Today: The World Without Us by Alan Weisman

What We Are Reading Today: The World Without Us by Alan Weisman

In his timeless piece “The World Without Us,” American author and journalist Alan Weisman presents the reader with a thought experiment set in a post-human planet Earth.
While the notion of Earth without humans has been portrayed in various genres, Weisman grounds the book in environmental and ecological evidence gathered during his research around the world as associate professor of journalism and Latin American studies at the University of Arizona.
The book has two overarching themes of how nature would react to human beings vanishing, leaving behind their thumbprint on the planet, and how the environment would attempt to recover.
Published in 2007, the book is written from a science journalism point of view, with interviews from academics to bolster his hypothesis on a human-free Earth.