What We Are Reading Today: The Making of the Modern Philippines by Philip Bowring

What We Are Reading Today: The Making of the Modern Philippines by Philip Bowring
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Updated 14 August 2022

What We Are Reading Today: The Making of the Modern Philippines by Philip Bowring

What We Are Reading Today: The Making of the Modern Philippines by Philip Bowring

The Philippines is an eclectic and unique mix of culture, environment, people and politics. Known mostly for natural disasters, migrant labor and dictatorial presidents, in this book Philip Bowing shows how it is much, much more, according to a review on goodreads.com.

Deftly navigating the history of this populous island republic, the book traces its history to define and explain its position in the modern world.

Looking past the headlines of volcanoes, earthquakes and violence, it asks why has the Filipino economy lagged behind its neighbors, and explores the importance of its location in geopolitics.

Taking the history of the Philippines from its pre-colonial era, through its Spanish and American occupations and up to the modern day, it unravels the complex politics, culture, peoples and economy of this rich and unique nation.

Engaging with challenges the Filipino people face today such as federalism, revolution, Mindanao, the diaspora, capitalism and relations with China, it rediscovers the struggles, culture and history of its past to understand the present.


What We Are Reading Today: The Chaos Machine

What We Are Reading Today: The Chaos Machine
Updated 06 October 2022

What We Are Reading Today: The Chaos Machine

What We Are Reading Today: The Chaos Machine

Author: Max Fisher

Max Fisher’s “The Chaos Machine” tells the gripping and galling inside story of how Facebook, Twitter, YouTube  and other social networks, in their pursuit of unfettered profits, preyed on psychological frailties to create the algorithms that drive everyday users to extreme opinions and, increasingly, extreme actions.

As Fisher demonstrates, the companies’ founding tenets, combined with a blinkered focus on maximizing engagement, have led to a destabilized world for everyone.

The Chaos Machine is the definitive account of the meteoric rise and troubled legacy of the tech titans, as well as a rousing and hopeful call to arrest the havoc wreaked on our minds and our world before it is too late.


What We Are Reading Today: Starry Messenger

What We Are Reading Today: Starry Messenger
Updated 06 October 2022

What We Are Reading Today: Starry Messenger

What We Are Reading Today: Starry Messenger

Author: Neil deGrasse Tyson

Bringing his cosmic perspective to civilization on Earth, Neil deGrasse Tyson’s “Starry Messenger” shines new light on the crucial fault lines of our time — war, politics, religion, truth, beauty, gender, and race — in a way that stimulates a deeper sense of unity for us all.

With crystalline prose, Tyson walks us through the scientific palette that sees and paints the world differently.

From insights on resolving global conflict to reminders of how precious it is to be alive, Tyson reveals, with warmth and eloquence, an array of brilliant and beautiful truths that apply to us all, informed and enlightened by knowledge of our place in the universe.


What We Are Reading Today: Becoming FDR

What We Are Reading Today: Becoming FDR
Updated 05 October 2022

What We Are Reading Today: Becoming FDR

What We Are Reading Today: Becoming FDR

Author: Jonathan Darman

Jonathan Darman’s Becoming FDR reveals how Franklin D. Roosevelt found his true self in his searing struggle with polio — emerging from illness with a strength and wisdom he would use to inspire the world.

Born in 1882 to a wealthy, influential family, he seemed destined for high office. Yet the young Roosevelt nonetheless lacked depth, empathy, and an ability to think strategically. Those qualities, so essential to his success as president, were skills he acquired during his seven-year journey through illness and recovery.

Tracing the evolution of the iconic president, Becoming FDR shows how adversity can lead to greatness, and to the power to remake the world.


What We Are Reading Today: Breathless

What We Are Reading Today: Breathless
Updated 04 October 2022

What We Are Reading Today: Breathless

What We Are Reading Today: Breathless

Author: David Quammen

Breathless is the story of SARS-CoV-2 and its fierce journey through the human population, as seen by the scientists who study its origin, its ever-changing nature, and its capacity to kill us.

Veteran science journalist David Quammen expertly shows how strange new viruses emerge from animals into humans as we disrupt wild ecosystems, and how those viruses adapt to their human hosts, sometimes causing global catastrophe.  He explains why this coronavirus will probably be a “forever virus,” destined to circulate among humans and bedevil us endlessly, in one variant form or another.

As scientists labor to catch it, comprehend it, and control it, with their high-tech tools and methods, the virus finds ways of escape.

In his compelling and terrifying new book, Quammen demonstrates just how much was known — and expected — by infectious disease scientists long before patrons of the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market fell ill in December 2019 with a pneumonia-like virus.

He focuses his informed attention on the unsung heroes who dare to wrestle with viruses, those strange entities he calls “the dark angels of evolution.”

 


What We Are Reading Today: Portuguese Merchants in the Manila Galleon System

What We Are Reading Today: Portuguese Merchants in the Manila Galleon System
Updated 02 October 2022

What We Are Reading Today: Portuguese Merchants in the Manila Galleon System

What We Are Reading Today: Portuguese Merchants in the Manila Galleon System

Author: Cuauhtaemoc Villamar

In this book, the writer examines the role of Portuguese merchants in the formation of the Manila Galleon as a system of trade founded at the end of the sixteenth century.

The rise of Manila as a crucial transhipment port was not a spontaneous incident. Instead, it came about through a complex combination of circumstances and interconnections that nurtured the establishment of the Manila Galleon system, a trading mechanism that lasted two and half centuries from 1565 until 1815.

The writer analyses the establishment of the regulatory framework of the trade across the Pacific Ocean as a whole setting that provided legality to the transactions, predictability to the transportation and security to the stakeholders, according to a review on goodreads.com

The writer looks both at the Spanish crown strategy in Asia, and the emergence of a network of Portuguese merchants located in Manila and active in the long-distance trade.