What We Are Reading Today: Paths of Dissent

What We Are Reading Today: Paths of Dissent
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Updated 27 September 2022

What We Are Reading Today: Paths of Dissent

What We Are Reading Today: Paths of Dissent

Authors: Andrew Bacevich and Daniel A. Sjursen

Paths of Dissent collects fifteen original essays from American veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan deployments who have come out in opposition to these conflicts.

These soldiers vividly describe both their motivations for serving and the disillusionment that made them speak out against the system.

Their testimony is crucial for understanding just how the world’s self-proclaimed greatest military power went so badly astray.


What We Are Reading Today: The South China Sea

What We Are Reading Today: The South China Sea
Updated 06 February 2023

What We Are Reading Today: The South China Sea

What We Are Reading Today: The South China Sea

Author: Bill Hayton

The book explains why the world can’t afford to be indifferent to the simmering conflict in the South China Sea.

China’s rise has upset the global balance of power, and the first place to feel the strain is Beijing’s back yard: the South China Sea. 

For decades tensions have smoldered in the region, but today the threat of a direct confrontation among superpowers grows ever more likely. This important book is the first to make clear sense of the South Sea disputes. 

Bill Hayton, a journalist with extensive experience in the region, examines the high stakes involved for rival nations that include Vietnam, India, Taiwan, the Philippines, and China, as well as the US, Russia, and others. 

Hayton also lays out the daunting obstacles that stand in the way of peaceful resolution, according to a review on goodreads.com.

The book offers stories of individuals who have shaped current conflicts. 

Hayton makes understandable the complex history and contemporary reality of the South China Sea.

He underscores its crucial importance as the passageway for half the world’s merchant shipping and one-third of its oil and gas.

Whoever controls these waters controls the access between Europe, the middle east, South Asia, and the pacific.


What We Are Reading Today: The Verdict

What We Are Reading Today: The Verdict
Updated 05 February 2023

What We Are Reading Today: The Verdict

What We Are Reading Today: The Verdict

Authors: Prannoy Roy & Dorab R. Sopariwala

“The Verdict” unwraps many a fascinating but hidden story behind the stale and often intimidating numbers and tables on Indian elections over decades. It is also anecdotal, and in part, a political history of the country.

“The Verdict” discusses the key factors that win or lose elections in India, what does, or does not, make India’s democracy tick, and is this the end of anti-incumbency.

It also discusses whether opinion polls and exit polls are reliable, and does the Indian woman’s vote matter.

“The Verdict” uses rigorous psephology, original research, and facts to talk about the entire span of India’s entire electoral history-from the first elections in 1952, till today, according to a review on goodreads.com.

Written by Prannoy Roy, renowned for his knack of demystifying electoral politics, and Dorab Sopariwala, this book is regarded a compulsory reading for anyone interested in politics and elections in India.


What We Are Reading Today: The China Questions

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Updated 05 February 2023

What We Are Reading Today: The China Questions

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Author: Jennifer Rudolph

“The China Questions” provides a window into the challenges Beijing faces today and the uncertainties its meteoric ascent on the global horizon has provoked.
In only a few decades, the most populous country on Earth has moved from relative isolation to center stage. Thirty-six of the world’s leading China experts answer key questions about where this new superpower is headed and what makes its people and their leaders tick.
They distill a lifetime of cutting-edge scholarship into short, accessible essays about Chinese identity, culture, environment, society, history, or policy.
The book raises questions about whether China can embrace the sacrifices required for a clean environment.

 


What We Are Reading Today: Ugliness and Judgment

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Updated 04 February 2023

What We Are Reading Today: Ugliness and Judgment

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Author: Timothy Hyde

When buildings are deemed ugly, what are the consequences? In Ugliness and Judgment, Timothy Hyde considers the role of aesthetic judgment — and its concern for ugliness — in architectural debates and their resulting social effects across three centuries of British architectural history. From 18th-century ideas about Stonehenge to Prince Charles’s opinions about the National Gallery, Hyde uncovers a new story of aesthetic judgment, where arguments about architectural ugliness do not pertain solely to buildings or assessments of style, but intrude into other spheres of civil society.
Hyde explores how accidental and willful conditions of ugliness — including the gothic revival Houses of Parliament, the brutalist concrete of the South Bank, and the historicist novelty of Number One Poultry — have been debated in parliamentary committees, courtrooms, and public inquiries. He recounts how architects such as Christopher Wren, John Soane, James Stirling, and Ludwig Mies van der Rohe have been summoned by tribunals of aesthetic judgment.

 


What We Are Reading Today: Waco Rising

What We Are Reading Today: Waco Rising
Updated 02 February 2023

What We Are Reading Today: Waco Rising

What We Are Reading Today: Waco Rising

Author: Kevin Cook

Kevin Cook’s “Waco Rising” provides the full story of what happened at Waco, Texas in 1993 when David Koresh and a band of heavily armed evangelical Christians took on the might of the US government.

A two-month siege of their compound ended in a firefight that killed seventy-six, including twenty-five children. 

Cook harnesses never-reported material to reconstruct the FBI’s 51-day siege of the compound in minute-to-minute detail and sheds new light on the Clinton administration’s approval of a lethal assault that ended so many lives and triggered the rise of today’s militia movements while drawing the battle lines for extremists.