What We Are Reading Today: The Roman Republic of Letters

What We Are Reading Today: The Roman Republic of Letters
Short Url
Updated 29 November 2022

What We Are Reading Today: The Roman Republic of Letters

What We Are Reading Today: The Roman Republic of Letters

Author: Katharina Volk 

In The Roman Republic of Letters, Katharina Volk explores a fascinating chapter of intellectual history, focusing on the literary senators of the mid-first century BCE who came to blows over the future of Rome even as they debated philosophy, history, political theory, linguistics, science, and religion.

It was a period of intense cultural flourishing and extreme political unrest—and the agents of each were very often the same people.

Members of the senatorial class, including Cicero, Caesar, Brutus, Cassius, Cato, Varro, and Nigidius Figulus, contributed greatly to the development of Roman scholarship and engaged in a lively and often polemical exchange with one another. 


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

Photo/Supplied
Photo/Supplied
Updated 05 February 2023

What We Are Reading Today: The China Questions

Photo/Supplied

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

Photo/Supplied
Photo/Supplied
Updated 04 February 2023

What We Are Reading Today: Ugliness and Judgment

Photo/Supplied

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.

 


What We Are Reading Today: Trading at the Speed of Light by Donald MacKenzie

What We Are Reading Today: Trading at the Speed of Light by Donald MacKenzie
Updated 02 February 2023

What We Are Reading Today: Trading at the Speed of Light by Donald MacKenzie

What We Are Reading Today: Trading at the Speed of Light by Donald MacKenzie

In today’s financial markets, trading floors on which brokers buy and sell shares face- to-face have increasingly been replaced by lightning-fast electronic systems that use algorithms to execute astounding volumes of transactions.

“Trading at the Speed of Light” tells the story of this epic transformation.

Donald MacKenzie shows how in the 1990s, in what were then the disreputable margins of the US financial system, a new approach to trading — automated high-frequency trading or HFT— began and then spread throughout the world.