What We Are Reading Today: Behind Japanese Lines

Photo/Supplied
Photo/Supplied
Short Url
Updated 30 July 2023
Follow

What We Are Reading Today: Behind Japanese Lines

Photo/Supplied

Author: Richard Dunlop

In early 1942, with WWII going badly, US President Roosevelt turned to General William “Wild Bill” Donovan, now known historically as the “Father of Central Intelligence,” with orders to form a special unit whose primary mission was to prepare for the eventual reopening of the Burma Road linking Burma and China by performing guerilla operations behind the Japanese lines.
Thus was born OSS Detachment 101, the first clandestine special force formed by Donovan.
“Behind Japanese Lines,” originally published in 1979, is the exciting story of the men of Detachment 101, who, with their loyal native allies — the Kachin headhunters — fought a guerilla war for almost three years, according to a review on Goodreads.com.
 
It is an adventure story, the story of unconventional men with an almost impossible mission fighting an irregular war in supremely hostile territory. Drawing upon the author’s own experiences as a member of Detachment 101, interviews with surviving 101 members, and classified documents, Dunlop’s tale unfolds the danger, tension, and drama of secret warfare.

 


What We Are Reading Today: Controlling Contagion

What We Are Reading Today: Controlling Contagion
Updated 24 June 2024
Follow

What We Are Reading Today: Controlling Contagion

What We Are Reading Today: Controlling Contagion

Author: Sheilagh Ogilvie 

How do societies tackle epidemic disease? In “Controlling Contagion,” Sheilagh Ogilvie answers this question by exploring seven centuries of pandemics, from the Black Death to COVID-19.

For most of history, infectious diseases have killed many more people than famine or war, and in 2019 they still caused one death in four.


What We’re Reading: The Last Days of the Dinosaurs

What We’re Reading: The Last Days of the Dinosaurs
Updated 24 June 2024
Follow

What We’re Reading: The Last Days of the Dinosaurs

What We’re Reading: The Last Days of the Dinosaurs

Author: Riley Black 

In “The Last Days of the Dinosaurs,” Riley Black walks through what happened after an asteroid impact, tracking the sweeping disruptions that overtook this one spot, and imagining what might have been happening elsewhere on the globe. 
Life’s losses were sharp and deeply-felt, but the hope carried by the survivors set the stage for the world as we know it now.
 


What We Are Reading Today: ‘Required Reading’ by Priyasha Mukhopadhyay

What We Are Reading Today: ‘Required Reading’ by Priyasha Mukhopadhyay
Updated 23 June 2024
Follow

What We Are Reading Today: ‘Required Reading’ by Priyasha Mukhopadhyay

What We Are Reading Today: ‘Required Reading’ by Priyasha Mukhopadhyay

In “Required Reading,” Priyasha Mukhopadhyay offers a new and provocative history of reading that centers archives of everyday writing from the British empire.

Mukhopadhyay rummages in the drawers of bureaucratic offices and the cupboards of publishers in search of how historical readers in colonial South Asia responded to texts ranging from licenses to manuals, how they made sense of them, and what this can tell us about their experiences living in the shadow of a vast imperial power.


What We Are Reading. Today: ‘Women Architects at Work’

What We Are Reading. Today: ‘Women Architects at Work’
Updated 23 June 2024
Follow

What We Are Reading. Today: ‘Women Architects at Work’

What We Are Reading. Today: ‘Women Architects at Work’

Authors: Mary Ann Hunting and Kevin D. Murphy

In the decades preceding World War II, professional architecture schools enrolled increasing numbers of women, but career success did not come easily.

“Women Architects at Work” tells the stories of the resilient and resourceful women who surmounted barriers of sexism, racism, and classism to take on crucial roles in the establishment and growth of Modernism across the United States.


What We Are Reading Today: ‘Why Does the World Exist?’

Photo/Supplied
Photo/Supplied
Updated 22 June 2024
Follow

What We Are Reading Today: ‘Why Does the World Exist?’

Photo/Supplied

Author: Jim Holt

“Why Does the World Exist?: An Existential Detective Story” is a nonfiction work by Jim Holt originally published in 2012 that delves into one of the oldest — and most profound — puzzles that mankind faces. He explores various philosophical and scientific theories attempting to explain the existence of the universe and everything in it, raising some thought-provoking questions.

One of the key aspects of Holt’s inquiry is the concept of nothingness. He questions whether there must always be something rather than nothing — that ‘nothingness’ is, in reality, impossible. This leads to a discussion of the nature of existence itself, and whether there is a fundamental reason for the universe’s existence.

Holt also explores the role of religion and theology in answering the question of why the world exists, presenting arguments put forth by theologians and philosophers throughout history, and weighing the merits of various religious and secular explanations.

“Why Does the World Exist?” challenges readers to confront the ultimate existential question and consider the implications of different theories on the nature of reality.

Holt manages to make his examination of complex physics and deep philosophical concepts accessible and easy to read. And his exploration of this profound topic serves as a reminder of the many mysteries that remain unsolved, encouraging readers to contemplate their place in the universe.