Tag: Book Review

Review: The Road to Unfreedom: Russia, Europe, America

 

The Road to Unfreedom: Russia, Europe, America –  Timothy Snyder.

Tim Duggan Books, 2018.

Hardcover, 368 pages, $27.

 

In sum, Snyder’s central thesis is that Russia is a nationalist, hyper-masculine, reactionary great power that wants to return to an age of soft imperium and spread Christian social-conservative ideas across a postmodern, effete, liberal, and secular Europe. This is the cause of Brexit, of European disintegration, the war in Ukraine, the election of Trump, and the overall terrible misfortune of humanity.

This thesis is as simplistic as it sounds and is based purely on conventional wisdom and current liberal narrative. It also suffers from the notable disadvantages of being empirically inaccurate and wrong.

Read the full review HERE

A Conservative reading of Pinker’s new book

Review: ‘Enlightenment Now,’ by Steven Pinker

I was made to read Steve Pinker’s new tome, by someone very close to me.

To start with, I don’t disagree with his data, or his stance against Post-modernism, for example. But, here’s my review of his attempted, ahistoric Nate Silver-isation of Renaissance.

It’s a good book, even though I disagree with it, gigantic dataset compilation that will provide joy to optimists. True Conservatives, such as yours truly, are however, rarely optimistic. Simply because we don’t believe history is inexorably progressive or teleological.

Excerpt: 

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My Holiday reading list suggestions

I took the final revision class at the University, wished the students good luck, and came out thinking what a year it had been! My PhD is halfway through, all the theoretical chapters are done, and now I’m moving on to the empirical chapters. I almost got back to full-time column writing for so many different publications as well! Not quite my old journalism life, but close enough.

So what now? A month of peace, to say the least. No teaching, but focusing on research, writing, and some casual reading as well. Bliss.

I was talking to a friend of mine across the pond, and showed her my reading list suggestions for the holidays, and she was a tad surprised that there were no fiction in it. Had me questioning, do we need fiction anymore in life, after the last couple of years or is life already strange enough?

I’m a prosaic man almost reaching my mid-thirties, stiff upper lip and all that, but in light of the trend lines in our planet, here’s my Holiday reading list suggestions for the readers. You lot be the judge!

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Moral ambiguity and coffee in London, with Laura Canning

I didn’t plan or expect to meet Laura this time when I was in London, infact I didn’t plan my second trip to London within a week 17250363anyway. Considering what is happening in the political circles in UK (and broadly, Europe) planning seemed to me an exercise in futility.  So when I met her in the holga-ish Cafe Nero in Buckingham Palace road after two whole days of covering the coronation of the new UK PM, I was distinctly under-dressed as a classic political correspondent with shabby army green t-shirt, jacket, scarf and jeans, increasingly aware of the uncomfortable dark moist growing patch near my armpit. Thankfully I had deospray in my laptop bag, as the person who greeted me with a copy of her first published novel was in a proper burgundy dress, smelling fresh and soinding Oirish; capable of giving a seven hour Sun-dried man enough complex for the rest of the day. We proceeded, appropriately in my opinion, to talk about her novel and lead character Lisa (a working class, domestically abused, societally neglected early teen, on her way to drugs, larceny, prostitution and “freedom”), on a day Britain had her second Conservative female Prime Minister.

Her debut novel “Taste the Bright Lights” (which I read in the next twenty four hours on my way back to Nottingham) is contemporary urban drama, tracing fourteen year old Lisa “growing up” in Northern Ireland. Imagine Chetan Bhagat’s early writing, meeting “This is England”, just more gritty, grimy, and grainy…a jarring experience, like watching a slow quaint mutiny unfolding, being shot in sepia lens. It shares occasional debut novel characteristics, like overuse of certain typical urban colloquial words, and it’s not an easy read, and not only because of the sheer powerful narrative force, but because of the moral ambiguity that reigns within.

It is in spirit of that moral ambiguity, I asked Laura these questions for Bombs and Dollars, published below unaltered and unabridged.


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Book Review: Stuart Stevens imagines a contested convention rattled by terrorist attacks

The Innocent Have Nothing to Fear, Steven’s second political thriller

With Donald Trump still campaigning erratically as usual, #NeverTrump still holds onto an outside hope that the delegates could be unbound and the convention next week contested. Whatever happens, it will certainly not be as exciting as the fictional Republican National Convention in Stuart Stevens’ new novel The Innocent Have Nothing to Fear.

The novel takes place in a country eerily similar to the United States of the past eight years, with an exaggerated version of the 2008 financial crisis and fears of civil unrest and terrorism, featuring a primary contest between a wonkier version of a Donald Trump or Tom Tancredo character and a “higher energy” version of a John Kasich or Susan Collins character. Campaign manager J.D. Callahan, whose features seem to based somewhat on those of Stevens himself, has a few days to secure the nomination for his client, Hilda Smith, the Collins-esque northeastern moderate, while withstanding temptations and family pressures in the hometown he fled from, New Orleans.

In The Innocent Have Nothing to Fear, Stevens imagines what a convention that took place during a small-scale terrorist insurgency might look like. He also portrays some of the “rat-fucking” tactics and dirty tricks political strategists might play on each other during the ordinary course of a hard fought campaign. Much is made of the identity of the political strategist; as one who is hired to help a candidate win at all costs, what of personal standards and values?

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