Category Archives: History

The Road to Unfreedom

I read widely and I follow news and politics closely, but in recent years I’ve often felt utterly baffled by world events. It’s like I’m trying to put together a jigsaw puzzle without the picture on the box. I manage … Continue reading

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On Tyranny

I’ve lived my whole life in democratic countries. I’ve never experienced what it’s like to live under a dictatorship, thankfully. But these days, I’m worried. Democracy here in the US and around the world seems more fragile that it used … Continue reading

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The Economic Weapon

This book could not be more timely. Published one month before Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, The Economic Weapon: The Rise of Sanctions as a Tool of Modern War is about the origins, evolution and uses of economic sanctions during … Continue reading

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The Address Book

You probably don’t think about your street address very much. These days, I imagine you use it mainly to fill out forms or to tell online retailers where to deliver your packages. In reality, your address is loaded with meaning … Continue reading

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The Fabric of Civilization

What are you wearing right now right next to your skin? Do you prefer clothing made from natural fabrics like cotton, wool, or silk?  Maybe you don’t mind synthetics like polyester. If you’re about to start a workout, you might … Continue reading

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The 1619 Project

We’ve all been taught the United States was founded on July 4, 1776, when representatives of the 13 colonies, gathered in Philadelphia, issued the Declaration of Independence. That’s the dominant historical narrative. But what if it’s not true? The 1619 … Continue reading

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The Dawn of Everything: A New History of Humanity

Everything you thought you knew about human history is wrong. And that’s a good thing. That’s the key message of The Dawn of Everything: A New History of Humanity, a monumental work of scholarship by David Graeber and David Wengrow. … Continue reading

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Why Nations Fail

Why are some countries rich and others poor? Why, despite the passage of nearly two hundred years since the Industrial Revolution, are some countries still struggling to provide basic necessities while others indulge in conspicuous consumption? Why Nations Fail: The … Continue reading

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US Supreme Court continues its attack on voting rights

In this post I’m taking a break from book reviews and making one of my occasional forays into reviewing decisions by the US Supreme Court. (Disclaimer: I’m not a lawyer and I don’t have any formal legal training. The opinions … Continue reading

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Sapiens

Last year, I read 21 Lessons for the 21st Century by Yuval Noah Harari, which I reviewed here. Several friends recommended I read Harari’s earlier book Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind. Now I know why. It’s an excellent book. As the … Continue reading

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