Equality: The Impossible Quest (Martin van Creveld)

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Equality: The Impossible Quest

“All over the Western world gaps between rich and poor are widening—or the headlines say. Nobody has done more to spread this view than the French economic historian Thomas Piketty, whose best-selling volume, Capital in the Twentieth Century, not only documents the process but represents one long call for reducing the gaps so as to create a more equal society. But what is equality? Who invented the idea, when, where, and why? How did it develop, grow, mature, and interact with other ideas? Continue reading…

Hacks: The Inside Story of the Break-Ins and Breakdowns That Put Donald Trump in the White House (Donna Brazile)

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Hacks: The Inside Story of the Break-Ins and Breakdowns That Put Donald Trump in the White House

“From Donna Brazile, former DNC chair and legendary political operative, an explosive and revealing new look at the 2016 election: the first insider account of the Russian hacking of the DNC and the missteps by the Clinton campaign and Obama administration that enabled a Trump victory.

In the fallout of the Russian hacking of the Democratic National Committee—and as chaos threatened to consume the party’s convention—Democrats turned to a familiar figure to right the ship: Donna Brazile. Continue reading…

Thank You for Being Late: An Optimist’s Guide to Thriving in the Age of Accelerations (Thomas L. Friedman)

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Thank You for Being Late: An Optimist’s Guide to Thriving in the Age of Accelerations

“We all sense it—something big is going on. You feel it in your workplace. You feel it when you talk to your kids. You can’t miss it when you read the newspapers or watch the news. Our lives are being transformed in so many realms all at once—and it is dizzying.

In Thank You for Being Late, a work unlike anything he has attempted before, Thomas L. Continue reading…

Free Thought and Official Propaganda (Bertrand Russell)

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Free Thought and Official Propaganda

“This is the Conway memorial lecture, delivered by Mr. Russell at South Place Institute, London, 24 March, 1922.

Moncure Conway, in whose honour we are assembled to-day, devoted his life to two great objects: freedom of thought and freedom of the individual. In regard to both these objects, something has been gained since his time, but something also has been lost. New dangers, somewhat different in form from those of past ages, threaten both kinds of freedom, and unless a vigorous and vigilant public opinion can be aroused in defence of them, there will be much less of both a hundred years hence than there is now. Continue reading…

Profiles in Courage (John F. Kennedy)

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Profiles in Courage

“In this book Kennedy chose eight of his historical colleagues to profile for their acts of astounding integrity in the face of overwhelming opposition. These heroes, coming from different junctures in our nation’s history, include John Quincy Adams, Daniel Webster, Thomas Hart Benton, and Robert A. Taft.

Now, a half-century later, the book remains a moving, powerful, and relevant testament to the indomitable national spirit and an unparalleled celebration of that most noble of human virtues. It resounds with timeless lessons on the most cherished of virtues and is a powerful reminder of the strength of the human spirit. Continue reading…

Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis (J.D. Vance)

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Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis

Hillbilly Elegy is a passionate and personal analysis of a culture in crisis—that of white working-class Americans. The decline of this group, a demographic of our country that has been slowly disintegrating over forty years, has been reported on with growing frequency and alarm, but has never before been written about as searingly from the inside. J.D. Vance tells the true story of what a social, regional, and class decline feels like when you were born with it hung around your neck. Continue reading…

State of Power 2016: Democracy, Power and Resistance (Yanis Varoufakis, Leigh Phillips, et al.)

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State of Power 2016: Democracy, Power and Resistance

“TNI’s fifth annual State of Power 2016 report explores the intersect of power and democracy. Featuring prominent activists and academics, its essays feature the long battle between economic power and popular democracy, expose the different powers seeking to undermine democracy today, and tell the stories of radical popular democratic alternatives emerging worldwide.”

New Books Playground says: State of Power 2016: Democracy, Power and Resistance is not old and rather an important treatise when it comes to understanding contemporary Europe. Continue reading…

Highlights from Natural Law: Or The Science of Justice (Lysander Spooner)

From our journey through random or quality (or random quality) books, here are some highlights from Lysander Spooner’s Natural Law: Or The Science of Justice (1882).

Emphasis as it appears in the original work may be missing, and our own edits, though marked, may be broad. Important: By sharing these highlights we neither endorse nor recommend respective authors and their views. Assume that we know little of the authors, and that we have nuanced views on the matter—as with all our book recommendations.

Natural Law: Or The Science of Justice

[…] all legislation whatsoever is an absurdity, a usurpation, and a crime.

Continue reading…

A Gentleman in Moscow (Amor Towles)

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A Gentleman in Moscow

He can’t leave his hotel. You won’t want to.

From the New York Times bestselling author of Rules of Civility—a transporting novel about a man who is ordered to spend the rest of his life inside a luxury hotel.

In 1922, Count Alexander Rostov is deemed an unrepentant aristocrat by a Bolshevik tribunal, and is sentenced to house arrest in the Metropol, a grand hotel across the street from the Kremlin. Rostov, an indomitable man of erudition and wit, has never worked a day in his life, and must now live in an attic room while some of the most tumultuous decades in Russian history are unfolding outside the hotel’s doors. Continue reading…

Highlights from The Communist Manifesto (Karl Marx & Friedrich Engels)

From our journey through random or quality (or random quality) books, here are some highlights from Karl Marx’s and Friedrich Engels’s The Communist Manifesto (1848).

Emphasis as it appears in the original work may be missing, and our own edits, though marked, may be broad. Important: By sharing these highlights we neither endorse nor recommend respective authors and their views. Assume that we know little of the authors, and that we have nuanced views on the matter—as with all our book recommendations.

The Communist Manifesto

The history of all hitherto existing societies is the history of class struggles.

Continue reading…