Category: Books

“Think about the present, remember the past, and consider the future”

Politicians in our times feed their clichés to television, where even those who wish to disagree repeat them. Television purports to challenge political language by conveying images, but the succession from one frame to another can hinder a sense of resolution. Everything happens fast, but nothing actually happens. Each story on televised news is ”breaking” until it is displaced by… Read more →

“Into That Darkness”

The first book I read this year was Gitta Sereny’s ‘Into That Darkness’ which tells the tale of Franz Stangl, one of only 4 men who commanded Nazi Extermination camps, Sobibor and Treblinka in his case. Gitta Sereny conducted a series of interviews with him while he was incarcerated in a Dusseldorf prison in 1971. She suffuses her narrative with… Read more →

Remember… and do not forget

About nine years ago, I picked up a copy of Adolf Hitler’s ‘Mein Kampf’ while visiting the United States. For over twenty years I have been fascinated by the Second World War, and have read about and studied that period extensively, focusing mainly on Nazi Germany. My maternal grandparents lived through that period in the Netherlands and experienced German occupation… Read more →

“The Fine Art of Baloney Detection”

One of the more (if not most) known part of Carl Sagan’s book ‘The Demon-Haunted World’ is undoubtedly his so called ‘Baloney Detection Kit’. The entire book is great, and well worth the read, but this part stood out to me, as it offers some real practical tools. What’s in the kit? Tools for skeptical thinking. What skeptical thinking boils… Read more →

‘Lawrence in Arabia’

Lawrence in Arabia: War, Deceit, Imperial Folly and the Making of the Modern Middle East by Scott Anderson My rating: 5 of 5 stars T.E. Lawrence remains an illusive figure to most people. Most people (including myself) have first learned of him through the 1962 movie by David Lean. This book is certainly about T.E. Lawrence, but will cover far… Read more →

Thomas Paine’s ‘Common Sense’

Common Sense by Thomas Paine My rating: 4 of 5 stars There isn’t a single (good) book about the American Revolution in existence, that doesn’t mention Thomas Paine’s ‘Common Sense’ in some way or another. And rightfully so, as the effects of this pamphlet were great. Historian John Ferling, in his book ‘Almost a Miracle’ wrote the following: “His [Thomas… Read more →