Sunday, November 26, 2023

Follow the Money: How Much Does Britain Cost?

Humans share much with other animals — the basic needs of food and drink or sleep, for example — but there are additional mental and emotional needs and desires which are perhaps unique to us. To live on a day-to-day basis is insufficient for human beings; we need to transcend, transport, escape; we need meaning, understanding, and explanation; we need to see overall patterns in our lives. We need hope, the sense of a future. And we need freedom (or at least the illusion of freedom) to get beyond ourselves, whether with telescopes and microscopes and our ever-burgeoning technology or in states of mind which allow us to travel to other worlds, to transcend our immediate surroundings. We need detachment of this sort as much as we need engagement in our lives… transports that make our consciousness of time and mortality easier to bear. We seek a holiday from our inner and outer restrictions, a more intense sense of the here and now, the beauty and value of the world we live in.

Born in 1948 when 1984 was Written

‘Is that Orwellian or Kafkaesque enough for you?’ The Guardian removes Bin Laden’s ‘Letter To America’

The Guardian has long promoted itself as a valiant publisher of news and analysis that holds the powerful to account. It is a thing of wonder that the Guardian appends the following comment beneath news pieces: ‘Our quality, investigative journalism is a scrutinising force at a time when the rich and powerful are getting away

1990s AD Mike Egan with Bob Carr at the Domain Sydney Australia 

Erika Fatland, High: A Journey Across the Himalaya Through Pakistan, India, Bhutan, Nepal, and China.

Adam Kuper, The Museum of Other People: From Colonial Acquisitions to Cosmopolitan Exhibitions.

Paul Johnson, Follow the Money: How Much Does Britain Cost?

Murray Pittock, Scotland: A Global History.

Reviel Netz, A New History of Greek Mathematics.

Melissa S. Kearney, The Two-Parent Privilege.

David Edmonds, Derek Parfit: A Philosopher and His Mission to Save Morality.

Peter Lee, Carey Goldberg, and Isaac Kohane, The AI Revolution in Medicine: GPT-4 and Beyond.

Matt Zwolinski and John Tomasi, The Individualists: Radicals, Reactionaries, and the Struggle for the Soul of Libertarianism.

Sebastian Edwards, The Chile Project: The Story of the Chicago Boys and the Downfall of Neoliberalism.

Martyn Rady, The Central Kingdoms: A New History of Central Europe.

Norman Lebrecht, Why Beethoven: A Phenomenon in One Hundred Pieces.

Ian Mortimer, Medieval Horizons: Why the Middle Ages Matter.

Jacob Mikanowski, Goodbye Eastern Europe: An Intimate History of a Divided Land.

Sophia Giovannitti, Working Girl: On Selling Art and Selling Sex.

Christopher Clark, Revolutionary Spring: Fighting for a New World 1848-1849.

Fearghal Cochrane, Belfast: The Story of a City and its People.

Jennifer Burns, Milton Friedman: The Last Conservative.

Mikhail Zygar, War and Punishment: Putin, Zelensky, and the Path to Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine.

Jeremy Jennings, Travels with Tocqueville: Beyond America.

Fuchsia Dunlop, Invitation to a Banquet: The Story of Chinese Food.

David Brooks, How to Know Others: The Art of Seeing Others and Being Deeply Seen.

Jonny Steinberg, Winnie and Nelson: Portrait of a Marriage.

Richard Cockett, Vienna: How the City of Ideas Created the Modern World.

Cat Bohannon, Eve: How the Female Body Drove 200 Million Years of Human Evolution.

Larry Rohter, Into the Amazon: The Life of Cândido Rondon, Trailblazing Explorer, Scientist, Statesman, and Conservationist.

Frank Trentmann, Out of the Darkness: The Germans 1942-2022.

Tyler Cowen, GOAT: Who is the Greatest Economist of all Time and Why Does it Matter?

It is hard to pick out 2 or 3 favorites this year, as they are all excellent.  I am partial to David Edmonds on Parfit, but a lot of you already know you should be reading that.  Perhaps my nudge is most valuable for Jonny Steinberg, Winny and Nelson: Portrait of a Marriage?  So that is my pick for the year!

As usual, I will issue an addendum at the end of the year, because I will be reading a lot between now and then.  I haven’t even received my 1344-pp. Jonathan Israel biography of Spinoza yet.  Here is my earlier list on the year’s fiction.  And apologies for any of your books I have forgotten to list, there are always some such cases.