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What are you reading?
This was a favorite thread in the now-defunct New York Times forums. We can here discuss significant books that we are reading, not limited to those with obvious connections with Fourth Turning theory. Please discuss books that will be of interest to other posters, which can obviously include literary classics, biographies of important figures of culture and history, general history, political theory. So go ahead and discuss any reading projects underway. 

I got a $50 gift card from a used-book dealer and got a literary gold mine:

The Magic Mountain by Thomas Mann

A Team of Rivals, Doris Kearns-Goodwin

Peter the Great, Robert Massie

the autobiography of Ulysses S. Grant

As I can read only one book at a time, I have started on The Magic Mountain. My brother, who gave me the gift certificate, has gotten a start on the Grant biography.

Please discuss books that other people might want to read and discuss. No semi-pornographic novels, technical manuals, or conspiracy
theories -- please. Books off internet sources in the public domain are welcome. That is how I had Les Miserables as a reading project.

Previously read -- and it did not take much time, but it did get me thinking while it jerked some tears was Hans Christian Andersen's The Little Match Girl, a short, concise, and powerful tale of child neglect and exploitation.
The ideal subject of totalitarian rule is not the convinced Nazi or the dedicated Communist  but instead the people for whom the distinction between fact and fiction, true and false, no longer exists -- Hannah Arendt.

Destined For War Can America And China Escape Thucydides's Trap? by Graham Allison.

Check out the web site,

In one particular aspect the book seems out dated-one can't expect China to be a "responsible stakeholder" in an American led international order...if Donald Trump seems to want to smash said order.
Just got "Civilization on Trial", a collection of essays by Toynbee.

A fundamental ideal of the modern West on trial. By a Silent (which may be important for Hintergrund. He's not fond of this generation at all)

I will try Toynbee, too.
Everything Under The Heavens. How the Past Helps Shape China's Push for Global Power by Howard W. French.

The author indicates that todays Chinese have that old Middle Kingdom mind set, and that all other cultures are expected to defer to Chinese awesomeness.
I just finished reading this book, and enjoyed it very much: Burning Down the Haus: Punk Rock, Revolution, and the Fall of the Berlin Wall, by Tim Mohr (2018).  It's about young punk rockers in East Germany in the 1980s, their persecution by the Stasi, who classified them as the number 1 most threatening youth culture of  the day, and their role in the underground movements that brought down the Wall.  Their motto (one of their mottos): "Don't die in the waiting room of the future."  

"Like visual artists and writers, political activists could melt back into anonymity after a demonstration. While politically focused activists might appear at first glance to to have represented a more serious threat to the dictatorship, their protests were discrete events separate from everyday life. Punks, by contrast, because of the way they looked, represented active constant opposition any time they appeared in public. You couldn't spray hoses on punks and throw them in the slammer overnight to stop their particular form of protest. Because the next day they would just walk down the street again, embodying constant active protest, an all-encompassing protest tied to their very person and being. From the perspective of the Stasi, punk was a menacing outsider cult causing more and more kids to opt out of the preordained future the government had in mind for them."  --from the book

I am currently reading Citizens by Simon Schama (French Revolution), The Quest For Meaning by Tariq Ramadan, a philosophical approach to political pluralism, and Ruling The Waves by Debora Spar, which I just posted a review of in the Technology forum.
Steve Barrera

[A]lthough one would like to change today's world back to the spirit of one hundred years or more ago, it cannot be done. Thus it is important to make the best out of every generation. - Hagakure

Saecular Pages
Man's Search for Meaning, Victor Frankl; Hillbilly Elegy, J.D.Vance; the autobiography of Walter Cronkhite.
The ideal subject of totalitarian rule is not the convinced Nazi or the dedicated Communist  but instead the people for whom the distinction between fact and fiction, true and false, no longer exists -- Hannah Arendt.


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