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Book recommendations thread

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  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators, Social & Fun Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 29,792 CMod ✭✭✭✭ ancapailldorcha


    Fantasyland: How America Went Haywire: A 500 Year History (Kurt Andersen).

    Fantasyland is Kurt Andersen's thesis that Americans are naturally more susceptible to fantasies of various forms and have been throughout their history. He tracks America from it's origins as a haven for European religious fanatics and English fortune seekers who never let something as small as a complete lack of gold blunt their enthusiasm. The book examines various fads and fantasies that have permeated and spread through US culture over the centuries as well as a selection of individuals who peddle such fantasies either sincerely or duplicitously such as homeopthy, pentecostalism, anti-vaxxers, climate change skeptics, gun enthusiasts, Mormonism, live action roleplayers (LARPers), P.T. Barnum, Ronald Reagan, Joseph Smith, Davy Crockett, Walt Disney &, yes, Donald Trump.

    It's important to note that this is a book focused on America's cultural history. I expected to see a bit more politics but if you want to read about the far right in the US, the GOP, the situation regarding firearms or anything like that, a book with a narrower scope might be a better fit for you. I'm not sure that I buy into the entirety of the author's theory, for example the part about the suburbs comprising a part of what Andersen terms "the Fantasy-Industrial complex". However, he does make a compelling case for why various fads, religions, scams and branches of anti-scientific thought seem to find more fertile soil in America than in Europe. The result is a fascinating though somewhat depressing read.


  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators, Social & Fun Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 29,792 CMod ✭✭✭✭ ancapailldorcha


    Prisoners of Geography: Ten Maps That Tell You Everything You Need to Know About Global Politics (Tim Marshall).

    Prisoners of Geography is Tim Marshall's attempt to explain the rationale of various leaders throughout history. Marshall devotes a chapter to a different region of the world, sometimes encompassing a whole continent like Europe or just one or two countries like the Koreas and Japan. I hadn't really appreciated the role that Geography plays in the motives of world leaders and in shaping the history of the world. Marshall highlights examples like England's rich forests providing an abundance of timber with which to build a navy or Europe's temperate climate and easily navigable rivers. The author employs Geography to explain the annexation of Crimea by Putin as well as Xi Jinping's Belt & Road initiative.

    Like Fantasyland, Prisoners has a broad scope and so is therefore lacking in a fair bit of detail. It does, however make for a superb primer to world affairs.


  • Registered Users Posts: 5,141 ✭✭✭ finbarrk


    Prisoners of Geography: Ten Maps That Tell You Everything You Need to Know About Global Politics (Tim Marshall).

    Prisoners of Geography is Tim Marshall's attempt to explain the rationale of various leaders throughout history. Marshall devotes a chapter to a different region of the world, sometimes encompassing a whole continent like Europe or just one or two countries like the Koreas and Japan. I hadn't really appreciated the role that Geography plays in the motives of world leaders and in shaping the history of the world. Marshall highlights examples like England's rich forests providing an abundance of timber with which to build a navy or Europe's temperate climate and easily navigable rivers. The author employs Geography to explain the annexation of Crimea by Putin as well as Xi Jinping's Belt & Road initiative.

    Like Fantasyland, Prisoners has a broad scope and so is therefore lacking in a fair bit of detail. It does, however make for a superb primer to world affairs.

    Read that a few years ago. It's very good.


  • Registered Users Posts: 4,122 ✭✭✭ Brussels Sprout


    Could anyone recommend a book on the first 50 years of the Irish state/republic?



  • Registered Users Posts: 6 infamaria101


    I highly recommend this book tom very interesting book!



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  • Registered Users Posts: 1,389 ✭✭✭ lulublue22


    just saw this thread - Can anyone recommend reading material that deals with the breakup of the USSR and or the roots of the current Ukraine conflict and any recommendations for a broad overview of Eastern European history since the cold war.


    tks



  • Registered Users Posts: 3,767 ✭✭✭ beggars_bush


    Shadow State

    Deals with Russian infiltration of western countries



  • Registered Users Posts: 382 ✭✭ Ben Done


    About a third of the way through Peter Pomerantsev's

    Nothing is True and Everything is Possible: Adventures in Modern Russia

    "A journey into the glittering, surreal heart of 21st century Russia: into the lives of Hells Angels convinced they are messiahs, professional killers with the souls of artists, bohemian theatre directors turned Kremlin puppet-masters, supermodel sects, post-modern dictators and oligarch revolutionaries.

    This is a world erupting with new money and new power, changing so fast it breaks all sense of reality, where life is seen as a whirling, glamorous masquerade where identities can be switched and all values are changeable. It is home to a new form of authoritarianism, far subtler than 20th century strains, and which is rapidly expanding to challenge the global order.


    An extraordinary book - one which is as powerful and entertaining as it is troubling - Nothing is True and Everything is Possible offers a wild ride into this political and ethical vacuum".


    Highly recommended.



  • Registered Users Posts: 382 ✭✭ Ben Done


    Having read Anne Applebaum"s excellent Twilight of Democracy, another of her books I've seen recommended due to the current situation is next on my reading list -


    Red Famine: Stalin's War on Ukraine

    Meticulously researched, blisteringly written -- Dominic Sandbrook ― The Sunday Times (Books of the Year)


    Magisterial and heartbreaking -- Simon Sebag Montefiore ― Evening Standard


    Compelling in its detail and in its empathy -- Nick Rennison ― The Sunday Times


    Her account will surely become the standard treatment of one of history's great political atrocities -- Timothy Snyder ― Washington Post



  • Registered Users Posts: 6,325 ✭✭✭ HalloweenJack


    Red Famine is a great read, full of detailed information and gives a good insight into historic Russian attitudes to Ukraine.

    Her book on the gulags is brilliant too.

    I'm reading Prisoners of Geography at the moment and it also has some good explanations of how the Ukraine situation came about (I'm reading a 2019 revised edition). Its packed with great insights into the mindest of countries and what motivates them, would definitely recommend it.



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  • Registered Users Posts: 38 Sophia Petrillo




  • Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 9,367 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Manach


    As a starting point for anyone journey into conservatism is the late great polymath Roger Scruton work "How to Be a Conservative".



  • Registered Users Posts: 6,325 ✭✭✭ HalloweenJack


    Why I'm No Longer Talking To White People About Race.

    The title grabs the attention but it is a brilliant read and really helps you get inside the experiences of people of colour in the UK and gives you an idea of what privilege is if you don't think it exists (I'm white, middle-class, straight).

    There are some great points to take from it, especially why being 'colour-blind' is nonsense. By saying that, you are denying that people of colour DO have different experiences and ignoring a key factor in problems they have experienced.


    I'd highly recommend it.



  • Registered Users Posts: 7 lizz.olya


    I really like reading books especially novels. It really gives me pleasure. Before that, I spent all my time studying and working, and when I became interested in reading, I did just that and worked a little. I often turned to https://letsgradeit.com/review/classyessay/ for help with learning to spend more time reading. If anyone is interested, here are some really cool romance books:

    - The Fault in Our Stars

    - Looking for Alaska

    - Paper Towns

    - One Last Stop

    Post edited by lizz.olya on


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,100 ✭✭✭ friendlyfun


    The Tyranny of Merit by Michael Sandel.



  • Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 10,683 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Hermy


    I tried watching a YouTube talk he gave on the subject but didn't get very far.

    What are your thoughts on the book?

    Genealogy Forum Mod



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