Monday, September 14, 2020

The Mosquito by Timothy Winegard

This book’s full title is The Mosquito, A Human History of our Deadliest Predator. This is an interesting read of history though diseases we got from the mosquito. I had known about malaria and other diseases hitting North America, especially the 13 colonies. I had no idea that the early explorers bought malaria from Africa. I also did not know that Europe had malaria in the past.

The author is from Canada and is living in the US. Like a lot of history done in North America and generally in Europe, this book only looks at some European, but mainly American history. When I say American, I mean North and South America. But also, a great deal of the book deals with the US history. Nothing is said about Asia and mosquitos and very little about Arica and the mosquitos.

There is a review of this book on the CBC site. There is a podcast interview of Timothy Winegard on this site. Katie Wudel at Los Angeles Times reviews this book. She ends with the quote. “It is not the strongest of species that survives, nor the most intelligent. … It is the one that is most adaptable to change.” Lulu Garcia-Navarro on NPR interviews Timothy Winegard and the transcript is given on their site. Ghost Reader on YouTube give a review of this book.

Timothy Winegard is interviewed on The Agenda. Timothy Winegard speaks at Colorado Mesa University. The Q & A portion starts at 40 minutes. There is an interview on Your Morning of Timothy Winegard. This is short at just over 5 minutes. And for Canadians, Timothy Winegard wrote a book called For King and Kanata: Canadian Indians and the First World War. He talks about this in a video at Books. Our treatment of our Indians has been astonishingly bad. I had no idea they were not considered citizens in the past.

An index of the books I have reviewed are on my website at Books. I have three blogs. The first talks only about specific stocks and is called Investment Talk . The second one contains information on mostly investing and is called Investing Economics Mostly. My last blog is for my book reviews and it is called Non-Fiction Mostly. Follow me on Twitter.

Friday, August 14, 2020

The Storm Before the Calm by George Friedman

This book’s full title is The Storm Before the Calm: America’s Discord, The Coming Crisis of the 2020’s and the Triumph Beyond. George Friedman believes in cycles. A lot of historians do as do some people in finance. I think that they have good reasons to do so. It is not that are cycles are the same. Sometimes there are similarities and sometimes not.

George Friedman talks about America reinvesting itself. It has done so in the past and will do so in the future. I believe this also. When you think of the conflict with China, this is the one thing that stands out. America can reinvest itself. China has cycles too, but they all involve having an emperor. Mao was an emperor as is the current president of China Xi Jinping. China has a deep long history. China has often fallen apart and put itself back together again. However, it always has an emperor.

I find George Friedman an original thinker and I enjoyed reading his book. I believe in historical cycles but it can be debated if Friedman has gotten it right by his cycles. The US is certainly polarized at the present and I believe that the US will reinvent itself. I have no idea how this will happen. In any event, George Friedman is always an interesting read. So read this if you want an interesting take on what is happening in the US.

I am not surprised that there are a lot of critical reviews of this book. At the present time it seems that American cannot agree on anything. I live in Canada and we also have a lot of the same problems in agreeing, especially politically. It is not just discord. People just seem to hate and feel people who think differently, especially politically are on the evil side. It is too bad this has occurred. The problem with this is that people are shut up. This is why the voting for Trump was not noted. You can shut people up, but the vote is secret.

Glenn Altschuler on Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has a rather critical view of this book. There is another critical review by David Wineberg at San Francisco. There is a less critical, but interesting review at Kirkus Reviews. A blogger on Deviant Art give a full review of this book. Some of it is critical and some not. Andrew Sheng at The Edge Markets also does an interesting and full review of this book..

The last video in this list is the most interesting with an interview by Jim Falk even though it is the longest one. George Friedman gives a short speech at Sweeney Agency. The shorten free interview podcast on Financial Sense give a good sense of what this book is about. Chief Economist Bart van Ark of the Conference Board’ interviews George Friedman. This last video is where George Friedman is interviewed by Jim Falk for World Affairs Council of Dallas, Fort Worth.

An index of the books I have reviewed are on my website at Books. I have three blogs. The first talks only about specific stocks and is called Investment Talk . The second one contains information on mostly investing and is called Investing Economics Mostly. My last blog is for my book reviews and it is called Non-Fiction Mostly. Follow me on Twitter.

Friday, July 31, 2020

Feeding the People by Rebecca Earle

This book’s full title is Feeding the People, The politics of the Potato. This is an interesting look at history through the lens of the potato. There are stories that it was the elite that introduced the potato in different parts of the world. They can make great stories. However, Rebecca Earle disputes this and talks about how it was the ordinary people that adopted the potatoes in different parts of the world.

I have been reading a lot of history through a number of lenses and different angles recently. Others I have recently reviewed is history through the lens of music and the mosquito. This is another view of history. This is story telling through food, especially the potato. So, this is potato and history.

Potatoes rank fourth in value with regards to foods. It is behind wheat, maize, and rice in volume. It is the fifth most valuable crop. Rebecca Earle talks about how lots of ordinary people accepted and adapted to the potato long before they drew the attention of the elite.

It is interesting that the governments at one time got very interested in what their people were eating. This started in Britain at the time of Boer War (1899) because the government found 40% to 60% of the people too malnourished for recruitment for the war. Britain also found the same problem going into WWI (1914). With the Enlightenment, people thought there was a relationship between the health and vigor of the population and the wealth and power of the state.

Rebecca Earle talks about the potato through different periods of time after it becoming available to Europe in the 16th Century. Mostly it was regarded as a good nutritious food, but not always. Elites sometimes thought of the potato as a source of excellent nutrition for the poor and at other times thought of potato eaters as lazy.

Some reviewers have criticized what they call her formulistic writing, but personally, I found the book interesting and the history of the potato fascinating. Unfortunately, I cannot give links to reviews because the papers where they are, are locking anyone out who is not a subscriber. Potatoes were unknow outside the Andes before the 16th century. Now they are everywhere.

I like to hear authors speak about their books. However, I could not find any video by Rebecca Earle. I did find some essays by her and some reviews of her essays and book. See the links below. If you like her essays, you can go on and get the book. It is an easy and interesting read.

How the Humble Potato Fuelled The Rise of Liberal Capitalism by Rebecca Earle is an essay that she wrote. It is an interesting essay and well worth the read. A review of this essay by Carissa Chew is on the Retrospect Journal. You can read another essay of Rebecca Earle at The Conversation. It is entitled Beyond porridge: pigeon in a kettle and other prison-cell cuisine.

Oliver Wiseman reviews this book and one on coffee at The Critic. Diego Arguedas Ortiz at BBC gives a history of the potatoes and mentions Rebecca Earle. There is a review of this book also at Potato Grower. The reviewer says the book is potato centric with recipes woven throughout.

An index of the books I have reviewed are on my website at Books. I have three blogs. The first talks only about specific stocks and is called Investment Talk . The second one contains information on mostly investing and is called Investing Economics Mostly. My last blog is for my book reviews and it is called Non-Fiction Mostly. Follow me on Twitter.

Friday, July 17, 2020

Talking to Strangers by Malcolm Gladwell

I am now caught up with all my book reviews of the books I have read recently. A while ago I had a huge stack of books that I had read and wanted to review. I try not to do this, that is having a stack of books to review, but it is so easy to go on to the next book and put off reviewing the one I just finished.

This book’s full title is Talking to Strangers: What We Should Know About the People We Don’t’ Know. Some people like Malcolm Gladwell and others do not. Personally, I always find him interesting and that is why I bought his new book called Talking to Strangers. The other thing about his books is that they are an easy read. Basically, he says we are better off as a society when we believe what strangers say rather than being suspicious of everything they might say.

Andrew Anthony on The Guardian does a nice review of this book. Brian Naylor does a review on NPR. Andrew Ferguson on The Atlantic spends a lot of words saying how superficial Malcolm Gladwell and his books are.

I like the interviews better than Malcolm Gladwell’s speech. I especially liked the interview by Susan Swain. Malcolm Gladwell speaks for Penguin Books UK. Malcolm Gladwell is interviewed on The Economist by Anne McElvoy. There is a very short video with Malcolm Gladwell promoting his book for Penguin in Australia. Malcolm Gladwell is interviewed on C-Span. The host on C-Span is Susan Swain.

An index of the books I have reviewed are on my website at Books. I have three blogs. The first talks only about specific stocks and is called Investment Talk . The second one contains information on mostly investing and is called Investing Economics Mostly. My last blog is for my book reviews and it is called Non-Fiction Mostly. Follow me on Twitter

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Rise and Fall by Paul Strathern

This book’s full title is Rise and Fall, A History of the World in Ten Empires. The most interesting comment I found was that empires based solely on power and domination, while allowing their subjects to do as they will, can last for centuries. Those that try to control the everyday lives of their people are much harder to sustain.

This book was a very easy read and does not bring up much in the way of new information for me, but then I have read a lot of history books. Why he includes the USA, I cannot say. Perhaps because a lot of people say it is decline, but only the future can really tell you this. I know that China desperately wants to replace US as the world power. But things do not always work out how you want. And, there is also that thing of being careful what you wish for.

Like it is said that the Holy Roman Empire was not Holy or Roman or an Empire, he said that the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics was not a union, not socialist, not ruled by soviets (worker’s committees) and was not a republic. It the Russian Empire in a different disguise and it was under autocratic rule just as it was under the Czars. Actually, you can say the same thing about Russian today with Putin in charge. He is the new Czar.

When he talks about American, he talks about the period of the Robber Barons like Cornelius Vanderbilt, Andrew Carnegie, J. P. Morgan, and Henry Ford. We seem to be in the same situation today and the Robber Barons are the owners of FAANGs.

It is interesting that there are only reviews on Amazon and Good Reads. I can find no reviews in any magazine or newspaper, although there are podcast reviews. Reviews on Amazon is here. The Good Reads reviews are here. A podcast is on Mixcloud.

There are no videos about this book or Paul Strathern that I can find.

An index of the books I have reviewed are on my website at Books. I have three blogs. The first talks only about specific stocks and is called Investment Talk . The second one contains information on mostly investing and is called Investing Economics Mostly. My last blog is for my book reviews and it is called Non-Fiction Mostly. Follow me on Twitter.

Friday, July 10, 2020

The Reality Bubble by Ziya Tong

This book’s full title is The Reality Bubble: Blind Spots, Hidden Truths, and the Dangerous Illusions that Shape Our World. She talks about all the things we do not see, from the very small like microbes and neutrinos and other things we are blind to, like how much animals in our food chain suffer.

The problem is not climate change per se, but that we are destroying our world. We are destroying our world that we need to live in. We are destroying our oceans, our forest and other life. Things that we need to live and breathe. But I must admit I am an optimist. I believe we will fix things. There are lots of people trying to do just that. See this video from the Economist on cleaning up plastic from oceans. I do not believe you have to destroy all than man has built to save the world.

And, we will not fix our problems by destroying our economy. It is rich societies that want to fix their environment. If you make people poor, all they are looking for is where their next meal comes from. They do not care about their environment when they are hungry.

For book reviews, see the one by Nesrine Malik at the Guardian. This CBC site has some interesting items from a review of the book to why Ziya Tong wrote the book to talks by Ziya Tong to some podcasts by Ziya Tong. There is an interesting review of this book on a blog called I’ve Read This. And, another good review by Charles R. Larson on Counter Punch.

There is a short book review by Ziya Tong on You Tube. The Agenda with Steve Paikin has an interview of Ziya Tong. Ziya Tong is interviewed on Breakfast Television. This is a short video also. Ziya Tong is on Ted Talks.

An index of the books I have reviewed are on my website at Books. I have three blogs. The first talks only about specific stocks and is called Investment Talk . The second one contains information on mostly investing and is called Investing Economics Mostly. My last blog is for my book reviews and it is called Non-Fiction Mostly. Follow me on Twitter.

Friday, July 3, 2020

Dangerous Melodies by Jonathan Rosenberg

This book’s full title is Dangerous Melodies: Classical Music in America from the Great War through the Cold War. I personally love reading history. This is quite a different approach to history as it is through the lens of music. I had not thought about or before considered the effect of classical music, which is all from Europe, on people in the US during the first and second world wars and the cold war.

Classical music comes from Europe. I had not realized about the anti-German feelings in the US during the first world war. You hardly hear about this. I know that Germans were the second largest immigrant group to the US and the third largest in Canada (after the French and English) prior to the second world war.

I have German relatives in Canada who immigrated in the mid to late 1800’s and were in Canada during the first and second world war. I know that my great-grandfather, who died in 1905 was basically a German speaker, but my grandfather was bilingual, and my father, who was born in 1914 spoke only English and grew up in a home that spoke English. I know people in the community felt that they had to keep their heads down and not cause any trouble, but they also signed up for service in both world wars.

There is a short review of this book on Kirkus Reviews. On NPR News they show highlights of a review with the author by Scott Simons. Tim Page at the Washington Post has great an easy read on this book.

Jonathan Rosenberg speaks at Politics and Prose on his book Dangerous Melodies. The Q&A starts at around 33 minutes into the video. This is a rather long video speech by Jonathan Rosenberg on C-Span.

An index of the books I have reviewed are on my website at Books. I have three blogs. The first talks only about specific stocks and is called Investment Talk . The second one contains information on mostly investing and is called Investing Economics Mostly. My last blog is for my book reviews and it is called Non-Fiction Mostly. Follow me on Twitter.