Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Annotated Table of Contents: Society 03

The Great Crash: 1929. John Kenneth Galbraith. If bankers and financiers had read this book, the great housing bubble of the 1990s and 2000s might not have happened.

The True Believer. Eric Hoffer. Hoffer, a well-read longshoreman, among other skid-row professions, has thought deeply about mass movements and seems to put those thoughts on paper in a random fashion. What’s missing is transitions from one paragraph to another. However, the ideas are connected. The reader has to make the connections. In his opinion, “True Believers” are frustrated people who seek to lose their personalities in a cause, any cause, for which they are willing to do anything, even give their lives. Hoffer explores the many implications of this type of personality.

V Was for Victory: Politics and American Culture During WWII John Morton Blum. Politics did not disappear in World War II. Blum discusses how war was sold to Americans. Propaganda was used to produce positive popular images of our own fighting men, our allies and the enemy.

Bring Out Your Dead. J.H. Powell. The anatomy of a crisis. How this particular crisis—the yellow-fever epidemic in Philadelphia in 1793—was dealt with. It was not resolved by human effort, but by nature’s change of seasons, the frost, that killed the real culprit, the mosquito. But to some degree the crisis was dealt with by human beings, especially the mayor of Philadelphia, Matthew Clarkson, who faced urgent problems and made decisions.

Three Cups of Tea. Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin. Do you think every Muslim is a potential terrorist? Do you agree with the bumper sticker that says, “Nuke ‘em All—Let Allah Sort them Out”? Then you need to read this book. You need to become familiar with the moderate Muslims, the Muslims who live in the mountains of Pakistan, impoverished illiterate people who don’t have any chance for an education, except for the schools for boys, the madrassas, schools that teach terrorism. This book changed my attitude toward Muslims.

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