Books of interest

Do you know of a book we should all read?
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If there is a relevant book you would like to suggest that forum members read together please private message Gavin who will create a subforum for it. Thereafter you're free to create your own introduction (in which you might suggest target dates), topics for each chapter and anything else.

Re: Books of interest

Postby Gavin » 18 Nov 2013, 12:07

Exposing Che Guevara
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Re: Books of interest

Postby Andreas » 02 Dec 2013, 22:11

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Icarus-Fallen-M ... sol+icarus

Mature, intelligent reflections on our current dilemmas. The author, Chantal Delsol, is a professor of philosophy in Paris.

"An observation forces itself upon us: not only has the existence of our contemporary been liberated from the vision of measureless time (in the form of religious aspirations, institutional legacies, community symbols of that which endures), it has also been divested of its own continuity. In fact, the two are probably related. As soon as the categories of eternity and immortality disappear, individual existence becomes fragmented. Stated otherwise, individuals have abandoned the very idea of a life-work (oeuvre). What is left of time is not simply a shortened duration; it is time shattered into many fragments.

This fragmentation can be seen today in all areas of individual and social existence. It represents the structure of, and the backdrop to, our societies. The individual's life, no longer the account of an oeuvre, consists only of moments or scattered slices of life without connections to each other. We see a fragmentation of social and political existence because we do not know what kind of society we want to build, and we are content to simply deal with the crucial problems of the day. We see a fragmentation of history into "memoirs," each shedding light on an event called forth by emotion and separated from the whole where alone meaning can survive. We see a fragmentation of ethical norms, the constraining force of which is determined by indignation or sentimentality instead of any guiding principle."
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Re: Books of interest

Postby Elliott » 03 Dec 2013, 00:37

That sounds very interesting - and the language very French!
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Re: Books of interest

Postby Alf » 06 Dec 2013, 22:01

American Betrayal: The Secret Assault on Our Nation's Character by Diana West
I have found the revelations in this book to be absolutely shocking. Not only for the deception it is attempting to bring into the light but the fact that it is still continuing and we are experiencing a similar systematic deception with regard to Islamification.
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Re: Books of interest

Postby Gavin » 10 Dec 2013, 08:26

Atlas ShuggedI am finally working my way through this now! I think, like Richard Waghorne and TD, I may not like it much. Ms Rand may go too far with her philosophy of individualism for my personal liking, but I will see. It is certainly a possibility in this society that Atlas might shrug, I think, as the underclass continues to grow without limitation and the creators are taxed ever more highly.
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Re: Books of interest

Postby Andreas » 10 Dec 2013, 22:59

This looks like an interesting book, but probably won't be translated into English:

http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/interview-french-philosopher-finkielkraut-on-muslims-and-integration-a-937404.html
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Re: Books of interest

Postby Nathan » 11 Dec 2013, 00:06

Andreas wrote:This looks like an interesting book, but probably won't be translated into English:

http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/interview-french-philosopher-finkielkraut-on-muslims-and-integration-a-937404.html


Nice, I'll definitely try and get hold of that. If I had to name two things I admire about the French, it wouldn't be their cuisine or their art, but that their public intellectuals are genuinely listened to and their cultural self-belief is so strong.

I like the direct style of Der Spiegel's questioning - some of the questions asked are blatant traps, some are based on falsehoods, some though raise some very intriguing points. I'm afraid I wouldn't have the patience for that line of interrogation though - this is what I would likely answer to some of the questions:

Why is that? Post-national and multicultural sounds rather promising.


Does it? What exactly does it promise? If all this is meant to be so wonderful, how come nobody has ever been able to actually enlighten us with a proper answer?

Aren't you giving in here to the right-wingers' fears of demise?


"Giving in" to the right-wingers - are we the enemy then? Is it only us who have fears, and everybody else just has predictions or something?

But France has always been a country of immigrants.


No it hasn't.

America makes it easy for new arrivals to feel like Americans. Does France place the hurdles too high?


Given how so many French people refer to second or third-generation French-born citizens as still being Moroccans, Algerians etc, almost certainly. All that does though is show the lunacy of unleashing mass immigration on a population with that mindset in the first place.

How do you define this French civilization that you speak of?


We both know that whatever answer I give, you will pick holes in it and strawman me to death.

Hasn't Islam long since become a part of Europe, a part of France and Germany, as former German President Christian Wulff once put it?


Yes, but only in the sense that we've had to keep fighting it off every few hundred years.

Well, the Muslims are here now. So don't they also belong?


Well, they are here now. Embrace the diversity...or else.

How do you view the political rise of Marine Le Pen and her far-right National Front party?


Why do you feel the need to put in "far-right" before their name? Do you commonly use the term "far-left"?

That sounds as if you could imagine voting for the party.


Am I not supposed to then?

What do you say to people who call you a reactionary?


By "people", you just mean yourself, don't you?
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Re: Books of interest

Postby Elliott » 11 Dec 2013, 00:19

Good answers, Nathan.
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Re: Books of interest

Postby Nathan » 19 Jan 2014, 15:02

The Kingdom by the SeaI wondered if anybody else on here had read this account of a three-month trip all around the British coastline? It is fairly dated now, having been written in 1982, but I find social commentaries from the 80s and 90s particularly interesting, being born and raised in that time, because they help to put modern observations into perspective.

When I first read it five or six years ago I found it fairly annoying how the author seemed to go out of his way to focus the negative, but if you like Dalrymple's observations of the people he meets, then you should find this one worth reading too.
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Re: Books of interest

Postby Andreas » 24 Jan 2014, 19:08

Graham GreeneThis was an enjoyable read about a trek through backwoods Liberia by Graham Greene in 1935. One of Dalrymple's essays in "The Pleasure of Thinking" pointed me towards it. Dalrymple mentions finding a rare first edition including text that was removed under threat of libel--Greene had apparently included an unflattering portrait of a British official in Sierra Leone.

Some of our contemporaries would criticize Greene for sometimes expressing colonialist attitudes in this book. Instead, I think he is simply being honest about his reactions to a very different climate and culture, and to travel under difficult conditions. The writing is certainly very good for a 30-31-year-old, with many memorable passages, such as one about rats, and how one doesn't have to think about rats in London, but can't avoid noticing them in rural Africa.
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Re: Books of interest

Postby Nathan » 25 Jan 2014, 23:15

That book sounds well worth reading, Andreas. Like I've said before, historical travel journals hold much more interest for me because the different time period gives it that extra foreignness.

An even older West African travel story which I enjoyed reading and which I hope I still have my copy of somewhere is this one by Mungo Park, written at the turn of the nineteenth century. Considering the era he came from and the experiences he had there, it's surprising how few un-PC attitudes towards the locals he held:

Image

Another historical travel book I can recommend from the same era about a country close to my heart is this Goethe classic:
Image
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Re: Books of interest

Postby Roger » 01 Feb 2014, 14:47

For those with an interest in modern British social history I would recommend Alwyn W Turner's three volumes spanning the 70s, 80s, and the recent A Classless Society: Britain in the 1990s, a hefty hardback I am currently traversing. It's a particularly interesting decade, especially for those of use who came of age at the dawn of New Labour. Turner also incorporates popular and low culture into his narratives, and examines how songs, television shows and even advertisements reflect and shape the contemporaneous political and social landscape.
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Re: Books of interest

Postby Andreas » 18 Feb 2014, 21:32

I'm just now reading and enjoying a book of short stories by Graham Greene. One in particular, "Men at Work," made me laugh out loud, a story about working in the Ministry of Information during World War II.

...the huge staff of the Ministry accumulated like a kind of fungoid life -- old divisions sprouting daily new sections which then broke away and became divisions and spawned in turn...


There's a wonderful bit about a Ministry employee named Mr. King:

King had been an advertising man, and the need to sell something would regularly overcome him. Memories of Ovaltine and Halitosis and the Mustard Club sought an outlet all the time, until suddenly, overwhelmingly, he would begin to sell the war. The Treasury and the Stationery Office always saw to it that his great schemes came to nothing: only once, because somebody was on holiday, a King campaign really got under way. It was when the meat ration went down to a shilling; the hoardings all over London carried a curt King message. 'DON'T GROUSE ABOUT MUTTON. WHAT'S WRONG WITH YOUR GREENS?' A ribald Labour member asked a question in Parliament, the posters were withdrawn at a cost of twenty thousand pounds, the Permanent Secretary resigned, the Prime Minister stood by the Minister who stood by his staff ('I consider we are one of the fighting services'), and King, after being asked to resign, was instead put in charge of the Books Division of the Ministry at a higher salary. Here it was felt he could do no harm.


Fungoid growth of bureaucratic offices, wasting of time and money, promotions and salary increases for incompetent bunglers--I work in a state bureaucratic organization, and this is all too familiar. At least Greene makes it funny.
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Re: Books of interest

Postby Gavin » 18 Feb 2014, 22:40

I wonder what Greene would make of the massive bloating of the public sector under "New Labour"! National debt rose in line with it.

Thankfully there seem to be some signs that the economy is recovering due to Conservative policies now: both unemployment and inflation beginning to fall. Socialists seem to be completely clueless about economics - they seem to think they can just help themselves to other people's money whenever as if it magically comes from nowhere and will never run out.
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Re: Books of interest

Postby Andreas » 14 Mar 2014, 18:38

Nicholas Wade, Before the Dawn: Recovering the Lost History of Our Ancestors

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Before-Dawn-Recovering-History-Ancestors/dp/1594200793/ref=tmm_hrd_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1394820723&sr=8-3

This is an overview of human prehistory in light of recent genetic science, written in an accessible style for a broad audience. It was first published in 2006, and DNA studies have advanced since then, for example regarding the interbreeding of homo sapiens and Neanderthals.

Many of the statements are of course working hypotheses, not agreed upon by all scientists about human origins, the dispersal of our species across the continents, the diversification and spread of languages, etc. Nicholas Wade makes a number of un-PC points. Hunter-gatherer societies were not a peaceful Edenic paradise, as anarcho-primitivists (see below) would have us believe, but had higher homicide rates than our modern societies have.



In a common sense way, Wade comes firmly down on the side of there being a real biological and genetic component to race, if races are understood to be those populations that developed genetically in isolation from one another on different continents over thousands of years. Wade is a science writer for the New York Times and can't easily be dismissed as an extremist or a crackpot.

Another book by Nicholas Wade will be released this May, on genes and race. It might be interesting.
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