The Common Good

In The Stacks: Friday, March 9, 2012

Photo by Tischenko Irina/Shutterstock.com.
Photo by Tischenko Irina/Shutterstock.com.

Among my must reads are the Sunday New York Times Book Review and other book reviews I come across in various media outlets. There are too many books being published that I would love to read, but just don’t have the time. So, I rely on reading book reviews as one way of keeping in touch with what’s being written. 

Here are my picks in this week’s books of interest:

The Partnership: Five Cold Warriors and Their Quest to Ban the Bomb
By Philip Taubman, Reviewed by Martin Sherwin

Five Cold Warriors and their quest to ban the bomb.

“On Jan. 4, 2007, George Shultz and Henry Kissinger, former Republican secretaries of state; William Perry, former secretary of defense in the Clinton administration; and Sam Nunn, a former Democratic senator, co-authored a transformative opinion essay in the Wall Street Journal. Warning that “nuclear weapons today present tremendous [new] dangers,” they called for “a solid consensus for reversing reliance on nuclear weapons globally as a vital contribution to preventing their proliferation into potentially dangerous hands, and ultimately ending them as a threat to the world.” That article, and the global reaction to it, inspired former New York Times correspondent Philip Taubman’s detailed reconstruction of the experiences and the associations that led these nuclear weapons cognoscenti to execute their public about-face.”


The Fox Effect: How Roger Ailes Turned a Network into a Propaganda Machine
By David Brock, Ari Rabin-Havt and The Staff Of Media Matters For America, 
Reviewed by Jacob Heilbrunn

David Brock and his associates take on Fox News.

“In “The Fox Effect,” Brock and his associate Ari Rabin-Havt target Rupert Murdoch’s lucrative flagship cable network, Fox News. They draw on Michael Wolff’s biography of Murdoch as well as on transcripts and leaked memos (some of which Media Matters has already publicized) from Fox journalists and executives to contend that it is not a traditional news organization, but a propaganda outlet intent on reshaping the Republican Party in its own image.”


Ghosts of Empire: Britain’s Legacies in the Modern World
By Kwasi Kwarteng, Reviewed by Isaac Chotiner

An M.P. argues that British colonialists made poor choices that continue to reverberate.

“While it is true that colonial policy was often formulated in London, it is equally true that Britain could become the greatest power on earth only by delegating power — either to Britons who served as imperial representatives or to local forces intent on doing the empire’s bidding. But Kwasi Kwarteng, in this fine book, argues that the empire granted far too much authority to the wrong people. ‘Accidents and decisions made on a personal, almost whimsical, level have had a massive impact on international politics.’ “Ghosts of Empire” explores six cases where this impact was felt: Iraq, Nigeria, Sudan, Hong Kong, Kashmir and Burma.”

Duane Shank is Senior Policy Advisor for Sojourners. Follow Duane on Twitter @DShankDC.

(Photo by Tischenko Irina/Shutterstock.com.)

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