September 1, 2023 – September 30, 2023
Questions about the future of war are a regular feature of political debate, strategic analysis, and popular fiction. Where should we look for new dangers? What cunning plans might an aggressor have in mind? What are the best forms of defense? How might peace be preserved or conflict resolved?
From the French rout at Sedan in 1870 to the relentless contemporary insurgencies in Iraq and Afghanistan, Lawrence Freedman, a world-renowned military thinker, reveals how most claims from the military futurists are wrong. But they remain influential nonetheless.
Freedman shows how those who have imagined future war have often had an idealized notion of it as confined, brief, and decisive, and have regularly taken insufficient account of the possibility of long wars-hence the stubborn persistence of the idea of a knockout blow, whether through a dashing land offensive, nuclear first strike, or cyberattack. He also notes the lack of attention paid to civil wars until the West began to intervene in them during the 1990s, and how the boundaries between peace and war, between the military, the civilian, and the criminal are becoming increasingly blurred.
Freedman’s account of a century and a half of warfare and the (often misconceived) thinking that precedes war is a challenge to hawks and doves alike, and puts current strategic thinking into a bracing historical perspective.
Marie and Hortense, however, had other ambitions in mind altogether. Miserable in their marriages and determined to live independently, they abandoned their husbands in secret and began lives of extraordinary daring on the run and in the public eye. The beguiling sisters quickly won the affections of noblemen and kings alike. Their flight became popular fodder for salon conversation and tabloids, and was closely followed by seventeenth-century European society. The Countess of Grignan remarked that they were traveling “like two heroines out of a novel.” Others gossiped that they “were roaming the countryside in pursuit of wandering lovers. “Their scandalous behavior — disguising themselves as men, gambling, and publicly disputing with their husbands — served as more than just entertainment. It sparked discussions across Europe concerning the legal rights of husbands over their wives. Elizabeth Goldsmith’s vibrant biography of the Mancini sisters — drawn from personal papers of the players involved and the tabloids of the time — illuminates the lives of two pioneering free spirits who were feminists long before the word existed.
Deal of the Day
September 3, 2023
A thousand years of history and contemporary evidence make one thing clear: progress depends on the choices we make about technology. New ways of organizing production and communication can either serve the narrow interests of an elite or become the foundation for widespread prosperity.
The wealth generated by technological improvements in agriculture during the European Middle Ages was captured by the nobility and used to build grand cathedrals, while peasants remained on the edge of starvation. The first hundred years of industrialization in England delivered stagnant incomes for working people. And throughout the world today, digital technologies and artificial intelligence undermine jobs and democracy through excessive automation, massive data collection, and intrusive surveillance.
It doesn’t have to be this way. Power and Progress demonstrates the path of technology was once—and may again—be brought under control. Cutting-edge technological advances can become empowering and democratizing tools, but not if all major decisions remain in the hands of a few hubristic tech leaders.
With their bold reinterpretation of economics and history, Daron Acemoglu and Simon Johnson fundamentally change how we see the world, providing the vision needed to redirect innovation so it again benefits most people.
Some Americans insist that we’re living in a post-racial society. But racist thought is not just alive and well in America — it is more sophisticated and more insidious than ever. And as award-winning historian Ibram X. Kendi argues, racist ideas have a long and lingering history, one in which nearly every great American thinker is complicit.
In this deeply researched and fast-moving narrative, Kendi chronicles the entire story of anti-black racist ideas and their staggering power over the course of American history. He uses the life stories of five major American intellectuals to drive this history: Puritan minister Cotton Mather, Thomas Jefferson, abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison, W.E.B. Du Bois, and legendary activist Angela Davis.
As Kendi shows, racist ideas did not arise from ignorance or hatred. They were created to justify and rationalize deeply entrenched discriminatory policies and the nation’s racial inequities.
In shedding light on this history, Stamped from the Beginning offers us the tools we need to expose racist thinking. In the process, he gives us reason to hope.
Our national leaders have drifted into treating the pandemic as though it were an unavoidable natural catastrophe, repeating a depressing cycle of panic followed by neglect. So a remarkable group of practitioners and scholars from many backgrounds came together determined to discover and learn lessons from this latest world war.
Lessons from the Covid War is plain-spoken and clear sighted. It cuts through the enormous jumble of information to make some sense of it all and answer: What just happened to us, and why? And crucially, how, next time, could we do better? Because there will be a next time.
The Covid war showed Americans that their wondrous scientific knowledge had run far ahead of their organized ability to apply it in practice. Improvising to fight this war, many Americans displayed ingenuity and dedication. But they struggled with systems that made success difficult and failure easy.
This book shows how Americans can come together, learn hard truths, build on what worked, and prepare for global emergencies to come.
A joint effort from:
Danielle Allen • John M. Barry • John Bridgeland • Michael Callahan • Nicholas A. Christakis • Doug Criscitello • Charity Dean • Victor Dzau • Gary Edson • Ezekiel Emanuel • Ruth Faden • Baruch Fischhoff • Margaret “Peggy” Hamburg • Melissa Harvey • Richard Hatchett • David Heymann • Kendall Hoyt • Andrew Kilianski • James Lawler • Alexander J. Lazar • James Le Duc • Marc Lipsitch • Anup Malani • Monique K. Mansoura • Mark McClellan • Carter Mecher • Michael Osterholm • David A. Relman • Robert Rodriguez • Carl Schramm • Emily Silverman • Kristin Urquiza • Rajeev Venkayya • Philip Zelikow
Unlock your originality and unleash your unique talents with this simple guide from the acclaimed author of Think Like a Rocket Scientist.
We say some people march to the beat of a different drummer. But implicit in this cliché is that the rest of us march to the same beat. We sleepwalk through life, find ourselves on well-worn paths that were never ours to walk, and become a silent extra in someone else’s story.
Extraordinary people carve their own paths as leaders and creators. They think and act with genuine independence. They stand out from the crowd because they embody their own shape and color.
We call these people geniuses—as if they’re another breed. But genius isn’t for a special few. It can be cultivated.
This book will show you how. You’ll learn how to discard what no longer serves you and discover your first principles—the qualities that make up your genius. You’ll be equipped to escape your intellectual prisons and generate original insights from your own depths. You’ll discover how to look where others don’t look and see what others don’t see. You’ll give birth to your genius, the universe-denter you were meant to be.
A war between China and the US would be catastrophic, deadly, and destructive. Unfortunately, it is no longer unthinkable.
The relationship between the US and China, the world’s two superpowers, is peculiarly volatile. It rests on a seismic fault—of cultural misunderstanding, historical grievance, and ideological incompatibility. No other nations are so quick to offend and be offended. Their militaries play a dangerous game of chicken, corporations steal intellectual property, intelligence satellites peer, and AI technicians plot. The capacity for either country to cross a fatal line grows daily.
Kevin Rudd, a former Australian prime minister who has studied, lived in, and worked with China for more than forty years, is one of the very few people who can offer real insight into the mindsets of the leadership whose judgment will determine if a war will be fought. The Avoidable War demystifies the actions of both sides, explaining and translating them for the benefit of the other. Geopolitical disaster is still avoidable, but only if these two giants can find a way to coexist without betraying their core interests through what Rudd calls “managed strategic competition.” Should they fail, down that path lies the possibility of a war that could rewrite the future of both countries, and the world.
From a star theoretical physicist, a journey into the world of particle physics and the cosmos—and a call for a more liberatory practice of science.
Winner of the 2021 Los Angeles Times Book Prize in Science & Technology
Winner of the 2022 Phi Beta Kappa Book Award in Science
Winner of the 2022 PEN Oakland Josephine Miles Award
A Finalist for the 2022 PEN/E.O. Wilson Literary Science Writing Award
A Smithsonian Magazine Best Science Book of 2021
A Symmetry Magazine Top 10 Physics Book of 2021
An Entropy Magazine Best Nonfiction Book of 2020-2021
A Publishers Weekly Best Nonfiction Book of the Year
A Kirkus Reviews Best Nonfiction Book of 2021
A Booklist Top 10 Sci-Tech Book of the Year
In The Disordered Cosmos, Dr. Chanda Prescod-Weinstein shares her love for physics, from the Standard Model of Particle Physics and what lies beyond it, to the physics of melanin in skin, to the latest theories of dark matter—along with a perspective informed by history, politics, and the wisdom of Star Trek.
One of the leading physicists of her generation, Dr. Chanda Prescod-Weinstein is also one of fewer than one hundred Black American women to earn a PhD from a department of physics. Her vision of the cosmos is vibrant, buoyantly nontraditional, and grounded in Black and queer feminist lineages.
Dr. Prescod-Weinstein urges us to recognize how science, like most fields, is rife with racism, misogyny, and other forms of oppression. She lays out a bold new approach to science and society, beginning with the belief that we all have a fundamental right to know and love the night sky. The Disordered Cosmos dreams into existence a world that allows everyone to experience and understand the wonders of the universe.
This singular history of a prison, and the queer women and trans people held there, is a window into the policing of queerness and radical politics in the twentieth century.
The Women’s House of Detention, a landmark that ushered in the modern era of women’s imprisonment, is now largely forgotten. But when it stood in New York City’s Greenwich Village, from 1929 to 1974, it was a nexus for the tens of thousands of women, transgender men, and gender-nonconforming people who inhabited its crowded cells. Some of these inmates—Angela Davis, Andrea Dworkin, Afeni Shakur—were famous, but the vast majority were incarcerated for the crimes of being poor and improperly feminine. Today, approximately 40 percent of the people in women’s prisons identify as queer; in earlier decades, that percentage was almost certainly higher.
Historian Hugh Ryan explores the roots of this crisis and reconstructs the little-known lives of incarcerated New Yorkers, making a uniquely queer case for prison abolition—and demonstrating that by queering the Village, the House of D helped defined queerness for the rest of America. From the lesbian communities forged through the Women’s House of Detention to the turbulent prison riots that presaged Stonewall, this is the story of one building and much more: the people it caged, the neighborhood it changed, and the resistance it inspired.
Winner, 2023 Stonewall Book Award—Israel Fishman Non-Fiction Book Award
CrimeReads, Best True Crime Books of the Year