Includes biographies of major spies from many different countries. I enjoyed this book because it showed how smart some of these spies were, and wereIncludes biographies of major spies from many different countries. I enjoyed this book because it showed how smart some of these spies were, and were able to stay under the radar for so long, and then strike so fast. The book categorizes spies (like "Moles", or "Cryptographers") and gives a lengthy biography on each spy. It is amazing that the reporter that wrote this book was able to gather all the information on people that strove to be invisible! A fascinating read about the world of espionage....more
I've seen television interviews and roundtables with Hari, and when I found out that he had written a book about drug policy and the science and socioI've seen television interviews and roundtables with Hari, and when I found out that he had written a book about drug policy and the science and sociology of addiction, I immediately added the book to my library list.
The book was not what I was expecting - but this is not because I was disappointed with it in any way. What struck me is how very personal this book was for Hari. His first chapter explains the history of drug addiction in his family, and how it has also affected him personally. This first-person narrative continues throughout the book as he interviews people all over the world, recounting detailed history of the beginnings of the drug war - how "Mrs. Winslow's Soothing Syrup" (laced with morphine) was a bestselling tonic in Victorian times... and a few decades later, these opiates were suddenly vilified and rebelled against.
The historical opening chapters were an eye-opening narrative of a famous singer and the law enforcement officer who manically worked to bring her down - and expose her addiction to the world, thereby going on to change drug laws not only in the US, but all over the world... and the first drug dealing gangster of NYC and his manical and deadly rule over the boroughs. Incredible detail and strong writing - great introduction to the book, and Hari refers back to this "groundwork" many times throughout the book.
Hari travels to the US, to Mexico, to Uruguay, to Canada, to Portugal, to Switzerland, and his own UK to learn about the global ramifications of this war on drugs. In the US and Latin America, the stories of powerful and horrific narco gangs are the true stories that have inspired popular films and television series (Sin Nombre, Narcos, Sicario, Breaking Bad) in recent years. In the US and Canada, and Europe, we learn of the addicts, and the deep stigmas and vilification of this population, and how some places - like Vancouver, BC - have worked extremely hard to change these stigmas.
The addiction conversation continues as Hari works with scientists and sociologists who turn the tables on how society can help addicts. All of these pieces fit together for the final case for decriminalization and legalization of these drugs. All drugs? Certain drugs? The debate rages on, and Hari describes this in detail.
The final chapter takes a close look at the two US states (at the time of writing in 2015) who have legalized marijuana for recreational use: Colorado and Washington. Hari interviews the advocates that worked in both states to legalize the substance, and how their philosophies and reasoning was vastly different. One of the final quotes in the book gave me a laugh, but also a pause - how much things have changed in a relatively short amount of time - and what we can expect in the future.
Spoken by one of the Colorado attorneys who played a key role in the Colorado campaign: "For years, the only discussion was: 'How long should we be locking people up for possessing marijuana?' Now we're discussing what the font should be on the label of the pot brownies."
4.5 /5 - rounded up because I learned so much from this book....more
Using the town of Missoula, Montana as a microcosm, Krakauer researches and explores rape culture, misogyny, victim blaming, and college football/univUsing the town of Missoula, Montana as a microcosm, Krakauer researches and explores rape culture, misogyny, victim blaming, and college football/university politics. The book focuses on three specific cases of "sexual intercourse without consent" (as rape is legally deemed in the state of Montana) that all occurred at the University of Montana - Missoula. Two of the perpetrators were celebrated football players of the Grizzlies college football team, and all of the parties - both victims and accused perpetrators were university students. Every case involved was one of acquaintance rape - challenging the "stranger hiding in the bushes" story of rape - and while one particular case was of long-time friends, the others would be categorized as date rapes.
The stories are heartfelt, heartbreaking, and important to read and understand. The town - a "blue island" in a red state - still held many prejudices and pre-conceived notions relating to victim shaming/blaming, and each victim was harassed, and threatened - oftentimes by law enforcement, attorneys, and by the entire town (especially in the case of the football player rapists).
One of the most damning and upsetting parts to me was the utter failure on the part of the district attorney's office and the local police to take this seriously and make changes to their procedures. Krakauer follows up with some notes about the changes that have happened since these cases in 2012, but we can see that Missoula - and all of the US and the world! - still have a long way to gho.
The audiobook was particularly good - the narrator, Mozhan Marnò, plays a reporter in the Netflix show, "House of Cards" and I recognized her distinctive voice immediately. She did a great job in this production. ...more
Some well known truths, backed up in the laboratory and the field. I liked the genetics chapter, and the stats on families who have played in professiSome well known truths, backed up in the laboratory and the field. I liked the genetics chapter, and the stats on families who have played in professional sports vs. the general population.
I especially liked the chapters on the role of nutrition and supplements in performance (Beet juice! Coffee! Creatine!) and the final chapter about long-held records and the way they are broken over time.
Interested in data and sport science? You'll definitely get something out of this....more
Did not finish - got about halfway through and called it. Not what I was hoping for... Perhaps it was the audiobook format (the narrator's voice) butDid not finish - got about halfway through and called it. Not what I was hoping for... Perhaps it was the audiobook format (the narrator's voice) but something about the tone of the writing (or possibly the narrator's reading OF the writing) was off-putting to me. ...more
Particularly intrigued by the sections of the book that showed the under-reported effects of climate change; how fewer resources (and/or access to resParticularly intrigued by the sections of the book that showed the under-reported effects of climate change; how fewer resources (and/or access to resources) can lead to social disorder, and how so many of the conflicts have roots in climate change. ...more