cover title author rating rating my rating review Down arrow read added
 
Nations: The Long History and Deep Roots of Political Ethnicity and Nationalism
3.79
liked it
Azar Gat, an Israeli Jew, takes issue with the prevailing modernist interpretation of Nationalism as a recent and superficial phenomenon, an academic ...more
not set
Jul 31, 2013
 
Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy  (The Karla Trilogy #1)
4.03
liked it
In the first half everything enjoyably grows in significance, in the second half everything contracts into dullness. This is partly on purpose, as le ...more
not set
Sep 22, 2011
 
The Cousins' Wars: Religion, Politics, and the Triumph of Anglo-America
3.91
really liked it
I got interested because of Heisman's suicide note, which I think borrowed a fair amount from this book. A lot of good history here, although the orga ...more
not set
Jan 19, 2011
 
Theodore Roosevelt: Letters and Speeches
4.29
liked it
He likes big simple ideas, and although in one letter he hints that this is for the purposes of social manipulation, I suspect its simply a natural te ...more
not set
Jul 11, 2011
 
The Credential Society: An Historical Sociology of Education and Stratification
4.05
really liked it
Really good stuff, but it's been extensively demonstrated that job performance is to some degree related to IQ.

I liked how aware he was (in what was b
...more
not set
Oct 24, 2012
 
Can You Forgive Her? (Palliser, #1)
3.93
liked it
I began it with reluctance, put off by the dull, cluttered, middle-brow tone, but continued with mounting fascination. It achieves, at times, enormous ...more
not set
Jul 22, 2015
 
The Complete Works of H.P. Lovecraft
4.34
liked it
With writers like Lovecraft, you hope that the repetitive images (the ruined, vine covered temples, the degenerate rurals, the polyglot urban rabble, ...more
not set
Dec 17, 2012
 
The History of England from the Accession of James the Second Vol. IV
3.95
really liked it
After William of Orange's accession to the throne at the end of volume 2, the rest feels like epilogue. I think Macaulay would have been better advise ...more
not set
Jul 19, 2013
 
Flashman and the Dragon (The Flashman Papers, #8)
4.25
really liked it
The most enjoyable way to learn 19th century history I can think of.

By the way, Flashman does such a convincing impersonation of a hero (at least, whe
...more
not set
Apr 09, 2013
 
A Separate War and Other Stories
3.67
liked it
Some juvenilia, a couple worthwhile stories. Occasionally his politics prevent his plots from making any sense. "For White Hill," which I first encoun ...more
not set
Dec 03, 2011
 
An Essay on the Principle of Population
3.49
really liked it
I'm just about the most conservative guy I know, but there are passages and ideas in this book so stunningly reactionary that I was horrified. Even so ...more
not set
Apr 09, 2013
 
The Virginian: A Horseman of the Plains
3.87
liked it
Over the past 150 years or so, American behavior has become much more civilized, while American speech and media has become much less so. There's some ...more
not set
Dec 26, 2012
 
Equality, the Third World, and Economic Delusion
4.31
liked it
Fun and punchy. Bauer is one of those economists who thinks in words, so it feels less rigorous than perhaps it is. On the other hand the chapters of ...more
not set
Dec 03, 2011
 
The Mandarins
4.12
did not like it
**spoiler alert** Poorly written, consisting largely of dull, interminable dialogue. Promiscuous, meaningless relationships, grossly naive political d ...more
not set
Aug 30, 2010
 
The Reformation: A History
4.11
liked it
Well this is the most complicated history I've ever read.

The subtext of the story is the complicated relationship between abstruse religious debate an
...more
not set
Aug 28, 2011
 
Three Faces of Fascism
3.90
really liked it
The book opens up several worthwhile lines of investigation, but what was most interesting to me was how interdependent Communism and Fascism were. In ...more
not set
Feb 12, 2012
 
The Rise and Fall of Anglo-America
4.00
really liked it
One of the most under-discussed issues in American history.

My theory is that in choosing empire (both in using immigration to fill up an entire contin
...more
not set
Apr 13, 2012
 
Thinking about Crime
3.66
really liked it
Although I haven't read his "Bureaucracy," which looks as dull as its subject, I'm inclined to call this Wilson's masterpiece. Philosophically rich, w ...more
not set
Sep 22, 2011
 
Antisocial Personalities
4.06
really liked it
Interesting, with a very engaging writing style (particularly given the at times abstruse material). Unlike the author, I would not be so comfortable ...more
not set
Jun 09, 2012
 
The Third Electoral System, 1853-1892: Parties, Voters, and Political Cultures
3.50
really liked it
Kleppner, continuing AFAIK Benson's analysis, sees the Third Electoral System as embodying (with variations along the way) a conflict between the piet ...more
not set
Sep 22, 2011
 
Social And Cultural Mobility
4.00
really liked it
Very comprehensive on the subject, but obviously in need a serious update. In general the effects of different regimes of social mobility seem to me u ...more
not set
Nov 09, 2011
 
Re: Colonised Planet 5, Shikasta
3.74
it was ok
Opens with some bold fantasizing that pretty quickly becomes tedious and dull as Lessing gives us in-depth tours of her sophomoric insights. I read th ...more
not set
Nov 22, 2013
 
Death's End (Remembrance of Earth’s Past, #3)
4.47
liked it
Tempted to call the issues in style (all the sloganeering, cliched thought) typically Chinese, but could just be a translation thing. Chinese styles o ...more
not set
Dec 11, 2016
 
Litany of the Long Sun (The Book of the Long Sun, #1-2)
4.22
did not like it
I picked it up because someone said he was a good writer, but I just don't see it. And the plot didn't make any sense either. That said, the protagoni ...more
not set
Mar 28, 2011
 
A Colossal Wreck: A Road Trip Through Political Scandal, Corruption and American Culture
3.63
liked it
An entertaining set of notes, columns, and letters from an old-school leftist who, while never managing to be totally honest about his or his father C ...more
not set
Sep 24, 2014
 
Life in Schools: An Introduction to Critical Pedagogy in the Foundations of Education
3.73
liked it
To be honest I'm still a little shocked at how politicized the education sector is.

Additionally, I feel like there's a real disconnect between the obv
...more
not set
Jan 14, 2012
 
The Player of Games (Culture, #2)
4.26
it was ok
In the AI-run, post-scarcity world that is Ian Banks' metaphor for and optimistic projection of life in the first world today, your choices are boredo ...more
not set
Sep 09, 2013
 
Empire
3.85
liked it
The dull cliches of historical fiction are more annoying here than in previous installments of the series, but there are a few decent passages, and in ...more
not set
Feb 15, 2014
 
The General Form of Society
3.00
liked it
Pareto says all the right things, but doesn't really deliver. You never feel comfortable treating his sociological model as anything more than descrip ...more
not set
Nov 09, 2013
 
The Ruling Class
3.87
liked it
Mosca's comparative advantage is in elite theory, so although he writes well about religion and war, most of the book is wasted in him saying things t ...more
not set
Nov 09, 2011
Rss infinite