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Reading List: looking, Reading, Just Finished

  • Dr. Robert T. Morris: Fifty Years a Surgeon
    A clear window into many important and interesting areas of life in general - as well as medicine - in the mid-19th to early 20th century. Warts and all. Good read. (***)
  • Christopher Landon: Ice Cold in Alex

    Christopher Landon: Ice Cold in Alex
    Interesting and well developed characters, in genuinely tension inducing situations - even when the matter of "who did it" is not really a mystery. Vivid enough for the place and period - WW2 North Africa to early 1950s Britain - to come to life inside your mind. (***)

  • Karl Von Clausewitz: On War

    Karl Von Clausewitz: On War
    I read this first many years ago. The author then impressed me as being more lucid and broadly learned than many contemporary writers on this and similar areas. He still does. (****)

  • Loren Lomasky: Person's, Rights, and the Moral Community

    Loren Lomasky: Person's, Rights, and the Moral Community
    Well written, and clear. Many interesting ideas and explications of problems, but his theory itself - on a derivation of rights, seems possessed of unnecessary elements. Worth reading. (***)

  • J. B.Schneewind: Sidgwick's Ethics and Victorian Moral PhilosophyVictorian Moral Philosophy
    Details life and analyses work of one of the great figures in 19th century philosophy. Well written, gives good insight into the context of attitudes, assumptions, and circumstances affecting much of the intellectual spirit and life of Britain during those times. (***)
  • J.G.Ballard: The Drowned World

    J.G.Ballard: The Drowned World
    Another (long-time) re-read. Ballard tends to play one note - but it's a good one - and he plays it VERY well. Some uncontrolled/unforeseen calamity engulfs the world. Protagonist(s) confront general realization of the coldly impersonal nature of the world and how human responses are to a large extent a product of the interaction of those forces with his/there-own biological pre-dispositions - engraved in the structure of each and every one of their cells. And, that the true and only expression of one's authentic self and humanity, lies in how and whether one can/does inwardly accept the truth of these constraints, and expresses that realization, in those (few) opportunities available for actual personal choice. Intentionally or not his work gives powerful and poetic expression to the Existentialist perspective. The world of this novel happens to be slowly drowning in the over-heated flood-tides that result from a run-away solar anomaly. But, it could be just about any such occurrence - e.g. A "Wind From Nowhere," or the Japanese invasion of Shanghai (both of which served as the backgrounds of others among his novels). The story-line, character-types, dilemmas, decisions, and general moods are much the same in each story, but the pacing, poetry, intensity, and aggravating authenticity of the characterizations in each instance are gripping enough to make every reading worthwhile. (***)

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26 November 2007



very interesting, but I don't agree with you


David,I'm moved to respond to a number of your comments, though I can't do so right now in detail. To me,your expressed thoughts appear to suggest that our country is populated by people whose allegiances are located firmly, completely, and irrevocably on ONLY one side OR the other of the red/blue demarcation line. That is, if one believes and acts like THIS, then s/he invariably (due to either their immaculate or seriously flawed reasoning), is bound to think or do THAT.
If I believed that there were not Americans who can see truths on both sides of the important, complex issues and questions we face,and who can enter into discussions to try to find some sort of common ground with someone who thinks quite differently than they,then I'd say we might as well divide the country in half now, draw straws, and pay a lot of movers. Severing the 21st century communication lines at the Mississippi would be tricky, but since no one would want or need to talk to anyone on the other side,alterations would not be necessary, anyway. And yes, I don't believe we should use the Mason-Dixon Line. I do want to pick up on some of the threads, because I do believe that the search for common ground is as important here as it is anywhere else in our world of escalating, conflicting ideologies. As soon I can, I'll make a few forays into your essay. Thanks, you always do provide a good read!

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