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January 26, 2003

Reading Update

Back to the library with Blundering into Disaster: Surviving the First Century of the Nuclear Age. I was hoping for a detailed account of the events surrounding the Cuban Missile Crisis, but that was my expectation, not any presentations by the author. The book skates over the crisis in about three pages, and is instead a considered technical argument for de-escalation of the arms race.

Considering that the book was published in 1986, it is very apt for it's time, but I'm not surprised that the book is out of print. I guess I'll have to hunt around and ask for recommendations on a good book about the Cuban Missile Crisis.

I've since gotten a library copy of Barbara Tuchman's The Guns of August. It is a history of the events which led to World War I, despite the intentions of some of the participants. I got interested in it when I read a snippet by Robert Mcnamara, where he stated that John F. Kennedy required all his cabinet officers to read it, to be better aware of how accident and unforseen forces can drive history. Compare this with Bush, who, when asked what his favorite book was as a child, cited a book that had been published only a couple years before he was elected!

If that's not enough, I also downloaded Cory Doctorow's debut novel in e-book form, Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom, a sci-fi novel. I haven't gotten too far into it, though on the Palm, page counts are inflated, since each screenful of text counts as a page. He's put the book out under a Creative Commons License to test whether a book in the public domain can be profitable. I intend to buy it (or better, send money to the author, since I don't need the dead tree version on top of the e-book) to support his notion.

Posted by dpwakefield at January 26, 2003 07:51 PM