Friday, October 16, 2009

Around the Web

For the week of Saturday, October 10 through Friday, October 15.

First, a bevy of book reviews:

1) Adam Fleisher at City Journal reviews, False Economy: A Surprising Economic History of the World by Alan Beattie.
Beattie wryly notes, it’s not government that picks winners, but “losers that somehow manage to pick government.”
This observation is inconsistent with Beattie’s declaration that “countries have choices, and those choices have substantially determined whether they succeeded or failed.” People make choices. Economies evolve; they do not require an intelligent designer. The true surprise of False Economy is that the examples Beattie provides of countries—really, governments—making conscious choices about the direction or nature of the economy constitute a sad collection of stifled growth, misallocated resources, and missed opportunities. With the United States government currently embarked on a new and unprecedented project of consciously “transforming” the economic future of our country, False Economy is a timely cautionary tale.
2) Author Allan Massie reviews the second volume of Robert Harris' "Cicero Trilogy," Lustrum (due out November 24th.) Massie concludes with high praise:
This is a magnificent novel, better than Robert Graves's Claudius novels, better (I reluctantly admit) than the six books of my own Imperial sequence.
3) Paul Johnson at Standpoint reviews the great John Keegan's latest work, The American Civil War: A Military History.

4) At the WSJ, Martin Rubin reviews Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel, which brings us back to someone we discussed earlier in the week, Thomas Cromwell.

5) Also at the WSJ, Mark Lamster offers a selection from his book, Master of Shadows: The Secret Diplomatic Career of the Painter Peter Paul Rubens.


6) Ben Shapiro at Big Hollywood makes some good observations about the White House's new art.

7) Harry Stein at City Journal discusses "The Boys Who Cry Racism." From the essay:
Genuine racism is a terrible thing, and for far too long it was a virulent strain running through our national life. This is so patently obvious that it scarcely bears repeating. . .
But those liberals who’ve lately been issuing the racism charge so promiscuously (speaking of aberrant hearts and minds) are aiming it not at skinheads living in their parents’ basements or at would-be Klansmen, but at decent Americans with the temerity to object to presidential policies that they believe would damage both the quality of their lives and the nation itself: in short, at Americans acting in the best tradition of democratic citizenship.
8) At Capitalism Magazine, Walter Williams calls undergraduate grade finagling what it is–academic dishonesty.

9) Finland made "1mb broadband access a legal right." I don't even know where to start with that one.

10) Soprano Danielle De Niese discusses her career, performing, and devouring Le nozze di Figaro. (De Niese is currently performing the role of Susanna in the Metropolitan Opera's production of Figaro.)

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