I recently took a week to relax and catch up on some books that had been awaiting my attention. In this edition of #RedHeartBlueSign I present three short reviews of those books. The books reviewed are Saving Capitalism by Robert B. Reich; The Darkest Hour written by Anthony McCarten and The Wayfinders by Wade Davis.
Saving Capitalism (for the many, not the few) by Robert B. Reich
Saving Capitalism is a follow up to several books that Reich has written about the economy and how government deals with it, most notably Aftershock. Reich has divided the book into three sections, The Free Market, Money and Worth and The Countervailing Power. This book took a while to read, economics and the economy is something I can get a gripe in at the surface – but diving deep into the topic is what I would leave to others. But being relentless I delved into this book on the advice of a friend. I am glad I did because there are several topics that struck me as being prevalent to economic success of the country and individual economic security.
Reich brings to the discussion ideas we talk about to today including a basic minimum income, but reveals 18thcentury publications that support 21stcentury ideas. In the Countervailing Power Reich brings a 1797 essay by Thomas Paine that introduces the idea of a basic minimum income at 15 pounds a month to American men and women at the age of 21.
To read Reich is to understand world economic cycles and government responses both good and bad. The three segments could be subjected as how our economy works, why we’re in the state we’re in and lastly how to share economic wealth of the top 10% with the 90% who don’t hold it. While directed straight at America, there are lessons for Canadians.
The Darkest Hour by Anthony McCarten
McCarten not only wrote this book but also wrote the screenplay for the movie of the same name. If you loved the movie, read the book as it provides the political background to the actions shown in the movie. To film the background the book provides would’ve meant that the movie would have been much longer.
The Darkest Hour revolves around the ascension of Winston Churchill to the seat of Prime Minister and his actions during May 1940, the period known as England’s darkest moment of WW2 when Europe was falling to the Germans and everyone thought it would only be a matter of time before the UK would be next.
If you have not seen the movie yet, read the book first then see the movie. If you’ve seen the movie, read the book and then see the move again, that’s what I’m going to do.
The Wayfinders by Wade Davis
I was reluctant to write about this book in this post as the ideas the Wade Davis presents deserve a full individual post. Here I will present a bit of what this book represents. The Wayfinders is not so much a book, but five essays presented in 2009 in the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation radio series entitled the Massey Lectures. It’s a format I have read before, more specifically the Massey Lectures by Stephen Lewis (humanitarian and AIDS activist) and Margaret MacMillan (Canadian Historian, Author of the excellent WW1 books ‘Paris 1919’ and ‘The War that ended Peace’)
I have written previously about Davis in my post “The Best of 2017:Books”, I wrote that his book “Into the Silence” was one of the best I read last year. That book chronicled the race to climb to the top of Everest after WW1.
In The Wayfinders lecture series, Davis, an anthropologist, the examines how worlds of the past navigated the seas, land, newcomers and language before the Europeans brought their tools and knowledge. The series describes how knowledge of the skies and knowledge on the movement of the sun and how the tides of the water predict sea travel.
The book, as mentioned earlier, are the five lectures presented in a five-day span. You might be tempted to read the 200 pages in a one or two sittings – but take in the lectures as they were presented over a five-day period on the radio, let the message of each lecture sink in before moving onto the next day and the next lecture.
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