Friday, October 8, 2004

What I'm Reading Lately

I tend to read several things at once -- work at them for a couple of days, put them aside, read something else and come back to them, and the present is no exception. I have just started George Friedman's new book America's Secret War: Inside the Hidden Worldwide Struggle Between America and its Enemies. Friedman is the founder and chairman of, a private intelligence service on the internet.

Secret War is Friedman's account of the origins of the present struggle with militant Islam in general, and Al Qaeda in particular. Among other things, the book explains the reasoning behind the Bush administration's decision to go into Iraq, and this alone is worth the price of the book. Friedman's explanation of the administration's strategy is the most coherent one going, and makes perfect sense. More on that another time.

Also about to start Philip Gold's Take Back the Right, a gift from my friend yoyo. TBTR is about where Dr. Gold thinks the right wing in this country went wrong. (Hint: it's the "neocons"). Dr. Gold, an ex-marine, and author of Evasions: The American Way of Military Service, because of his background and connections, has a degree of credibility with me that other critics might not have, although I'm unlikely to agree with him on much.

I am also reading (or re-reading) Colleen McCullough's Fortune's Favorites, which is the third book in her "Masters of Rome" series centered around the life of Gaius Julius Caesar. McCullough's books are novels, but she generally keeps her characters within historically permissible bounds. Fortune's Favorites deals with the early career of Caesar: his narrow escapes from murder at the hands of dictator Sulla's minions; the career of his friend, son-in-law and, ultimately, enemy, Pompey; and the beginnings of his problems with his dimwit adversaries, the boni.

Been into books lately because I can barely stand reading the newspaper -- used to read it beginning to end. I've actually started to read the business section and the sports section ! Gonna be on pins and needles till the election is over.

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