diff options
authorBryan Newbold <>2018-01-04 14:30:02 +0100
committerBryan Newbold <>2018-08-10 16:06:46 -0700
commitdc410bbd321118100b4d29d00d27c5060788bfe3 (patch)
parent877c4dd8ddd0eeea315f83ffa5f37623b3f20642 (diff)
last 2017 reading
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@@ -60,6 +60,12 @@ nugget.
Walkaway, by Cory Doctorow (2017)
+I liked this book, in the context of 2017 political nihilism. Doctorow's
+tropes are getting a little long in tooth (raves! 3D printers!), to the point
+that even while reading I started confusing this book with previous ones
+(Makers, Little Brother, etc), which is forgivable, but makes me less excited
+to read whatever his next book is.
Library: An Unquiet History (2015)
@@ -83,6 +89,58 @@ food industry documentary "Our Daily Bread".
On Tyranny, by Timothy Snyder (2017)
+I guess I was enthusiastic enough to finish this pamphlet-sized volume, but
+can't remember much specific about it after the fact. Gene Sharp's "From
+Dictatorship to Democracy" remains, to me, a much more specific and useful "how
+to resist tyranny" work.
Homage to Catalonia, by George Orwell (1938)
+Tropic of Kansas (TODO: author) (2017)
+Read on the recommendation of Rudy Rucker. Sort of meh, easy reading level,
+lots of near-future distopian cyberpunk and "thriller" tropes. Felt like it was
+checking all the contemporary political checkboxes, but there wasn't really
+anything here that hadn't already been said in the 90s.
+A People's History of the United States, by Howard Zinn (2001 ed)
+In the afterward, Zinn notes that he has been alive for about a quarter of USA
+history; individuals of my generation can expect to see (over their full course
+of life) a similar fraction of American history. I find this framing remarkable
+and empowering.
+One critique I have of this book is it's inconsistent attitude towards voting,
+democracy, and electoral politics. On the one hand the author consistently
+refers to elections as a mechanism for dissipating political organization and
+movements, and dismisses pro-establishment electoral results as being
+meaningless and due to manipulation or low turn-out. On the other hand, he
+frequently cites polling numbers and anti-establishment electoral results as
+strong meaningful signals. Which is it? Certainly particular elections can be
+higher-or-lower signal (eg, referenda on a specific policy or issue vs.
+national two candidate presidential elections), but this sort of argument isn't
+considered by the author in most cases.
+I had not learned (or remembered) the full story and degree of native peoples'
+betrayal by the US government: not only negotiating unfair treaties under
+duress and military pressure, and then breaking the terms of those treaties
+later, but in many cases breaking the treaties immediately, and using violence
+to move and renegotiate the same people over and over.
+The wobblies (IWW) or portrayed as a small (hundreds of poeple?) but extremely
+influential group as organizers and public figures. I'd like to learn more
+about them. The stories of rural farmer organization in the late 1800s was also
+pretty interesting.
+I felt there was relatively little specific coverage of the political pressures
+resulting in important social programs like medicare and social security coming
+out of WWII. Also no coverage (that I remember) over popular feelings about
+international governance (eg, League of Nations, United Nations), or
+international organization and labor organizing in general.
+The Vietnam War and Watergate crises in the 1970s are well contextualized and
+given a coherent arc.