But it’s a slow day and I have no idea what to write about.
I mean, really – what’s going on? Pretty much a bunch of candidates spending millions of dollars to hit each other over the head.
Personally, that doesn’t make me want to vote for any of them.
Yep, I’m pretty sick of it.
So I tune out a bit more than usual, and that’s given me more time to read.
Here are a few books I’ve read recently or am reading now. Maybe you’ll find them interesting too.
The Square and the Tower: Networks and Power, from the Freemasons to Facebook.
This book was written by Niall Ferguson in 2018 and is 431 pages. Ferguson has written 15 books and works as a professor at Stanford.
I just picked this one up a couple days ago and have only read about 40 pages into it.
It is a bit dry, but it has some interesting ideas about how networks and conspiracy theories and how these aren’t really that true.
For Ferguson, he feels that the connections between small networks of people and larger hierarchies of power are what really defines the world, and makes it possible for some to succeed where most fail.
The book starts in the Renaissance-era of Europe and moves onto the Age of Discovery.
Much of the book concerns modern times, however. For instance, by page 333 you’re on the events of September 11 and the decentralized network structure of both al-Qaeda and other Islamic networks and social structures.
This chapter is followed up by the networks involved in the 2008 financial collapse, and then some stuff on Web 2.0 as well as declining living standards for much of the world in the 2010s and then the social network revolution of Twitter and such.
There’s a lot of stuff here and I hope to read most of it. Perhaps it’s you’re cup of tea as well.
Young Washington: How Wilderness and War Forged America’s Founding Father.
This book was written by Peter Stark in 2018 and is 426 pages. Stark lives in Montana and works for Outside magazine.
I saw this book in the new releases section of the library, and decided to pick it up. A big reason for that is I really liked Stark’s book Astoria, which helped me write three of my mountain man novels.
This book on George Washington is quite interesting, focusing on the events of 1754 and 1755, when Washington was a 21-year-old.
Stark describes our young first president as:
“ambitious, temperamental, vain, thin-skinned, petulant, awkward, demanding, stubborn, annoying, hasty, passionate. This Washington has not yet learned to cultivate his image or contain his emotions. Here, instead, is a raw young man struggling toward maturity and in love with a close friend’s wife. This is the Washington of emotional neediness, personal ambition, and mistakes – many mistakes.”
Stark does a good job giving us a look at Washington’s inland journey from the Tidewater region of Virginia, over the Appalachians, and into the Ohio River Valley.
Here the French are expanding, and though Britain and France are in an uneasy peace, Washington’s foray into the interior changes all that. In fact, it pretty much starts the Seven Year's War, or what we often call the French and Indian War.
We get an excellent look at the arduous journey for Washington’s militiamen, one that saw a serious lack of food and good clothing.
I thought I’d pick this book up and read a hundred pages or so, but I found myself moving through it pretty quickly and getting it done.
I’d recommend getting it at your library like I did.
Still Waters: The Secret World of Lakes.
This book was written by Curt Stager in 2018 and is 201 pages. Stager is a natural sciences professor at Paul Smith’s College in New York.
I picked this up at the library, mainly because it seemed kind of interesting.
The book is divided into chapters on lakes, starting with Walden, moving on to the Great Rift in Africa, and getting to Galilee in Israel, Lake Baikal in Russia, and a few more.
You get a history of these areas, how the lakes were formed, what lives in them, and cultural stories surrounding them.
Considering that we have 3,223 named lakes in Montana, this book should appeal to you. You learn a lot about how lakes form and how they act throughout the year.
It’s an interesting book that I skimmed through, and you might like it too.
Secret Empires: How the American Political Class Hides Corruption and Enriches Family and Friends.
This book was written by Peter Schweizer in 2018 and is 225 pages. Schweizer is the cofounder of the Government Accountability Institute.
This book starts out by detailing the corruption that Joe Biden and his sons engaged in before moving on to Mitch McConnell and his wife.
After that we detail the corruption surrounding Denny Rehberg and his son A.J. Rehberg and other “Princelings of K Street.”
For the Rehberg’s, it’s about A.J. getting a lobbying job, and how this tied into his dad’s efforts to create a friendship compact with Mongolia.
Infrastructure deals were lobbied for and passed, all with the intention of getting Mongolia’s uranium. Many companies would profit, and A.J.’s company did as well.
When Rehberg lost his seat in Congress he eventually went to work for the lobbying firm, Mercury.
After that it’s the “Princelings of Chicago,” and Mayor Daly’s corruption.
We then get into Obama and Trump and the Trump children.
This is not a good book for partisans, but since most Americans now identify as independents, I think most people would like this book.
The thing is, you might get so sick of what you’re reading that you stop reading it.
For instance, early on we’re introduced to the concept of “smash and grab,” which is when the government demonizes an industry, effectively smashing it.
This causes a serious loss of value for companies in that industry, and then ‘grabbers’ come in, which are usually politically-connected business people that can buy up the company on the cheap, and then turn it around when the government stops smashing that industry.
Coal is a big example of this, and when we saw the Westmoreland bankruptcy news a week ago, smash and grab was the first thing that popped into my mind.
I wonder who the unnamed investors were on that deal, but after reading Schweizer’s book, I’m sure they’re politically-connected to some politician’s wife or kids or in-laws.
If you have an open mind, this book will help you figure out the web of corruption stifling this country.