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The Power Broker: Robert Moses and the Fall of New York
The Power Broker: Robert Moses and the Fall of New York
by Robert A Caro
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £22.75

5.0 out of 5 stars A must-read biography, which unpacks how power can work, 7 May 2017
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Having read Caro's work on LBJ, I wasn't sure about reading an earlier work on a (certainly on this side of the Atlantic - at least I hadn't heard of him) public works planner, Robert Moses. And a book almost 1200 pages in length and first published in 1974 at that. I've just finished it, enjoyed every page of it, filled with rich anecdotes about Moses and NY in the 20th Century, how an urban bureaucracy can be hijacked by a well-oiled hidden political machine, the energy and dynamism of power - gained, won, lost. Power, corruption, lies. And everything Caro wrote about then is still ever so relevant today. A must-read for anyone interested in how democracy can be subverted by one man.


On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century
On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century
by Timothy Snyder
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.29

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Must read: clear lessons for each of us, 6 May 2017
Excellent, short summary of learnings from the 20th Century and why each and everyone of us must stand up to the erosions of democracy that are taking place in the West. Good reflections, clear examples, easy to read. Would have benefited from a more detailed reading list than the few hints he gives. Buy tons of copies and give them to everyone you know.


Culture Shock! Mexico: A Guide to Customs and Etiquette
Culture Shock! Mexico: A Guide to Customs and Etiquette
by Mark Cramer
Edition: Paperback

1.0 out of 5 stars Save your money, 14 April 2017
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If I could give 0 stars, I would. I wanted a general introduction to Mexican culture and got a meandering load of rubbish. I wasn't expecting much, got less.


Wiser: Getting Beyond Groupthink to Make Groups Smarter
Wiser: Getting Beyond Groupthink to Make Groups Smarter
by Cass R Sunstein
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £17.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Some useful ideas, 14 April 2017
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Some good tips and thoughts about in-group bias which builds on the work of Kahnemann and others. The book loses steam in the second section and too many of the examples given are focused on US government with some relatively weak examples of how to overcome large group bias (with some chillingly accurate points that could apply to the use of referendums in politics. I was hoping to have had more insights from the authors on team and corporate group behaviours.


East West Street: Non-fiction Book of the Year 2017
East West Street: Non-fiction Book of the Year 2017
by Philippe Sands
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £16.00

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating mix of personal and legal history, 11 Nov. 2016
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One of the best books I have read in years. Skilfully combines personal history with an historical investigation into the roles and perspectives of two of the greatest legal minds of the 20th century. Also gives one real faith that one person really can make a difference.


Burning Country: Syrians in Revolution and War
Burning Country: Syrians in Revolution and War
by Robin Yassin-Kassab
Edition: Paperback
Price: £13.48

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential reading about Syria, 11 Nov. 2016
Superb introduction to the Syrian conflict. I saw the authors speak at the Edinburgh Bookfest and was inspired to read the book. It really breaks through the myths and images that we have been fed and makes you question the way some of the leading Western commentators have bought the Assad line. Also gives one hope, despite all, that at a ground level amazing organisations like the White Helmets can develop.


Shame
Shame
by Melanie Finn
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £13.48

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Evocative and challenging, 24 Mar. 2015
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This review is from: Shame (Hardcover)
Fantastic, evocative and thought-provoking story. Although it starts off darkly, the light of Africa slowly shines in and deepens and broadens the story. A challenging and enjoyable read!


The Narrow Road to the Deep North
The Narrow Road to the Deep North
by Richard Flanagan
Edition: Hardcover

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Difficult and challenging read, 2 Jan. 2015
Difficult and challenging more for the use of prose and unconvincing plot twists than for the story itself. The prose at times irritated me with an endless was-then-maybe it wasn't style which appears at first to be clever and thoughtful but increasingly feels meaningless and unsharp. There are some well written parts, especially the post-war Japan scenes. I found the central, core section on the camp to be somehow impersonal and void of feeling, then maybe that was the point of the book - or maybe it wasn't.


The War that Ended Peace: How Europe abandoned peace for the First World War
The War that Ended Peace: How Europe abandoned peace for the First World War
by Professor Margaret MacMillan
Edition: Hardcover

5.0 out of 5 stars Superb history, 31 Dec. 2013
One of the best historical works I have read in years. Extremely well structured, lucidly written, with a generous mixture of strategic insight and interesting anecdotes, colourful descriptions of the key characters involved, all based on extensive literature and background material. An absolute masterpiece on the subject.


Small Wars, Far Away Places: The Genesis of the Modern World
Small Wars, Far Away Places: The Genesis of the Modern World
by Michael Burleigh
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £25.00

7 of 13 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Skim review of a crucial period in history, 4 Aug. 2013
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This book appears to have been hastily written and tries to cover too much with a degree of depth that careers widely from minute details about someone's life to skipping through the background of major conflicts (such as the background to Vietnam). From an historical perspective, Burleigh derails too often and slips into making personal caustic comments on players, which should never belong in a serious historical work - which, frankly, this is not. He draws few conclusions or trends that might be of relevance and the only summary he presents (on page 506, the last page) is laughable. There are some interesting points he makes but this feels very much like the work of someone who has trawled through existing secondary literature that exists in English (or more likely, has some interns do it for him) than being a serious historical work.


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