A fine example of religious biography done well--no author snickering, sharp elbows, or rolling of the eyes; just an objective, well-researched and written book that leaves judgment to the reader.
A fine example of religious biography done well--no author snickering, sharp elbows, or rolling of the eyes; just an objective, well-researched and written book that leaves judgment to the reader.
Here are two thousand years of London’s history and folklore, its chroniclers and criminals and plain citizens, its food and drink and countless pleasures. Blackfriar’s and Charing Cross, Paddington and Bedlam. Westminster Abbey and St. Martin in the Fields. Cockneys and vagrants. Immigrants, peasants, and punks. The Plague, the Great Fire, the Blitz. London at all times of day and night, and in all kinds of weather. In well-chosen anecdotes, keen observations, and the words of hundreds of its citizens and visitors, Ackroyd reveals the ingenuity and grit and vitality of London.
Long hours, 24/7 connectedness, and appearing busy have somehow and sadly become badges of honor for most Americans in the workplace, especially well-educated professionals. The result: stress, burnout, disillusion, etc. What happened? Tim Wu of Columbia Law School discusses.
"Recently, the New York Times ran a front-page story about the conditions for white-collar workers at Amazon. It revealed a workplace where abrupt firings are common, grown men and women cry at their desks, and people are scolded for not responding to e-mails after midnight. The story made clear how much things have changed in the American workforce. Once upon a time, it was taken for granted that the wealthier classes enjoyed a life of leisure on the backs of the proletariat. Today it is people in skilled trades who can most find reasonable hours coupled with good pay; the American professional is among those subject to humiliation and driven like a beast of burden.
"No one thought things would be this way. Keynes famously forecast a three-hour workday, and in 1964 Life magazine devoted a two-part series to what it considered a 'real threat' facing American society: the coming epidemic of too much leisure time. In The Emptiness of Too Much Leisure, it asserted that 'some of the middle-of-the-road prophets of what automation is doing to our economy think that we are on the verge of a 30-hour week.' The follow-up was entitled The Task Ahead: How to Take Life Easy."
Wu's entire article is available here: You Really Don't Need to Work So Much
Beautiful coffee table book. Terrific photography.
Dating back to the beginning of the first millennium, some of Rome’s most famous architectural sites are among the most ancient in the world. They survive in an enchanting urban tableau of classicism and modern Italian culture. Here are all of Rome’s most famous tourist attractions — the Coliseum, St. Peter’s Square, the Trevi Fountain, the Spanish Steps — represented in dozens of photographs, old and new, that bring the great city to life.
Reread and finished just in time for a recent trip to Normandy to visit Caen and the landing beaches at Utah, Pointe du Hoc, Omaha, Sword, Juno, and Gold. Originally published in 1994 for the 50th Anniversary of D-Day, Ambrose's D-Day June 6, 1944 is, in my opinion, still the best account of what has to be one of the proudest moments in our nation's history.
A little slow at times, but otherwise a decent read.
The name Genghis Khan often conjures the image of a relentless, bloodthirsty barbarian on horseback leading a ruthless band of nomadic warriors in the looting of the civilized world. But the surprising truth is that Genghis Khan was a visionary leader whose conquests joined backward Europe with the flourishing cultures of Asia to trigger a global awakening, an unprecedented explosion of technologies, trade, and ideas. In Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World, Jack Weatherford, the only Western scholar ever to be allowed into the Mongols’ “Great Taboo”—Genghis Khan’s homeland and forbidden burial site—tracks the astonishing story of Genghis Khan and his descendants, and their conquest and transformation of the world.
Fighting his way to power on the remote steppes of Mongolia, Genghis Khan developed revolutionary military strategies and weaponry that emphasized rapid attack and siege warfare, which he then brilliantly used to overwhelm opposing armies in Asia, break the back of the Islamic world, and render the armored knights of Europe obsolete. Under Genghis Khan, the Mongol army never numbered more than 100,000 warriors, yet it subjugated more lands and people in twenty-five years than the Romans conquered in four hundred. With an empire that stretched from Siberia to India, from Vietnam to Hungary, and from Korea to the Balkans, the Mongols dramatically redrew the map of the globe, connecting disparate kingdoms into a new world order.
But contrary to popular wisdom, Weatherford reveals that the Mongols were not just masters of conquest, but possessed a genius for progressive and benevolent rule. On every level and from any perspective, the scale and scope of Genghis Khan’s accomplishments challenge the limits of imagination. Genghis Khan was an innovative leader, the first ruler in many conquered countries to put the power of law above his own power, encourage religious freedom, create public schools, grant diplomatic immunity, abolish torture, and institute free trade. The trade routes he created became lucrative pathways for commerce, but also for ideas, technologies, and expertise that transformed the way people lived. The Mongols introduced the first international paper currency and postal system and developed and spread revolutionary technologies like printing, the cannon, compass, and abacus. They took local foods and products like lemons, carrots, noodles, tea, rugs, playing cards, and pants and turned them into staples of life around the world. The Mongols were the architects of a new way of life at a pivotal time in history.
Timely article. Terrific photographs, as one would expect from National Geographic.
As Pope Francis prepares to make his first U.S. visit, his emphasis on serving the poor over enforcing doctrine has inspired joy and anxiety in Roman Catholics.
Available here: Will the Pope Change the Vatican?
Thoughtful. Sanneh examines the state of free speech in America and the increasing finger pointing at the Left for the rise in "soft censorship."
Available here: The Hell You Say
I thought Bergreen's Over the Edge of the World was much better. Marco Polo is much too slow (no pun intended).
A mildly interesting collection of fifty accounts of famous people who made it big in some field of excellence while holding down some other, more mundane job. Profiled here are the day and night jobs of Socrates, Isaac Newton, John Keats, Walt Whitman, Bram Stoker, C.S. Lewis, Julia Child, and others.
When we grow weary of defining ourselves in terms of our occupations, we can turn to historical examples of people who have managed to find fulfillment in two distinct worlds.
Who doesn't love a good legal biopic, drama, or thriller?
This year marks the 100th anniversary of the ABA Journal, and for their annual pop culture issue the staff looked for the best legal movies released in each decade since 1915.
As Thane Rosenbaum explains:
"Football is America’s game, but movies are its favorite form of entertainment. And movies about the law are as essential to Hollywood history as cowboy Westerns or romantic comedies. Heroism that acquits the falsely accused will hold its own against any nonstop action flick.
"When the American Film Institute published its list “100 Years … 100 Heroes & Villains,” defense attorney Atticus Finch from To Kill a Mockingbird topped the list, beating out Indiana Jones and James Bond. Finch, however, didn’t need a whip or gadgets from Q to earn the title or thrill moviegoers worldwide.
"And Finch was no legal fluke, no flash in the pantheon of movie royalty. Other righteous defenders of the innocent made the list: Mahatma Gandhi in Gandhi comes in at 21, Juror No. 8 from 12 Angry Men holds spot 28, and Andrew Beckett—the corporate lawyer succumbing to both AIDS and its social prejudices in Philadelphia—made the cut at 49.
"From Sophocles to Shakespeare, Dostoyevsky to Dickens, John Grisham to Scott Turow, the world’s great poets and dramatists, novelists and film directors have been enamored of the legal system for its plotlines and morality tales. Artists, in fact, are equal opportunity borrowers of justice both delivered and denied. Injustice can ruin a happy ending, but it can also open up possibilities for personal redemption. The literature of law values the object lesson over the cheap thrill. Audiences crave universal truths, and by the time the closing credits roll, movies about the law have left behind wisdom to live by."
Available here: Why the Movies Love Lawyers
Thoughtful piece exploring Gandhi's legacy in modern India. O'Neill and Effendi trace the route taken by Gandhi in 1930 on his famous march to the sea to collect salt, in defiance of British colonial law.
This from the introduction:
"Prophet or holy fool? Hero or villain? Right path or dead end? No one questions Gandhi’s incandescent influence on the world stage; his philosophy of nonviolent resistance inspired Martin Luther King, Jr., Nelson Mandela, and the Dalai Lama. On home soil the Gandhi effect is hazier. Gandhi is everywhere and nowhere. His bespectacled face looks out from the rupee note. There are Mahatma Gandhi streets in many cities, statues too. Politicians invoke his name like an endorsement. But the absence of Gandhi is just as evident. Gandhi envisioned an India of self-sufficient villages. Caste and religion would grow faint as identity markers. Governance would stress equality and nonviolence. Try finding that today. The huge, chaotic cities (Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata), the materialist fever of swelling middle and upper classes, the election of Hindu nationalist Narendra Modi to lead the country, an arsenal of nuclear weapons, and endemic violence against women suggest a very different national identity."
Available in full here: In the Footsteps of Gandhi
In this insightful essay, Dobbins and Malkasian discuss the renewed prospects for peace in fragile Afghanistan.
Available here: Foreign Affairs
A good journalist does not a good historian necessarily make. Tiresome hatchet job.
One would expect from the title American Crucifixion at least an attempt at an objective treatment of Joseph Smith's murder at the hands of a mob in Carthage, Illinois in June 1844. But despite the veneer, protestations even, of impartiality, Beam's unstated thesis and sneering comes loudly and clearly: Joseph Smith the "prophet" of Mormonism got exactly what he deserved. Given the author's prior treatment of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, one should not be surprised.
Informative but pretty dry.
For dog lovers and Royal watchers. Fascinating read.
Michael Joseph Gross reveals the private history of Her Majesty’s kennels and the essential role the pups have played in her reign.
Available here: Queen Elizabeth and Her Corgis: A Love Story
Recommended by a friend, and well worth the time. Biography, adventure, and travelogue. Did you know Magellan died halfway through his circumnavigation of the globe, the odyssey for which he is most famous? They left that part out in grade school. What a story.
Exceptional and heartbreaking story; terrific journalism.
Lawrence Wright tells the story of James Foley, Theo Padnos, Steven Sotloff, Peter Kassig, and Kayla Mueller, all captives at one time of ISIS, and their families' valiant and in most cases sadly futile efforts to bring them home, thanks in part to the grievous lack of help from the U.S. government.
Available here: Five Hostages
Technorati Tags: Five Hostages, ISIS, Islamic State, James Foley, Kayla Mueller, Lawrence Wright, Peter Kassig, rabid reader blog, rick e. Hansen, rickehansen, Steven Sotloff, The Looming Tower, The New Yorker, the rabid reader , Theo Padnos, Thirteen Days in September
Food for thought for my attorney and would-be attorney friends. Available here.
Barnes argues that going in-house is not always a career saver that makes people happy. Most often, going in-house is a career killer.
Really, really good.
I was just a wee little lad when John Wooden stopped coaching and never appreciated or understood the extent of his success until reading Davis' Wooden. No college basketball coach has ever dominated the sport like Wooden. His UCLA teams reached unprecedented heights in the 1960s and '70s capped by a run of ten NCAA championships in twelve seasons and an eighty-eight-game winning streak, records that stand to this day. Wooden also became a renowned motivational speaker and writer, revered for his "Pyramid of Success." He was, to say the least, a master teacher. He lived just shy of 100 years and, from what I can tell, really lived a life worth admiring and emulating.
Davis' writing is crisp and engaging.
Denver C. Snuffer was excommunicated from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in 2013 for apostasy, in part for refusing to cease publication of this book, Passing the Heavenly Gift. The Church defines apostasy as, among other things, publicly contravening cardinal Church teachings in a manner designed to lead other Church members out of the Church.
Snuffer claims that Joseph Smith was an inspired prophet, but Joseph’s commands and revelations were not heeded adequately. As a result, Joseph was betrayed by Church members and murdered prior to the completion of the Nauvoo Temple (104). This made it impossible, in Snuffer’s view, for Joseph to pass on all the necessary ordinances and doctrines prior to his death (105–110). Brigham Young, the leaders of the Church, and their ecclesiastical heirs did not, therefore, perpetuate the fullness of Joseph’s mission (87–89, 268, 272–276, 283). Some of their acts, and the changes that Snuffer believes they have made to Church doctrine, practice, or administration, were not sanctioned by God, and constitute the “passing of the heavenly gift” (287, 400). This loss was, in Snuffer’s telling, predicted by Joseph Smith, and the time is now ripe for members of the Church to reclaim these blessings (315–317, 400–402, 447–499).
This blog is not the forum to discuss Snuffer's claims in detail. Others have already done so, and done so admirably. But beware. Snuffer is quite beguiling. He mixes truth and error. Read him critically, check his sources, question his interpretations, and hold him to the same standards that he holds others. Then, decide for yourself.
Execution by lethal injection is supposed to be clinical and painless. As Jeffrey Stern writes in The Execution of Clayton Lockett, it might not be turning out that way. Terrific and thought provoking article.
Regardless of your views on the definition and scope of marriage, the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Obergefell Et Al. v. Hodges, Director, Ohio Department of Health is well worth reading--both the majority's opinion and the dissents. It immediately takes its place among the Court's most significant decisions of all time. Don't rely on the media to tell you what the Court said and whether the majority (or the dissents) got it right or wrong; read and decide for yourself.
Terrific article. Well worth reading. You can access it here.
My favorite lines:
"Some people think of opportunity the way it's defined in the dictionary--as a set of circumstances that make something possible--and they talk about it as if it just arrives organically. You 'spot opportunity' or wait around for 'opportunity to knock.' I look at it differently. I believe that you have to be the architect of the circumstances--that opportunity is something you manufacture, not something you wait for."
Even better the second time around. A truly remarkable story. Somebody needs to make a movie out of this book.
It's by David McCullough, so why wouldn't you read it? Another McCullough home run.
Profane, funny, and, sometimes, profound. What a life. What an artist. Great autobiography.
Author Matt Tenney has survived – and thrived – in situations where most people would have been quickly broken. In Serve to Be Great, he offers his life experiences and unique insights to help leaders apply the powerful principles of servant leadership. Servant leaders are not weak or timid. Motivated by the aspiration to serve, they achieve true power by empowering others to achieve excellence.
This is a practical guide to becoming a leader people want to follow. By shifting focus from short-term gain to serving others, leaders can create great workplace cultures that deliver superior, long-term results.
Hans Holbein the Younger (1497/8-1543), one of the most versatile and admired painters of the Northern Renaissance, trained under his father in Augsburg and then worked for leading patrons in Switzerland before settling in England as Court Painter to Henry VIII.
Holbein was a hugely ambitious artist, and even during his formative years in Lucerne and Basel, made designs for jewelry, stained glass, and woodcuts, and painted major altarpieces and portraits. He also carried out several monumental decorative schemes for private houses and civic buildings. In his commissions, Holbein sought to rival the greatest masters of Germany and Italy, most notably Dürer and Mantegna, and by the time of his visit to France in 1524 he was determined to secure a position as Court Painter. However, Holbein soon found himself in a precarious situation as a result of the Reformation's increasing hostility toward religious works, and he left for England in 1532. While in England, in addition to decorative schemes and Triumphs, he both drew and painted numerous unrivaled likenesses of leading courtiers, merchants, and diplomats, among which is his celebrated double portrait, The Ambassadors.
Superb. Second time around for me. David Halberstam's last (and one of his best) before his tragic, untimely death.
Technorati Tags: China, David Halberstam, Douglas Macarthur, Korean War, Mao Tse Tung, Matthew Ridgeway, North Korea, rabid reader, rick e. hansen, rickehansen, South Korea, Soviet Union, Stalin, The Best and the Brightest, The Coldest Winter: America and the Korean War, the rabid reader
For my money, Bart Ehrman is one of the best and most interesting Biblical scholars today. This is the fifth edition of his highly successful introduction to the New Testament. Distinctive to this study is its unique focus on the historical, literary, and religious milieux of the Greco-Roman world, including early Judaism. As part of its historical orientation, the book also discusses other Christian writings that were roughly contemporary with the New Testament, such as the Gospel of Thomas, the Apocalypse of Peter, and the letters of Ignatius.
This is a terrific resource.
The course of Joseph Smith's life was defined early when, as he alleged, in the Spring of 1820, when Joseph was only 14 years old, God and His son, Jesus Christ, appeared to Joseph in answer to prayer offered in a grove of trees in upstate New York. That event is the foundational event of Mormonism, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.
Milton Backman's collection and critical review of the known written accounts of Joseph's "First Vision" is an important and timeless contribution to Mormon studies.
Technorati Tags: Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, Joseph Smith, Joseph Smith's First Vision: Confirming Evidences and Contemporary Accounts, LDS, Milton V. Backman, mormonism, mormons, rabid reader blog, rick e. hansen, rickehansen, the rabid reader
Interesting, but way over my head at times. My sense is that Wills confuses the (upper case P) Priesthood (i.e., God's power) with the (lower case p) priesthood (i.e., the clergy).
So-so. Worth reading if you're not otherwise familiar with the story of the Lusitania.
Erik Larson can write, no doubt about that. I've enjoyed many of his previous offerings, especially In the Garden of Beasts. But I found Dead Wake too predictable, often annoyingly so. It is typical of the disaster nonfiction narrative: identify the main protagonists, devote alternating chapters to each of them to move the story along and build the suspense, sprinkle in lots of human interest stories about the victims and survivors, recount the disaster in excruciating detail, consider all the "what ifs," and then finish up with rest-of-life details about the survivors.
Amazing survival story.
Born to a middle-class, nonobservant Jewish family, Beer was a popular teenager and successful law student when the Nazis moved into Austria. In a well-written narrative that reads like a novel, she relates the escalating fear and humiliating indignities she and others endured, as well as the anti-Semitism of friends and neighbors. Using all their resources, her family bribed officials for exit visas for her two sisters, but Edith and her mother remained, due to lack of money and Edith's desire to be near her half-Jewish boyfriend, Pepi. Eventually, Edith was deported to work in a labor camp in Germany. Anxious about her mother, she obtained permission to return to Vienna, only to learn that her mother was gone. In despair, Edith tore off her yellow star and went underground. Pepi, himself a fugitive, distanced himself from her. A Christian friend gave Edith her own identity papers, and Edith fled to Munich, where she met and, despite her confession to him that she was Jewish, married Werner Vetter, a Nazi party member. Submerging her Jewish identity at home and at work, Edith lived in constant fear, even refusing anesthetic in labor to avoid inadvertently revealing the truth about her past. She successfully maintained the facade of a loyal German hausfrau until the war ended. Her story is important both as a personal testament and as an inspiring example of perseverance in the face of terrible adversity.
In 2006, the Vatican opened its archives on the papacy of Pius XI. Drawing on these newly available materials, Kertzer sheds new light on the relationship, indeed partnership, of Fascism and the Vatican. By Kertzer's account, the 1920s and 1930s were not the papacy's finest hour.
In a challenge to the conventional history of this period, in which a heroic Church does battle with the Fascist regime, Kertzer shows how Pius XI played a crucial role in making Benito Mussolini’s dictatorship possible and keeping him in power. In exchange for Vatican support, Mussolini restored many of the privileges the Church had lost and gave in to the pope’s demands that the police enforce Catholic morality. Yet in the last years of his life—as the Italian dictator grew ever closer to Hitler—the pontiff’s faith in this treacherous bargain started to waver. With his health failing, he began to lash out at the Duce and threatened to denounce Mussolini’s anti-Semitic racial laws before it was too late. Horrified by the threat to the Church-Fascist alliance, the Vatican’s inner circle, including the future Pope Pius XII, struggled to restrain the headstrong pope from destroying a partnership that had served both the Church and the dictator for many years.
Not quite the full biography I was hoping for but still worth reading.
For seven decades Katharine Hepburn played a leading role in the popular culture of the twentieth century - reigning as an admired actress, a beloved movie star, and a treasured icon of the modern American woman. She also remained one of the most private of all the public figures of her time.
In 1983 - at the age of seventy-five, her career cresting - the four-time Academy Award winner opened the door to biographer A. Scott Berg - then thirty-three - and began a special friendship, one that endured to the end of her illustrious life.
From the start, Scott Berg felt that Katharine Hepburn intended his role to be not just that of a friend but also of a chronicler, a confidant who might record for posterity her thoughts and feelings. Over the next twenty years, Kate used their many hours together to reveal all that came to mind, often reflecting on the people and episodes of her past, occasionally on the meaning of life.
Here are the stories from those countless intimate conversations, and much more. In addition to recording heretofore untold biographical details of her entire phenomenal career and her famous relationships with such men as Spencer Tracy and Howard Hughes, Kate Remembered also tells the amusing, often emotional story of one of the most touching friendships in her final years. Scott Berg provides his own memories of Katharine Hepburn offstage - quiet dinners in her town house in New York City, winter swims (she swam, he watched) in the Long Island Sound at Fenwick, her home in Connecticut, weekend visits with family members and dear friends...even some unusual appearances by the likes of Michael Jackson and Warren Beatty. Finally, Kate Remembered discusses the legendary actress's moving farewell, during which her mighty personality surrendered at last to her failing body - all the while remaining true to her courageous character.
Kate Remembered is a book about love and friendship, family and career, Hollywood and Broadway - all punctuated by unforgettable lessons from an extraordinary life.
It's by Kissinger; of course it's good. Hard to believe this is his first book-length treatment of China.
In On China, Kissinger examines key episodes in Chinese foreign policy from the classical era to the present day, with a particular emphasis on the decades since the rise of Mao Zedong. He illuminates the inner workings of Chinese diplomacy during such pivotal events as the initial encounters between China and modern European powers, the formation and breakdown of the Sino-Soviet alliance, the Korean War, Richard Nixon's historic trip to Beijing, and three crises in the Taiwan Straits. Drawing on his extensive personal experience with four generation of Chinese leaders, he brings to life towering figures such as Mao, Zhou Enlai, and Deng Xiaoping, revealing how their different visions have shaped China's modern destiny.
With all that has been written about Hitler, one would think there isn't anything new to write about. Mark Felton has managed to offer up something fresh and interesting.
Based on intelligence documents, personal testimonies, memoirs and official histories, including material only declassified in 2010, Guarding Hitler provides a fascinating inside look at the secret world of Hitler's security and domestic arrangements. The book focuses in particular on both the official and private life of Hitler during the latter part of the war, at the Wolfs Lair at Rastenburg, and Hitler's private residence at Berchtesgaden, the Berghof.
Guarding Hitler manages to offer fresh insights into the life and routine of the Fuhrer, and most importantly the often indiscreet opinions, observations and activities of the 'little people' who surrounded Hitler but whose stories have been overshadowed by the great affairs of state.
It covers not only the plots against Hitler's life but the way security developed as a result. His use of 'doubles' is examined as is security while traveling by land or air. As little has been written about the security and domestic life of Adolf Hitler, Guarding Hitler allows the reader to delve deeper into this previously overlooked but nonetheless fascinating aspect of the world's most infamous man.
Couldn't put it down--it was that good.
A real-life political thriller about an American financier in the Wild East of Russia, the murder of his principled young tax attorney, and his dangerous mission to expose the Kremlin’s corruption.
Bill Browder’s journey started on the South Side of Chicago and moved through Stanford Business School to the dog-eat-dog world of hedge fund investing in the 1990s. It continued in Moscow, where Browder made his fortune heading the largest investment fund in Russia after the Soviet Union’s collapse. But when he exposed the corrupt oligarchs who were robbing the companies in which he was investing, Vladimir Putin turned on him and, in 2005, had him expelled from Russia.
In 2007, a group of law enforcement officers raided Browder’s offices in Moscow and stole $230 million of taxes that his fund’s companies had paid to the Russian government. Browder’s attorney Sergei Magnitsky investigated the incident and uncovered a sprawling criminal enterprise. A month after Sergei testified against the officials involved, he was arrested and thrown into pre-trial detention, where he was tortured for a year. On November 16, 2009, he was led to an isolation chamber, handcuffed to a bedrail, and beaten to death by eight guards in full riot gear.
Browder glimpsed the heart of darkness, and it transformed his life: he embarked on an unrelenting quest for justice in Sergei’s name, exposing the towering cover-up that leads right up to Putin. A financial caper, a crime thriller, and a political crusade, Red Notice is the story of one man taking on overpowering odds to change the world.
Based on the title, I was expecting something more comprehensive but this was almost entirely devoted to a critique of Fawn Brodie's No Man Knows My History: The Life of Joseph Smith, published first in 1945. Much of the ground covered by Wixom has been plowed and replowed. Don't waste your time.
Superb. Best book I have read so far this year. Not so much a biography as a collection of essays about Churchill's character and legacy. Johnson's facility with his subject is remarkable and his writing is fresh and witty.
This from the concluding chapter:
"For several decades now it has been fashionable to say that the so-called great men and women are just epiphenomena, meretricious bubbles on the vast tides of social history. The real story, on this view, is about deep economic forces, technological advances, changes in the price of sorgum, the overwhelming weight of an infinite number of mundane human actions.
"Well, I think the story of Winston Churchill is a pretty withering retort to all that malarky. He, and he alone, made the difference.
"It is easy to think of a few other people who have made a colossal impact on world history but almost always for the worse: Hitler, Lenin, etc. How many others can you think of who have been decisive for the better, who have personally tilted the scales of fate in the direction of freedom and hope.
"Not many, I bet: and that is because when history needed it, in 1940, there was only one man who possessed the Churchill Factor; and having spent quite some time now considering the question, I am finally with those who think there has been no one remotely like him before or since."
Good, but not as good as Ash's Shaken Faith Syndrome.
Terrific biography and, perhaps more importantly, inspiring. Every young girl should read this book. Albright smashed the glass ceiling to become the first female Secretary of State, and for good reason.
For eight years, during Bill Clinton's two presidential terms, Albright was a high-level participant in some of the most dramatic events of our time—from the pursuit of peace in the Middle East to NATO's intervention in the Balkans to America's troubled relations with Iran and Iraq. Albright reflects on her remarkable personal story, including her upbringing in war-torn Europe and the balancing of career and family responsibilities, and on America's leading role in a changing world.