Monday, September 17, 2007

Books

Been doing some book shopping lately which is one of my favorite things to do. Amazon is convenient, which is good, but I really love just being in a bookstore, especially a used bookstore, and spending an hour or two just browsing. It's a very peaceful experience. Here are some recent buys:

Hog Pilots, Blue Water Grunts: The American Military in the Air, at Sea, and on the Ground by Robert Kaplan.
I very much enjoyed Imperial Grunts and have been waiting for this book to come out. I like that Kaplan goes where most reporters don't: with SF in Algeria, an attache in Mongolia, or with a Coastie in Yemen.

The Google Story: Inside the Hottest Business, Media and Technology Success of Our Time by David Vise.
I've had a growing interest in business history especially the stories of individual businesses and entrepreneurs. I would like to find some histories of entrepreneurship in different periods of American history.

With that in mind, I was happy to find this book at my favorite used bookstore.
The New England Merchants in the Seventeenth Century by Bernard Bailyn.

American Connections: The Founding Fathers. Networked. by James Burke.
I've enjoyed James Burke's Connections TV show and essays. This book applies his technique to the founding generation. I think it is important to have essays that explore history and ideas in creative ways outside the academic framework. Burke has been successful at doing this.

Democratic Capitalism and Its Discontents by Brian Anderson.

As I read things I often find myself thinking "I'd like to find a book on X." And I'm always excited when I find a book on those topics. So I was very happy Saturday when I found a book on the history of the Bill of Rights and the other on the Stamp Act crisis. I had been wanting something more specific than the more general accounts that I had been reading.

The Birth of the Bill of Rights by Robert Allen Rutland.

The Stamp Act Crisis by Edmund and Helen Morgan.

Over the past couple of years I've become more interested in the history of American political movements and very curious about how the transition from an agricultural age country to an industrial age country changed our forms of social organization, and our concepts of how government should be organized and its role in society. I believe that we live in a time that is experiencing an equivalent transition from an industrial age society to an information-service-entrepreneurial-creative age society and that this change will spur new concepts of gov't organization and its role in society. I've become very interested in the origins of the progressive/liberal and conservative political movements that are products of the industrial age: how they emerged, the narratives they created of the past leading up to and justifying their creation and their visions of what they were trying to achieve. These movements today are old and tired. I want to understand them for insight into creating political movements that will inevitably emerge from our own unique time. To that end I pulled from the shelf the following two books on my recent expedition:

The Progressive Mind, 1890-1917 by David Noble

The Conservative Mind by Russell Kirk

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