What I’ve been reading

1. Dervla Murphy, A Place Apart: Northern Ireland in the 1970s.  Imagine a single Irish woman in the 1970s bicycling though Northern Ireland at the height of The Troubles.  Charming and perceptive throughout, and remarkably well-written.  Murphy is in general an underrated figure, and note she is still at it, recently in her 90s she did a Lunch with the Financial Times.

2. Marc F. Bellemare, Doing Economics: What You Should Have Learned in Grad School — But Didn’t.  A sober and very useful book, covering topics such as “Navigating Peer Review” and “Finding Funding” and “Doing Service.”  The advice offered is on the mark.  Yet the book as a whole makes economics (academia?) as a whole come across as a grim and dysfunctional profession.  You won’t find much on “generating new ideas” or “influencing policy” or “inspiring students.”  I guess they taught all those things so well in grad school!

3. Gregory Forth, Between Ape and Human: An Anthropologist on the Trail of a Hidden Humanoid.  The claim is that the Flores mini-humanoids may have existed on the island until quite recently, or possibly even still today.  I am not persuaded (for one thing the villagers promote too many other ancillary hypotheses about these creatures, for instance they fly), but at the very least this is a fascinating take on how to interpret eyewitness evidence.  And the author is a credible authority.  They should invite this guy to Hereticon, he is an actual heretic!

William R. Cross, Winslow Homer: American Passage is a definitive biography with wonderful photos, maps, and images.  Not a “picture book” but a book with amazing pictures.  And text.

Yaffa Assouline, Avant-Garde Orientalists: Tribute to Igor Savitsky.  One of the largest collections of Russian avant-garde art is in Karakalpakstan in northwestern Uzbekistan — you can view the work here, recommended.

Thomas W. Merrill, The Chevron Doctrine: Its Rise and Fall, and the Future of the Administrative State, “This book is primarily a work of history about the Chevron doctrine — where it came from, how it spread, the fate of attempts to cabin it, and recent arguments that it should be overruled o significantly rewritten.”

I have not read Jerry Z. Muller, Professor of Apocalypse: The Many Lives of Jacob Taubes, but it appears to be a work of promise.


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