Results for “jeremy jennings”
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Best non-fiction books of 2023

In the order I read them, more or less, rather than in the order of preference.  And behind the link usually you will find my earlier review, or occasionally an Amazon link:

Erika Fatland, High: A Journey Across the Himalaya Through Pakistan, India, Bhutan, Nepal, and China.

Adam Kuper, The Museum of Other People: From Colonial Acquisitions to Cosmopolitan Exhibitions.

Paul Johnson, Follow the Money: How Much Does Britain Cost?

Murray Pittock, Scotland: A Global History.

Reviel Netz, A New History of Greek Mathematics.

Melissa S. Kearney, The Two-Parent Privilege.

David Edmonds, Derek Parfit: A Philosopher and His Mission to Save Morality.

Peter Lee, Carey Goldberg, and Isaac Kohane, The AI Revolution in Medicine: GPT-4 and Beyond.

Matt Zwolinski and John Tomasi, The Individualists: Radicals, Reactionaries, and the Struggle for the Soul of Libertarianism.

Sebastian Edwards, The Chile Project: The Story of the Chicago Boys and the Downfall of Neoliberalism.

Martyn Rady, The Central Kingdoms: A New History of Central Europe.

Norman Lebrecht, Why Beethoven: A Phenomenon in One Hundred Pieces.

Ian Mortimer, Medieval Horizons: Why the Middle Ages Matter.

Jacob Mikanowski, Goodbye Eastern Europe: An Intimate History of a Divided Land.

Sophia Giovannitti, Working Girl: On Selling Art and Selling Sex.

Christopher Clark, Revolutionary Spring: Fighting for a New World 1848-1849.

Fearghal Cochrane, Belfast: The Story of a City and its People.

Jennifer Burns, Milton Friedman: The Last Conservative.

Mikhail Zygar, War and Punishment: Putin, Zelensky, and the Path to Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine.

Jeremy Jennings, Travels with Tocqueville: Beyond America.

Fuchsia Dunlop, Invitation to a Banquet: The Story of Chinese Food.

David Brooks, How to Know Others: The Art of Seeing Others and Being Deeply Seen.

Jonny Steinberg, Winnie and Nelson: Portrait of a Marriage.

Richard Cockett, Vienna: How the City of Ideas Created the Modern World.

Cat Bohannon, Eve: How the Female Body Drove 200 Million Years of Human Evolution.

Larry Rohter, Into the Amazon: The Life of Cândido Rondon, Trailblazing Explorer, Scientist, Statesman, and Conservationist.

Frank Trentmann, Out of the Darkness: The Germans 1942-2022.

Tyler Cowen, GOAT: Who is the Greatest Economist of all Time and Why Does it Matter?

It is hard to pick out 2 or 3 favorites this year, as they are all excellent.  I am partial to David Edmonds on Parfit, but a lot of you already know you should be reading that.  Perhaps my nudge is most valuable for Jonny Steinberg, Winny and Nelson: Portrait of a Marriage?  So that is my pick for the year!

As usual, I will issue an addendum at the end of the year, because I will be reading a lot between now and then.  I haven’t even received my 1344-pp. Jonathan Israel biography of Spinoza yet.  Here is my earlier list on the year’s fiction.  And apologies for any of your books I have forgotten to list, there are always some such cases.

*Travels with Tocqueville Beyond America*

Again, that is the new book by Jeremy Jennings, here is another excerpt:

These grave misgivings [about travel] have persisted.  “I have been reading books of travels all my life,” Jean-Jacques Rousseau wrote, “but I have never found two that gave me the same idea of the same nation.”  Those who “travel best,” he added, “travel least,” and, in Rousseau’s opinion, they travelled not by coach but on foot.  Others have agreed.  Writing at the end of the eighteenth century, Xavier de Maistre (brother to the more famous Joseph) resolved only to journey for forty-two days around his own room, “safe from the restless jealousy of men.”  “We will travel slowly,” he wrote, “laughing as we go at those travellers who have visited Rome and Paris.”  Heading north, Maistre discovered his bed.  On this view, one travelled best by moving hardly at all.  In the nineteenth century, John Stuart Mill displayed a similarly dismissive attitude.  “In travelling,” he wrote, “men usually see only what they already had in their own minds.”

From another segment of the book:

Gustave de Beaumont not only travelled to America with Tocqueville but accompanied him on trips to England and Ireland and to Algeria.  No one was better able to assess how Tocqueville travelled.  Tocqueville’s way of travelling, Beaumont wrote, was “peculiar.”  Everything was “a matter for observation.”  Each day Tocqueville framed in his head the questions he wanted to ask and resolve.  Every idea that came into his mind was noted down, without delay, and regardless of where he was.  For Tocqueville, Beaumont continued, travelling was never just a form of bodily exercise or simply an agreeable way to pass the time.  “Rest,” Beaumont wrote, “was foreign to his nature.”  Whether or not his body was actively employed, Tocqueville’s mind was always working.  Never could he undertake a walk as a simple distraction or engage in conversation as a form of relaxation.  The “most agreeable” discussion was the “most useful” discussion.  The worst day was “the day lost or ill-spent.”  Any loss of time was an inconvenience.  Consequently, Tocqueville travelled in a “constant state of tension,” never arriving in a place without knowing that he would be able to leave it.

Recommended, buy it here.

That was then, this is now — the culture that is Swiss edition

Tocqueville’s notes on the Swiss constitution confirm the poor impression he had quickly formed.  There were cantons, he remarked, but no Switzerland.  In most of these, he continued, the majority of people lacked any sense of “self-government”; the Swiss habitually abused freedom of the press; they saw associations much as the French did, as a revolutionary means rather than as “a slow and quiet way to arrive at the rectification of wrongs”; they had no sense of the benefits derived from “the peaceful and legal introduction of the judge into the domain of politics”; and, finally, “at the bottom of their souls the Swiss show no deep respect for law, no love of legality, no abhorrence of the use of force, without which there cannot be a free country.”

That is from Jeremy Jennings, Travels with Tocqueville: Beyond America, a new and excellent book that I will be covering again soon.