What I’ve been reading

1. Forgotten Continent: The Battle for Latin America’s Soul, by Michael Reid.  A good treatment of the region’s recent history; it is best for its balanced assessment of what market-oriented reforms have managed or not.

2. Where Have All the Soldiers Gone?: The Transformation of Modern Europe, by James J. Sheehan.  Blah, blah, blah, blah, Europe has fewer soldiers than it used to, blah.  Blah.  Sheehan is a first-rate historian, but there’s not much to this book.

3. Architecture of Authority, by Richard Ross.  This book is nothing more than photos of jail cells, parole hearing rooms, Mary Boone Gallery, and the like.  Thought-provoking.

4. Due Considerations: Essays and Criticism, by John Updike.  Scattered essays on just about everything.  Completely apart from his fiction, Updike is simply one of the smartest and most impressive people out there.  It is amazing how many topics he knows so much about and how well he writes about them.

5. Free Lunch: How the Wealthiest Americans Enrich Themselves at Government Expense (And Stick You With the Bill), by David Cay Johnston.  This is quite a good compendium of different ways that government screws us over, written from a mixed populist/libertarian point of view.  Recommended.  I expected not so much but the substance here held my attention.  I’d now like to know the total welfare cost of all these bad policies.


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