What I’ve been reading

1. Gregory M. Collins, Commerce and Manners in Edmund Burke’s Political Economy.  Burke is underrated as an economist, and also more generally.  This very thorough and thoughtful book goes a long way toward setting the record straight.  In the meantime, it is not sufficiently well known just how much Keynes was influenced by Burke.

2. Terryl Givens, Mormonism: What Everyone Needs to Know.  Perhaps if one needs to read this book, one is also under-qualified to comment on it.  Still it seemed very good to me and providing one of the better introductions.  I hadn’t know for instance that Abraham and even Adam to some extent were “in on” the covenant all along.

3. R.F. Foster, On Seamus Heaney.  A very good “short book essay” on one of my favorite poets.  That is a UK link, here is what you get when you search U.S. Amazon.  How can that be?  These days you can search Amazon better using Google than using Amazon itself.

4. Charles Camic, Veblen: The Making of an Economist Who Unmade Economics.  It makes sense that a biography of Veblen should be…somewhat verbose.  Nonetheless this is a valuable contribution for anyone interested in the topic.  To me the main question is why the libertarian right takes Veblen more seriously these days than does the Left, perhaps it is because they read Veblen and immediately think of Wokeism?

5. Charles Lyell, Principles of Geology.  From the 1830s, this remains one of the great scientific classics.  I had never known how well-reasoned or beautifully written it was, a big positive surprise for me.  Not just a bunch of crusty old rocks, though it is also about…a bunch of crusty old rocks.

There is Judith Flanders, A Place for Everything: The Curious History of Alphabetical Order.

John Fabian Witt, American Contagions: Epidemics and the Law from Smallpox to Covid-19 is a short but useful treatment of what its title promises.  I had not known that both Frederick Douglass and Malcolm X were opposed to compulsory vaccination.


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