What I’ve been reading

1. Stephen Crane, The Red Badge of Courage.  I read this as a kid, and was surprised how well my reread held up.  To the point, subtle, and with an economy of means.  I hope the new Paul Auster biography of Crane (which I will read soon) will revive interest in this classic.

2. Frank Herbert, Dune Messiah.  #2 in the Dune series, I disliked this one as a tot, but currently am marveling at its political sophistication.  Somewhat uneven, but better than its reputation.  The Wikipedia page for the book also indicates that Villeneuve is likely to do a Dune 3 based on this story.

3. Elisabeth Anderson (not the philosopher), Agents of Reform: Child Labor and the Origins of the Welfare State.  Considers the political economy of child labor reform Germany, France, the United States, and the failed case of Belgium.  Pathbreaking, a major advance on the extant literature.  The explanations are messy rather than monocausal, but often focus on the success or failure of individual policy entrepreneurs.

4. Gordon Teskey, Spenserian Moments.  No one seems to care about poor old Edmund Spenser, yet there seem to be quite a few good books about him.

5. Patrick McGilligan, Alfred Hitchcock: A Life in Darkness and Light.  The best book on Hitchcock, John Nye recommended it to me eight years ago.

There is Howard Husock, The Poor Side of Town, And Why We Need It.

And Mary Roach, Fuzz: When Nature Breaks the Law.

Richard A. Williams, Fixing Food: An FDA Insider Unravels the Myths and Their Solutions, covers the food regulatory side of the FDA, and:

Markus K. Brunnermeier, The Resilient Society.

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