…like the columns on the road to Baghdad. I have been reading Smart Mobs by Howard Rheingold extremely slowly. This is because I have been enjoying it so much. Tim Sanders, author of the brilliant “Love is the Killer App” sent me his cliff notes for the book yesterday which should turn out to be very useful when I do my own summary. Last week I purchased two books that I wrote about together this blog. I bought Mike Davis’ “Dead Cities” after hearing him speak at the Institute of Contemporary Art last Wednesday. I enjoyed the lecture, as I wrote to a friend “[Mike Davis] a world renowned urban theorist. [He] and I are at opposite ends of the political spectrum – he is a hard core Marxist leftie, I am a centre right capitalist – but I still find much of his work compelling. He writes (and talks) very well. He has fascinating insights into urban life, the history of cities and the oddities of urban lifestyles. He is also downright interesting. In Dead Cities he has essays on some genuinely extraordinary places: Replicas of Berlin built in the middle of Utah so the USAF could perfect firebombing tactics, the absurdity that is Las Vegas, the swamping of San Bernardino by yuppies from LA. It has to be read with an eye on his biases and one has to avoid being angered by oddball leftie assertions that are simply false. If those pitfalls can be avoided there is much to delight in the book.”
last Friday I was browsing ,y local bookshop at lunchtime and came across the brand new English edition of W.G. Sebald’s “A Natural History of Destruction” (coincidentally Mike Davis full title is Dead Cities: A Natural History). “A Natural History of Destruction” is an horrifying book that I have noted before. It deals with the terrors unleashed on Germany during the last few years of WW2 and the curious hole in the German memory that refuses to deal with that terror. Sebald writes beautifully and utterly convincingly about not only the awfulness of the firebombing and the suffering of the German people, but also how utterly unnecessary that slaughter was. I will post a proper review one I have read it fully.
Unable to control my impulse to acquire books, on Saturday I bought “The Shield of Achilles” by Philip Bobbitt (no, not Lorena’s husband). The book promises to be very interesting. The blurb endorsements border on the hysterical and how many books do you know that are praised by the Guardian whilst having an introduction by Sir Michael Howard?
Today I received a copy of Nexus: Small Worlds and the Groundbreaking Science of Networks by Mark Buchanan. I am not sure if it is good or not. I got it as part of my investigation into Smart Mobs and Social Networks.