Archive for May, 2013

debtI always thought “My debts are killing me!” was just a funny way of saying something about life without meaning anything.  Oh, the expression and I were both way out in an unplowed field of ignorance.  Here is the fundamental truth: Life is debt.  And Debt by David Graeber is a book to read and keep so that every seventh year you return to read it again and free yourself.

Debt, market economies, domestic communism, money, derivatives, stock markets, compound interest, sin, citizenship, capitalistic states, banks, globalization, family responsibilities, mother’s milk and children’s guilt are all related in this encompassing inbred life we lead.  David Graeber ties all of this together and puts the lighted fagot to the derrieres of all economists too conceited to read outside their lofty field.

Book reviewers have heaped unlimited praise on the author to the point he has an excess.  He could barter it; but that is tricky as he explains in Debt; so he could just quietly give some of it to me or any underpraised author.  I am not sure I have something he would enjoy receiving; well yes, I do.  I could give him some ramps in the spring.  Charles Marlin

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BlackettWWII buffs, and sea warfare buffs take note as you don’t want to miss this one.  Stephen Budiansky has masterfully brought together Patrick Blackett the man and the wartime scientist in Blackett’s War: The Men Who Defeated The Nazi U-Boats And Brought Science To The Art Of Warfare.  Any one of Blackett’s individual contributions to the war effort would merit a book; but this man made so many that he created the new field of operational research.  Blackett would win the Nobel Prize in physics after the war in 1949 for work I shall not attempt to explain; however, the author does.

Now, what Blackett and his fellow scientists called operational research is standard fare for our military and naval officers with their masters and PhDs; but this may belie the myth of modern warfare.  Can there ever be a “smart war?”  Well trained, experienced, educated, honorable men can and will make stupid decisions that destroy others’ lives and leave them to continue their professional careers.

In telling Blackett’s story, the author also reveals much about the war dances of Winston Churchill and Karl Domitz, opposite encampments and different roles, and equally fascinating.  The star of the book, however, remains Brackett.  Charles Marlin

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