Recommended reads – new gems, forgotten treasures and hidden riches

By Tom Regan

What to read? What to read? So much material, so little time.

So we here at Facts and Opinions want to help. Starting this week, we’ll have some recommended reading for you from across the web, and the odd archive from our own site. And not just recent works either, because, as you know, once it’s on the Internet, it lives forever. And much good reading deserves to be read again.

"Malcolm Gladwell. Photo from PEN American Center - Philip Kerr and Malcolm Gladwell.

Malcolm Gladwell. Photo from PEN American Center – Philip Kerr and Malcolm Gladwell.

Our first story comes to us from the New Yorker, circa 2013. It’s Malcolm Gladwell’s fascinating essay, “The Gift of Doubt.” Gladwell argues in the piece, using Albert O Hirschman’s work on the power of failure, that doubt and failure can be among the best things that can happen to a human, or to society at large, if viewed through the right lens.

Here is columnist David Brooks’ recent take in The New York Times on the anti-party men of America’s Republican party, GOP. They are, Brooks says, merely expressions of their followers’ id, and not really politicians at all.

Paul Mason of the Guardian says we are coming to the end the age of capitalism, and entering the post-capitalist era, when new technologies and social realities will lead to new ways of production and how those goods produced are shared. A look to the future? Or wild speculation?

As the United States dives into yet another bout of religious controversy, we present a piece from our own Expert Witness section, John Keane’s “Why we should still read Democracy in America”, so Americans can remind themselves about why the separation of church and state is one of the factors that has made the United States a great nation.

United States Air Force fighter jets 
over northern Iraq in Sept. 2014. Photo by Senior Airman Matthew Bruch, Creative Commons

United States Air Force fighter jets 
over northern Iraq in Sept. 2014. Photo by Senior Airman Matthew Bruch, Creative Commons

From June of this year, from Politico, a roundtable on “Who Lost Iraq.” At the piece notes “As Americans try to understand what $2 trillion and nearly 4,500 American lives really accomplished, partisans are battling over how much blame falls on Obama, who left Iraq, and on President George W. Bush, who took us there.” It presents five different views on what happened in Iraq.

Our own Jonathan Manthorpe wrote in August, that Europe faces a 1945 moment in the current refugee crisis. “The last time Europe faced a similar crisis on this scale was at the end of the Second World War, which carries many experiences and lessons, some of which are worth examining in the light of what is happening today.” The piece is now outside the paywall.

Last but not least, an innovative new documentary unit, Field of Vision, is a filmmaker-driven visual journalism unit that pairs filmmakers with stories around the globe. Read about it in a Guardian report, and visit the site to watch the first of 40 – 50 expected films per year now streaming on line, currently including Kirsten Johnson’s The Above, about a US military floating above Kabul, Afghanistan; Notes from the Border, about Europe’s refugee crisis; God is an Artist, about street art in Detroit; and Birdie, about a homeless fruit vendor in Rio de Janeiro who “gets into the minds of the street dogs he loves.”

— with a file from Deborah Jones

F&O’s Contents page, featuring our new works, is updated each weekend

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