Books and such

I haven't had time to post much lately - work has been longer than the 9-5 (I keep suckering myself into staying longer because I am too vain to put my name on something that I haven't gone over 5 times). Also most of the stuff I'm currently reading for work is stuff on truth and reconciliation commissions, or battlefield medicine techniques - not something I feel comfortable enough with my knowledge to post on.

Also, since I got a bunch of books lately, I've been reading rather than writing. I finally finished Philip Bobbitt's marathon 900-page "The Shield of Achilles." I also finished John Robb's 190-page "Brave New War." I started Nassim Taleb's "The Black Swan," which is fantastic so far, but I forgot it at my girlfriend's place in Rochester this past weekend. I'm reading V. E. Tarrant's "The Red Orchestra" until I get it back (The Red Orchestra will be a quick read).
Bobbitt's book could easily have been half the length. One problem I had reading his book was that I couldn't stand his writing style. He fills his book with sentences like:
"Partly it was [Acheson's] demeanor: great success in law school often conveys to young men who achieve it a certain haughtiness owing to their discovery that they are easily measured as superior to other brilliant young men at a way of thinking that is supposed to encompass all human endeavor.*" (656)
*"Perhaps women will not fall prey to this conceit; in Acheson's day there were virtually no females at the Harvard Law School."
I hope this is ironic, seeing as he clearly succeeded in law school (prestigious clerkship, professorship, etc.).
He also repeats himself endlessly. He organized his book as two books that could each stand alone - one about war and one about law. This was clearly a mistake, as the entire point of his book was linking war and law, and it led to endless repetition.
That said, I'm glad I read it. The most valuable parts for me were when he charted the clear relationship between tactical innovation, strategic innovation and domestic and international legal evolution.

Also, a funny fact about Bobbitt is that he's LBJ's nephew.

I'll do a write-up on Brave New War (adding to the list of those who have already) once I get it back from work. It's currently being passed around the office.

4 comments:

subadei said...

I started Talebs Black Swan two days ago. Not since Barnett's BFA have I read some and then spent more time looking off into space in consideration. Plus his ability to lighten the load with the offhanded humorous (often self deprecating) occasion makes his book very readable.

Plus limo drivers have something to aspire too!!

subadei said...

Ah, and thanks for the link and I'm looking forward to your reflections regarding BNW.

Adrian said...

So much for not buying Black Swan, eh Soob?

Anonymous said...

Looking forward to it too.

JR