Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Short takes

Here are a few notes on some recent reads.

Tried by War: Abraham Lincoln as Commander in Chief by James McPherson. Written by the leading popular authority on the Civil War, this is a concise study of Lincoln as military commander. This is not a military history, but a easy to understand study in civil-military relations. It is easy enough for the uninitiated, but also helpful to fans who want to understand why Lincoln put up with the incompetents as long as he did.

Postcards from Tomorrow Square by James Fallows. This is a collections of Fallows China essays for the Atlantic. The quality is high, so you will probably want to read them all. Unlike other collections, I actually read this one cover to cover. It is typical Fallows, plenty of insight in reader friendly prose.

Nobody Move by Denis Johnson. This one didn't do it for me. The small time crooks trying to game one another felt like a Elmore Leonard novel with more hard boiled language. It wasn't bad, but I didn't care enough about the story to get fully invested.

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