"The man who many considered the peace candidate in the last election was transformed into a war president," writes bestselling author and leading academic Stephen l. Carter in The Violence of Peace, his new book decoding what President Barack Obama's views on war mean for America and its role in military conflict, now and going forward. As America winds down a war in Iraq, ratchets up another in Afghanistan, and continues a global war on terrorism, Carter delves into the implications of the military philosophy Obama has adopted through his first two years in office. Responding to the invitation that Obama himself issued in his Nobel address, Carter uses the tools of the Western tradition of just and unjust war to evaluate Obama's actions and words about military conflict, offering insight into how the president will handle existing and future wars, and into how his judgment will shape America's fate. Carter also explores war as a way to defend others from tyrannical regimes, which Obama has endorsed but not yet tested, and reveals the surprising ways in which some of the tactics Obama has used or authorized are more extreme than those of his predecessor, George W. Bush. "Keeping the nation at peace," Carter writes, "often requires battle," and this book lays bare exactly how America's wars in Afghanistan and Iraq are shaping the way Obama views the country's role in conflict and peace, ultimately determining the fate of the nation.
K. Eric Drexler is the founding father of nanotechnology the science of engineering on a molecular level. In Radical Abundance, he shows how rapid scientific progress is about to change our world. Thanks to atomically precise manufacturing, we will soon have the power to produce radically more of what people want, and at a lower cost. The result will shake the very foundations of our economy and environment.Already, scientists have constructed prototypes for circuit boards built of millions of precisely arranged atoms. The advent of this kind of atomic precision promises to change the way we make things cleanly, inexpensively, and on a global scale. It allows us to imagine a world where solar arrays cost no more than cardboard and aluminum foil, and laptops cost about the same.A provocative tour of cutting edge science and its implications by the field's founder and master, Radical Abundance offers a mind-expanding vision of a world hurtling toward an unexpected future.
In this saga of brilliant triumphs and magnificent failures, David E. Hoffman, the former Moscow bureau chief for the Washington Post, sheds light on the hidden lives of Russia's most feared power brokers: the oligarchs. Focusing on six of these ruthless men Alexander Smolensky, Yuri Luzhkov, Anatoly Chubais, Mikhail Khodorkovsky, Boris Berezovsky, and Vladimir Gusinsky Hoffman shows how a rapacious, unruly capitalism was born out of the ashes of Soviet communism.
Today, most Westerners still see the war in Afghanistan as a contest between democracy and Islamist fanaticism. That war is real; but it sits atop an older struggle, between Kabul and the countryside, between order and chaos, between a modernist impulse to join the world and the pull of an older Afghanistan: a tribal universe of village republics permeated by Islam.Now, Tamim Ansary draws on his Afghan background, Muslim roots, and Western and Afghan sources to explain history from the inside out, and to illuminate the long, internal struggle that the outside world has never fully understood. It is the story of a nation struggling to take form, a nation undermined by its own demons while, every 40 to 60 years, a great power crashes in and disrupts whatever progress has been made. Told in conversational, storytelling style, and focusing on key events and personalities, Games without Rules provides revelatory insight into a country at the center of political debate.
The year 1945 was a chaotic one, both for the world, of course, and for Winston Churchill. Communism was on the march and the people of Bulgaria, Romania, Yugoslavia, and Poland all found themselves in the grip of the Soviets. The Red Army occupied a large German territory, and the Kremlin was manipulating post-war food shortages, labor disputes, and social unrest in Greece, France, and Italy.Having spent his wilderness years" in the late 1930s warning of the dangers of diplomatic and military weakness and the growing menace of Nazism, in 1946 Churchill made a trip to Fulton, Missouri, to deliver a speech entitled The Sinews of Peace" now known as the Iron Curtain Speech which served to fundamentally define the dangers of Soviet totalitarian Communism. This is the story of that pivotal speech and how it came to be given, and a portrait of the irrepressible man who delivered it.
The promise of "green jobs" and a "clean energy future" has roused the masses. But as Robert Bryce makes clear in this provocative book, that vision needs a major re-vision. We cannot--and will not--quit using carbon-based fuels at any time in the near future for a simple reason: they provide the horsepower that we crave. The hard reality is that oil, coal, and natural gas are here to stay. Fueling our society requires that we make good decisions and smart investments based on facts. In Power Hungry, Bryce crushes a phalanx of energy myths, showing why renewables are not green, carbon capture and sequestration won't work, and even--surprise!--that the U.S. is leading the world in energy efficiency. Power Hungry delivers a clear-eyed view of what's needed to transform the gargantuan global energy sector.
The definitive report on what caused America's economic meltdown and who was responsibleThe financial and economic crisis has touched the lives of millions of Americans who have lost their jobs and their homes, but many have little understanding of how it happened. Now, in this very accessible report, readers can get the facts. Formed in May 2009, the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission (FCIC) is a panel of 10 commissioners with experience in business, regulations, economics, and housing, chosen by Congress to explain what happened and why it happened. This panel has had subpoena power that enabled them to interview people and examine documents that no reporter had access to. The FCIC has reviewed millions of pages of documents, and interviewed more than 600 leaders, experts, and participants in the financial markets and government regulatory agencies, as well as individuals and businesses affected by the crisis. In the tradition of The 9/11 Commission Report, "The Financial Crisis Inquiry Report" will be a comprehensive book for the lay reader, complete with a glossary, charts, and easy-to-read diagrams, and a timeline that includes important events. It will be read by policy makers, corporate executives, regulators, government agencies, and the American people.
Johanna Grussner arrived in New York City starry-eyed. She was a young Finnish jazz singer looking for the big time. But it was hard to find steady gigs. Propelled by pluck, determination, and a smidgen of desperation, she obtained a job teaching music at P.S. 86, a public school in the Bronx. At first, it was just to pay the bills. But over the course of several years, Johanna formed an intense, transformative connection with her students. She helped turn them from tough, angry, street-smart city kids into a disciplined, technically proficient, soaringly beautiful gospel chorus.
Johanna came to identify so strongly with her students that she eventually took them to her hometown in rural Finland, to meet her family and friends, to perform in a gospel concert, and to show them what an alternate childhood one of tiny schools, quiet classrooms, fresh air, wholesome meals, and endless music could be like.
Seven Days of Possibilities offers an inside look at the politics, history, and complex personal relationships that govern one typical New York City public school. But more importantly, it is the story of how one person can make a difference against those odds, rising above corruption, indifference and regimentation with hope, music, and love.
"JFK, Nixon, Oliver Stone and Me is the funny, thoughtful memoir of an accomplished former Congressional staffer who left D.C. for Hollywood and a job with Oliver Stone, hoping to help make politically"
The twenty-first century has seen a rise in the global middle class that brings an unprecedented convergence of interests and perceptions, cultures and values. Kishore Mahbubani is optimistic. We are creating a new global civilization. Eighty-eight percent of the world's population outside the West is rising to Western living standards, and sharing Western aspirations. Yet Mahbubani, one of the most perceptive global commentators, also warns that a new global order needs new policies and attitudes.Policymakers all over the world must change their preconceptions and accept that we live in one world. National interests must be balanced with global interests. Power must be shared. The U.S. and Europe must cede some power. China and India, Africa and the Islamic world must be integrated. Mahbubani urges that only through these actions can we create a world that converges benignly. This timely book explains how to move forward and confront many pressing global challenges.
America's founding fathers established an idealistic framework for a bold experiment in democratic governance. The new nation would be built on the belief that all men are created equal, and are endowed...with a right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." The challenge of turning these ideals into reality for all citizens was taken up by a set of exceptional American women. Distinguished scholar and civic leader Claire Gaudiani calls these women social entrepreneurs," arguing that they brought the same drive and strategic intent to their pursuit of the greater good" that their male counterparts applied to building the nation's capital markets throughout the nineteenth century. Gaudiani tells the stories of these patriotic women, and their creation of America's unique not-for-profit, or social profit" sector. She concludes that the idealism and optimism inherent in this work provided an important asset to the increasing prosperity of the nation from its founding to the Second World War. Social entrepreneurs have defined a system of governance by the people," and they remain our best hope for continued moral leadership in the world.
Once a murderer, always a murderer? Or can a murderer be redeemed? Who do they really become after they have served decades in prison? What does it take for a killer to be accepted back into society? What is the chance that he will kill again?Award-winning journalist Nancy Mullane found herself facing these questions when she accepted an assignment to report on the exploding costs of incarceration. But the men she met behind the walls astonished her with their remorse, introspection, determination, and unshakable hope for freedom and forgiveness.Life After Murder is an intimately reported, utterly compelling story of five convicted murderers sentenced to life with the possibility of parole, who discover after decades in prison that their second chance, if it comes at all, is also the challenge of a lifetime. It follows their struggle for redemption, their legal battles to make good on the state's promise of parole, and the lives they found after so many years inside.
The twentieth century bequeathed us a fabulous gift: thirty more years of life on average. Supersized life spans are going to radically alter society, and present an unprecedented opportunity to change our approach not only to old age but to all of life's stages. The ramifications are just beginning to dawn on us.... yet in the meantime, we keep thinking about, and planning for, life as it used to be lived. In A Long Bright Future, longevity and aging expert Laura Carstensen guides us into the new possibilities offered by a longer life. She debunks the myths and misconceptions about aging that stop us from adequately preparing for the future both as individuals and as a society: that growing older is associated with loneliness and unhappiness, and that only the genetically blessed live well and long. She then focuses on other important components of a long life, including finances, health, social relationships, Medicare and Social Security, challenging our preconceived notions of old age" every step of the way.
In the thirty years after the Civil War, the United States blew by Great Britain to become the greatest economic power in world history. That is a well-known period in history, when titans like Andrew Carnegie, John D. Rockefeller, and J.P. Morgan walked the earth.But as Charles R. Morris shows us, the platform for that spectacular growth spurt was built in the first half of the century. By the 1820s, America was already the world’s most productive manufacturer, and the most intensely commercialized society in history. The War of 1812 jumpstarted the great New England cotton mills, the iron centers in Connecticut and Pennsylvania, and the forges around the Great Lakes. In the decade after the War, the Midwest was opened by entrepreneurs. In this beautifully illustrated book, Morris paints a vivid panorama of a new nation buzzing with the work of creation. He also points out the parallels and differences in the nineteenth century American/British standoff and that between China and America today.
In a world replete with stories of sectarian violence, we are often left wondering: Are there places where people of different ethnicities, especially with significant Muslim minorities, live in peace? If so, why haven't we heard more about them, and what explains their success? To answer these questions, Karl Meyer and Shareen Brysac undertook a two-year exploration of oases of civility, places notable for minimal violence, rising life-expectancy, high literacy, and pragmatic compromises on cultural rights. They explored the Indian state of Kerala, the Russian republic of Tatarstan, the city of Marseille in France, the city of Flensburg, Germany, and the borough of Queens, New York. Through scores of interviews, they document ways and means that have proven successful in defusing ethnic tensions. This pathbreaking book elegantly blends political history, sociology, anthropology, and journalism, to provide big ideas for peace.
Swim is a celebration of swimming and the effect it has on our lives. It’s an inquiry into why we swim--the lure, the hold, the timeless magic of being in the water. It’s a look at how swimming has changed over the millennia, how this ancient activity is becoming more social than solitary today. It’s about our relationship with the water, with our fishy forebearers, and with the costumes that we wear. You’ll even find a few songs to sing when you push out those next laps.Swimming enthusiast Lynn Sherr explores every aspect of the sport, from the biology of swimming to the fame of Esther Williams; from turquoise pools and wild water to the training of Olympians; and she reveals the secret of buoyancy so that anyone can avoid the example of the English poet Percy Bysshe Shelley, who lamented, “Why can’t I swim, it seems so very easy?” When his friend, the biographer Edward John Trelawny, said, “because you think you can’t,” Shelley plunged into Italy’s Arno River and dropped like a rock. With Swim, you can avoid that happening to you.
For eighteen years, Bruce Bueno de Mesquita and Alastair Smith have been part of a team revolutionizing the study of politics by turning conventional wisdom on its head. They start from a single assertion: Leaders do whatever keeps them in power. They don't care about the national interest" or even their subjects unless they have to. This clever and accessible book shows that the difference between tyrants and democrats is just a convenient fiction. Governments do not differ in kind but only in the number of essential supporters, or backs that need scratching. The size of this group determines almost everything about politics: what leaders can get away with, and the quality of life or misery under them. The picture the authors paint is not pretty. But it just may be the truth, which is a good starting point for anyone seeking to improve human governance.
Despite the many social changes of the last half-century, many Americans still "pass": black for white, gay for straight, and now in many new ways as well. We tend to think of passing in negative terms--as deceitful, cowardly, a betrayal of one's self. But this compassionate book reveals that many passers today are people of good heart and purpose whose decision to pass is an attempt to bypass injustice, and to be more truly themselves. Passing tells the poignant, complicated life stories of a black man who passed as a white Jew; a white woman who passed for black; a working class Puerto Rican who passes for privileged; a gay, Conservative Jewish seminarian and a lesbian naval officer who passed for straight; and a respected poet who radically shifts persona to write about rock'n'roll. The stories, interwoven with others from history, literature, and contemporary life, explore the many forms passing still takes in our culture; the social realities which make it an option; and its logistical, emotional, and moral consequences. We learn that there are still too many institutions, environments, and social situations that force honorable people to twist their lives into painful, deceit-ridden contortions for reasons that do not hold. Passing is an intellectually absorbing exploration of a phenomenon that has long intrigued scholars, inspired novelists, and made hits of movies like The Crying Game and Boys Don't Cry.
The 2012 presidential campaign will, above all else, be a referendum on the Obama administration's handling of the financial crisis, recalling the period when Obama's audacity of hope" met the austerity of reality. Central to this is the ''American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009'' the largest economic recovery plan in American history. Senator Mitch McConnell gave a taste of the enormity of the money committed: if you had spent 1 million a day since Jesus was born, it still would not add up to the price tag of the stimulus package. A nearly entirely partisan piece of legislation Democrats voted for it, Republicans against the story of how the bill was passed and, more importantly, how the money was spent and to what effect, is known barely at all. Stepping outside the political fray, ProPublica's Michael Grabell offers a perceptive, balanced, and dramatic story of what happened to the tax payers' money, pursuing the big question through behind-the-scenes interviews and on-the-ground reporting in more than a dozen states across the country.
In 2004, a California computer whiz named Barrett Lyon uncovered the identity of a hacker running major assaults on business websites. Without fully grasping the repercussions, he set on an investigation that led him into the heart of the Russian mob. Cybercrime was evolving. No longer the domain of small-time thieves, it had been discovered by sophisticated gangs. They began by attacking corporate websites but increasingly stole financial data from consumers and defense secrets from governments.
While Barrett investigated the cutting edge of technology crime, the U.S. government struggled to catch up. Britain, however, was a different story. In the late 1990s, the Queen herself had declared safe e-commerce a national security priority. Agents from the London-based National Hi-Tech Crime Unit sought out Barrett and enlisted his help. They also sent detective Andrew Crocker, a Welsh former boxer, to Russia to track down and prosecute the hackers--and to find out who they worked for.
Fatal System Error penetrates both the Russian cyber-mob and the American mafia as the two fight over the Internet’s massive spoils. It takes readers into the murky hacker underground, traveling the globe from San Francisco to Costa Rica, London, and Russia. Using unprecedented access to mob businesses and Russian officials, it shows how top criminals earned protection from the Russian government--and how Barrett Lyon and Andrew Crocker got closer to the titans of the underground economy than any previous outsider. Together, their stories explain why cybercrime is much worse than you thought--and why the Internet might not survive.
In the debris of the financial crash of 2008, the principles of John Maynard Keynes that economic storms are a normal part of the market system, that governments need to step in and use fiscal ammunition to prevent these storms from becoming depressions, and that societies that value the pursuit of money should reprioritize are more pertinent and applicable than ever. In Keynes: The Return of the Master, Robert Skidelsky brilliantly synthesizes Keynes career and life, and offers nervous capitalists a positive answer to the question we now face: When unbridled capitalism falters, is there an alternative?
Sergeant Steve Maharidge returned from World War II an angry man. The only evidence that he'd served in the Marines was a photograph of himself and a buddy tacked to the basement wall. On one terrifyingly memorable occasion his teenage son, Dale, witnessed Steve screaming at the photograph: They said I killed him! But I didn't kill him! It wasn't my fault!"After Steve died, Dale Maharidge began a twelve-year quest to face down his father's wartime ghosts. He found more than two dozen members of Love Company, the Marine unit in which his father had served. Many of them, now in their eighties, finally began talking about the war. They'd never spoken so openly and emotionally, even to their families. Through them, Maharidge brilliantly re-creates Love Company's battles and the war that followed them home. In addition, Maharidge traveled to Okinawa to experience where the man in his father's picture died and meet the families connected to his father's wartime souvenirs.The survivors Dale met on both sides of the Pacific Ocean demonstrate that wars do not end when the guns go quiet the scars and demons remain for decades. Bringing Mulligan Home is a story of fathers and sons, war and postwar, silence and cries in the dark. Most of all it is a tribute to soldiers of all wars past and present and the secret burdens they, and their families, must often bear.
A generation after the Khmer Rouge, Cambodia shows every sign of having overcome its history--the streets of Phnom Penh are paved; skyscrapers dot the skyline. But under this facade lies a country still haunted by its years of terror. Joel Brinkley won a Pulitzer Prize for his reporting in Cambodia on the fall of the Khmer Rouge regime that killed one quarter of the nation's population during its years in power. In 1992, the world came together to help pull the small nation out of the mire. Cambodia became a United Nations protectorate--the first and only time the UN tried something so ambitious. What did the new, democratically-elected government do with this unprecedented gift? In 2008 and 2009, Brinkley returned to Cambodia to find out. He discovered a population in the grip of a venal government. He learned that one-third to one-half of Cambodians who lived through the Khmer Rouge era have P.T.S.D.--and its afflictions are being passed to the next generation. His extensive close-up reporting in Cambodia's Curse illuminates the country, its people, and the deep historical roots of its modern-day behavior.
Jennifer Granholm was the two-term governor of Michigan, a state synonymous with manufacturing during a financial crisis that threatened to put all America's major car companies into bankruptcy. The immediate and knock-on effects were catastrophic. Granholm's grand plans for education reform, economic revitalization, clean energy, and infrastructure development were blitzed by a perfect economic storm. Granholm was a determined and undefeated governor, who enjoyed close access to the White House at critical moments (Granholm stood in for Sarah Palin during Joe Biden's debate preparation), and her account offers a front row seat on the effects of the crisis. Ultimately, her story is a model of hope. She hauls Michigan towards unprecedented private-public partnerships, forged in the chaos of financial freefall, built on new technologies that promise to revolutionize not only the century-old auto industry but Michigan's entire manufacturing base. They offer the potential for a remarkable recovery not just for her state, but for American industry nationwide.