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Thread: THE GREAT "I RECOMMEND THIS BOOK" THREAD.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cypress View Post
    To me, books are a very personal choice, and I don't really like to make recommendations to people who might not share the same interests as me.
    But I will give a few "life time achievement awards" to books that were absolutely gripping and riveting to me.
    Even many years after having read them, they still have left a mark on me.

    Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien
    The Guns of August - Barbara Tuchman... In this landmark, Pulitzer Prize–winning account, renowned historian Barbara W. Tuchman re-creates the first month of World War I: thirty days in the summer of 1914 that determined the course of the conflict, the century, and ultimately our present world. Beginning with the funeral of Edward VII, Tuchman traces each step that led to the inevitable clash. And inevitable it was, with all sides plotting their war for a generation. Dizzyingly comprehensive and spectacularly portrayed with her famous talent for evoking the characters of the war’s key players, Tuchman’s magnum opus is a classic for the ages. (Amazon summary)
    The Discoverers - Daniel J. Boorstin ...An original history of man's greatest adventure: his search to discover the world around him. In the compendious history, Boorstin not only traces man's insatiable need to know, but also the obstacles to discovery and the illusion that knowledge can also put in our way. Covering time, the earth and the seas, nature and society, he gathers and analyzes stories of the man's profound quest to understand his world and the cosmos.
    The Brothers Karamazov - Fyodor Dostoyevsky....The Brothers Karamasov is a murder mystery, a courtroom drama, and an exploration of erotic rivalry in a series of triangular love affairs involving the “wicked and sentimental” Fyodor Pavlovich Karamazov and his three sons―the impulsive and sensual Dmitri; the coldly rational Ivan; and the healthy, red-cheeked young novice Alyosha. Through the gripping events of their story, Dostoevsky portrays the whole of Russian life, is social and spiritual striving, in what was both the golden age and a tragic turning point in Russian culture. (Amazon summary)
    The Gulag Archipelago - Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn - The Gulag Archipelago is Solzhenitsyn's masterwork, a vast canvas of camps, prisons, transit centres and secret police, of informers and spies and interrogators and also of heroism, a Stalinist anti-world at the heart of the Soviet Union where the key to survival lay not in hope but in despair. The work is based on the testimony of some two hundred survivors, and on the recollection of Solzhenitsyn's own eleven years in labour camps and exile. It is both a thoroughly researched document and a feat of literary and imaginative power. This edition has been abridged into one volume at the author's wish and with his full co-operation (Amazon summary)
    The Harry Potter Series (Yes, I like geek books) - JK Rowling
    Cadillac Desert, Marc Reisner...The story of the American West is the story of a relentless quest for a precious resource: water. It is a tale of rivers diverted and dammed, of political corruption and intrigue, of billion-dollar battles over water rights, of ecological and economic disaster. In his landmark book, Cadillac Desert, Marc Reisner writes of the earliest settlers, lured by the promise of paradise, and of the ruthless tactics employed by Los Angeles politicians and business interests to ensure the city's growth. He documents the bitter rivalry between two government giants, the Bureau of Reclamation and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, in the competition to transform the West. Based on more than a decade of research, Cadillac Desert is a stunning expose and a dramatic, intriguing history of the creation of an Eden--an Eden that may only be a mirage (Amazon summary)
    I’ve read all those except Potter and the Bros. The Gulag Archipelago is by far and away the most significant of those works and should be read by all not only as a warning about extreme leftists Marxist ideology but as a warning of the degenerate affects of all extremist ideologies.
    You're Never Alone With A Schizophrenic!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mott the Hoople View Post
    I’ve read all those except Potter and the Bros. The Gulag Archipelago is by far and away the most significant of those works and should be read by all not only as a warning about extreme leftists Marxist ideology but as a warning of the degenerate affects of all extremist ideologies.
    Holy smoke, great minds think alike.

    People like Solzhenitsyn and Andrei Sakharov were my father's heroes, so growing up even as a little kid I was conscious of the gulag and the prominent Soviet dissidents, and was generally aware (at the little kid level) of the moral, political, and ethical dimensions spiraling around them.

    Right now, I am starting a book called "Moscow, 1937" which apparently is a well-regarded historical tome, with Moscow in the year 1937 and the Stalinist purges serving as the back drop and context. An extraordinary year in an extraordinary city. Wish me luck!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cypress View Post
    Holy smoke, great minds think alike.

    People like Solzhenitsyn and Andrei Sakharov were my father's heroes, so growing up even as a little kid I was conscious of the gulag and the prominent Soviet dissidents, and was generally aware (at the little kid level) of the moral, political, and ethical dimensions spiraling around them.

    Right now, I am starting a book called "Moscow, 1937" which apparently is a well-regarded historical tome, with Moscow in the year 1937 and the Stalinist purges serving as the back drop and context. An extraordinary year in an extraordinary city. Wish me luck!
    I drew the conclusion, even as a kid, when I read Gulag, that the Soviet Union was a military threat to the US but that communism was not. That Marxist ideology was incompatible with our culture and that the conditions simply didn't exist for it to be a threat as a political movement.
    You're Never Alone With A Schizophrenic!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mott the Hoople View Post
    I drew the conclusion, even as a kid, when I read Gulag, that the Soviet Union was a military threat to the US but that communism was not. That Marxist ideology was incompatible with our culture and that the conditions simply didn't exist for it to be a threat as a political movement.
    I generally agree, with a few caveats.

    After the Trotskyites and the old Bolsheviks were eliminated by Stalin, the totalitarian form of authority we saw arise in the Soviet Union was never going to appeal to the vast majority of people in western liberal democracies...I would even say it was incompatible with human dignity and aspirations in most of the rest of the world too. Even when Khrushchev took the hard edges off the totalitarian system, and allowed some liberalization, it was never going to fool most people. The totalitarian state is, of course, a different question than the democratic socialism that took hold across much of Scandinavia and northern Europe.

    With regards to the military.....Other than the threat of nuclear war, the conventional Soviet military was never that big a threat to the United States, in my opinion. It was hyped by the American national security state and the military industrial complex for their own purposes. The Soviet Union, and even the old Russian empire considered itself a major player on the world stage, but their territorial ambitions and visions of military dominance were always strictly limited to their Eurasian sphere of influence.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mott the Hoople View Post
    I drew the conclusion, even as a kid, when I read Gulag, that the Soviet Union was a military threat to the US but that communism was not. That Marxist ideology was incompatible with our culture and that the conditions simply didn't exist for it to be a threat as a political movement.
    I am reading Gulag for a second time, and not only am I struck by how good a writer Solzhenitsyn is, but how closely the interrogation techniques of the NKVD paralleled the Bush Adminstration's "enhanced interrogation" methods.

    Solzhenitsyn and the other Soviet victims of the NKVD were clear in understanding and articulating that sleep deprivation, stress positions, and psychological abuse were all forms of torture. Unequivocally. There was never even a question about it being torture. In some ways, the most insidious form of torture.

    And this gave me a flash back the excuses for "enhanced" interrogation used by BushCo. and their internet defenders. It is just a bunch of fraternity pranks! Even the attempt to substitute the words "enhanced interrogation" for torture is really right of "1984" when you think about it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cypress View Post
    I am reading Gulag for a second time, and not only am I struck by how good a writer Solzhenitsyn is, but how closely the interrogation techniques of the NKVD paralleled the Bush Adminstration's "enhanced interrogation" methods.

    Solzhenitsyn and the other Soviet victims of the NKVD were clear in understanding and articulating that sleep deprivation, stress positions, and psychological abuse were all forms of torture. Unequivocally. There was never even a question about it being torture. In some ways, the most insidious form of torture.

    And this gave me a flash back the excuses for "enhanced" interrogation used by BushCo. and their internet defenders. It is just a bunch of fraternity pranks! Even the attempt to substitute the words "enhanced interrogation" for torture is really right of "1984" when you think about it.
    Yea it was an embarrassment and a stain on America’s reputation that Republicans where proudly like a cancerous wart. Sadly, and not unpredictably, virtually all the information gained by BushCo’s use of torture proved worthless.
    You're Never Alone With A Schizophrenic!

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    I'm reading now The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway.
    Like his books, recommend checking his books later.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alis View Post
    I'm reading now The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway.
    Like his books, recommend checking his books later.
    A classic.

    I enjoy reading classics rather than new releases once in a while.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alis View Post
    I'm reading now The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway.
    Like his books, recommend checking his books later.
    Hemingway is ok. I think Sun Also Rises was probably his best piece. I think stylistically it is more in line with the writings of Milan Kundera and the other more recent Czech writers.

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