BOOK CLUB NOTES by Pat Mai

The World Affairs Book Group meets monthly to discuss the book selection for that month. Members choose and read mostly nonfiction books relating somehow to world affairs. We welcome new members. If you are interested in joining, please contact us for further information.

Our first selection was the Mark Kurlansky book, Paper: Paging Through History. The book traced the history of this important innovation, from the method of making paper to its uses and consequences. He believes that it will not be replaced, due to its simplicity of use and its utility. The book was a chance to learn more about a subject we have taken for granted and was an engrossing read.

We then read This Brave New World by the featured speaker at our Annual Dinner, Anja Manuel. Her background, from her university studies to the State Department and subsequent recruiting to the consulting firm founded by Robert Gates and Condoleezza Rice, put her in a unique position of being able to compare and contrast India and China, discuss their problems and strengths, and their relations with each other and the rest of the world.

Anja has been on the ground in both countries through time. Her book traces the histories of these countries and makes suggestions for our relationship with them going forward. She favors bringing both countries along as partners, rather than alienating them, and feels this would allow us to extend our own leadership role in the world.

Dark Money by Jane Mayer was an exhaustive and eye-opening examination of the rise of the influence of money that disappears into various areas, and in the case of this book, ultraconservative causes. It traces the origins of, particularly, the Koch brothers money and the influence it has had over our political process. The discussion generated by this book was spirited and lively. Everyone felt they had learned so much from the book--definitely a recommended read.

As always, we welcome new members to our Book Group. If you are interested, please call 573-6014 for more information.

 


 

BOOKS BY OUR MEMBERS

 

WACSC President Robert W. Kirk has lectured in the South Pacific since 1986. His Ph.D. in history is from UC Davis.  His three books on oceanic history and culture are available on Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble online. 

 

In late 2012 Paradise Past: The Transformation of the South Pacific, 1520-1920, was published by McFarland Publications. Once the South Seas islands had been found by Europeans, dramatic change was inevitable. Disease, missionaries, firearms, literacy, colonialism, new foods, medical assistance, and then nationalism transformed Pacific cultures immeasurably. 

 

In 2011 Bob published History of the South Pacific Since 1513: A Chronoicle of Polynesia,Melanesia, Australia,  New  Zealand, Papua New Guinea, and Robinson Crusoe Island. This introduction to a complex topic includes over 1300 significant events since Balboa saw the South Seas.

 

Pitcairn Island: The Bounty Mutineers and Their Descendents is the most comprehensive history of the dramatic creation of the mutineers' community after deposing Captain Bligh, and what followed to the early 2000s (McFarland, 2008). Bob says he will be delighted to autograph his books for WACSC members.

 


 

 

 

BOOK SELECTIONS

 

World Affairs Book Club

 

2017

Jan. This Brave New World: India, China and the United States

by Anja Manuel

 

Feb. Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right by Jane Mayer

 

Mar. A World in Disarray: America Foreign Policy and the Crisis of the Old Order by Richard Haass

 

APR. Earning the Rockies: How Geography Shapes America's Role in the World by Robert Kaplan

 

May Whiplash: How to Survive Our Faster Future by Joi Ito and Jeff Howe

 

Jun I Contain Multitudes: The Microbes Within Us and the Grander View of Life   by Ed Yong

 

Sep Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy by  

Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant

 

2016

Jan. Saving Capitalism by Robert Reich

 

Feb. The Brain's Way of Healing by Norman Doidge

 

Mar. Losing our Way by Bob Herbert

 

Apr. Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates

 

May  Dreamland: The True Story of America's Opiate Epidemic by Sam Quinones. 

 

Jun. Elon Musk: Tesla, Space X, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future by Ashlee Vance

 

Oct. Farewell Kabul: From Afghanistan To A More Dangerous World by Christina Lamb

 

Nov. Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis, Best Seller by J. D. Vance

 

Dec. Paper: Paging Through History

by Mark Kurlansky

 

 

                                         

As always, new members and

new ideas are welcome in our book groups.

 

More information on times and locations of meetings is available through the message center at

573-6014.


 

 


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