Reviews round-up

There are so many tantalising new books out, I thought I’d round up some of the weekend reviews.

Paul Collier gives a glowing review to Why Nations Fail by Daron Acemoglu and James Robinson. The blog of the book is terrific.

To understand Spain still requires reading about the Civil War. Paul Preston has published what sounds like an utterly harrowing but essential book, The Spanish Holocaust, reviewed in the Telegraph, FT, The IndependentGuardian, The Herald.

The Spanish Holocaust: Inquisition and Extermination in Twentieth-Century Spain

John Lanchester’s Capital has been widely reviewed – and they have been mixed, I would say. Novelist Justin Cartwright gave it a more or less positive write-up in the Financial Times. It was reviewed last week in the New Statesman, Spectator, Guardian, Independent, Telegraph.

John Kay reviews David Rothkopf’s Power, Inc, about the political power exercised by large global corporations. Kay backs the argument against the recent legal interpretation of the concept of corporate personality.

In today’s Observer, Robin McKie reviews three books about the evolution of co-operation: Mark Pagel’s Wired for Culture (also covered in The Telegraph and The Guardian); Beyond Human Nature by Jesse Prinz; and Richard Sennett’s Together (also reviewed in The Telegraph and by David Runciman in The Guardian).

I rather like the sound of Turing’s Cathedral by George Dyson. It was hard to tell what reviewer Francis Spufford really made of it.

Turing’s Cathedral: The Origins of the Digital Universe

Not reviews as such but well worth reading in the current New York Review of Books: William Nordhaus rebuts global warming skeptics and Jennifer Homans writes about the writing of the posthumous Thinking the Twentieth Century by her late husband Tony Judt.

Out in paperback now, Mafia State by Luke Harding, andAdapt by Tim Harford.

2 thoughts on “Reviews round-up

  1. It appears that we add to one another’s reading lists…

    I’m looking forward to the Acermoglu & Robinson, in particular. I’ve finished the Sennett – yesterday – and it was erudite, and yet it felt rather like having a nice bath accompanied by good music, a decent book and a better glass of wine.

    I like the Kay review, but also feel some sympathy with the Occupy Wall Street poster which read “I’ll believe corporations are people when Texas executes one”. Oh dear, more of the department budget likely to be spent…

    Have to say that “Adapt” is OK but not the “Undercover Economist” but then again it is clear that economists ignore the law of diminishing marginal returns when it suits – this blog (and one or two others excepted)….

  2. Aha, I’d been wondering about the Sennett, as I’ve found I need to be in the right mood, but hearing your verdict will go ahead and buy it.

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