What I’ve been reading

  1. The Killer Angels, by Michael Shaara: The “classic novel of the civil war”, or so they say (it’s actually now the subtitle). Three days of battle at Gettysburg. Deeply engaging. A nice complement to my US 19th century history binge.
  2. States of Credit, by David Stasavage: Why oligarchic European city-states dominated the commercial revolution, and why big territorial states eventually dominated them in turn. The short answer: technologies of borrowing. Excellent book.
  3. The Expats, by Chris Pavone: Reputedly the spy novel of the year. Imagine a John Lecarre novel about a spy turned soccer mom. That does not sound like an endorsement, but it is highly readable. I satyed up past midnight more than one evening this week.
  4. The Pseudo-Democrat’s Dilemma, by Susan Hyde: Why would thuggish regimes allow election monitors, even though it’s costly to their power? The answer: they do it precisely because it’s costly—to signal they are ready for all the international goodies.
  5. The Big Sleep, by Raymond Chandler. The original hard-boiled detective novel. I am catching up on my literary pulp, now that so much is available on Kindle. Recommended.