Description of the World - Part 10
Eric Hobsbawm, The Age of Capital 1848-1875 (Too bad nobody has written an equally convincing account of what happened in the 27 years 1988-2015. It would take somebody with astonishing powers of synthesis to make sense out of the collapse of Communism, the triumph of neoliberalism, the decline of democracy, the rise of China, the new Thirty Years War in the Middle East, the electronic integration of the planet, and the arrival of global warming in 300 pages or so. Not that Hobsbawm’s task was that much easier.
Blood, Sweat, and Tears: the Speeches of Winston Churchill, ed. David Cannadine (I understand that Churchill wrote out his speeches in lines one breath long so they looked like verse. The approach works best for perorations delivered at times of crisis and those are what we remember best since they were designed to be memorable. I don’t think Churchill was as good at making an argument as, for example, Lincoln. Most speakers tell people what they think they want to hear, the honest ones more or less accurately report their own thoughts, but Lincoln’s extended speeches come across as thinking out loud. I don’t get that from Churchill.)