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Friday 18 Aug 2017 | 15:21 | SYDNEY
Friday 18 Aug 2017 | 15:21 | SYDNEY

Lowy staff talk about the year in books (part 4)

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19 December 2007 06:23

A combination of  new parenthood and a mild addiction to blogs accounts for my lack of serious book reading this year, so my list is short. After flirting with it for several years, I finally made serious inroads into Philip Bobbit's impressive Shield of Achilles. That I didn't completely finish it is much more down to me than the book, and I'm looking forward to seeing what he has to say in his new book on terrorism. I also enjoyed John Patrick Diggins' biography, Ronald Reagan: Fate, Freedom and the Making of History. For writerly skill and drama, it is not a patch on the unfairly criticised Edmund Morris biography, Dutch, but Diggins makes a more concerted attempt to come to grips with Reagan's intellectual roots, which Diggins surprisingly finds in Ralph Waldo Emerson.

Further on the Reagan theme, I'm looking forward to reading the third book in Richard Rhodes' history of nuclear weapons, Arsenals of Folly. I hear his descriptions of the dramatic 1986 Reagan-Gorbachev summit at Reykjavik are particularly good, elucidated by some newly released US and Soviet archival material.

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