I know you don’t often have sequels to non-fiction, but The Narrow Corridor feels like a sequel to Why Nations Fail. It expands on the themes in the first book, why nations do or don’t manage to have stable democracies.
The book’s hook is the fire that broke out in the library in 1986. Interwoven is the story of Harry Peak, the only ever suspect in the case. Harry Peak really isn’t a sympathetic character (to me, at least)
How to describe these memoirs? They are alternatively absolutely hilarious and mind numbingly dull. She is obviously incredibly privileged and it comes across in really funny ways throughout the memoirs.
The book publishes ‘amusing’ dispatches from ambassadors in posts around the world, mostly from the 1960s on. While in the introduction of the book, the editors talk about some of the racism that permeates some of these dispatches, sadly lacking is a similar apology for the rampant sexism.
Why Nations Fail is an interesting examination of the reasons why countries fail to build functioning democracies and economies. It’s ultimate argument is that it comes down to whether or not a state can build and maintain inclusive institutions – such as political representation and property rights
Anyway, The Gendered Brain takes a look (okay, an axe) to the belief that men and women’s brains are different. It looks at decades of scientific progress on the subject, poking holes in badly constructed studies and highlighting the social conditioning that happens as a person develops.
In brief moments, you get a sense of the landscape and difficulty of the journey, but most of the time you’re just amazed at the man’s arrogance and inability to write a decent sentence
Basically, it was great, but made you really angry about literally everything in the world.
The book examines the changing perception of young women since the late Victorian period, right around the rise of suffrage activists. Then chapter by chapter, it dives into the social history of what society thought of young women
This feels less like a strict history of gin and more like a serious of interesting stories told in chronological order, but it was still really fun to read. It’s also inspired me to do some gin-based activities sometime this year, as there are so many London gin distilleries.