Following a suggestion in the club meeting last month I have posted several books that we might read that deal with the end of World War I and the Treaty of Versailles that was negotiated at the end of the war. Here are some more, reflecting still more suggestions from members.
A Spy Among Friends: Kim Philby and the Great Betrayal by Ben Macintyre (4.7 stars, 384 pages, 2014) This book is available in Kindle, Hardback ($17.08) and large print paperback ($20.15). Here is the review of the book in the New York Times.
Kim Philby was the greatest spy in history, a brilliant and charming man who rose to head Britain’s counterintelligence against the Soviet Union during the height of the Cold War—while he was secretly working for the enemy. And nobody thought he knew Philby like Nicholas Elliott, Philby’s best friend and fellow officer in MI6. The two men had gone to the same schools, belonged to the same exclusive clubs, grown close through the crucible of wartime intelligence work and long nights of drink and revelry. It was madness for one to think the other might be a communist spy, bent on subverting Western values and the power of the free world.The Battle of Bretton Woods: John Maynard Keynes, Harry Dexter White, and the Making of a New World Order by Ben Steil (4.4 stars, 370 pages of text, 2014, $15.75) Here is a review of the book in F&D, the magazine of the IMF.
But Philby was secretly betraying his friend. Every word Elliott breathed to Philby was transmitted back to Moscow—and not just Elliott’s words, for in America, Philby had made another powerful friend: James Jesus Angleton, the crafty, paranoid head of CIA counterintelligence. Angleton's and Elliott’s unwitting disclosures helped Philby sink almost every important Anglo-American spy operation for twenty years, leading countless operatives to their doom. Even as the web of suspicion closed around him, and Philby was driven to greater lies to protect his cover, his two friends never abandoned him—until it was too late. The stunning truth of his betrayal would have devastating consequences on the two men who thought they knew him best, and on the intelligence services he left crippled in his wake.
When turmoil strikes world monetary and financial markets, leaders invariably call for 'a new Bretton Woods' to prevent catastrophic economic disorder and defuse political conflict. The name of the remote New Hampshire town where representatives of forty-four nations gathered in July 1944, in the midst of the century's second great war, has become shorthand for enlightened globalization. The actual story surrounding the historic Bretton Woods accords, however, is full of startling drama, intrigue, and rivalry, which are vividly brought to life in Benn Steil's epic account.
Upending the conventional wisdom that Bretton Woods was the product of an amiable Anglo-American collaboration, Steil shows that it was in reality part of a much more ambitious geopolitical agenda hatched within President Franklin D. Roosevelt's Treasury and aimed at eliminating Britain as an economic and political rival. At the heart of the drama were the antipodal characters of John Maynard Keynes, the renowned and revolutionary British economist, and Harry Dexter White, the dogged, self-made American technocrat. Bringing to bear new and striking archival evidence, Steil offers the most compelling portrait yet of the complex and controversial figure of White--the architect of the dollar's privileged place in the Bretton Woods monetary system, who also, very privately, admired Soviet economic planning and engaged in clandestine communications with Soviet intelligence officials and agents over many years.
Winner of the 2013 Spear's Book Award in Financial History
Co-Winner of the 2014 Bronze Medal in Economics, Axiom Business Book AwardsFrom Resistance to Revolution: Colonial Radicals and the Development of American Opposition to Britain, 1765-1776 by Pauline Maier (4 stars, 368 pages, 1992, $12.63) Here is the Kirkus review of the book.
"An intellectual interpretation of the American revolution that raises it to a new height of comprehensiveness and significance. A superbly detailed account of the ideological escalation . . . that brought Americans to revolution." —Gordon S. Wood, New York Times Book ReviewThe Story of a Common Soldier of Army Life in the Civil War, 1861-1865 by Leander Stillwell (4.4 stars, 174 pages, 1920) This book is also available free as a Project Gutenberg eBook. Here are some short reviews from Goodreads.
In this classic account of the American revolution, Pauline Maier traces the step-by-step process through which the extra-legal institutions of the colonial resistance movement assumed authority from the British. She follows the American Whigs as they moved by stages from the organized resistance of the Stamp Act crisis of 1765 through the non-importation associations of the late 1760s to the collapse of royal government after 1773, the implication of the king in a conspiracy against American liberties, and the consequent Declaration of Independence. Professor Maier's great achievement is to explain how Americans came to contemplate and establish their independence, guided by principle, reason, and experience.
The Story of a Common Soldier of Army Life in the Civil War, 1861-1865 is presented here in a high quality paperback edition.The Great Ulcer War by William S. Hughes M.D. (5 stars but only 3 reviews, 298 pages, 2014) The book seems not to be available new from Amazon, but some copies are available used. Here is the Kirkus review of the book.
In 1983, in Australia, a medical resident, Dr. Barry Marshall, and a hospital pathologist, Dr. Robin Warren, reported in two letters to The Lancet finding a bacterium associated with gastritis or inflammation of the stomach. The publication stimulated little reaction. However, a year later when they reported that the bacterium was also associated with ulcer disease and declared that bacteria caused ulcer disease, it had the effect of an assassination of an archduke. Most prominent clinical investigators in the United States and England argued that hyper secretion of acid was the cause of ulcer disease, and they collaborated with the pharmaceutical companies that made the new drugs that blocked acid secretion to attack the new bacterial theory. The Great Ulcer War tells how the war was fought, the weapons used, and the alliances made, and why the war in spite of overwhelming evidence in favor of the bacterial theory, lasted for ten years. The Great Ulcer War introduces a novel theory, the Pandora Hypothesis, to explain the length of the war. It proposes that the general medical establishment especially in the United States simply did not like the bacterial theories of major chronic diseases. These thought leaders—"the big guys"—facilitated and prolonged the opposition to the bacterial theory of ulcers largely by doing nothing to support the theory until the very end of the war. They were afraid that if a germ theory was accepted for ulcers, a Pandora's Box of germ theories developed within university departments of microbiology for other chronic diseases would be opened and released into the medical world. This revelation would diminish the reputation and profit of the medical establishment and the pharmaceutical industry by threatening their favored explanations of the causes of these diseases: genomic errors and dysfunctional biochemistry and physiology.