Signal and the Noise: Why So Many Predictions Fail – but Some
Electing FDR: The New
Deal Campaign of 1932
In the Fullness of Time
Shop Class as Soulcraft: An Inquiry into the Value of Work
The Years of Lyndon
Johnson: Means of Ascent
He’s quite remarkable
– seems to be an autodidact on political science and has great
ideas. Not many people can come
so late to the party and make contributions like him.
Fantastic book. The country was in complete economic
meltdown and yet how did this play out in the campaign? Certainly economics mattered, but
there was a lot else going on.
Prohibition was the obvious big political issue - it was hard for
politicians given drys still around and many
politicians had been friendly to them in past, but clearly the mood was for
repeal. As for economics,
Hoover and his folks were not unintelligent people, but they really truly
believed in what they were doing and would have continued doing it for some
time had they somehow (weird split in Dem party, for example) been returned
to power. Ritchie does good job
- he knows his history and writes clearly. A bit much at the end on long-term
implications but overall a great read.
A must read for all who care about democracy in economic crisis and
I don't say must read often.
Memoirs. Amazing figure in many
respects. Starts as economist
-- he's the Douglas in the Cobb-Douglas production function. Goes off to WW2 as an older person
and is seriously wounded.
President of American Economic Association while at University of
Chicago. Then Senator for 3
terms. His life holds up pretty
well. Liberal on civil rights
from the start; no rationalizations, no equivocation. Liberal on social spending, but very
aware of and concerned about waste.
Free trader. Most
important of all, perhaps, is that he hated the root of all evil, LeCorbusier.
Academics need to realize
that making things actually work is a skill worth having, both for
practical but also for philosophical reasons. Being able to argue that a
motorcycle should work doesn’t mean crap if it doesn’t actually
biography. Caro doesn't like LBJ and loves Coke Stevenson, the man LBJ
"beat" in the 1948 Senate race. Stevenson was a real cowboy who
built his own ranch and stubbornly refused to campaign any other way than
driving small town to small town and -- unannounced -- talking to the folks
he would find there. LBJ was a
bit of a socio-path, able to turn on intense charm, but very brutal and
conniving. Also, was out of
control; best line: "and [Johnson's] nudity was inappropriate"
with regard to his behavior in small town motels where he would go about
his personal business even with visitors. My favorite character: W. Lee O’Daniel (“Pass-the-Biscuits-Pappy”)
ran for Governor in 1938. Had
sung “Beautiful, Beautiful Texas.” Ran w/o any previous political
experience – toured state in red circus wagon with his famous
Hillbilly Boys and his beautiful daughter Molly and his fiddler son Patty Boy.
The Gathering Storm
Read the unfolding of
World War II in a blow-by-blow fashion. It's fascinating to get a sense of
how things looked like to the people making the decisions - what the tough
calls were, what occupied their time and so forth. And, as a bonus, a dose of Churchill
does everyone some good (and is entertaining - in vol. 2, he is informed of
Pearl Harbor by his butler, Graves.)