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Just to update my “No buying books from Amazon until I’ve read 10 I already have” pledge, I’ve finished Don Cook’s The Long Fuse: how England lost the American colonies, 1760-1785. As one would expect from an experienced and highly regarded journalist, the late Mr. Cook tells his tale well, laying most of the blame for the loss of America on King George’s stubbornness. (Mediocre English generalship and poor direction from Whitehall didn’t help, either.) The book is replete with vivid portraits of the key players in England, including Benjamin Franklin, who was the agent for Pennsylvania and other colonies in London before the war and one of our chief negotiators at its end. One gets the sense from Mr. Cook that the war did not have to happen, and perhaps some regret that it did.

My one complaint is that the book did not cover developments in social history and political theory in England at the time nearly as much as I would have liked, but that wasn’t Cook’s intent, in any case; this book is clearly in Carlyle’s “great man” school of History. For more on the political, strategic, and demographic trends that lead to the crisis, one book I recommend is Draper’s A Struggle for Power.

So, what’s next? I had originally picked Roberts’ A History of the English-Speaking Peoples Since 1900, but that’s too big to lug back and forth to and from work. That shall be reading for the home. For enlightenment on the bus and at lunch, a copy of Shelby Steele’s White Guilt fits much better in the shoulder bag.

Two books at once! I know, I’m impressed with my daring, too.

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It’s been quite a while since I posted anything. Sorry about that, but, if I don’t find myself interesting, why should I think anyone else does?

Anyway, it’s time for an update on the “no new book purchases until I’ve read ten that I have” pledge I made to control my biblioholism.  I’ve just finished the fourth, Goldsworthy’s Roman Warfare. It’s a good survey of the development of Rome’s army (the navy was, except for the First Punic War and the war with the pirates, negligible) from the city’s foundation through the 6th century. A short work at just a couple of hundred pages, it’s necessarily shallow, but Dr. Goldsworthy does a good job of presenting his main themes. I recommend for anyone interested in Roman History.

Oh, book number three was Goldberg’s Liberal Fascism, also highly recommended to the astute reader.

Next up … I don’t know really. We’ll see what catches my eye on the shelf.

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