Baker Loiters Through the Pages

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Re: Baker Loiters Through the Pages

Postby Baker » 14 Jul 2015, 08:18

Massie, Robert K. "Dreadnought: Britain, Germany and the Coming Of the Great War"

This 1000+ page hardcover behemoth of a book reminded me why some books are much better in epub. This book was physically awkward to read sometimes.

Very detailed and packed with some interesting goodies. As the title says, it focusses narrowly on Germany and Britain in the years leading up to WW1. I really did appreciate the potted life histories of the major figures involved whenever one of them became a major player in the story. That was the sort of depth a book this big can bring to the subject.

It reinforced my ideas that:
1) Kaiser Willy was a dickhead
2) Hereditary monarchies--and oligarchies--are a really bad way to run a country.

Last night, after I finished the book, I found and watched this fascinating lecture: 2013 Hagey Lecture: Margaret MacMillan - Choice or Accident: The Outbreak of World War One



Understanding the reason WW1 happened is still relevant today, because we're still the same stupid species.
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Re: Baker Loiters Through the Pages

Postby wildlx » 14 Jul 2015, 10:22

Oh, yes. We had plenty of opportunities to confirm that this weekend.
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Re: Baker Loiters Through the Pages

Postby Baker » 15 Jul 2015, 09:22

Yes, indeed. Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose.

Yesterday I saw a link to a newspaper's front page where Merkel was photoshopped with a pickelhaube and the headline: Heute brauchen wir die Eiserne Kanzlerin
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Re: Baker Loiters Through the Pages

Postby wildlx » 17 Jul 2015, 05:57

Merkel and Schauble are making everybody euroceptics and people are now mentioning the 4th reich.
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Re: Baker Loiters Through the Pages

Postby Baker » 21 Jul 2015, 15:40

Not surprised about the Fourth Reich. Instead of panzers, this time it's debts. Financial fascism?
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Re: Baker Loiters Through the Pages

Postby wildlx » 22 Jul 2015, 07:47

Exactly. Reigning through financial terrorism.
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Re: Baker Loiters Through the Pages

Postby Proofrdr » 22 Jul 2015, 09:47

We seem to be moving very quickly to the social structure of the late 1800s with a small privileged wealthy class and a vast majority of working poor.
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Re: Baker Loiters Through the Pages

Postby Baker » 23 Jul 2015, 09:16

You know, Proof, I think that is the norm. The post WW2 era, where social inequality lessened a bit, was the aberration. If you look back at the span of recorded human history, the vast majority of humans who have ever lived were poor and oppressed by a tiny few. The names changed, the climates were different, but the social structure seems remarkably durable. What we notice, in the case of what's happening in Europe, is when the oligarchs/technocrats/rich become a bit too obvious in what they're doing. Otherwise, we seem to collectively accept the status quo as an immutable Natural state.
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Re: Baker Loiters Through the Pages

Postby Proofrdr » 23 Jul 2015, 12:31

Yes, I see your point, Baker. I got to experience my childhood in that idyllic post-war era. My parents were the children of immigrants who came here for a better life for their children. Because of that, my parents were able to provide the best of what was important for my brother and me so that we were able to have an easier life than they had. Sadly, that's not the case for more and more people.
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Re: Baker Loiters Through the Pages

Postby Baker » 11 Sep 2015, 08:28

Ron Chernow, The House Of Morgan

I haven't finished this book. In fact, it's only just dawned on me that I've stopped reading it. The problem? What a bunch of fucking psychopaths. Okay, I guessed they would be assholes going in, but the unrelenting nature of the read finally got to be at around page 500 of 800. I made it through two world wars, a crash, and a depression with those bastards, but I couldn't make it to the end.

From Junius Morgan, who started it all when he got handed a big chunk of an investment business by his retiring partner, down through the son and grandson and great-grandsons, they were pretty much a bunch of assholes. They all believed they were great people who did terrific work for not only themselves but the human race, and had nothing but the deepest contempt for anyone not like themselves. J. Pierpont Morgan was the king of forming cartels, because--contrary to all the bullshit we hear about the perfection of the Market and how they work best when totally free--he hated competition with a vengeance and believed that companies having to competitively price was wasteful (of potential profits). They got particularly shitty when the little people weren't appropriately respectful of their genius, their largesse, and their condescension. They co-opted politicians, if not bought them outright. The successive generations walked into lucrative jobs by birthright, yet believed themselves fantastically talented achievers. Harry Morgan, for example, the son of Jack Morgan, got a million dollar a year partnership for his 28th birthday. The law is for little people: they never got so outraged as when some authority tried to call them to account for flouting laws.

I got the picture. I gave up.
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