Tropics' Non-Fiction Books: 2015
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Traditional Middle Eastern cuisine becomes a focus of this American journalist's experiences in war-torn Baghdad Iraq and Beirut Lebanon.
A collection of essays, published in 1985, in which an urbanite describes her transition to seemingly accomplished cowhand and sheepherder in the rugged environment of Wyoming, where humans and animals (domestic and wild) continue to compete for scarce resources.
Readers may be familiar with the author's other books, including A Match To The Heart which describes her ordeal of being struck by lightning.
"Though it was water that initially shaped the State, wind is the meticulous gardener."
"All summer there had been the silent whimsical archery of seeds; timothy and fescue, cottonwood puffs, the dilapidated shingled houses of pine cones letting go of their seeds."
"To follow the watercourses in Wyoming - seven rivers and a network of good-sized creeks - is to trace the history of settlement here."
"We live in a culture that has lost its memory. Very little in the specific shapes and traditions of our grandparents' pasts instructs us how to live today, or tells us who we are or what demands will be made on us as members of society."
This renowned ex-patriot British author died in 2011, aged 96, before completing this book, part of an exquisitely-detailed trilogy, which recounts the final leg of his year-long walk, undertaken in 1933, at the age of 18, which began in Holland and ended in Constantinople (Istanbul).
"Science needs to be recognized for what it is: the ultimate in adventure stories. Against staggering odds, a species that has been walking upright for only a few dozen millennia is trying to unravel mysteries that have been billions of years in the making."
Published in 2007, this is the dispiriting account of an international aid worker's unsurprisingly failed efforts in 2003-2005 to "diversify" the opium-poppy-growing economy in Helmand Province.
"The foreign staff would bunker down in a secure fortress, hire Afghan contractors to carry out quick-impact projects, make a couple of heavily armed monitoring visits if they thought it was safe, and bring back photos and numbers to declare success."
"Opium created a huge demand for labor; it took a lot of hands to milk millions of poppies during the week or two when the bulbs were full of gum. The average daily rate for poppy labor was about seven dollars, plus three meals a day. We had local reports of skilled harvesters making the equivalent of ten dollars a day. With our wage set at four dollars, it wasn't hard to do the math."
"..........plenty of Pakistani officers were profitably immersed in the Afghan war economy, whether in guns, drugs, or smuggling."
Published in 1999, this moving and insightful book, rich in historical detail, chronicles an adventurous young British man's challenging travels through war-torn Afghanistan, beginning in 1979, clandestinely, at age 19, during the Soviet occupation of that country. Ten years would pass before he returned, undertaking two succeeding journeys through a landscape cruelly scarred by perpetual war, always assisted by and grateful for the kindness shown by his indomitable Afghan hosts. This was, of course, a man's world, in which the women remained hidden from view, as mandated by tradition.
"I've come to the conclusion that journeys are sparked from small and unlikely things rather than grand convictions; small things that strike a note which resonates beyond earshot of the rational."
Of the the thousands of container ships which ply the world's oceans, some inevitably encounter storms violent enough to dislodge their cargo. A great deal of this cargo is comprised of non-biodegradable plastic, including the 28,800 tiny childrens' toys referred to in the title. This well-researched book takes us on an exhaustive maritime exploration of several years' duration, during which much is made painfully apparent about the pervasive environmental costs associated with our modern way of life. We also learn about convergence zones, divergence zones, six degrees of freedom, the Beaufort Scale, the Coriolis effect, zooplankton, phytoplankton, mesoscale eddies, Irminger rings, the albedo effect, the bioaccumulative properties of PCBs, and much, much more.
"What's most nefarious about plastic, however, is the way it invites fantasy, the way it pretends to deny the laws of matter, as if something - anything - could be made from nothing; the way it is intended to be thrown away but chemically engineered to last. By offering the false promise of disposability, of consumption without cost, it has helped create a culture of wasteful make-believe, an economy of forgetting."
Published in 2013, this is a thorough and dispiriting investigation of the secretive machinations of the C.I.A. and the U.S. military's Joint Special Ops Command in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Somalia.
These are just a few examples.
I am a "Garbologist" and Beachcombing Sherlock.
is not just "Unruly" but killed more than Chernobyl
as Detailed in KATE BROWN'S "Plutopia"
""Did you know that both Russia and USA have ongoing radioactive disaster sites which have each released four times more radiation into the environment than Chernobyl? In our first hour, a history lesson on the sacrifices made by both super powers in the race to create plutonium. Professor Kate Brown opens our first hour, speaking for the first time on the show. She spoke on 22nd of July, 2013 at Seattle Town Hall. Her book Plutopia: Nuclear Families, Atomic Cities, and the Great Soviet and American Plutonium Disasters, 6 years in the writing, reveals some remarkable parallels between the Russian and American efforts to create the plutonium needed by their nuclear bombs. Following on in some ways from Antony Sutton's revelations last episode about the transfer of technology and funds from the US to the USSR, Brown traces some remarkable parallels in the history of both superpowers- from the use of forced labor, prison camps, secrecy oaths and spying to the clandestine research into the health effects of radiation poisoning, cover ups, sacrifice of the surrounding population and fraudulent claims that the radiation posed no threat to human health. ""
one is right to balance
such Dark Nature of Unruly
Dirty Wars on Broken Roads or Polluted Seas with the Solace and Honey of hopeful, Quiet, Open, and friendly Spaces even if virtual as in number 3
sure beats retreating into
inscrutible opium I thank All authors, for unraveling this "Reading" alternative, may the masses find "It's" opiate soon ! and thus
regain their memory.
Reread. I posted a lengthy review in "Tropics' 2012 Books Read".
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