A history of how civilization has viewed and dealt with the mentally ill in its midst. It is not a proud history. The seriously mentally ill do not seem to be much better off in 2015 than they were in any preceding century.
A history of the debate (putting it very mildly) in the West on the proper role of religion in politics. Lilla uses the Great Separation to name the period, beginning with Hobbes, in which the idea that religion and politics should be separate began to take shape and recounts the different thinkers who advanced this idea that eventually came to be the default assumption in the West. But, as Lilla shows, this idea was never inevitable and is not now irreversible. The “Stillborn” in the title refers to an early 20th century attempt by liberal thinkers and theologians in Germany to bring politics and religion back together. Though it never took hold and was swept away by the events of the second world war, it demonstrates how a religiously-infused politics will always be a “live” idea.
This is a very good reference to Clojure, I can recommend it for anyone wanting to learn the language. I like a lot of the ideas in Clojure and it’s well worth learning the basics just to be introduced to them. Ultimately, I found I just didn’t find the language as compelling as some others I’ve learned recently like Erlang and Go, which seem to require a smaller mental model to work in.
A lovely sequence of short but dense meditations on the deeper significance of selected English words. Very rewarding, but best read slowly.
Oddly reminiscent of The Tender Bar this collection of sort-of-sci-fi stories from Amazing is pretty entertaining and has spots of very good writing. It tends to descend into the cornball a little too much for my taste.
The extraordinary story of the blind stumble of Japan’s government and military into its disastrous war with the US during World War II. I had no idea how easily this could have been averted, and how many people at the top of Japan’s leadership were aware of the likely disastrous outcome. A fascinating and tragic account of institutional and collective decision making gone horribly wrong.