Friday, May 30, 2008

Books I would like to read if I had time

Alexander the Great Failure: the collapse of the Macedonian Empire by John D. Grainger. Historian Grainger argues that far from being one of the greatest leaders in history, Alexander was in fact a short-sighted ruler who doomed his huge empire - and his people - to destruction because of his refusal to think about an heir or to take his own mortality seriously. Big-picture people always get all the glory, while the practical-minded folk ("well, gosh, how are we going to secure and administer this huge new empire we just snatched?") are derided as nay-sayers.
Hell Hath No Fury: true stories of women at war from antiquity to Iraq by Rosalind Miles and Robin Cross. This book looks at the long history of women and combat, including some notable instances were women were actually the leaders of their forces. They do a nice job of looking at all the roles that women have played in military campaigns, including camp followers, statesmen, healers, spies, revolutionaries, and torturers (see, we can be just as evil as men given half a chance). Very interesting for any fan of military history or women's history.
Personality: what makes you the way you are by Daniel Nettle. Of course, I tried to skip all the chaff and just look up what I am, but I couldn't find a simple description that fit me. I actually find a fair amount of comfort in knowing that my entire personality can't be summed up in one word. Not having read the book (no time, remember?), I would still hazard that I am not a 'Poet', 'Worrier', 'Wanderer', and definitely not an 'Empathizer', so that just leaves 'Controller'. Well, that just sounds a little judgemental, doesn't it? I'll have to make them change that....

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