In Every War But One

Not the usual kind of book to read, drawn from interviews and testimony of soldiers from the Korean War.  How did communist indoctrination work? How did not even one GI manage to escape a war camp?  In every war but one was quite interesting, and I learned a lot about how the government analyzes a large group of people that shared insights on their experiences using qualitative research. The scale of implementation of this study was quite interesting, as was the scope of the subject- returning POWs. I had the feeling the whole time that this was propaganda, but it was still a fascinating study on post-war briefings. They methodically examined things at all angles, and it was cool to see the breadth of scope  and the details they examined.

How do the top people make crucial decisions based on data that affect the lives (and deaths) of millions?  If you’re interested in this topic too, I also recommend reading more about these decision makers in The Fog of War: Lessons from the Life of Robert S. McNamara or getting the movie from the local library.

End of the Brotherband Chronicles

The final book of this Flanagan series was great. It was enjoyable and the kinship shared by the kids in the book was so unique and moving. Zavac finally gets his.The brotherband has redeemed themselves and become expert at their skills in seamanship and warfare.  Its a coming-of-age story and is beautifully written. The story was very neat and there was only one loose end at the end– I think the ending where the girl decides to wait to choose was great cliffhanger, perhaps foreshadowing a series with a female heroine? If so, I look forward to it.

Green Mars was Rad!

This second book in the Kim Stanley Robinson Mars series was very uplifting. There were a few sections that were overly technical and long, so I skimmed them, but in general, I had a terrific experience imagining this post-Revolutionary Mars. The terraforming effort is underway in this sequel, and the fascinating effects of combining underground groups was fascinating. I loved the clash of cultures between the new natives and the old, and the way the revolution is accomplished in this book. This was a book of redemption for a lot of the old guard, and I enjoyed their path to amending past wrongs.  My favorite take away is that there is strength in working together collaborative, and figuring out what values/views people have in common as a way to move forward. Where there is discord, it matters that there is a starting point to compromise and acknowledge a shared interest in moving forward. There was more empathy in this book than in the previous book, and I thought the growth of each character, particularly Saxe Russells and Art, were fascinating.  Definitely will read Blue Mars next, but its a looong book so I’m going to wait until I’m on a holiday.