Fifth C! Reads: Part 2

We are pleased to present to you the second part of reading recommendations from our CONVOCO! thinkers. Get inspired!

The Murder of Professor Schlick (2020)  by David Edmonds

This book is about the history of the Vienna Circle, a group of Austrian and German philosophers based in Vienna, who formed one of the most influential philosophical movements of the 20th century, known as Logical Positivism or Logical Empiricism. The founder of the group, the charismatic and energetic Moritz Schlick, was murdered by a deranged student in 1936. A plaque in the halls of the University of Vienna marks the spot where he was shot. Edmonds gives a brilliant account of the intellectual scene in Vienna at the time, and his version of the story of the Circle is quite gripping. Those without a philosophical background should not be put off: Edmonds’s descriptions of the abstract philosophy are very accessible.

The Habsburgs. The Rise and Fall of a World Power (2020) by Martyn Rady

Martyn Rady attempts what might seem an impossible task — a history of the entire Habsburg dynasty in under 300 pages — and succeeds admirably. In short chapters and stylish, humorous prose, with an effective use of anecdote, Rady gives a superb overview of hundreds of years of European political history.

East-West Street (2016) by Philippe Sands

I’ve only just got around to reading this extraordinary book — a mixture of memoir, history, investigative journalism and legal philosophy. Sands, an expert on international law, genocide and crimes against humanity, was invited some years ago to give a lecture in Lviv, which happened to be the birthplace of his Jewish grandfather. But it was also where two legal thinkers (also Jewish) studied, who introduced the concepts of crimes against humanity and genocide into the International context, first and most famously at the Nuremberg trials. The book describes Sands’s own personal attempt to find out more about his family from Lviv (Lvov, Lemberg) as well as discussing the legal concepts. A quite exceptional book.
AI 2041. Ten Visions for Our Future (2021) by Kai-Fu Lee & Chen Qiufan
Earthshot. How to Save Our Planet (2021) by Colin Butfield & Jonnie Hughes; with Introductions from Sir David Attenborough, Shakira & HRH Prince William
Know Your Rights and Claim Them. A Guide for Youth (2021) by Angelina Jolie & Geraldine Van Bueren
Move. The Forces Uprooting Us and Shaping Humanity’s Destiny. How Mass Migration Will Reshape the World – and What It Means for You (2021) by Parag Khanna
The Fall of Robespierre. 24 Hours in Revolutionary Paris (2021) by Colin Jones
It is a masterpiece of historical writing. A reconstruction of the events of the coup of 27 July 1794 that ended the French Revolution’s period of ‘Terror’, it combines dazzling mastery of the archives, originality of insight, and an almost cinematic narrative immediacy.
Henry ‘Chips’ Channon: The Diaries I + II (2021) by Simon Heffer
Both published this year and covering from 1918 to 1943. Edited with flawless scholarship and wry wit by Simon Heffer, they are the work of an American arriviste who brilliantly reinvented himself as an English aristocrat and inveigled himself into the highest levels of ‘society’ and politics during the 1930s and 1940s. The diaries reveal their author as a mostly acute observer of affairs of state and as an undeluded observer of himself (and his often exotic private life). High politics and low morals converge.
Career and Family. Women’s Century-Long Journey toward Equity (2021) by Claudia Goldin
The sum of a lifetime of research on women’s labor force participation over the past 140 years. Key takeaway: Jobs that offer more flexibility (e.g., care work) are penalized with wage losses. And these are the jobs typically chosen be women.
Antitrust. Taking on Monopoly Power from the Gilded Age to the Digital Age (2021) by Amy Klobuchar
A fascinating history of US antitrust legislation, explaining why it has hardly been applied in recent decades and why it urgently needs to be strengthened to ensure more competition – especially in digital markets.
The Order of Time (2018) by Carlo Rovelli
Even time may be nothing more than a crutch for understanding.
The Origins of Totalitarianism (1951) by Hannah Arendt
Today more than ever, a timely book on the emergence of totalitarian/authoritarian systems. With the rise of populism worldwide, this classic of political theory is a “must read.”
Unfinished Business (2015) by  Anne-Marie Slaughter
The book shows the challenges facing women when trying to find a balance between career and family.
How Democracies Die (2021) by Steven Levitsky & Daniel Ziblatt
An excellent insight into the decline of liberal democracies.
The Future of Power (2011) by Joseph S. Nye Jr.
One of the most important books on the subject of “power” and its various components.
The Old Man and the Sea (1952) by Ernest Hemingway
Ever since reading this book for the first time, I have been fascinated by this desperate struggle of man against nature. It puts the relationship into perspective and makes us feel humble.
1984 (1949) by George Orwell
The book is of course required reading for students, but this impressive, anticipatory, and frighteningly real vision of technical possibilities in the post-WW2 era in 1949 should always be a reminder to us. However, why this story can serve today as an argument against the use of electronic patient records is beyond me (especially after the experiences in the COVID-19 pandemic).
The Society of Singularities (2020) by Andreas Reckwitz
Reading this has helped me greatly to understand how some people in our culture deal with and react to the COVID-19 pandemic. Rationally, it helped me—but emotionally, it was no help at all. And although I agree with many of the analyses, there is a lot of solidarity among the population in the event of a crisis, which makes me optimistic.

Angel of Oblivion (2016)  by Maja Haderlap

Previous Fifth C! Reads: Part 1


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