BOOKS

Double Entry: How the Merchants of Venice Created Modern Finance

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A disappointment.  After an odd nine-page preface that opens with a Robert F. Kennedy 1968 speech about the notion of GDP, there are 121 herky-jerky pages on how an Italian monk and Venetian merchants used Arabic numerals and Greek math to construct the rudiments of modern accounting.  One hundred and twenty-two pages follow on how accounting has contributed to the decline of the planet and the growth of rapacious capitalism, while hiding the fact that the true cost of a Big Mac is $200.  No kidding.  I’ll look for a better volume on the same topic and report later.

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What Karl's reading

After three years preparing The Triumph of William McKinley by reading very little but books, letters, articles and newspapers from the Gilded Age, I’m trying to get back into my regular routine, which I’ll chronicle here with an occasional review of what I’ve read.

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At the age of 70 and after ten years with little new work published, Jorge Luis Borges brought out first a volume of poetry and fiction, In Praise of Darkness (Borges was blind for many of his productive years), and a year later, a collection of short stories under the title of Brodie’s Report.
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Decorated Iraq War veteran, conservative activist, and all-round good guy, Pete Hegseth has written an inspiring call to service. Hegseth draws on the Founders’ vision of an involved and enlightened citizenry that works – sometimes through government, often not – to make their community better, help those in need, and serve and support their country. The book is patriotic, personal and moving.
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Since this year (actually April 23) is the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare, expect more than a few books on the Bard of Stratford-upon-Avon in the next few book reviews. Emma Smith is an Oxford professor who has written about the famed “First Folio,” the effort of two of Shakespeare’s friends and fellow actors to collect and publish the works of the man now considered the world’s greatest dramatist.
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Blogger and radio host Ed Morrissey has written a slim, powerful volume about what Republicans must do to win the 2016 presidential election. He examines trends in seven counties in battleground states that President George W. Bush won in 2004, but which were lost by Senator John McCain in 2008 and Governor Mitt Romney in 2012.

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