The plot against America by Philip Roth

I came across this book shortly after Trump came to power. An in-depth interview with the author was featured in the Guardian where the book (published in 2004) was described as prophetic of the current state of affairs in the US.

The book is set in the late 1930s and early 1940s and chronicles the ascent to power of Charles Lindbergh. Based on true facts and real people it explores what would have happened if a FDR lost the 1932 election and a government friendly to Hitler rose to power. Whilst the story was fascinating and thought-provoking a struggled a bit to keep up with Roth’s long sentences. I can see why Roth said of Trump that his vocabulary is about 73 words deep (which it is). The book also made me wonder about what is happening today in the world which we take for granted and what new developments are taking place which we think are ‘normal’ but might have bigger consequences.

Fascinating read but still not a huge Roth fan.

Genre: fiction
Subjects: History, hitler, trump

Νίκη by Χρήστος Χωμενίδης

Το βιβλίο μου το πρότεινε ο μπαμπάς μου και ήταν ένα από τα τελευταία πράγματα που πήρα πριν φύγω από την Αθήνα. Μια πολύ ενδιαφέρουσα ιστορία για την Ελλάδα του 20οθ αιώνα, ιστορία που δεν διδαχτήκαμε όσο εκτεταμένα διδαχτήκαμε τους αρχαίους στο σχολείο και για την οποία ξέρω πολύ λίγα. Ευτυχώς τώρα έχω το site της Ευθυμιου και θα αρχίσω να αναπληρώνω τα κενά.

Genre: non fiction
Subjects: History

Feminism: A very short introduction by Margaret Walters

Feminism has been a burning topic of conversation in our long drives. Body image issues, my occasional (?) obsessions with food and need to exercise, Sheryl’s ‘Lean In’ book, the Womens Hour Power List 2016 (and Beyonce’s inclusion in that). They are all on the table and have at times prompted Andy to tell me that he’s more of a feminist than I am. So I decided to learn more about this and build my arguments.

This is the perfect place to start. A short (very short) history of the feminist movement starting in the 1700s and running up to the 1980s. A lot of food for thought, further books to read and notes made. A must

Genre: non fiction
Subjects: feminism, History

The Penguin history of Latin America

This is an absolute must-read for anyone travelling in South America. The book covers all aspects of the history of the continent. From Columbus’ discovery, the colonisation by the Spaniards and Portueguese and the resistance offered by the local populations to the struggle for independence in the 19th century and from there to an in depth sociopolitical analysis of the 20th century.

We first read the chapters around Columbus’ discovery and early colonisation by the Spanish before we moved to the chapters dedicated to the 19th and 20th century Chile. We then moved on to examine recent Argentinian history.

As we go through different countries we take it in turns to read out loud to each other over long drives. It enables us to understand the countries we are in far better than the brief historical accounts of guide books allow.

Genre: non fiction
Subjects: History

The Shah of Shahs by Ryszard Kapuściński

This was recommended to me by a dear colleague when I asked for books to read when travelling.

I did not know what to expect but they introduction outlining a journalist’s perspective in the life and times of the last Shah of Iran peaked my interest. It provides a fascinating account of Iranian politics which I was not aware of, written in a fast-paced manner. The story picks up a couple of days / weeks after the fall of the Shah and provides detailed accounts on the rise of the Shah’s family, his aspirations, plan to make Iran the Greatest Civilisation ever and the challenges he faced in the process.

Definitely on the Christmas gift list.

Genre: fiction
Subjects: History