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Friday, September 26, 2014

Book Excerpt: Mao - The Unknown Story

Mao Zedong was one of the most central figures of the 20th century. From 1949, the year China became a communist nation, till his death in 1976, Mao ruled with an iron fist. His insane policies were responsible for the deaths of at least 4o lakh (estimates vary widely) of his countrymen. 

Today’s China pursues economies policies that are far removed from Mao’s narrow and myopic economic ideas. The self-absorbed Mao pursued economic policies that were self-serving and directed at massaging his bloated ego.

China tightly controls not just information but also the flow of information, especially if it relates to the party and its heavyweights – past and current, dead and alive.

There are very few books that relate the life and times of Mao in unbiased and unflattering terms. However, the seminal work of Jung Chang and Jon Halliday, the authors of Mao - The Unknown Story, is a brilliant exception. The duo depict the Communist strongman as an evil, Machiavellian, and power-hungry politician.

Title: Mao - The Unknown Story
Author: Jung Chang and Jon Halliday
Publisher: Vintage
Pages featured here: 517-525

Note: All copyrights/trademarks belong to the owners of the publication/author(s). It is not my intention to profit from their work. In fact, I just wish that the readers of this blog are encouraged to buy/read the works represented here. 











Sunday, September 21, 2014

Sunday Reads - Ugly Beauty + Chimps as Murderers


  • How the Islamic State works. (NYT)
  • India's soft-power advantage. (Diplomat)
  • Ugly truth behind global beauty industry. (AlJazeera)
  • Murder comes naturally to chimps. (BBC)

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Saturday Infographic - Independence Movements around the World


After weeks of high-voltage campaign from the Yes and No camps, Scotland has voted to remain part of the United Kingdom. But Scotland is not the only place where secessionist tendencies have taken root. Reuters blog has a terrific infographic on major separatist movements around the world. 

Click on the infographic for a larger view.



Friday, September 19, 2014

Book Excerpt: A Problem from Hell

Some books leave a lasting impact on us; they shape or alter our world view. One such book is 'A Problem from Hell' by Samantha Power. This book is easily of the ten most important books I have read. I strongly urge you to read this masterly work.

'A Problem from Hell' focuses on the evil of genocide and how various terrorist regimes, including those in the government (like Khmer Rouge in Cambodia), clinically murdered tens of thousands of their countrymen. These mass killings happened with impunity even while the U.S. Government either stayed silent, more as a matter of convenience when it suited their political interests, or simply turned a blind eye to the machinations of the perpetrator regimes supported by it.
  
The excerpt below captures the evil doings of Cambodia’s Khmer Rouge, one of the most dreaded terror groups that ever existed. The Khmer Rouge ruled Cambodia between 1975 and 1979. In its relentless pursuit of ushering in an agrarian utopia, it systematically killed anyone who stood in its path. Conservative estimates put the number of dead during this period at about 3 million.

Title: A Problem from Hell - America and the Age of Genocide
Author: Samantha Power
Publisher: Perennial
Pages featured here: 115-119

Note: All copyrights/trademarks belong to the owners of the publication/author(s). It is not my intention to profit from their work. In fact, I just wish that the readers of this blog are encouraged to buy/read the works represented here. 






Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Sunday Reads - Apple's Reluctant Reformation


  • Fall of a hero. (BBC)
  • Apple's Reluctant Reformation. (Economist)
  • Humans are wired for bad news, angry faces and sad memories. (Aeon)
  • The mouse that roars. (FP)

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Saturday Infographic - Monsoon plays catch-up

It would not be an exaggeration to say that the Monsoon is the lifeline of the Indian economy. A good Monsoon brings in bountiful rainfall, which in turn can push up aggregate demand, generate employment and higher incomes, all of which will raise overall economic growth.

This year, pre-Monsoon predictions were not encouraging because of the El Nino factor. However, things seem to have worked well of late, especially after a flop show in July. Here's an infographic detailing the total area sown and water levels in reservoirs across regions, compared with last year's data. 

Infographic sourced from Financial Express.


Friday, September 12, 2014

Book Excerpt - Lust & Betrayal, from The Age of Wrath

This week's Book Excerpt features The Age of Wrath, a magnificent work on the history of the Delhi Sultanate, which existed between AD 1206-1526. This period was one of great turbulence and chaos, which Abraham Eraly captures in great detail. 

Title: The Age of Wrath
Author: Abraham Eraly

Publisher: Penguin Viking
Pages featured here: 134-137

Note: All copyrights/trademarks belong to the owners of the publication/author(s). It is not my intention to profit from their work. In fact, I just wish that the readers of this blog are encouraged to buy/read the works represented here. 






Saturday, September 6, 2014

Book Excerpt: The Cold War: A New History

This book excerpt should have appeared in this space yesterday. I am a short vacation, so I could not post it yesterday.

This week's excerpt is from The Cold War: A New History, by John Lewis Gaddis. I have read a lot of stuff on the history of the Cold War. But this is by far the best work on the turbulent history of the war of nerves between the two major power blocs of the United States and the Soviet Union. 

Title: The Cold War: A New History
Author: John Lewis Gaddis

Publisher: Penguin
Pages featured here: 66-69

Note: All copyrights/trademarks belong to the owners of the publication/author(s). It is not my intention to profit from their work. In fact, I just wish that the readers of this blog are encouraged to buy/read the works represented here.