• Alex

52 Books in 52 Weeks - March's Books


Comparatively, March was a failure. I only managed to read four books this month, the same number I managed in February, which was a smaller month.

I put the inactivity down to having to attend a few conferences for work, and general malaise.

Still, I managed to plough through four books in March, totalling 955 pages:

  • "Through a Window" by Jane Goodall

  • "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" by Douglas Adams

  • "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas" by Hunter S. Thompson

  • "Prisoners of Geography" by Tim Marshall

I cheated a little bit by coming back to Fear and Loathing, a book I read as a teenager and one I read again every now and then. It's a mind-bogglingly phenomenal piece of work that is at once narrative journalism, social commentary and psychedelic experience of 70s Americana. Thompson, one of the reasons I went into journalism, is at is powerful best. His prose is razor-sharp, his observations deep wile remaining whimsical:

So now, less than five years later, you can go up on a steep hill in Las Vegas and look West, and with the right kind of eyes you can almost see the high-water mark—that place where the wave finally broke and rolled back.

Of the four, Prisoners of Geography stood out to me. I blew through this 286-page work, hoovering up Marshall's informed work on how the natural world affects the geopolitics of the modern era.

The first chapter, focusing on Russia, and following sections on China and the US, managed to completely revert my perspective on the world around me. It drilled home the reasons behind Russian foreign policy and embedded a thorough understanding in just how powerful the United States is on the global stage.

Goodall's book, while containing a fascinating first four chapters, ended up being a little bit of a slog at the end. I believe my original anthropological interest was sapped after ceaseless chapters about specific chimps from her study. The chapters about the group as a whole are impressive, but the singular ones leave a lot to be desired.

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©2020 by Alexander Hamilton.