Spring hovers in the wings. In our part of the world, in southern Appalachia, it’s the yearly fight between eager-to-bud trees and determined-to-refreeze cold fronts. If the rain holds off, we’ll head to the creek with an iPad loaded with some of these reading suggestions. Pick and choose what you might like among these fine reads and please enjoy your weekend.
The Sinn Fein question: could the party stop a hard Brexit? by Martin Fletcher at the New Statesman
Operation Gunnerside: The Norwegian attack on heavy water that deprived the Nazis of the atomic bomb by Timothy J Jorgensen at The Conversation (also entertainingly told in Lynne Olsen’s Last Hope Island)
Fat Leonard’s Crimes on the High Seas – The rise and fall of the defense contractor who bought off Navy brass with meals, liquor, women and bribes by Jesse Hyde in Rolling Stone
Disarming the Weapons of Mass Distraction by Madeleine Bunting at the NYRB blog. More on how to reclaim your attention span.
How a Fake Mountain Range Slowed Down Arctic Exploration – The 19th-century naval officer John Ross’s unfortunate imagination by Cara Giaimo at Atlas Obscura.
Headline hyperbole here, but on a longer term horizon, Parag Khanna is onto something: There’s a new secretary of state. Who cares? Sorry, Washington. The world doesn’t need you anymore at Politico.eu.
The Asset, How A Player In The Trump-Russia Scandal Led A Double Life As An American Spy by Anthony Cormier and Jason Leopold at Buzzfeed. Everything about this is remarkable.
And finally, How to change the course of human history (at least, the part that’s already happened) by David Graeber and David Wengrow at Eurozine. This compliments a flurry of books and articles lately on the distant history of humans, including the articles Tools and voyages suggest that Homo erectus invented language by Daniel Everett at Aeon, Tracing the tangled tracks of humankind’s evolutionary journey by Hannah Devlin in The Guardian and How Hunter-Gatherers May Hold the Key to our Economic Future by James Suzman at evonomics, which compliments his new book Affluence Without Abundance.
Another newish book, that sets out to upend most conventional hunter-gatherer history, is Against the Grain, A Deep History of the Earliest States, by James C. Scott. Scott, a contrarian, has gotten approving press, but after all, he is merely the new Colin Tudge. Tudge covered much of Scott’s territory twenty years ago in a tiny little book, Neanderthals, Bandits & Farmers: How Agriculture Really Began.
No doubt more than you were asking about early humans.
Wet but warming up in southern Appalachia this weekend. What about where you are?