Hans Rosling – How I Learned to Understand the World ****

Hans Rosling’s book Factfulness did a fantastic job demonstrating how little we know about the world and how ignorant our models and assumptions are. His biography, published posthumously, takes us on a tour around the world, following Rosling’s career as doctor and researcher.It is a great story of a man guided by curiosity and theContinue reading “Hans Rosling – How I Learned to Understand the World ****”

Een zinvol leven

Een openhartig verslag van een heftig jaar voor Joe Biden, Amerika’s vice-president. Biden schotelt ons drie verhaallijnen voor: het ziektebed en de uiteindelijke dood van zijn oudste zoon Beau, zijn internationale werk als ‘Veep’ en zijn worsteling met de vraag of hij zich verkiesbaar zal stellen als opvolger van president Obama. Wat betreft dat laatste,Continue reading “Een zinvol leven”

Het midden als revolutie?

Emmanuel Macrons boek over hoe hij Frankrijk, Europa en de wereld wil veranderen is niet gespeend van ambitie. Op de kaft maakt hij al duidelijk wat hij wil: “Révolution”. Er zijn minder ambitieuze visies neergepend. Het is ook een door en door Frans boek: een grootse visie, gekoppeld aan een leidende rol van het landContinue reading “Het midden als revolutie?”

Kissinger, an intellectual on a mission

We all know Henry Kissinger as a brilliant, yet divisive figure of American Foreign Politics. He was a bright mind with a first row seat during the great events of the Cold War. Probably less known is the drama of his flight from his home town Furth, to escape Nazi-Germany. After some detours he arrivedContinue reading “Kissinger, an intellectual on a mission”

Vader en zoon alleen

Antoine Leiris schreef de dag nadat zijn vrouw in de Bataclan in Parijs door moslimterroristen was vermoord een Facebookpost die door miljoenen werd gelezen. Daarin zei hij dat ze weliswaar zijn vrouw, zijn grote liefde, hadden afgenomen, maar dat ze zijn haat niet zouden krijgen. Dit boekje is daar een uitwerking van. Het is eenContinue reading “Vader en zoon alleen”

Modern day hillbillies

Strong ‘rags to riches’ story, very funny at times, but above all a cultural critique of white, working-class America. The author, J.D. Vance, a hillbilly himself, describes their increasingly marginalized social position through the unlikely, mostly miserable, lives of his own family. An important book to better understand modern America. Also read this great interviewContinue reading “Modern day hillbillies”

How to say farewell to your mother?

Touching. Brutally honest. A story about dying. About the, painful, relationship between mother and son – full of secrets and, as the story unfolds, more and more outpourings. Van Dis has an audacious way of bidding his mother farewell. Called a novel, I assume it is for almost one hundred percent autobiographical. It for sureContinue reading “How to say farewell to your mother?”

The Churchill Factor – Boris Johnson (2014)

On every page the pleasure Boris Johnson must have had writing about his hero is palpable. I already knew Johnson as a smart and skilled politician, but judging by this book, those skills are at least matched by his writing qualities. The book combines erudition with humour and was a great joy to read. Churchill’s life and accomplishments are almost too colourful toContinue reading “The Churchill Factor – Boris Johnson (2014)”

The Years of Lyndon Johnson, the Passage of Power – Robert Caro (2012)

Hands down the best political biography I’ve read. The book gives great insights in the man and the President Lyndon Baines Johnson was, telling the story of a turbulent era in US history through a new lens – ranging from the Cuba Crisis to the Civil Rights Act. In essence it’s a lesson on howContinue reading “The Years of Lyndon Johnson, the Passage of Power – Robert Caro (2012)”

Fire and Ashes – Michael Ignatieff (2013)

One has to admire the man’s courage – not a lot of people dare to write about their failures. And that makes this book such a pleasure to read; his cunning account of his attempt to become leader of Canada’s liberal party and after that, premier. As we know he never made it to theContinue reading “Fire and Ashes – Michael Ignatieff (2013)”

Charlie Wilson’s War, The Extraordinary Story of the Largest Covert Operation in History – George Crile (2007)

Hilarious account of Congressman Charlie Wilson, who together with CIA operative Gus Avraktos, creates an ever expanding program to support the Afghan Mujahideen – back in the days when the Soviets were fighting in Afghanistan. This story proves that reality is more surprising than our imagination.