Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Reading lists.......

On my back across the pond to the correct side of the International Date Line. United has surpassed my already low expectations by dropping me into SFO 2 hours late. Fortunately I planned for this, having done more than a coupld OJ esque runs to the gate before. So I am in the lounge catching up.

Yesterday, during our meeting, I was very unpleasantly suprised when one of the principals opened the meeting my holding up a copy of Mark Steyn's America Alone, The end of the world as we know it.. He pronounced that reading this book was critical to understanding the US war effort. He really meant it. In what had to be my daily faux paux-I sat there slowly shaking my head.

First-I don't agree with Steyn on so many things and I am not a big fan of his Eurabia hypothesis. Its not so much the theory-its Steyn's explanation of the causes of it. He trots out the familar canards.

More importantly though-it highlights the problem with so called "sanctioned" reading lists. They don't really provide diverse points of view. They simply reflect the agenda of the person who puts them together. Look at the US Navy's "Official" reading list for example. There are some good books on it. However it is what it is-a list made from a certain opinion.

My reading list for Naval Officers would be much different. For starters, all of the so called "business books" would be gone in order to make room for more of the classics, and more history reading. A book by Rudy Giuliani would not make the cut-as it hardly qualifies as a classic. I'm a big believer that the Navy does a fine job of educating its officer technically and a lousy job in educating its officers in terms of history, philosophy and critical thinking and argument. My point is proven whenever I pick up the Naval Institute proceedings and see an author quoting Max Boot as a "strategic thinker". -GAG, SNIFF, SNORT.

However in the end it would be just my opinion. Just like the guy who recommends Mark Steyn. The problem is that he is doing it from a position of authority so it sounds more important than it really is.

Its just an opinion. And those are like......?

UPDATE! Expat at Large has a better explanation over at his place.

I wonder how many of the Navy's books are on this list:



Probably not too many..............

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