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Poll #18446 FMK # 3: Drugs, Deserts, and the Devil
Open to: Registered Users, detailed results viewable to: All, participants: 60

The Black Arts, by Richard Cavendish. A history of black magic from 1968. Normally I would think this is total bullshit but it does have footnotes and a bibliography.

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21 (42.0%)

5 (10.0%)

24 (48.0%)

Chasing the Scream, by Johann Hari. A history of the US War on Drugs, starting from the death of Billie Holiday. Sounds like it might have a lot of info I didn't already know. By an award-winning British journalist, so probably good; probably also incredibly depressing.

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16 (30.2%)

20 (37.7%)

17 (32.1%)

Desert Solitaire, by Edward Abbey. Classic book from 1968 on being a park ranger in Utah; nature writing + politics, I assume. I'll be curious if it's aged well.

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27 (52.9%)

14 (27.5%)

10 (19.6%)

Do No Harm, by Henry Marsh. Memoir of a brain surgeon. I really liked some articles I read by him. Unlike the stereotype of surgeons, he seemed humble and compassionate.

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34 (66.7%)

15 (29.4%)

2 (3.9%)

A Higher Call, by Adam Makos. Nonfiction about an encounter between two fighter pilots, an American and a German, during WWII. I'm assuming it went a lot farther than one encounter, and no, I don't mean THAT sort of encounter.

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18 (35.3%)

15 (29.4%)

18 (35.3%)

A Voyage Long and Strange, by Tony Horwitz. The history of America interspersed with Horowitz's road trip to try re-enactments, go down the Mississippi on a canoe, etc. I've enjoyed some of Horowitz's books and found others forgettable.

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25 (49.0%)

6 (11.8%)

20 (39.2%)

Soldiers of the Night, by David Schoenbrun. A history of the French Resistance. Back cover mentions "the bilingual, bisexual American who executed Nazis and collaborators with an ice pick or his bare hands" and "dear little old ladies who became master thieves."

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33 (61.1%)

18 (33.3%)

3 (5.6%)

yhlee: Fall-From-Grace from Planescape: Torment (PST FFG (art: maga))

From: [personal profile] yhlee

I don't know any of these books or authors, but I enjoy reading about medicine and medical practice so the brain surgeon memoir sounds (selfishly) particularly interesting to me.
isis: (Default)

From: [personal profile] isis

I enjoyed Desert Solitaire, but YMMV as it's an idiosyncratic book. (Abbey was an idiosyncratic man.)

I like the sound of the brain surgeon's memoir, too, but I'm a fan of memoirs in general.
movingfinger: (Default)

From: [personal profile] movingfinger

I find Tony Horvitz's writing extremely annoying because he is so full of himself (data set: two books, one on a subject I know something about).

That 1968 "black arts" book could be lolariously bad (that was the AGE OF ALEISTER CROWLEY being REDISCOVERED sort of), and IMO the best you could get from it would be that it hasn't dated badly. Scholarship in that area has been ongoing. Checking the listings, it seems to have been reprinted regularly since its original appearance, at times by respectable publishing houses, but there is no sign that it was updated. If I ran across it, I'd try a sample chapter and check the notes and bibliography. OTOH, no matter how outdated or silly it may be, as a freewheeling inspiration for fiction, it's probably just fine.
dira: Bucky Barnes/The Winter Soldier (Default)

From: [personal profile] dira

Oh man, I really, really loved Chasing the Scream! The opening--about J. Edgar Hoover basically hounding Billie Holiday to death--is horrifying, and there's a lot of terrible stories in there, but it's really focused on the places where people are already finding solutions, the way forward, and understanding addiction as something that isn't, or doesn't have to be, this irreversible lifelong debilitating condition, so I saw a lot of hope in it.
dira: Bucky Barnes/The Winter Soldier (Default)

From: [personal profile] dira

Yay! I really want to hear what you think about his stuff on the connections between addiction and trauma.
sartorias: (Default)

From: [personal profile] sartorias

Oh boy, I want to read the Makos and the Schoenbrun!
kore: (Default)

From: [personal profile] kore

I'm assuming it went a lot farther than one encounter,

//waggles eyebrows

and no, I don't mean THAT sort of encounter.


Soldiers of the Night, by David Schoenbrun. A history of the French Resistance. Back cover mentions "the bilingual, bisexual American who executed Nazis and collaborators with an ice pick or his bare hands" and "dear little old ladies who became master thieves."

okay that one
adeliej: a flower formed from fire (Default)

From: [personal profile] adeliej

Henry Marsh has got a new book out, too! I listened to an interview with him the other day (http://www.abc.net.au/radio/programs/conversations/conversations-henry-marsh/8548808) and yeah, he sounds very humble and attentive to what helps patients most on the emotional level, as well as the medical one.
sholio: sun on winter trees (Default)

From: [personal profile] sholio

Answers are based almost entirely on what *I* find interesting, which may not be what *you* find interesting. I read the Horowitz book a number of years ago and enjoyed it (at the time, no idea how it would stand up now). It is very "clueless white boy tourists through American history" but he's also fairly self-aware about that and open-minded about trying just about everything there is to try in the various places he goes, so, idk, it worked for me.

Both of the WWII books sound really interesting to me, but I'm interested in that general period of history as well (early 1900s through the Roaring 20s/Depression/WWII) so it's relevant to my interests. Especially the fighter pilot one. One of the things I find fascinating about WWII Allied and Axis pilots is that they appear to have gotten along really well even while the war was going on; I'm sure there were True Believers on both sides, but for the most part, they were guys who liked planes, who were happy to bond with other guys who liked planes as long as they were in a context where they weren't actually trying to kill each other. Some of them looked each other up after the war and formed friendships that lasted for the rest of their lives.
nenya_kanadka: stick figure British navy officer perched on AO3 logo (@ AO3)

From: [personal profile] nenya_kanadka

Communists were banned from being pilots, but he could do something else instead. Grandpa Artie was so pissed off that he instead stomped home and sat there until he was drafted!

This is the most amazing war story I have ever heard. :D
mrissa: (Default)

From: [personal profile] mrissa

I read the Marsh, and he is sort of humble, in that he admits that he makes mistakes, but sort of not, in that he just sort of charges in anyway. It was an interesting book, I'm not sorry I read it, but I still ended up wanting to punch him a bunch of times. Just, like, 60% fewer times than I would expect from the professional stereotype. And he gives very tactile descriptions of what it's like to screw up on other people's brains.
davidgillon: A pair of crutches, hanging from coat hooks, reflected in a mirror (Default)

From: [personal profile] davidgillon

I found it more difficult to separate this batch, so most ended up as marry, with the two WWII books as the outliers. Something to be aware of with the Hari is that there was a plagiarism row concerning his interviews, though a little bit of an odd one, almost a stylistic tic. Which he then compounded with incredibly stupid edits on Wikipedia. His own article on wiki covers it fairly clearly. OTOH the drugs book is dated after that, so hopefully he's learnt his lesson, and he was incredibly thoughtful towards a friend of mine he interviewed on disability issues.
Edited Date: 2017-06-03 09:41 am (UTC)
danohu: (Default)

From: [personal profile] danohu

Icepick as in Trotsky, or as in Basic Instinct? Enquiring minds want to know.
littlerhymes: the fox and the prince (Default)

From: [personal profile] littlerhymes

I saw Henry Marsh speaking recently at Sydney Writers Festival, on hospital architecture and design, and he was really fascinating and charismatic. Would love to hear your thoughts on his book.
luzula: a Luzula pilosa, or hairy wood-rush (Default)

From: [personal profile] luzula

I have not read Edward Abbey, but he seems to have been rather racist, unfortunately. Maybe not in that particular book, since Isis has read it and didn't react, but just search for "Edward Abbey racism" and you'll find quotes. It's along the lines of him not wanting the US overrun by "inferior races"...

Read Aldo Leopold's A Sand County Almanac instead, if you want a great classic of the American environmental movement! Or Murray Bookchin, he did a lot of arguing against Abbey in the '80s.

That book about the French Resistance is going on my list of books to check out!
viridian5: (Still fighting)

From: [personal profile] viridian5

Unlike the stereotype of surgeons, he seemed humble and compassionate.

Having dealt with several neurosurgeons, I'd say the humble and compassionate ones must be in the .01% so I'd believe it if I saw it.

melannen: Commander Valentine of Alpha Squad Seven, a red-haired female Nick Fury in space, smoking contemplatively (Default)

From: [personal profile] melannen

I own The Black Arts (though have not read it) and it is pretty far along on the academic side of the "rigorous history to bullshit" scale. For the 1960s, anyway.

I am sorry I keep voting F for everything unhelpfully but it all looks interesting.

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