Archive for the ‘Reading List 2011’ Category

America, Empire of Liberty

Friday, December 23rd, 2011

Before I finished book I knew very little about USA history limited by my school education in former Soviet Union times. Now I feel more confident and plan to read 4 volumes of Oxford History of the United States and 16 volumes of History of America and not being overwhelmed by details. I’m also reading 3 volumes of The Cambridge History of the Cold War and the book provided missing context for the first volume. As a researcher of a history of Russian revolutions (a book is scheduled by OpenTask publisher for the centennial in 2017) I firmly believe that in order to understand a history of your own country it is beneficial to read about other countries. Then discerned historical patterns and insights can be applied to a different narrative.

America, Empire of Liberty: A New History of the United States

The book also has an overview of historical literature at the back which might be useful if you are interested in further pursuing special topics. Additionally the book provides the great overview of background historical material needed to understand modern cyber conflicts.

In conclusion, I must say I’d never thought before that US history was so interesting and I now feel great sympathy for this country.

- Dmitry Vostokov @ LiterateScientist.com -

On Kindness

Thursday, October 20th, 2011

This is a little book that I bought in local bookshop adjacent to Costa and quickly read from cover to cover while commuting. I was interested in this title because my relative studies kindness (and benevolence) as a topic in Russian literature so I thought by reading that book I could better discuss it. Approx. one third of the book narrates the evolution of the meaning of kindness from Classical Greece and Rome to earlier Christianity, Augustine, then to Hobbes (Leviathan), Enlightenment, and finally, Rousseau (Émile).  The second third is a lengthy treatise on the interpretation of kindness from psychoanalytical perspective (Freud, Winnicott). The final third is about the role of kindness in the modern Western society. Interesting read (although a bit repetitive sometimes) that prompted me to buy Leviathan: With Selected Variants from the Latin Edition of 1668 and to reconsider the role kindness in a modern corporation workplace.

On Kindness

This is a cover of the book that I bought (published by Penguin):

- Dmitry Vostokov @ LiterateScientist.com -

Classical Mechanics: Point Particles and Relativity

Friday, June 17th, 2011

It was my dream since the school days to learn physics in its entirety. Whereas The Feynman Lectures on Physics: Commemorative Issue, Three Volume Set that I own (I read it at school before university in Russian translation) is a bit light and don’t include the developments of the past 40 - 50 years and Course of Theoretical Physics by Landau was a bit heavy for me at those times (although I read Mechanics volume in Russian and a few beginning chapters from other volumes) I finally found what I need: Theoretical Physics course from Walter Greiner. I have now the first 3 volumes (there are many more volumes including Quantum Electrodynamics, Gauge Theory of Weak Interactions, Quantum Chromodynamics) and just started reading the first one: Classical Mechanics: Point Particles and Relativity (Classical Theoretical Physics). It explains all necessary mathematics, has all derivations, lots of examples and illustrations, and even talks about dark matter (in the first classical mechanics volume). More important I also ordered the original German edition (Theoretische Physik. Klassische Mechanik I. Dynamik und Dynamik der Punktteilchen - Relativität) and reading both in parallel. This improves my German as well.

- Dmitry Vostokov @ LiterateScientist.com -

Choosing a School: Second Level Education in Ireland

Monday, April 25th, 2011

It’s time to select a secondary level school for my kids in advance. I wasn’t aware that such books exist and I was delighted when I saw the book in a local library. Unfortunately, my expectations weren’t met: 2/3rds of the book is just the list of schools and the text is too academic and politically correct for any good use except to reinforce common sense although I didn’t expect to hear saucy stories. Just two insights I found useful: some parents don’t enroll their children in the nearest school because they perceive themselves as not very responsible if they do that and don’t blindly trust school ranks in academic examination results as they might be influenced by school size. So my conclusion is that this book might be of some help to reevaluate your commitments if you rely too much on certain knowledge acquisition mechanisms such as “grapevine”, never thought about participating in PTA (Parent Teacher Association) or want to hear what Principles carefully say from their side. Some bibliography might be useful if you want to continue this research further on. However, the authors warn that no so much of it exists for Ireland.

Choosing a School: Second Level Education in Ireland

- Dmitry Vostokov @ LiterateScientist.com -

Resuming Literate Scientist Blog

Sunday, March 20th, 2011

Due to my Mod N Reading System I had to suspend this blog because N became large (about 100 or more books) and there wasn’t enough read material to review. Now I accumulated some books fully read from cover to cover and many others read to a sufficient number of pages to make an opinion and suggest recommendations. So I’m resuming this blog and plan to write about the next book tomorrow. It will be a history of social sciences. I plan to introduce a new book every day or so. I also made an alteration to Mod N reading to include thematic encyclopedias. Stay tuned.

- Dmitry Vostokov @ LiterateScientist.com -