Author Topic: Fave Books / Currently Reading  (Read 728860 times)

B_Buster

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Re: Fave Books / Currently Reading
« Reply #1785 on: October 23, 2012, 11:13:39 AM »
Really?! The more I read about the Kennedys, the more I dislike them. Not only did they come close to starting a nuclear war, they believed political power gave them a license to kill. I'm not surprised Robert Kennedy doubted the lone-gunman theory. It's probably because the Kennedys had made so many enemies in such a short period of time.
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Re: Fave Books / Currently Reading
« Reply #1786 on: October 23, 2012, 11:36:54 AM »
Well, there are a lot of books and a lot of perspectives on the Kennedys. I don't know which ones you've read, but I am not convinced they "nearly started a nuclear war." In fact, JFK appears to have taken us off the ledge more than once--and this in the face of a military establishment that respected him not at all, beat the drum relentlessly for turning Moscow to glass, and weren't above hinting to him that they might just push the button themselves whether he approved or not.

If by "believing political power gave them a license to kill" you're referring to the CIA's Castro assassination plots, the story of Bobby's relation to those is much more complex than that. Castro himself never believed the Kennedys themselves were behind them. If you're referring to something else, what?

It's true that they made a lot of enemies, but I'm not sure making enemies of the Mob, anti-Castro zealots, CIA nutjobs like James Angleton and military ones like Curtis LeMay is a bad thing.
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B_Buster

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Re: Fave Books / Currently Reading
« Reply #1787 on: October 23, 2012, 01:48:48 PM »
Check out Legacy of Ashes or Havana Nocturne for less than flattering portraits of the Kennedys.
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fonpr

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Re: Fave Books / Currently Reading
« Reply #1788 on: October 23, 2012, 04:45:28 PM »
Really?! The more I read about the Kennedys, the more I dislike them. Not only did they come close to starting a nuclear war, they believed political power gave them a license to kill. I'm not surprised Robert Kennedy doubted the lone-gunman theory. It's probably because the Kennedys had made so many enemies in such a short period of time.

An author on the most recentOn The Media makes it clear- they have the tapes- that Kennedy was the one who kept us out of a nuclear war.  Listen to the last 15 minutes or so.

My understanding is the Mafia planned on taking out JFK in Tampa a few days before Dallas.

Check this:

http://www.sptimes.com/2005/11/23/Tampabay/New_book_tells_of_JFK.shtml

Bobby did target the Mob.  This made them very unhappy.
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Barry in Ireland

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Re: Fave Books / Currently Reading
« Reply #1789 on: October 24, 2012, 05:04:42 AM »
I'm reading Moby Dick. It's pretty good! Lots of stuff about whales, though. Is it about whales? Not sure I've read a book that spends so much time talking about whales before.

crumbum

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Re: Fave Books / Currently Reading
« Reply #1790 on: October 24, 2012, 07:34:18 AM »
I'm reading Moby Dick. It's pretty good! Lots of stuff about whales, though. Is it about whales? Not sure I've read a book that spends so much time talking about whales before.

Wait till you get to the 80-page drum solo.

Steve of Bloomington

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Re: Fave Books / Currently Reading
« Reply #1791 on: October 24, 2012, 11:32:01 AM »
I'm reading Moby Dick. It's pretty good! Lots of stuff about whales, though. Is it about whales? Not sure I've read a book that spends so much time talking about whales before.

I was very into whales as a kid. Never got around to reading Moby Dick, though.

B_Buster

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Re: Fave Books / Currently Reading
« Reply #1792 on: October 24, 2012, 05:06:54 PM »

Bobby did target the Mob.  This made them very unhappy.


Yeah, especially after he just tried to use the mob to kill Castro. No one likes a double-crosser. Once you get into bed with the mob, you're supposed to stay in bed with them.
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Barry in Ireland

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Re: Fave Books / Currently Reading
« Reply #1793 on: October 25, 2012, 04:58:40 AM »
Quote from: Crumbum
Wait till you get to the 80-page drum solo.

I'll be interested to see how Melville managed to transcribe the riff. Something along the lines of "Do doodle do-doo, do-doo, doo, do-do," I assume.



I was very into whales as a kid. Never got around to reading Moby Dick, though.

You'd have liked it! Loads of stuff about whales stoving things, and their mighty jaws, and whatnot. Pretty good.

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Re: Fave Books / Currently Reading
« Reply #1794 on: October 25, 2012, 11:37:18 AM »

Bobby did target the Mob.  This made them very unhappy.


Yeah, especially after he just tried to use the mob to kill Castro. No one likes a double-crosser. Once you get into bed with the mob, you're supposed to stay in bed with them.

Well, I was thinking I'd already gone a little too far in protesting that the K's were squeaky-clean--obviously, there is much to condemn there (as well as much to respect, in my opinion).  But I will answer this.  First, Mike, your chronology is off.  As chief counsel to the Senate Rackets Committee, RFK had already been a scourge of the Mob for four years before JFK even became president.

Second--and this is what I meant when I said that the question of his involvement in the CIA's anti-Castro plots was "compilcated"--Yes, there is no doubt that the Kennedy brothers initiated and were well aware of efforts to disrupt Castro's regime and to encourage the Cubans to overthrow him. According to Talbot, the evidence that they oversaw or approved of efforts to directly assassinate him is much sketchier. There are strong advocates for either side, but many of the claims that they were involved in these can be traced back to CIA personnel with a lot to hide, a lot of hatred for the Kennedys, and lots of reason to deflect responsibility onto the dead.

Talbot directly contests the claim that RFK actually reached out to Mafia figures to take out Castro. The CIA definitely did, and RFK was mightily pissed when he heard about it (or, if you believe the CIA guys, pretended to be pissed about it.) The story that he approached the Mob was given the strongest imprimatur by Seymour Hersh, but Talbot quotes a memo written by one of Hersh's sources, declassified after Hersh's book came out, that contradicts what he told Hersh.

I don't wanna sound like I live in gumdrop land, the Kennedys have never been huge heroes of mine; when I said my respect had increased, it was not coming from all that high a level to begin with. If you're interested enough to read something that challenges your assumptions, I would recommend the Talbot book, it's extremely readable and compelling.

I checked my copy of Havana Nocturne and the Kennedys hardly appear in it except for JFK whooping it up with Cuban harlots in 1957. I haven't read Legacy of Ashes but that's actually a good idea for my next book.
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Re: Fave Books / Currently Reading
« Reply #1795 on: November 06, 2012, 12:10:35 AM »
So now, acting on Mike's suggestion, I am reading Legacy of Ashes by Tim Weiner. A very readable, gratifyingly merciless history of the CIA that could as easily have been titled Nutjobs, Cock-Ups, and Clusterfucks.
« Last Edit: November 06, 2012, 12:12:13 AM by cavorting with nudists »
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Steve of Bloomington

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Re: Fave Books / Currently Reading
« Reply #1796 on: November 06, 2012, 11:23:33 AM »
So now, acting on Mike's suggestion, I am reading Legacy of Ashes by Tim Weiner. A very readable, gratifyingly merciless history of the CIA that could as easily have been titled Nutjobs, Cock-Ups, and Clusterfucks.

Sounds fantastic. Moving that one up the list.

dave from knoxville

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Re: Fave Books / Currently Reading
« Reply #1797 on: November 06, 2012, 03:47:48 PM »
Just finished Empire of the Sun after putting it off for 20 years. It's a little samey, but I think that's part of the point. Didn't realize when I saw the movie so long ago that it was autobiographical; the stuff Ballard saw before he hit 15 boggles the mind. Very interesting, despite the monotony of extended passages of Japanese prison camp life. Found his burgeoning adolescent sexuality in the face of literal starvation to be handled extremely well. (At one point he brings a piece of hail to a woman who has shown him nothing but contempt throughout the imprisonment in lieu of water, and he can focus on is her tongue on his fingers.)

Austin From Chicago

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Re: Fave Books / Currently Reading
« Reply #1798 on: November 20, 2012, 02:49:52 PM »
Don't know if too many FOTs are David Foster Wallace fans, but I just finished DT Max's biography of DFW, "Every love Story is a Ghost Story" and it's a truly great bio as well as being very emotionally draining. DFW comes off as a precocious genius, but not-that-great as a person (serial plagiarizer, womanizer, had severe problems with his own identity, anger issues, etc.). In short, DFW was brilliant guy with terrible problems who tried very very hard to get better but ultimately lost the battle. That's the mini-narrative we all know already, but the book is incredible in filling in all the details. The run up to DFW's suicide is harrowing and wrenchingly sad. Recommended.

I'm now halfway through "The Pale King" and it's scattered but wonderful.
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Steve of Bloomington

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Re: Fave Books / Currently Reading
« Reply #1799 on: November 20, 2012, 04:08:00 PM »
I liked The Pale King. Ultimately it felt like more of a story collection than a novel, though. My opinion of DFW was strained a bit after reading his book 'Everything and More', about Georg Cantor, the (severely) troubled genius who came up with set theory and the idea about multiple types of infinity (and other things). I have a math background, but that was far in the past, and I'm not a pro like DfK (who I believe is very pro-DFW). There were some problems in the book with his descriptions of some mathematical ideas to the point where it really bothered me (although the historical background and discussion of the cast of mathematical characters was quite good). Same story in Infinite Jest where he described the kids using existence theorems to calculate things. Existence theorems don't help you do that. Anyhow I shouldn't let something like that bother me, but I did.

I will probably at some point read the biography, but will have to be 'ready' for it.

Next up is the second in the Succession series. I'm mostly in a sci-fi mood at the moment.