Al Singh

Author's posts

Oct 25 2014

Early Socratic Dialogues by Plato

It seems to me there is something flawed in the Socratic question and answer approach to discerning truth. A person may know what something is and even be an expert on it even if he does not know how to precisely define it. An ophthalmologist, for instance, knows what sight is and is competent to …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2014/10/25/early-socratic-dialogues-by-plato/

Oct 19 2014

Life-Span Development by John Santrock

I took a correspondence course in developmental psychology many years ago, and I managed to hang on to the textbook in case I should ever get a desire to reread it. Very good decision. This book provides a wealth of information on the human stages of development based on current and historical research. Particularly interesting, …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2014/10/19/life-span-development-by-john-santrock/

Oct 18 2014

Twentieth Century France by James McMillan

I read this book from beginning to end, and I have almost nothing to say about it, except that French history after Napoleon is pretty boring.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2014/10/18/twentieth-century-france-by-james-mcmillan/

Oct 18 2014

The Second World War by J.F.C. Fuller

This is a tactical and strategic analysis of World War II, a purely military history without much in the way of human dimension. It makes some interesting arguments. Fuller believes air power is wasteful, immoral, and ineffective at deciding military conflict, and that the best use of it is in cargo transport rather than aerial …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2014/10/18/the-second-world-war-by-j-f-c-fuller/

Oct 12 2014

Catastrophe 1914: Europe Goes to War by Max Hastings

This book only covers the first five months of World War I, but those five months were certainly horrendous enough to be worth remembering. The author does not buy into the the subsequent consensus that the war was pointless and not worth the cost; perhaps it never should have been fought, but in his view …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2014/10/12/catastrophe-1914-europe-goes-to-war-by-max-hastings/

Oct 11 2014

The Rise and Fall of Ancient Egypt by Toby Wilkinson

This is probably the best book on ancient Egypt I have read so far. The author is clearly passionate about Egyptian civilization, but he acknowledges its dark side; for all its artistic and architectural achievements, it was a repressive autocracy that cannot have been pleasant for ordinary people to live under. The continuity of this …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2014/10/11/the-rise-and-fall-of-ancient-egypt-by-toby-wilkinson/

Oct 04 2014

The Cider House Rules by John Irving

This is a highly acclaimed novel, but I found it somewhat disappointing. The characters mostly are sweet, uncomplicated people, the kind of people who are nice to know but not very interesting to read about. This is basically the life story of a fictional character, but like the life story of a real person it …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2014/10/04/the-cider-house-rules-by-john-irving/

Oct 02 2014

The Origins of the Second World War by A.J.P. Taylor

The author has done his homework. He marshals volumes of diplomatic correspondence and documentation in support of his argument. But what he ends up with is clearly a reductio ad absurdum. As Tony Judt has pointed out, the conclusion that Hitler was not the primary agent responsible for starting World War II simply defies common …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2014/10/02/the-origins-of-the-second-world-war-by-a-j-p-taylor/

Sep 28 2014

Journey Into the Heart by David Monagan

This is an incredible story. The daring, energy, and optimism of the men who pioneered cardiology in the twentieth century are truly extraordinary. This book focuses primarily on Andreas Gruentzig, the East German cardiologist who developed and refined angioplasty. The story becomes a Greek tragedy as success leads to hubris and hubris leads to nemesis. …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2014/09/28/journey-into-the-heart-by-david-monagan/

Sep 27 2014

Cystic Fibrosis by David Orenstein

Excellent book. I started this book expecting to be depressed by accounts of patients not living past childhood, but it turns out that with currently available medical care patients can expect to live into adulthood and even to old age. They will need regular treatments and may have to make many trips to the hospital …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2014/09/27/cystic-fibrosis-by-david-orenstein/