James Gleick in “The Information: A History, a Theory, a Flood” seeks to place information in historical context. To accomplish that he opens the book by discussing the advent of drumming, signals, telegraph, telephone and the computer. A most interesting section contains an explanation of how Babbage invented the first computer and how it worked. In the subsequent portion he relates how information theorists worked on the coding, decoding, and re-coding of information. The final chapters link such as DNA , and quantum mechanics to information. It is this last portion of the book that was the most thought provoking for me. This book is wonderful as history, stimulating as philosophy, and a fine introduction to theoretical aspects of the topic. The reading of Rob Shapiro is excellent.
With the extraction of Osama bin Laden, there has been a recent interest in special forces. One of the most engaging of books in this genre is Eric Haney’s Inside Delta Force. Haney, a founding member of the Delta Force, tells the story of how he was recruited, chosen, trained and survived grueling service in the unit. Of particular interest is Haney’s description of the 1980 aborted Iranian hostage rescue attempt. The book is filled with insight, humor, practical information, and great descriptions. This is a wonderfully engaging, positive book. The reading of Robertson Dean is an excellent addition.
Published in 2008, I am just now getting around to Ronald Kessler’s The Terrorist Watch. In this book, Kessler brings us up to speed on what has changed in security intelligence since 9/11. Readers are taken inside the FBI and CIA and given glimpses into what has been happening in the White House since then. This is really a revealing and exciting read. Every page has insights fully worth the effort. That said, readers who come to the Bush Administration with preconceived notions about how the War on Terror was carried out during his terms, might feel a little uncomfortable. Kessler’s position on media coverage of the War on Terror also might inflame some. However, the book still has a great deal to say about how we reacted, what the Government is doing to secure our security, and the implications of 9/11. The publication date is 2008, but the book is no less relevant still. The reading of Alan Sklar is well done.
Say something about yourself!
The CIA at it's best -- this is the book on which the award nominated film is based. Makes you proud that in the middle of a bureaucratic mess, there are individuals who think creatively and have the skills and courage to pull of some really audacious stuff to protect us all.