I am an avid eclectic reader.
I just finished this book and I see in today's newspaper some of the people that are in the book have a grant from the government to build a new firewall. They are to start from the beginning to create a new way of protecting computers instead of patches. Mark Bowden's well written book allowed me to understand the problem and the importance to the new firewall. The conficker worm is the largest most frighting malware I have heard of. This book reads like a sci-fi book only it is all real. The conficker has created the largest bot-net ever seen and no one yet knows what this worm is going to do or when never mind how to stop it. Just imagine what would happen if some one shut down all the Internet traffic and crashed all the computers. This is a great book and Christopher Lane did a good job narrating the story.
The book basic theme is to review and discuss the underlying rules by which societies organize themselves. The book covers from approximately 1806 to date. During this time political institutions, the modern state, rule of law and accountable government developed to a dominant model.
Fukayama divides the book into four sections. 1) The establishment of the modern states 2) Its expansion to other regions of the world 3) the concurrent spread of democracy 4) the degeneration of formerly successful democratic institutions. The author primarily has synthesized the existing literature on the topic and presents it in a readable organized manner even if it is a somewhat academic style. The author is primarily concerned about the functionality of government.
In school I remember studying Aristotle. I remember learning one of his major insights was “the purpose of politics is in not to make living together possible, but to make living well possible.” Whereas Fukuyama suggests that politics has the more limited role of simply enabling innately disputatious humans to live together at all.
I understand Fukayama has written another book entitled “The Origins of Political Order” 2011 and this current book is a continuation of the first book. The first book is over 600 pages so I am not sure I will tackle that book and just allow this second book to satisfy my curiosity about the subject. This book is also a long book just over 24 hours of listening in the audio book format. This book is packed with so much information I will have to read it a number of times to fully process and understand it. Jonathan Davis did a good job narrating the book.
Sandra Day O'Connor reads her own book which in a way adds more to the book. The books chapter are dividend into topic relating to the court. O'Connor chose items that had a major effect on the future course of the court. Such as how the appointment of John Jay as the first Chief Justice effected the court and without him the court may become insignificant. She also told stories about key justices that had major effects good or bad on the court as well as court cases that add to the role or power of the court such as Marbury vs Madison. She told about the justices that were the first like her being the first women, Thurgood Marshall, the first black and L. Brandeis, the first Jewish justice and so. She also pointed out that not all justice were good such as McReynolds who was of the old fashion white southern gentelman. She said he led the court in the most descents and was a races and anti semite and was against every bill FDR put up for the new deal. I found the last section on what the justices did after retirement interesting. They service on the circuit courts and O'Connor rotates around the country serving on the various circuit courts. I also found it interesting what she pointed out about, that at times the dissenting opinion eventually became the law. Great to learn about the court from someone who was on the inside and could provide that little extra insight.