I am an avid eclectic reader.
With the world in such a mess today it is refreshing to read of a time that the impossible managed to happen. In 1977 President Jimmy Carter saw an opportunity to fulfill his religious destiny by bringing peace to the Holy Land. Rosalynn Carter was the one to suggested using Camp David as an ideal location for a summit. The talks started on September 5 1978.
Carter had his hands full. Israeli Prime Minister Meacham Begin never loosened his tier, nor did his mind stray from the horror of the Holocaust. He was an avid Zionist. Sadat secluded himself from everyone including his own advisors. Carter under estimated the complexity of the situation. Carter believed they could reach an agreement in three days. It took thirteen days instead. Both parties threaten to walk out daily. Carter ran back and forth between them working on a compromise. Carter forgot all his duties and concentrated all his efforts for the thirteen days on brokering an agreement. Wright concludes that it was Carter’s leadership that was the key to the success of the Accords. As a party to the negotiations Carter allowed each side to make concessions to the United States that they couldn’t make to each other. Both Begin and Sadat took extraordinary risks that achieved the peach that last today. Wright reminds us that Carter’s Camp David Accords was an act of surpassing political courage. He won the treaty but lost the presidency.
On the negative side the author’s favoritism toward Carter and Sadat comes through the story clearly. Wright makes some unnecessary remarks about Begin; I feel was inappropriate under the circumstances.
The author has done an excellent job meticulously piecing together from presidential records, diaries, interviews and books on the subject to create this most interesting book. Wright is a Pulitzer Prize winning author. Begin and Sadat received the Nobel Prize for Peace for reaching the Camp David Accords. This peace has now lasted for the past 36 years. Mark Bramhall did an excellent job narrating the book. If you are interested in history of the Middle East this is a must read book.
Until I read this short book I did not know much about Yew except that he took over Singapore after World War II and is the founding father of modern Singapore. Yew was Prime Minister from 1959-1990.
Graham Allison and Robert Blackwell two leading strategic thinkers asked Yew questions and also put together information from his voluminous writings and speeches. The book is mainly in a question and answer format, the result is this concise, but important book.
I found myself engrossed in the incisive wisdom presented by Yew. I really enjoyed the following comment in the book. “China tells us that countries big and small are equal, that it is not a hegemon; but when we do something they do not like, they say you have made 1.3 billion people unhappy. So please know your place.” When asked if India will match China’s rise? Yew said “Not likely, India is not a real country. Instead, it is 32 separate nations that happen to be arrayed along the British rail line.” I think Yew’s comments about China are right on the mark. When asked by the authors will China accept its place within the postwar order created by the United States? Yew answered, “No. It is China’s intention to become the greatest power in the world—and to be accepted as China, not as an honorary member of the West.” One comment he made has got my attention. Yew said “The United States focuses on individual rights but has failed to pair this with individual responsibility.
Yew is 90 years old and his comments on the United States are pertinent to many of the debates in which we are enmeshed today. This book has triggered my interest to learn more about this most insightful man. Michael McConnohie and Francis Chau narrated the book.
This is an interesting book written in a way to provoke thought. Sheri Fink, M.D., Ph.D. did a fairly good job of trying to present the facts in an unbiased way. Fink did a good job in demonstrating the lack of preparedness of the hospital, city, county, state and federal agencies as well as individuals in New Orleans. How many of you reading this book has a plan for your home and family for various disasters you might face? How many of you practice disaster/fire drills with your family? To carry this one step further does your neighborhood have a plan and do you run drills? Fink pointed out in the book all members of a community should participate in discussion, plans to meet the needs for your community instead of a group of expert decide for you. Fink did a good job describing the feelings of the various individual she presented in the book and how they handled the situation. The difference between the Charity Hospital and the more affluent hospital handling the same situation was illuminating. I like the ending of the book and the comparison of what happened with Hurricane Sandy and the New York hospital and their actions knowing what happened in New Orleans. Kirsten Potter did a good job narrating the book. Disasters and pandemics will occur we need to think about this issues Fink bought up in this book and be prepared.