Modern History Related Reading (Summer 2018)

A mix of modern history related reading (some of which are actually novels set in modern historical context), that have enjoyed:

  1. The Churchill Factor – How One Man Made History, Boris Johnson. A rumbling romp of a read. (Amazon)
  2. Hirohito and the Making of Modern Japan, Herbert P. Bix What was surprising to me was just how involved he was in operational details.  (Amazon)
  3. 1944 – FDR and the Year that Changed History, Jay Wink.  A fantastic book. Absolutely gripping. (Amazon)
  4. American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer, Kay Bird. The story of gifted, sensitive, complex man. (Amazon)
  5. The Dead Hand – The Untold Story of the Cold War Arms Race, David E. Hoffman. How close we came to oblivion on many occasions. This is by far the most detailed book of the Soviet side of the arms race in technology terms.  (Amazon)
  6. Churchill’s Hour – A Novel of Defiance, Michael Dobbs. Dobbs has done an adequate job telling a fantastic story, with a reasonable degree of accuracy. Perhaps one for the beach. (Amazon)
  7. The Railway Man, Max Lomax. A remarkable tale. (Amazon)
  8. The Doomsday Machine, Daniel Ellsberg. What really comes through here is not just the Mathematical detail of the thinking, but the sense in which they have built this state-machine, which is way out of control. (Amazon)
  9. Yalta – The Price of Peace, Serhii Plokhy. A heavy read but well worth it for those interested in the origins of the Cold War. (Amazon)
  10. The Guns of August, Barbara W. Tuchman. That we know how it ends makes it all the more painful from the first page onwards. (Amazon)


Favourite Films

Okay so this follows an interesting late night dinner conversation. Hot on the heels of that is my absolute list of Top 20 favourite films. For now at least. Helpfully one hopes, with the relevant iTunes links where possible:

  1. The Shawshank Redemption. A haunting story of the strength of the human spirit (iTunes)
  2. Touching the Void. Perhaps one of the best mountaineering adventure stories of all time (iTunes)
  3. Heat. Crime. Big artistic shots of LA (iTunes)
  4. Shiri. From 1999 and an early global breakout for Korean cinema. Artistic. Stylish. Irrepressibly violent (IMDb)
  5. Gattaca. That it remains stylish to this day, 20 years later, says a lot (iTunes)
  6. Ronin. Works on many levels. None the least the fantastic scenes of the French Riviera (iTunes)
  7. Sliding Doors. Not only is Gwyneth Paltrow glowingly optimistic, but this movie is wonderful at conjuring up the different paths life can take, pivoting as it does on seemingly small events (iTunes)
  8. The Quiet American. Quite a lot about this adaptation of Graham Greene’s view of the American view stays true to this day (iTunes)
  9. Twelve O’Clock High. As memory serves, this movie is actually used in a leadership class at Harvard Business School. Quite right too (iTunes)
  10. Dr. Strangelove. Insane, logical, and fantastic (iTunes)
  11. Atomic Blonde. A recent addition to the list. Wonderfully snap shots the perhaps forgotten sense of depression, and of things falling apart, in the late 1980s. Great music too (iTunes)
  12. Flight. Robert Zemeckis is trying to say something here. Worth a watch (iTunes)
  13. The Insider. A whistleblowers story that says much beyond that (iTunes)
  14. The English Patient. A classic. Love, adventure, and broken hearts, in the desert (iTunes)
  15. Crimson Tide. A Big Movie. Leadership and character (iTunes)
  16. Dirty Dancing. For the sound track alone. It just makes one happy (iTunes)
  17. Margin Call. A statement on capitalism. In this humble writer’s view, under appreciated (iTunes)
  18. The Remains of the Day. Hopkins and Thompson’s wonderful rendering of Ishiguro’s best seller (iTunes)
  19. The Thin Red Line. Epic. Brutal. Clinically captures the Pacific Theatre War, and in so doing sheds a glimpse on the human spirit (iTunes)
  20. Apollo 13. If we could do all that in 1970 one, at times, wonders, what on earth are we doing today? (iTunes)

A decent coffee shop a button away

Not strictly a review of a coffee shop but useful, one hopes. The short version. It would be neat to have a button on the front of one’s iPhone that could pop up a screen suggesting decent coffee shops in walking distance, like this:

One could then press it and get, e.g. this:

The application Workflow achieves this. It’s great. Once the app is installed once needs to install a ‘workflow’ for the coffee location. The iOS version can be found here, with the link below it being the specific utility to locate the coffee shops:

Workflow by Apple

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