Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Listening ideas for 4 May 2011

New Books In History
Francis Fukuyama, “The Origins of Political Order: From Prehuman Times to the French Revolution”
In his excellent The Origins of Political Order: From Prehuman Times to the French Revolution (Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 2011), Francis Fukuyama bucks the trend. Of course, he’s done it before with elegant and persuasive books about the fall of communism, state-building, trust, and biotechnology among other big topics. Here he takes on the emergence of modern political institutions, or rather three modern political institutions: the state, the rule of law, and accountable government. He begins with human nature, takes us through a massive comparison of the political trajectories of world-historical civilizations (Chinese, Indian, Middle Eastern, European), and, in so doing, tells us why the world political order looks the way it does today. His answers are surprising, and not directly in line with what might be called the “conventional thinking” about these things.
(review, feed)

Rear Vision
Popular unrest in Syria has been met with violent government repression and hundreds have been killed. The Alawite elite have ruled a predominantly Sunni Muslim country for more than 40 years.
(review, feed)

Leonard Lopate Show
The Untold Story of Barack Obama's Mother
Award-winning reporter Janny Scott talks about Stanley Ann Dunham, President Barack Obama’s mother. To write A Singular Woman: The Untold Story of Barack Obama's Mother, Scott interviewed nearly 200 of Dunham's friends, colleagues, and relatives (including both her children), and combed through boxes of personal and professional papers, letters to friends, and photo albums, to uncover the full breadth of this independent woman's inspiring and nontraditional life. Scott shows how Dunham shaped the man Obama is today.
(review, feed)