My 2019 Reading List

31/12/2019

Admittedly, I thought I had read more books than the ones on this list, but alas it is much smaller than anticipated when I compiled it. I wasn’t expecting anything huge, and 16 books is still a reasonable feat, in my view, but I can’t help but feel a tinge of disappointment that I didn’t get through more. I would, however, suggest that finishing university and keeping up with news events and analysis probably makes up for that. Nevertheless, these are the books I read this past year, with a few thoughts looking back on them and links to piece that refer to them.

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Biases in Journalism and in History

28/12/2019

I have written before about E. H. Carr’s ideas of the “historian and his facts”, of how history can never be “objective” because there are always things that will influence even the most aware observers. I would put forward that this concept also applies to journalists, who are, in a sense, historians of the moment in which they report.

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Media Hasn’t Really Changed: Colonial Tasmania

28/12/2019

I am currently reading The Vandemonian War by Nick Brodie. As always, when I learn more about Australia’s history involving the Indigenous peoples, I grow more and more disappointed with the shallow understanding that our education system throws at countless disinterested students. But I’ve written about that already, and there was a small point Brodie made about the press coverage that made me chuckle – rather cynically – at the parallels to today.

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Rethinking Camelot: A Reflection

02/12/2019

Interpretation of Historical Fact

Camelot is the myth that surrounds John F. Kennedy, the hero of the American people during a Presidency cut too short by a malicious assassination that changed America’s and the world’s future forever, specifically in relation to Vietnam and the Cold War. This myth, still peddled by many today, perhaps more so given the growing years between us and the events that took place, is nothing more than that – a collation of numerous accounts that all rely on a complete dismissal of fact.

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What School History Doesn’t Teach: The Vietnam War

29/11/2019

I never took modern history in high school, but from what we were taught in the junior years and from what friends who did take that subject told me, what we learned was an extremely watered down and pretty much propagandistically pro-West depiction. I can’t speak for the US education system, but I can only assume that US exceptionalism is a fundamental part of any history taught in school. There are a few examples one could use, but the Vietnam War is probably the most damning.

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Reflecting on Old Reflections: Lenin and the Russian Revolution

23/11/2019

Earlier this year, I read Lenin and the Russian Revolution by Christopher Hill, which was a rather old and small book that is very much an introduction to the revolution and to Lenin himself. At the time I also wrote a couple of pieces on my thoughts about it, thoughts which, with further reading and understanding, are worth revisiting in an exercise of revision. While the general thrust of each of the pieces is still solid, my view of Lenin has changed drastically – for the worse.

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Addressing Modern Slavery: A Reflection Pt.1

02/11/2019

I am currently reading Addressing Modern Slavery by Justine Nolan and Martijn Boersma, and it’s a shocking read. Not shocking in the sense that we don’t know it exists – everyone should know that it not only exists, but many of our choices as consumers are intimately linked with this wretched reality. No, that slavery exists isn’t revelatory – but many of the stories and statistics, the main one being that there are over 40M slaves worldwide, are heartbreaking. And very little is being done about it. But that shouldn’t surprise anyone either.

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Brexit Will Never End: What About a Global Community Instead?

20/10/2019

The Brexit farce that has ensnared the UK for over three years is coming to yet another apparent deadline, which doesn’t really mean much because no matter what the results of Johnson’s new miracle deal turn out to be, it won’t end there. In the EU or not, Brexit will shape the political and societal future of the UK for many years to come.

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The Human Scope of the Universe

17/10/2019

If there is one thing that I am constantly amazed by each and every day, it is the utter ignorance of the human race and the minute perception and scale we have of the universe and time. Everyone, particularly people my age and younger who don’t remember a time before digital technology being the norm, can’t seem to imagine life without modern technologies like the Internet, for example. And that’s just the technological aspect.

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QAnon: Who Are They, and What’s the Connection to Scott Morrison?

15/10/2019

I had heard of this group before and pretty much instantly passed them off as a small group of conspiracy nutcases making disproportionate amounts of noise over nothing of substance. My opinion of them and their ideas has not changed at all, but they have come up again in select (read independent) parts of the Australian media, specifically because of recently surfaced ties between a prominent member of the online group and Scott Morrison.

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