DSD Summer Reading 2018 #1

This is the first in a series of short posts in which members of the Defence Studies Department share what they have been/will be reading this summer. We hope that you’ll be inspired to pick some of the titles up for yourself!


My next writing project is about sex and statecraft, so there’s plenty of reading to do for that – including X and Why, Testosterone Rex, and Anatomy of Violence. Also on the research pile for this project is Dataclysm, by one of the founders of the dating website OKCupid. Swipe right! On the psychology front, I’ve got Martin Seligman’s memoir of his remarkable career in experimental psychology, The Hope Circuit and the brilliant Antonio Damasio’s new book on homeostasis and the mind, The Strange Order of Things.

On the military front, I want to read Richard Overy’s timely book about the Birth of the RAF, published on their centenary. I’m also keen to get to one of JFK’s favourite books, Barbara Tuchman’s Guns of August, much more for what it said to him than for any insight into the origins of the Great War. But it’s summer and so time to read for fun. I want to read Emily Wilson’s acclaimed new translation of the Odyssey, and top of the modern fiction pile is Elizabeth Strout’s Olive Kitteridge. All in all, I’m being wildly optimistic about how long the summer is, as usual. But on the plus side I’m then on sabbatical. See you poolside at my Tuscan villa!

Image via wikimeida commons

2 thoughts on “DSD Summer Reading 2018 #1

  1. Having read Guns of August what struck me was the over optimism of all the protagonists. How you can plan plan and plan again and nothing goes to plan , good read , I’d be interested to know what JFK learned from the book


  2. My current relaxation read (that is, somewhat away from my MPhil/PhD area) is Norman Davies’s very enjoyable ‘Beneath Another Sky’. To be followed by David Edgerton’s ‘The Rise and Fall of the British Nation, John Lewis Gaddis ‘On Grand Strategy’, and Serhii Plokhy’s ‘Chernobyl’. For something lighter, maybe a re-read of some of John Dickson Carr/Carter Dickson’s mysteries – my green Penguin copies all bought in the mid-sixties, but still holding together!


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