Nicolas loves to read History and Science Fiction, when he is not working. He also enjoys children's literature, being a former children's librarian. The picture you see is not him, but one of his favorite historical figures.
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The Rise of Athens: The Story of the World's Greatest Civilization By Anthony Everitt Cover Image
ISBN: 9780812994582
Availability: Special Order - Subject to Availability
Published: Random House - December 6th, 2016

As the birthplace of democracy, Athens has a sacred place in the Western political imaginations. However, Athens had an on and off relationship with the democratic system, playing host to oligarchies and empires, and eventually being subjugated by the ambitions of Alexander the Great. Through the political history of Athens, we can see the strengths and weaknesses of a purely democratic state. One that required constant civic participation from each citizen, but one that could also turn on its greatest men when they failed to live up to expectations. A state that could make leaders of ordinary men, but one that was easy prey for demagogues. Athens provides a unique lesson in the perils and strengths of the democratic system, which makes it worth a read in the year of one of the most contentious elections in US history.

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1177 B.C.: The Year Civilization Collapsed By Eric H. Cline, Eric H. Cline (Afterword by) Cover Image
By Eric H. Cline, Eric H. Cline (Afterword by)
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ISBN: 9780691168388
Availability: Out of Print
Published: Princeton University Press - September 22nd, 2015

The Bronze Age continues to mystify many people and seems, much like the Roman Empire or Song China, like something vague and shadowy. The only civilization most of us are familiar with from this period is the Egyptians! Author Eric Cline does a great job at enabling the reader to draw parallels to an age which is similar to our own (international trade, multi-polar, etc.), despite the passage of millennia. When the world essentially collapses (spoilers!), that similarity made me stop and think about how that could happen to our modern international system. A fascinating read with a great deal of relevance to the current world.

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The Smartest Guys in the Room: The Amazing Rise and Scandalous Fall of Enron By Bethany McLean, Peter Elkind, Joe Nocera (Foreword by) Cover Image
ISBN: 9781591846604
Availability: Backordered
Published: Portfolio - November 26th, 2013

It may seem odd to write a recommendation for a 13 year old book that covers a 16 year old financial disaster, but Enron is a special case. Much like the Columbine shooting, Enron is subject to persistent myths that shape how the public views the disaster even today. Enron's fall was not the product of the two mustache twirling villains, Jeff Skilling and Andy Fastow, tying investors to the tracks until they get hit by the train. It is a much more complex tale of market greed and inflated expectations, lax regulation and ethical lapses. The Smartest Guys in the Room presents a the tale in a way that lays (no pun intended) bare the complex and disturbing truth of what happens when corporations game the system, the market rewards them, and the government won't stop them. A cautionary tale for our times.