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Reference: BackChannels Library Page

My library contains about 2,000 volumes.

Should I ever get it into a house (life’s not looking so good for that at the moment), I should like to have it in one room or continuously spanning one serious load bearing wall.  Here in the apartment they’re arrayed over the studs one to three bookcases along sections of wall.

So far, so good.

I’ve gone to Kindle, which is not bad for curiosity but awfully bad for the disposition of even a small (the smallest) estate in books, and I may revert to collecting hardcovers.

While I mull that, I thought I would share here with readers a portion of what’s been imported in areas relevant to light commentary on politics.  Were the funds available, say through a big fat fairy tale of a grant (but maybe there are angels), I would have an assistant work up cards and key them for a while.  As it is, if I add a few volumes a week, just a couple at a time, that might do as well.

While items listed are here, not everything listed has been read (the infamous  “RAT” is still sitting stealthily on a speaker cabinet beside the television), and not everything read has been remembered; however, I have out of necessity become more careful about quality time with books, the distractions posed by the Internet, especially Facebook, having become so fragmenting and time consuming.

In fact, I have here the habits of a way of life, but it’s a scrambling and scrapping information-bound way of life, shifting gears always between the academic and the personal, the chatyping session on the social network and the research-and-typing session that turns out a post, and the concerns of an author (would-be, wannabe, maybe is) and those of the guy who lives in “real space” after all.  Apart from the nifty act of hauling a cogent quote onto a blog or into online chat, I’ve always found reading among the most calming and focusing of activities.

With a library in the home — not a lonesome bookcase in the squire’s office but rather 20 bookcases packed and packed along from grade school to graduate school (and sprinkled with inheritance: my father’s Durant and Le Carre collections are here, for example) and assembled for a dime on the dollar from thrift shops — it’s good not to always have too much burden in the way of other distractions and indulgences.

There’s not too much on the page as I type here this Tuesday afternoon in late January, only mention of five volumes, but there’s more where they came from.


Servadio, Gaia.  Mafioso.New York: Stein and Day, 1976.


Political Psychology

Fromm, Erich.  The Anatomy of Human Destructiveness.  New York: Holt, Rinehart, and Winston, 1973.

Post, Jerrold M.  Leaders and Their Followers in a Dangerous World: The Psychology of Political Behavior.  Forward by Alexander L. George.  Ithica: Cornell Universty Press, 2004.

Regions and States


Cohen, Stephen Philip.  The Idea of Pakistan.  Washington, D.C.: Brookings Institution Press, 2004.

Rashid, Ahmed.  Descent Into Chaos: The United States and the Failure of Nation Building in Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Central Asia.  New York: Viking, 2008.