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Currently reading

The Sinews of Habsburg Power: Lower Austria in a Fiscal-Military State 1650-1820
William D. Godsey Jr.
Pandora’s Box A History of the First World War
Jörn Leonhard, Patrick Camiller
Progress: 111/1104 pages
The Pursuit of Power: Europe 1815-1914
Richard J. Evans
Progress: 219/928 pages

My summer reading comes into focus

Today's issue of The New York Times Book Review is all about the summer reading, which has me thinking about what I am getting to this summer. I had blogged about this before, but now that summer is actually here I have a better idea of what I'll be tackling.


Unfortunately I made the same mistake as last summer, which is that I've already loaded my reading schedule with too many books for podcasts. I'm trying to rein it in, but I'm also trying to focus it a bit more on books I would like to read regardless. One of them is Jennifer Roberts's new book on the Peloponnesian War, which is a violation of my intention to read Donald Kagan's books on the conflict (I have had his single-volume condensed version for years, and recently I picked up the longer four-volume history in paperback for a song), not to mention Thucydides's classic work about it. But at least this way I can finally start filling in one of the biggest gaps in my knowledge of ancient history -- and even talk to the author about it in the process! As it will likely be my reading over the 4th of July weekend, I'm hoping it's a really engaging one, too.


The other summer reading I'm using my podcast to prioritize is Cathal Nolan's The Allure of Battle. It's a book which argues that we fixate on battles to the detriment of understanding what truly wins wars, which is attrition. On the surface it's not a highly original argument (I encountered it most recently in Kaigun, for which I need write up a review soon), but I am looking forward to reading his analysis and discussing it with a friend of mine who takes issue with the idea.


Beyond that I'm going to focus on some of the books I identified in my previous post, as well as a couple of others i might decide to read in preparation for my fall classes. One project that I suspect will likely fall by the wayside, though, is my plan to take on one of the composer biographies I have waiting to be read. As alluring as they are, they just don't seem to be important or interesting enough to prioritize. C'est mon vie.