In The Big Sort (Mariner, $15.95) Bill Bishop paints a surprising portrait of the demographics of the United States today. While we think of ourselves as increasingly ethnically diverse, Bishop convincingly argues that we are populated more by disparate homogenous communities than at any time in our history. Large numbers of us have highly sensitive cultural antennae that inform us whether we are with “our kind.” High in the ratings that define that “kind” are lifestyle choices: where we live, where we shop, where we vacation.  Yes, it’s true that customers who shop at Books-A-Million in Alexandria are different from customers who shop at Politics and Prose, and because we are so tightly contained in our clustered communities, we are more foreign to each other than ever before.  Bishop’s snapshot of America is fascinating but troubling.

The Big Sort: Why the Clustering of Like-Minded American is Tearing Us Apart Cover Image
ISBN: 9780547237725
Availability: Not On Our Shelves—Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Mariner Books - May 11th, 2009

Ramo is an economist who has ruminated through many think tanks and is now the managing director of Kissinger Associates, a geostrategic advisory firm. Quite in keeping with the subject of his alarmingly-titled book, Ramo is also a competitive aerobatic pilot. What begins as the foreboding argument that destabilization is inevitable, and even necessary, becomes a case for radical new ways of thinking—new ways of “thinking” that are ambiguously “unthinkable.”  Such innovative thought processes involve phenomena like power physics and mashups, a kind of perspective shared by artists, such as Picasso’s concept of Cubism or Anselm Kiefer’s painting, Deutchslands Geisteshelden; or the science of Danish physicist Per Bak.  The latter struggled with the limits of language to describe the states of “organized instability” he encountered in his work; he was confronting nonlinear science, which moves from the unthinkable to the indescribable.  Baffling? Yes.  Incomprehensible? No.

The Age of the Unthinkable: Why the New World Disorder Constantly Surprises Us And What We Can Do About It Cover Image
ISBN: 9780316118118
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Published: Back Bay Books - June 2nd, 2010

A first-rate history of how the Cold War was conducted. As World War II ended, the two former allies immediately began to look upon each other with suspicion. Many events converged that pushed the U.S. and the USSR apart. Truman had little patience with Russia; he did not understand the effect of the terrible losses the Soviets had incurred during the War. (For every American killed, there were 27 Russian deaths—almost 12 million.) In any case, Stalin was a paranoid maniac. What Sheehan has done is to concentrate on one aspect of containment: building the anti-ballistic missile shield as a defense against the Soviet bomb. He focuses on some of the brilliant characters involved in the decision to build and man missiles, such as the lead scientists, Johnny Von Neuman, a Hungarian refugee, fiercely anti-Soviet and a brilliant physicist; and Werner von Braun, a completely amoral, former rocket-builder for Hitler. The center of the book is Bernard Schriever, who immigrated from Germany as a child, became a brilliant golfer, and a flier in the Air Force. This thoroughly decent man, a protégé of Hap Arnold, fought Curtis LeMay to build a defense rather than bank on an offensive program.

A Fiery Peace in a Cold War: Bernard Schriever and the Ultimate Weapon Cover Image
ISBN: 9780679745495
Availability: Not On Our Shelves—Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Vintage - October 5th, 2010