Lucian M. Ashworth By: Lucian M. Ashworth
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28 May 2020 : Pandemic Rereads: a lockdown project

One effect of the pandemic lockdown is that I am spending a lot longer in my study at home than I used to. With my office at work now out of bounds (and having only been able to snatch about 20 monographs and two piles of papers before the building was closed), I began to take more notice of the many books on my study shelves that I had not read in (gulp!) decades.

Since my spouse has been working throughout the lockdown, and both of my children are teenagers, I have had a lot of time to look at these home bookshelves while I finished off emergency remote teaching, online supervision, and some overdue research projects. During one moment in early May I had a sudden thought that it would be a good idea to reread some of these books, even if it was to find out why they had been left unread. Why had they never graduated to the more public venue of my Department office? I also thought it would be a good idea to write up a review of each book on my blog (here).

As of today I have completed two 'Pandemic Rereads'. The first was on Hayek's Road to Serfdom (here), the second on Adda Bozeman's Politics and Culture in International History (here). In both cases I did end up being less than complimentary, which probably explains why they have not been read for decades. Because there has been so much water under the bridge since both were written, I did gain a better appreciation for where both fit into the broader history of international thought. I am now on to my third book for the series (no spoilers!).

I had chosen the first two books because I thought they and the authors would be different. Yet, once I had read them both I realized that the authors had much in common: one commonality was that they were both emigres from continental Europe. Now I realize that the third book I am reading for the series is also written by a European emigre.

I think I am going to have to work on getting some more diversity into my selection.

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