Niall Ferguson's essential books about WW2

The Harvard Crimson recently published a series of celebrity lists as the year 2006 wound down. Among them, history professor and fast-talking author Niall Ferguson offered his take on the "Ten Essential Books on World War II." I have read only two of the books on the list (the famous novels at the end), so it looks like I have one more college syllabus to tackle:

1. Sword of Honour (1965) - Evelyn Waugh
2. Life and Fate: A Novel (1985) - Vasily Grossman, Transl. Robert Chandler
3. War Diaries, 1939–1945 (2001) - Field-Marshal Lord Alanbrooke , Ed. Alex Danchev and , Daniel Todman
4. Eastern Approaches (1949) -Fitzroy Maclean
5. The Recollections of Rifleman Bowlby (1999) - Alex Bowlby
6. To the Bitter End: The Diaries of Victor Klemperer, 1942–45 (1999) - Victor Klemperer , Transl. Martin Chalmers 7. Kaputt (2005) - Curzio Malaparte, Transl. Cesare Foligno
8. The Stalin Organ (1955) - Gerd Ledig , Transl. Michael Hofmann
9. Slaughterhouse-five: (1970) - Kurt Vonnegut
10. The Naked and the Dead (1949) - Norman Mailer


Doh! Forgetting our history again in fighting the war on terror

I doubt that Charles "Cully" Stimson is familiar with the particulars of the 1770 Boston Massacre. During an interview broadcast Thursday on Federal News Radio, Stimson, who is a lawyer, named and criticized several U.S. law firms that have represented "enemy combatants" detained at the Guatanamo Bay base.
According to a Washington Post editorial on Friday, Stimson challenged the heads of major corporations to find out if their legal firms were involved in defending detainees. He predicted:
"I think, quite honestly, when corporate CEOs see that those firms are representing the very terrorists who hit their bottom line back in 2001, those CEOs are going to make those law firms choose between representing terrorists or representing reputable firms."

who has the pacific-sounding title of "deputy assistant secretary of defense of detainee affairs," is a former U.S. attorney and graduated from George Mason University School of Law in 1992. But I think he needs to pick up a copy of David McCullough's wonderful biography of John Adams. There he would learn that Adams, a committed patriot and later a leading proponent of independence from Great Britain, served as the defense counsel for the redcoat soldiers and officer accused of shooting down five colonists. Despite the fervor for British blood in the streets of Boston, Adams took the case because he believed the soldiers deserved a fair trial, and that it was his duty as a lawyer to provide his services when asked. Now if Cully Stimson believes that John Adams is a bad role model for lawyers and patriotic Americans, he should say so directly. Otherwise he shows his ignorance of both his profession and his country's great history.


Me and you on YouTube

Riding the lip of the tech wave requires constant surfing of the virtual kind. Twelve years ago the web browser Netscape overtook Mosaic just as the search engine Altavista later gave way to Google. Flash memory jumped from 128 MB to 6 GBs in the space of two years, all tucked into the palm of your hand. Podcasts were fresh for about 12 months until videoblogs and YouTube made them passe. What lies ahead? Bill Gates and Steve Jobs are competing to place a single computing unit in your family room that will link to consoles in your bedroom, kitchen, basement, and study. Internet content will enter your house over traditional electrical grid and follow the wires to outlets in every room. Netflix faces obsolescence when Internet bandwidth expands enough to allow movies and music to be downloaded in the span of minutes. These rapid transitions and leap-frogs of technology and usability will not stop anytime soon. That is the reason why I'm uploading the Backpacker.com videos to YouTube as well as the magazine's website. Print publications are caught in a sprint race to the Web right now--except that no one knows when or where the race will end. Creating original content and growing audiences are the keys to winning the race. In this sense, the contest resembles the battle fought by Hotmail, AOL, Yahoo, and Excite to corner the email address market in the late 1990s. Many start this race but only a few will win. In five years--when 2012 rolls around--we'll see what the results tell us. After all, five years ago, in early 2002, the 5GB iPod was a few months old, and Google was hardly a household word, let alone a $500 stock.