It’s not too late to start a new book. And if you need a good idea or two, here are a few that Utah’s politicos are reading.
This is the sixth in the series on what Utah’s politicians have on their summer reading lists.
Representative Dan McCay represents Utahs 41st legislative district. He lives Riverton in Salt Lake County. His automatic reply to emails is one of the funniest I’ve received, so do me a favor and shoot him an email. He reads them all.
Dan McCay’s Summer Reading List
For years we’ve been inundated with bleak forecasts about the future. But in this electrifying new book, author Byron Reese debunks the pessimistic outlook as dangerous, and shows instead how technology will soon create a dramatically better world for every person on earth, beyond anything we have dared to imagine.
With the art of a storyteller, Reese synthesizes history, technology, and sociology into an exciting, fast-moving narrative that shows how technological change has had dramatic effects on humanity in the past. He then looks forward at the technological changes we know are coming–from genetics, nanotechnology, robotics, and many other fields–and explores how they will vastly increase wealth, prolong our lifespans, redefine human rights, and alter the social fabric of the world.
Reese explains how the Internet, human ingenuity, and technological innovation will help us forever end the five historic plagues of human existence: ignorance, disease, poverty, hunger, and war. With a rational and researched optimism, Reese sees the future not as a world in a downward spiral, but as destined for progress beyond our imaginations.
As Reese looks forward, he notes that ”we are gaining speed, not winding down. We are blooming, not withering, as we leverage the greatest natural resource on the planet: the human mind.”
The future of Earth’s inhabitants has never been brighter. If you want to get excited about the future, then this is the book for you.
A panoramic narrative, What Hath God Wrought portrays revolutionary improvements in transportation and communications that accelerated the extension of the American empire. Railroads, canals, newspapers, and the telegraph dramatically lowered travel times and spurred the spread of information. These innovations prompted the emergence of mass political parties and stimulated America’s economic development from an overwhelmingly rural country to a diversified economy in which commerce and industry took their place alongside agriculture. In his story, the author weaves together political and military events with social, economic, and cultural history. Howe examines the rise of Andrew Jackson and his Democratic party, but contends that John Quincy Adams and other Whigs–advocates of public education and economic integration, defenders of the rights of Indians, women, and African-Americans–were the true prophets of America’s future. In addition, Howe reveals the power of religion to shape many aspects of American life during this period, including slavery and antislavery, women’s rights and other reform movements, politics, education, and literature. Howe’s story of American expansion culminates in the bitterly controversial but brilliantly executed war waged against Mexico to gain California and Texas for the United States.
Washington: The Indispensable Man by James Thomas Flexner
The Washington on these pages is no marble statue or picture on a dollar bill. He is a youth forced to earn his way in the wilderness to gain entry to a world of privilege. A young war hero secretly brooding over the costly errors of his inexperience. An honorable husband deeply in love with a woman not his wife. A man of property siding with the dispossessed in rebellion against the Crown. . .
Robert Morris: Financier of the American Revolution by Charles Rappleye
In this biography, the acclaimed author of Sons of Providence, winner of the 2007 George Wash- ington Book Prize, recovers an immensely important part of the founding drama of the country in the story of Robert Morris, the man who financed Washington’s armies and the American Revolution.
Morris started life in the colonies as an apprentice in a counting house. By the time of the Revolution he was a rich man, a commercial and social leader in Philadelphia. He organized a clandestine trading network to arm the American rebels, joined the Second Continental Congress, and financed George Washington’s two crucial victories—Valley Forge and the culminating battle at Yorktown that defeated Cornwallis and ended the war.
The leader of a faction that included Benjamin Franklin, Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and Washington, Morris ran the executive branches of the revolutionary government for years. He was a man of prodigious energy and adroit management skills and was the most successful businessman on the continent. He laid the foundation for public credit and free capital markets that helped make America a global economic leader. But he incurred powerful enemies who considered his wealth and influence a danger to public “virtue” in a democratic society.
After public service, he gambled on land speculations that went bad, and landed in debtors prison, where George Washington, his loyal friend, visited him.
This once wealthy and powerful man ended his life in modest circumstances, but Rappleye restores his place as a patriot and an immensely important founding father.
Les Misérables, Abriged by Victor Hugo
Amazon summary (in case you’ve never heard of this AWESOME epic, in which case you should be reading it, too):
A monumental classic and one of the most widely read novels in history, Les Misérables portrays the epic struggle between good and evil in the soul of one man: Jean Valjean. In a world brutalized by poverty and ignorance, the ex-convict struggles to renew his life and reaffirm his humanity. But he is haunted, both by his seemingly inescapable past and the malignant shadow of the infamous police detective Javert.
Rich in detail, packed with adventure, and filled with the sweep of human passions, Les Misérables is more than a literary masterpiece—it remains a powerful social document. Dedicated to the poor, the oppressed, and the misunderstood, this captivating novel captures the impossible societal layers—and the essence of life—as it truly existed in nineteenth-century France.
This fine edition features the renowned original translation and a sensitive abridgment.
David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants by Malcolm Gladwell
Three thousand years ago on a battlefield in ancient Palestine, a shepherd boy felled a mighty warrior with nothing more than a stone and a sling, and ever since then the names of David and Goliath have stood for battles between underdogs and giants. David’s victory was improbable and miraculous. He shouldn’t have won.
Or should he have?
In David and Goliath, Malcolm Gladwell challenges how we think about obstacles and disadvantages, offering a new interpretation of what it means to be discriminated against, or cope with a disability, or lose a parent, or attend a mediocre school, or suffer from any number of other apparent setbacks.
Gladwell begins with the real story of what happened between the giant and the shepherd boy those many years ago. From there, David and Goliath examines Northern Ireland’s Troubles, the minds of cancer researchers and civil rights leaders, murder and the high costs of revenge, and the dynamics of successful and unsuccessful classrooms—all to demonstrate how much of what is beautiful and important in the world arises from what looks like suffering and adversity.
The Tuttle Twins Learn About the Law by Connor Boyack
Until now, freedom-minded parents had no educational material to teach their children the concepts of liberty. The Tuttle Twins series of books helps children learn about political and economic principles in a fun and engaging manner. With colorful illustrations and a fun story, your children will follow Ethan and Emily as they learn about liberty!