Monthly Archives: July 2007

John A. Nagl on Counterinsurgency

July 17, 2007
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John A. Nagl on Counterinsurgency

Lt. Colonel John A. Nagl, author of Learning to Eat Soup with a Knife: Counterinsurgency Lessons from Malaya and Vietnam and contributor to the recently published U.S. Army/Marine Corps Counterinsurgency Field Manual, was the subject of an article in Tuesday’s Manhattan Mercury discussing the counterinsurgency in Iraq. The article focuses on Nagl’s strategies for winning the conflict, which he claims requires a fundamentally different approach than the “conventional large scale World War II search and destroy tactics” that the U.S. military has traditionally employed. Mark Scott writes for the Mercury: Instead must focus on building up the government, economy and security forces of the host nation. This is essentially the approach being used by the United States in Iraq and Afghanistan with the military transition team plan, which embeds American soldiers with Iraqi and Afghan forces to train them to ultimately take over the defense of their country. “These are long, hard, slow wars,” Nagl said. “Ultimate success in Iraq very much depends on the political growth and development of the Iraqi government, which is still enormously young and faces some very severe challenges.” Recently, Nagl has been pushing a proposal for the Army to create a . . .

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Claire Nouvian on the News Hour

July 17, 2007
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Claire Nouvian on the News Hour

The News Hour with Jim Lehrer ran a fascinating piece yesterday featuring author and deep sea explorer Claire Nouvian on her new book, The Deep: The Extraordinary Creatures of the Abyss. Nouvian joins Spencer Michels along with a panel of researchers to discuss the many new species scientists are currently discovering in the deep ocean, and the new techniques that make their discoveries possible. On the News Hour website you can listen to a RealAudio podcast of the discussion, archived video of the show, or view a images of some of the fascinating creatures featured in Nouvian’s book. Combining the latest scientific discoveries with astonishing color imagery, The Deep takes readers on a voyage into the darkest realms of the ocean. Revealing nature’s oddest and most mesmerizing creatures in crystalline detail, The Deep features more than two hundred color photographs of terrifying sea monsters, living fossils, and ethereal bioluminescent creatures, some photographed here for the very first time. Accompanying these breathtaking photographs are contributions from some of the world’s most respected researchers that examine the biology of deep-sea organisms, the ecology of deep-sea habitats, and the history of deep-sea exploration. See our special website for The Deep which includes a . . .

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The Human Animal

July 16, 2007
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The Human Animal

Critic Edward Rothstein begins his “Connections” column in today’s New York Times by mentioning Robert Wilson’s recent staging of Fables de La Fontaine at the Lincoln Center Festival. Featuring a cast of masked half-human, half-animal characters, Rothstein describes the stage adaptation of La Fontaine’s work as an unusual reversal of Aesop’s fables: “Aesop’s animals are nearly human,” writes Rothstein, “La Fontaine’s humans are nearly animals.” But though they might contrast in this respect, both Aesop and Fontaine’s fables seem to agree on the undeniable similarities between human and animal. And in his forthcoming book The Human Animal in Western Art and Science Martin Kemp demonstrates how this blending of the animal with the human is, and has been, a recurring theme throughout western culture. Citing Kemp’s book, Rothstein’s article goes on highlight just how pervasive such depictions of the human-animal really are: We name sports teams after rams or bulls and automobiles after cougars or jaguars. Our language speaks of crocodile tears and fish eyes.…Babies’ rooms, filled with stuffed bears, lions and lambs, are like plush pastoral Edens before the Fall… For adults fables bring the animals and the humans even closer together, with discomforting or startling results, ranging from . . .

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Friday remainders

July 13, 2007
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Friday remainders

Chris Gondek, producer and host of the Invisible Hand Podcast interviewed Ward Farnsworth, author of the recently released The Legal Analyst: A Toolkit for Thinking about the Law, a book that discusses some of the interesting ideas behind our laws that law students think they will encounter in law school, but don’t. We recently noted the debut of the blog No Caption Needed, written by John Louis Lucaites and Robert Hariman, authors of the book with the same name. Lucaites also blogs on BAGnewsNotes, “a progressive blog dedicated to the political picture, and the discussion and analysis of news images.” A recent post by Lucaites, “The Billary Problem,” was picked up by Reuters. Lucaites considers the question: “What do we do with Bill in pictures with Hillary?” Rayyan Al-Shawaf reviewed Fuad I. Khuri’s posthumous memoir, An Invitation to Laughter: A Lebanese Anthropologist in the Arab World last Sunday in the St. Petersburg Times. . . .

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John A. Nagl at the Pritzker Military Library

July 12, 2007
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John A. Nagl at the Pritzker Military Library

Lieutenant Colonel John A. Nagl, author of Learning to Eat Soup with a Knife: Counterinsurgency Lessons from Malaya and Vietnam, will speak this coming Saturday, July 14, at 10:00 am at the Pritzker Military Library in downtown Chicago. According to the library’s website “Nagl, recently returned from Iraq and now commanding a battalion, will share his observations, experiences and thoughts while discussing the recently updated Learning to Eat Soup with a Knife.” (You can read Nagl’s new preface to the book online.) See the Library’s website for more details about the event. Invariably, armies are accused of preparing to fight the previous war. In Learning to Eat Soup with a Knife, Lieutenant Colonel John A. Nagl—a veteran of both Operation Desert Storm and the current conflict in Iraq—considers the now-crucial question of how armies adapt to changing circumstances during the course of conflicts for which they are initially unprepared. Through the use of archival sources and interviews with participants in both engagements, Nagl compares the development of counterinsurgency doctrine and practice in the Malayan Emergency from 1948 to 1960 with what developed in the Vietnam War from 1950 to 1975. Nagl also contributed a foreword to our edition of the . . .

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Caitlin Zaloom on the CBOT/Merc Merger

July 11, 2007
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Caitlin Zaloom on the CBOT/Merc Merger

Caitlin Zaloom, author of Out of the Pits: Traders and Technology from Chicago to London, was featured yesterday on Chicago Public Radio’s Eight Forty-Eight to discuss the merger of the Chicago Board of Trade with the Chicago Mercantile Exchange—a deal that many think is likely to secure Chicago’s place as one of the world’s most important centers for global derivatives trading. In her interview Zaloom goes beyond the numbers to discuss how the merger, and the revolution in the culture of trading it promises, will affect the world’s financial markets and shape everyday life in the new global economy. Listen to the archived audio on the Eight Forty-Eight website. Read an excerpt from Zaloom’s book. . . .

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Poets in the Ether

July 10, 2007
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Poets in the Ether

Prolific literary blogger Marshall Zeringue recently devoted several postings to two fresh voices in Chicago’s Phoenix Poets Series: Peter Campion, author of Other People, and Peg Boyers, author of the recently published Honey with Tobacco. On his blog Writers Read Zeringue invites Campion to discuss some of the books he’s currently reading, offering a great chance to listen in on the literary insights of a pro. Zeringue also takes the time to link to Campion’s work in Slate magazine where Campion has been reprinted as well as made audio recordings of several of his poems from Other People. Zeringue also features Peg Boyers discussing her recent book, Honey with Tobacco, on The Page 69 Test—another blog authored and administrated by Zeringue in which he asks an author to quote and briefly discuss whatever text can be found on page 69 of their book (though he does bend the rules a bit for Boyers, whose book weighs in at a short but sweet 64 pages). You can find out more about Other People and Honey with Tobacco as well as read more excerpts on the UCP website. . . .

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Paul D’Amato at the Stephen Daiter Gallery

July 9, 2007
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Paul D’Amato at the Stephen Daiter Gallery

Photographs by Paul D’Amato are currently on exhibit at the Stephen Daiter Gallery. The show includes some of the work that we published in Barrio: Photographs from Chicago’s Pilsen and Little Village, as well as photographs from a more recent project on Lake Street. In Barrio, D’Amato made the narratives of daily life in Pilsen and Little Village manifest in photographs of children at play, teenagers out in the night, graffiti, families in their homes, gangs in the alleys, weddings, and more. His photos are beautifully composed and startling—visual narratives that are surreal and dreamlike, haunting and mythic. The Stephen Daiter Gallery is at 311 West Superior Street in Chicago. The showing continues through July 28. Also, visit Paul D’Amato’s website. . . .

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On publishing Instructions for American Servicemen in Iraq during World War II

July 6, 2007
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On publishing Instructions for American Servicemen in Iraq during World War II

An Associated Press piece written by their Iraq editor, Brian Murphy, was picked up yesterday by the Olympian in Olympia, Washington. It’s a nifty little story about how we came to publish Instructions for American Servicemen in Iraq during World War II. Publishing is often all about accident and serendipity and Instructions illustrates that in spades. A booklet printed for American soldiers is found sixty-four years later at the Bodleian Library at Oxford University and so brought back into print—the same words, utterly altered by different circumstances. George Packer also takes note of the book on his blog, Interesting Times, on the New Yorker website. . . .

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The world according to Edward Castronova

July 5, 2007
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The world according to Edward Castronova

The Chronicle of Higher Education has an article in the July 6 issue on the recent activities of Edward Castronova in furthering the study of online gaming and virtual worlds. Two years ago we published his book, Synthetic Worlds: The Business and Culture of Online Games. Castronova has been working on several new projects at Indiana University. One is the construction of the online space Arden, a virtual world that draws upon Shakespeare’s works. Castronova “sees Arden as the first virtual environment among many at Indiana that will serve as a ‘petri dish’ for large-scale social-science experiments.… Experiments could involve testing basic economic principles, setting up different political systems, communist or capitalist, and comparing how the communities evolve, or doing an ethnographic study that contrasts people from different parts of the world.” A test experiment will take place in August. Another project is “an unusual academic conference that tries to replicate the enthusiasm and hubbub that people experience playing competitive online games.” Ludium II, the second conference in the series, was held last month. Participants used the role-playing technique of online games to create a set of public policies for virtual worlds. “The group came up with ten policies for . . .

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