What to get the folks on your Christmas list? Victor Davis Hanson recommends:
Donald Kagan’s recently released Thucydides: The Reinvention of History is a different and much-welcomed take on the greatest of Western historians. Kagan, in methodical fashion, shows Thucydidean primacy in establishing history as a discipline — but then demonstrates how Thucydides’s own conclusions are not only often eccentric and at odds with popular consensus, but even contrary to the historian’s own evidence earlier adduced in his history. A fascinating read, whose implications go well beyond the Peloponnesian War.
Lord Mahon’s The Life of Belisarius (written in 1829, when the author, Philip Henry Stanhope, Fifth Earl of Stanhope, was 24) remains an unappreciated classic. It is based (and footnoted) on close readings of ancient sources, and written in a beautiful 19th-century prose, full of antitheses and irony. That said, the story of Belisarius is riveting — not merely his amazing victories against all odds throughout the Mediterranean, but because of Belisarius’s selfless loyalty to his emperor, Justinian, who never quite earned the devotion and brilliance of his best and most loyal general.
I don’t know much about electronics. But in one 24-hour period two weeks ago, I used my beat-up iPhone as a flashlight to find the door key, a wristwatch, an alarm clock, a GPS system to navigate through southern California, an Internet surf machine, an e-mailer, a phone, a weather station, and a calculator — and those are just the basic tools that I can figure out.