Category Archives: Amazon.Com

DuoLingo, the free language-learning app that’s addictive and fun

In mid-December, Apple named Duolingo—a piece of language-learning software—its 2013 iPhone app of the year. Since then, I swear every native English speaker of my acquaintance has suddenly begun guten tag-ing, buongiorno-ing, and comment ça va-ing. I myself have been habla-ing Español for the past three weeks, with Duolingo as my guide. Verdict so far? ¡Excelente, mis amigos! Until we genetically engineer the Babel fish that Douglas Adams envisioned in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Duolingo may be our best bet for a global uptick in inter-lingual understanding. The app currently teaches Spanish, French, Italian, German, and Portuguese to English speakers, and teaches English to speakers of those languages plus Dutch, Russian, Hungarian, and Turkish, with more on the way.

DuoLingo, the free language-learning app that’s addictive and fun.

Foretold: …inspired by actual events and ancient prophecies | Amazon.Com

A terrorist plot to blow up the government’s high-level nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, threatens to fulfill a Hopi prophecy that this world will be destroyed by poison rain.

Only the rebellious daughter of a Hopi clan leader, the maverick U.S. Army officer she once loved and lost, and a shaman with supernatural powers, challenge the threatened disaster and join forces to save America from being buried under a massive cloud of radioactive fallout—the poison rain in the Hopi prophecy.
But first they must unravel the mysteries of Yucca Mountain as well as the terrorist’s identity, while the shaman seeks salvation on a vision quest and enlists the spirit world to help them in their dangerous journey.

FORETOLD is the timely story of the fight to stop a fanatical terrorist from creating an explosion on American soil 10,000 times more deadly than Chernobyl—a very real danger that faces America today.

And woven throughout the twists and turns, setbacks and suspense of this adventure is the mystical culture of the oldest people to inhabit this continent, who believe The Creator appointed them guardians of the world’s safety and gave them knowledge of the future to help them fulfill their destiny.

Foretold: …inspired by actual events and ancient prophecies: M. P. Manilla: 9781481700511: Amazon.com: Books

Amazon.Com comment:

FORETOLD is a winner!

FORETOLD by Mary Manilla is the compelling and terrifying tale of a possible nuclear disaster that could happen, today, right here in America. Fiction – yes – but brilliantly researched. It serves to alert us to unthinkable danger, and hopefully keep it from ever taking place.

This thriller encompasses espionage, history and romance, and presents the mystical prophesies of the Hopi who believe that The Creator gave them knowledge of the future. Long ago the Hopi predicted that the world would be destroyed by poison rain. Will a vicious terrorist plot to blow up the nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, prove them right?

FORETOLD is a spellbinding thriller, tightly written, and impossible to put down. Mary Manilla has created an explosive and thought provoking story, one that deserves to be transcribed to film.

Foretold: …inspired by actual events and ancient prophecies: M. P. Manilla: 9781481700511: Amazon.com: Books

Japan and China: Not Yet 1914, but Time to Pay Attention | Foreign Policy Magazine

“In other words, the current state of affairs increases the chance of escalation. Nobody is sleepwalking in Beijing. It seems as though Washington is.”

If there are parallels to be drawn to 1914, they had better be the right ones. The prevailing narrative in Barack Obama’s administration seems to be drawn from Christopher Clark’s book The Sleepwalkers, which portrays the Great War as a tragic escalation by all sides with equal complicity and moral failing. …

A better read on 1914 comes in Max Hastings’s new book, Catastrophe 1914, or the classic studies on origins of war by Donald Kagan. Here the narrative is not a failure to accommodate a rising power, but rather the failure by Britain, then the prime actor in the international system, to maintain a favorable balance of power and meet its alliance obligations, and the resulting imperative to fight rather than have Germany upend the prevailing European order. …

What is Japan really doing do merit all this venom from China? …

Japan and China: Not Yet 1914, but Time to Pay Attention

The current state of affairs is this: China does whatever it wants, but everybody else has to be very careful. Oh really! Why is Obama not telling the US military to prepare for war? Why is the US not explicitly telling China that is on the path to war? Why is there no talk of canceling New Start and increasing the US nuclear arsenal? Well, all of these things would upset China. But, does China worry about upsetting anyone? Instead of sleepwalking, it’s time for the US to start upsetting China.

In reality, the US is not sleepwalking. The Obama administration is executing a modern liberal strategy: US non-interference in foreign affairs will lead to a more peaceful world. US non-interference plus the disarming of the US military through sequestration and nuclear reductions will lead to a safer and more peaceful world. But as the authors of this article pointed out, this strategy will actually have the opposite effect.

If the Obama administration is executing a strategy to prepare for peace, then history has something to say about that: If you want peace, then prepare for war. The opposite must be true as well: If you want war, then prepare for peace. So the current path that we are on is clear – prepare for war.

Is it in fact in1914 again? If not, then it must be in 1913. Time is short.

Experts Wary Over News Of China’s 2nd Carrier | Defense News | defensenews.com

Whether the PLAN is building four or 40, US analysts are saying that China needs to be taken seriously.

“It means that the PLA and the party are serious about operating carrier battle groups in the near and far seas by about 2020,” said Larry Wortzel, a senior member of the US-China Economic and Security Review Commission. “This was one of the goals for the PLAN, and it means that China can project power more effectively in the South China Sea.”

Wortzel is the author of a new book, “The Dragon Extends Its Reach.”

Experts Wary Over News Of China’s 2nd Carrier | Defense News | defensenews.com

A Free Alternative to an Expensive Language Program – German

There’s quite a bit of free German material available online from “the company.” You can get the vocabulary, audio, lists, workbooks and tests with this company’s material on it. Much of it comes straight from the company. Only the pictures will be missing.

You can start with flashcards built from the company’s vocabulary lists. These flashcards at Quizlet.Com come with audio, so you can hear the spoken German. They also come with great tests in to order to measure your progress. Start with “Flashcards” section. Select the English side first and make sure audio is on. Click on the card to see and hear the German. You can then go the Learn section, Speller section and Test section.

German S1E1L1 flashcards | Quizlet – http://goo.gl/2XMNoO
German S1E1L2 flashcards | Quizlet – http://goo.gl/jEl16p
German S1E1L3 flashcards | Quizlet – http://goo.gl/Gh5d1c
German S1E1L4 flashcards | Quizlet – http://goo.gl/PZv4mD
German S1E1L5 flashcards | Quizlet – http://goo.gl/huVUoc

German S1E2L1 flashcards | Quizlet – http://goo.gl/QFAvhx
German S1E2L2 flashcards | Quizlet – http://goo.gl/TT6gou
German S1E2L3 flashcards | Quizlet – http://goo.gl/r0gWtl
German S1E2L4 flashcards | Quizlet – http://goo.gl/LDpGFi
German S1E2L5 flashcards | Quizlet – http://goo.gl/JRTH1h

German S1E3L5 flashcards | Quizlet – http://goo.gl/oHwKbE

German S2E1L1 flashcards | Quizlet – http://goo.gl/o4iPjZ
German S2E1L2 flashcards | Quizlet – http://goo.gl/YNHCj4
German S2E1L3 flashcards | Quizlet – http://goo.gl/X9n6DR
German S2E1L4 flashcards | Quizlet – http://goo.gl/5IhcjM
German S2E1L5 flashcards | Quizlet – http://goo.gl/4dqS1v

German S2E2L1 flashcards | Quizlet – http://goo.gl/UqPxac
German S2E2L2 flashcards | Quizlet – http://goo.gl/WMyCtb

German S2E4L1 flashcards | Quizlet – http://goo.gl/XxZDzc

German S3E1L1 flashcards | Quizlet – http://goo.gl/iRuFgA

German S4E1L1 flashcards | Quizlet – http://goo.gl/ZfMR0j
German S4E1L2 flashcards | Quizlet – http://goo.gl/juVGVb
German S4E1L3 flashcards | Quizlet – http://goo.gl/MLPOyX
German S4E1L4 flashcards | Quizlet – http://goo.gl/NxUYVa
German S4E1L5 flashcards | Quizlet – http://goo.gl/lLVWeY

German S4E2L1 flashcards | Quizlet – http://goo.gl/5Jh2oZ
German S4E2L2 flashcards | Quizlet – http://goo.gl/qOkNgx
German S4E2L3 flashcards | Quizlet – http://goo.gl/9cJggW
German S4E2L4 flashcards | Quizlet – http://goo.gl/jnK0Sp
German S4E2L5 flashcards | Quizlet – http://goo.gl/db0uPT

German S4E3L1 flashcards | Quizlet – http://goo.gl/uqtWlL
German S4E3L2 flashcards | Quizlet – http://goo.gl/of9VvW
German S4E3L3 flashcards | Quizlet – http://goo.gl/Syg7GL
German S4E3L4 flashcards | Quizlet – http://goo.gl/dVfBdk
German S4E3L5 flashcards | Quizlet – http://goo.gl/gUPkFd

German S4E4L1 flashcards | Quizlet – http://goo.gl/Pu8eLP
German S4E4L2 flashcards | Quizlet – http://goo.gl/Gi49SS
German S4E4L3 flashcards | Quizlet – http://goo.gl/ZOXF0k
German S4E4L4 flashcards | Quizlet – http://goo.gl/UPZmM5
German S4E4L5 flashcards | Quizlet – http://goo.gl/mdHMmk

German S5E1L1 flashcards | Quizlet – http://goo.gl/4NSwtR
German S5E1L2 flashcards | Quizlet – http://goo.gl/59kLyh
German S5E1L3 flashcards | Quizlet – http://goo.gl/vn1M0U
German S5E1L4 flashcards | Quizlet – http://goo.gl/3cL5Tg
German S5E1L5 flashcards | Quizlet – http://goo.gl/2cPVLN

German S5E2L1 flashcards | Quizlet – http://goo.gl/ZOMq8n
German S5E2L2 flashcards | Quizlet – http://goo.gl/XUGwKV
German S5E2L3 flashcards | Quizlet – http://goo.gl/8hpi73
German S5E2L4 flashcards | Quizlet – http://goo.gl/UwxmNy
German S5E2L5 flashcards | Quizlet – http://goo.gl/a7jX4U

German S5E2L1 flashcards | Quizlet – http://goo.gl/ZOMq8n
German S5E2L2 flashcards | Quizlet – http://goo.gl/XUGwKV
German S5E2L3 flashcards | Quizlet – http://goo.gl/8hpi73
German S5E2L4 flashcards | Quizlet – http://goo.gl/UwxmNy
German S5E2L5 flashcards | Quizlet – http://goo.gl/a7jX4U

German S5E3L1 flashcards | Quizlet – http://goo.gl/xQFR8t
German S5E3L2 flashcards | Quizlet – http://goo.gl/l2Exh8
German S5E3L3 flashcards | Quizlet – http://goo.gl/32qmg9
German S5E3L4 flashcards | Quizlet – http://goo.gl/WWgYw3
German S5E3L5 flashcards | Quizlet – http://goo.gl/PKCs2y

German S5E4L1 flashcards | Quizlet – http://goo.gl/yjjS6O
German S5E4L2 flashcards | Quizlet – http://goo.gl/y31ZkF
German S5E4L3 flashcards | Quizlet – http://goo.gl/1J8zPu
German S5E4L4 flashcards | Quizlet – http://goo.gl/B8kbzl
German S5E4L5 flashcards | Quizlet – http://goo.gl/6fDz6y

German Word Order flashcards | Quizlet – http://goo.gl/sSqDvb

Complete Set: German Translation Exercise Sets | Quizlet – http://goo.gl/ldiiFD

The following material comes straight from the company.

Vocabulary lists:

1. German Level 1
2. German Level 2
3. German Level 3
4. German Level 4
5. German Level 5

Supplemental Education Materials for selected languages that contains materials designed to enhance a student’s learning experience.

From this page, homeschool teachers and parents can download our Homeschool Supplemental Education Materials. The materials on this page are intended to complement regular lessons and may be printed for personal use in a homeschool environment.

File Name File Size Last Updated Download
German Level 1 – Student Workbook 3.38 MB February 26, 2009 Download now
German Level 1 – Tests 1.04 MB February 26, 2009 Download now
German Level 1 – Answer Key 495 KB February 26, 2009 Download now
German Level 1 – Instructions for English Speakers 438 KB February 26, 2009 Download now
German Level 2 – Student Workbook 3.45 MB February 26, 2009 Download now
German Level 2 – Tests 1.01 MB February 26, 2009 Download now
German Level 2 – Answer Key 449 KB February 26, 2009 Download now
German Level 2 – Instructions for English Speakers 439 KB February 26, 2009 Download now
German Level 3 – Student Workbook 4.40 MB February 26, 2009 Download now
German Level 3 – Tests 981 KB February 26, 2009 Download now
German Level 3 – Answer Key 890 KB February 26, 2009 Download now
German Level 3 – Instructions for English Speakers 455 KB February 26, 2009 Download now

Additional material not from the company:

1. Online Dictionary (Free) – www.dict.cc
2. German Lessons (Free) – german.about.com
3. Newsletter (Free) – Marathon Sprachen
4. Vocabulary Learning Software – www.200words-a-day.com
5. German Flash Cards – German Vocabulary Cards at Amazon.com
6. Companion Grammar Book – Schaum’s Outline of German Grammar

The grammar book is not an official companion but is one that a lot of people like. It is an excellent unofficial companion.

Rosetta Stone Companion Material – German

Rosetta Stone vocabulary lists:

1. German Level 1

2. German Level 2

3. German Level 3

4. German Level 4

5. German Level 5

Rosetta Stone Homeschool Version 3 includes a Supplemental Education Materials for selected languages that contains materials designed to enhance a student’s learning experience.

From this page, homeschool teachers and parents can download our Homeschool Supplemental Education Materials. The materials on this page are intended to complement Rosetta Stone lessons and may be printed for personal use in a homeschool environment.

File Name File Size Last Updated Download
German Level 1 – Student Workbook 3.38 MB February 26, 2009 Download now
German Level 1 – Tests 1.04 MB February 26, 2009 Download now
German Level 1 – Answer Key 495 KB February 26, 2009 Download now
German Level 1 – Instructions for English Speakers 438 KB February 26, 2009 Download now
German Level 2 – Student Workbook 3.45 MB February 26, 2009 Download now
German Level 2 – Tests 1.01 MB February 26, 2009 Download now
German Level 2 – Answer Key 449 KB February 26, 2009 Download now
German Level 2 – Instructions for English Speakers 439 KB February 26, 2009 Download now
German Level 3 – Student Workbook 4.40 MB February 26, 2009 Download now
German Level 3 – Tests 981 KB February 26, 2009 Download now
German Level 3 – Answer Key 890 KB February 26, 2009 Download now
German Level 3 – Instructions for English Speakers 455 KB February 26, 2009 Download now

Additional material:

1. Online Dictionary (Free) – www.dict.cc
2. German Lessons (Free) – german.about.com
3. Newsletter (Free) – Marathon Sprachen
4. Vocabulary Learning Software – www.200words-a-day.com
5. German Flash Cards – German Vocabulary Cards at Amazon.com
6. Rosetta Stone Companion Grammar Book – Schaum’s Outline of German Grammar

The grammar book is not an official companion but is one that a lot of people like. It is an excellent unofficial companion.

Japan says economy “recovering”, first time in six years – Channel NewsAsia

A Japanese government report on Friday said the economy was “recovering”, its first use of the word since the 2008 global financial crisis, as Prime Minister Shinzo Abe works to revive years of tepid growth.

Tokyo’s monthly checkup on the world’s third-largest economy used some of its most upbeat language in years as it pointed to a pick-up in consumer and capital spending.

“The Japanese economy is recovering at a moderate pace,” it said.

“Concerning short-term prospects, the economy is expected to be on a recovery trend as household income and business investment increase, while exports move toward picking up,” it added.

The latest report is also the most rosy rating on the once-powerhouse economy since its January 2006 paper.

Japan says economy “recovering”, first time in six years – Channel NewsAsia

If you remember, in the past I have said Japan (and the US too) will never get going again unless a crash is allowed to happen. Now Japan appears to recovering. What’s going on? Well, it’s not sustainable. Japan will be falling back to earth shortly. The problem is structural. And the only way to fix the structural problems is through a crash. Ditto for the US, Europe, Russia and China.

World Bank projects Japan economic slowdown but rosy global outlook | GlobalPost

“In Japan, aggressive fiscal and monetary easing have sparked a strong cyclical recovery, but this recovery is unlikely to be sustained in the absence of structural reforms,” the report said.

The structural reform programs, unveiled as the “third arrow” of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s economic recovery programs dubbed Abenomics, “have disappointed thus far,” it said.

The slowdown over the next two years “is a point estimate of the structural reforms that take place in Japan,” Kaushik Basu, chief economist and senior vice president of the World Bank, told reporters.

World Bank projects Japan economic slowdown but rosy global outlook | GlobalPost

Forecast 2014: The Killer D’s | Thoughts from the Frontline Investment Newsletter | Mauldin Economics

Japan May Be a Moose in Search of a Windshield

I have written about Japan on numerous occasions. My classic line is that Japan is a bug in search of a windshield. We devoted chapters to Japan in Code Red. Upon reflection, I think that referring to Japan as a bug might give the wrong impression. We all know what happens to a bug upon impact. It might be more appropriate to think of Japan as a moose. Ask a Canadian what happens when you hit a moose late at night at high speed. While the collision is not good for the moose, the car and driver are not unaffected.

Japan has opted to monetize its debt. Given their situation, I would do the same. They have no good choices, only potentially disastrous ones. From their standpoint, monetization makes the most sense. The yen is going to drop inexorably in value over the coming decade, unless they decide to choose disaster B (massive deflation or default), which seems unlikely at the moment.

For all intents and purposes, Japan is firing the first missile in what will be a major currency war over the next five to seven years. We have seen such a situation only twice in the past century, and neither of those contests ended well for any of the participants.

For the record, and for the sake of full disclosure, shorting the government of Japan is my biggest single investment. That position is going to get much bigger in the next few months, as I am finally able to hedge my new mortgage. I fully intend to let Abe-san and Kuroda-san to pay for half of my new apartment.

I will have a very personal vested interest in paying attention to the political situation in Japan. I will keep you updated if I change my mind!

The world has never experienced a major nation like Japan monetizing a significant portion of its debt. Weimar Germany, by contrast, was a defeated nation, did not print a reserve currency, and was not accorded the status that Japan has today. Further, Japanese industry brings its A game to the international competitive markets. Biggest head-to-head competitor with Japan? It’s not Korea but Germany. And neither country will be happy when the yen is 150 to the dollar. It will be interesting to see the reactions around the world when it is 200 to the dollar. Stay tuned.

Forecast 2014: The Killer D’s | Thoughts from the Frontline Investment Newsletter | Mauldin Economics

Strange Rebels: 1979 and the Birth of the 21st Century

Few moments in history have seen as many seismic transformations as 1979. That single year marked the emergence of revolutionary Islam as a political force on the world stage, the beginning of market revolutions in China and Britain that would fuel globalization and radically alter the international economy, and the first stirrings of the resistance movements in Eastern Europe and Afghanistan that ultimately led to the collapse of the Soviet Union. More than any other year in the latter half of the twentieth century, 1979 heralded the economic, political, and religious realities that define the twenty-first.

In Strange Rebels, veteran journalist Christian Caryl shows how the world we live in today—and the problems that plague it—began to take shape in this pivotal year. 1979, he explains, saw a series of counterrevolutions against the progressive consensus that had dominated the postwar era. The year’s epic upheavals embodied a startling conservative challenge to communist and socialist systems around the globe, fundamentally transforming politics and economics worldwide. In China, 1979 marked the start of sweeping market-oriented reforms that have made the country the economic powerhouse it is today. 1979 was also the year that Pope John Paul II traveled to Poland, confronting communism in Eastern Europe by reigniting its people’s suppressed Catholic faith. In Iran, meanwhile, an Islamic Revolution transformed the nation into a theocracy almost overnight, overthrowing the Shah’s modernizing monarchy. Further west, Margaret Thatcher became prime minister of Britain, returning it to a purer form of free-market capitalism and opening the way for Ronald Reagan to do the same in the US. And in Afghanistan, a Soviet invasion fueled an Islamic holy war with global consequences; the Afghan mujahedin presaged the rise of al-Qaeda and served as a key factor—along with John Paul’s journey to Poland—in the fall of communism.

Weaving the story of each of these counterrevolutions into a brisk, gripping narrative, Strange Rebels is a groundbreaking account of how these far-flung events and disparate actors and movements gave birth to our modern age.

Strange Rebels: 1979 and the Birth of the 21st Century: Christian Caryl: 9780465018383: Amazon.com: Books

Knowledge and Power: The Information Theory of Capitalism and How it is Revolutionizing our World

Ronald Reagan’s most-quoted living author – George Gilder – is back with an all-new paradigm-shifting theory of capitalism that will upturn conventional wisdom, just when our economy desperately needs a new direction.

America’s struggling economy needs a better philosophy than the college student’s lament: “I can’t be out of money, I still have checks in my checkbook!” We’ve tried a government spending spree, and we’ve learned it doesn’t work. Now is the time to rededicate our country to the pursuit of free market capitalism, before we’re buried under a mound of debt and unfunded entitlements. But how do we navigate between government spending that’s too big to sustain and financial institutions that are “too big to fail?” In Knowledge and Power, George Gilder proposes a bold new theory on how capitalism produces wealth and how our economy can regain its vitality and its growth.

Gilder breaks away from the supply-side model of economics to present a new economic paradigm: the epic conflict between the knowledge of entrepreneurs on one side, and the blunt power of government on the other. The knowledge of entrepreneurs, and their freedom to share and use that knowledge, are the sparks that light up the economy and set its gears in motion. The power of government to regulate, stifle, manipulate, subsidize or suppress knowledge and ideas is the inertia that slows those gears down, or keeps them from turning at all.

One of the twentieth century’s defining economic minds has returned with a new philosophy to carry us into the twenty-first. Knowledge and Power is a must-read for fiscal conservatives, business owners, CEOs, investors, and anyone interested in propelling America’s economy to future success.

Amazon.com: Knowledge and Power: The Information Theory of Capitalism and How it is Revolutionizing our World eBook: George Gilder: Kindle Store

Game-changing but flawed
July 7, 2013
By William R. Wiltschko
Format:Hardcover|Amazon Verified Purchase

As other viewers have remarked, an information theory-based foundation for polical economy explained by this book is a big new idea. Revolutionary, game-changing, etc., all true. I have recommended the book to several friends, and will continue to do so, but the book is also flawed. The least of these flaws is that the core collection of important new ideas could have been explained in a magazine article. The book is divided into 25 chapters and three parts. Eleven chapters are in part one and are must reading. There are six interesting chapters in part two. All of part three can be skipped except the last chapter.

Gilder has integrated free markets and limited government under an information theory umbrella that credibly shows both theoretically and anecdotally how entrepreneurs drive economic and social progress. This is huge. He showed how more parts of the political-economic world fit together that I had formerly thought disparate.

Besides the length, a flaw of the book is that much of it is a series of extended book reviews. In many cases, I failed to see a compelling link to his information theory of political economy. Another flaw is the intellectual fights he picks with some unlikely targets. One of these fights is an attempt to resurrect “supply side” as a useful term. I agree with him on the substance, but see this as a re-branding loser.

A notable fight is with Nicholas Taleb, author of “Black Swan” and more recently “Anti-Fragile”. Gilder doesn’t acknowledge until the last two pages of the Taleb chapter (#18) that Taleb is on his side. Taleb has railed for years against over-dependence on Gaussian dogma, which is perfectly consistent with the acknowledgement of “surprises” that entrepreneurs produce. Gilder also fails to acknowledge that macro events, such as currency collapses, render moot for a short time any insider knowledge an investor might have about a company or industry. In the last two pages of the Black Swan chapter, Gilder seems to take back everything he said earlier in the chapter. If so, why did he leave in the chapter???

I have tremendous respect for Gilder. I actually met him once when I was at Intel. I respect his digging and digging to understand the economic ramifications of technology. While I think this book is a blockbuster of ideas, it is marred with misguided tangents and padding.

Amazon.com: Knowledge and Power: The Information Theory of Capitalism and How it is Revolutionizing our World eBook: George Gilder: Kindle Store

1914 in 2014: The flashpoints of a dangerous new year | iPolitics

“Several new books on the origins of the Great War have been published recently which portray unsettling parallels between the world then and as it appears now.”

The new year marks the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of World War I. Several new books on the origins of the Great War have been published recently which portray unsettling parallels between the world then and as it appears now.

The rise of new great powers that threaten the status quo (Germany then, China today). The globalization of trade and investment with new entrants into the global economy (Germany and the U.S. at the beginning of the 20th century, China and the emerging markets of the Indo-Pacific today). A rising tide of ethno-nationalism and militant extremism that shattered the Hapsburg Empire in the Balkans and Eastern Europe — versus the rise of Islamic extremism today and the Shiite-Sunni split that is tearing apart the weak fabric of many Middle Eastern states.

Our favorite book in this new pantheon of titles is Christopher Clark’s The Sleepwalkers: How Europe Went to War in 1914. Clark argues that there was no single guilty party in the outbreak of war. Rather, world leaders were, as his title suggests, “sleepwalkers” who paid insufficient attention to the risks of global conflagration that lay in the dry tinder of the Balkans and other early warning signs of potential trouble, like the Russo-Japanese war of 1904, which grew out the rival imperial ambitions of Japan and Russia over Korea and Manchuria.

1914 in 2014: The flashpoints of a dangerous new year | iPolitics