What We Are Reading Today: Operation Second Starfish by Susan R. Kayar

Updated 06 October 2019

What We Are Reading Today: Operation Second Starfish by Susan R. Kayar

A terrorist attack disables a US Navy submarine in dangerously deep waters off the coast of Florida. The navy is compelled to use its least-favorite strategy to complete a rescue of the submarine crew: Send divers to extreme depths. 

Can a team of the navy’s best ultra-deep divers perform this mission? When things go perilously wrong, can a novel approach in diving physiology that has not been fully tested under controlled laboratory conditions save the rescuers? The plot twists back and forth in time between calm and happy days of friends working together in the laboratory, and the drama of the rescue mission. The story is told from the uncommon viewpoint of the rescuers, not the rescued.

In this tale, Susan R. Kayar, Ph.D., a former physiologist in the Decompression Sickness Research Program of the Naval Medical Research Institute in Bethesda, Maryland, weaves together 21st century technology in disabled submarine rescue and saturation diving with 20th century diving physiology, according to a review published on goodreads.com.

It is a thrilling deep-sea adventure that truly captures the emotional camaraderie, life-and-death bravery and can-do spirit of both the rescuers and those trapped deep below on the icy black ocean floor.


What We Are Reading Today: Democratic Federalism

Updated 04 June 2020

What We Are Reading Today: Democratic Federalism

Authors: Robert Inman and Daniel L. Rubinfeld

Around the world, federalism has emerged as the system of choice for nascent republics and established nations alike. In this book, leading scholars and governmental advisers Robert Inman and Daniel Rubinfeld consider the most promising forms of federal governance and the most effective path to enacting federal policies. 

The result is an essential guide to federalism, its principles, its applications, and its potential to enhance democratic governance.

Drawing on the latest work from economics, political science, and law, Inman and Rubinfeld assess different models of federalism and their relative abilities to promote economic efficiency, encourage the participation of citizens, and protect individual liberties. Under the right conditions, the authors argue, a federal democracy—including a national legislature with locally elected representatives—can best achieve these goals. Because a stable union between the national and local governments is key, Inman and Rubinfeld also propose an innovative method for evaluating new federal laws and their possible impact on state and local governments. Finally, to show what the adoption of federalism can mean for citizens, the authors discuss the evolution of governance in the European Union and South Africa’s transition from apartheid to a multiracial democracy.

Interdisciplinary in approach, Democratic Federalism brims with applicable policy ideas and comparative case studies of global significance. This book is indispensable for understanding the importance of federal forms of government—both in recent history and, crucially, for future democracies.