What We Are Reading Today: Catching the Wind by Neal Gabler

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Updated 01 November 2020

What We Are Reading Today: Catching the Wind by Neal Gabler

In the tradition of the works of Robert Caro and Taylor Branch, Catching the Wind is the first volume of Neal Gabler’s magisterial two-volume biography of Edward Kennedy. 

It is at once a human drama, a history of American politics in the late-20th and early-21st centuries, and a study of political morality and the role it played in the tortuous course of liberalism.

By the time Kennedy died, in August 2009, he had represented Massachusetts in the US Senate for nearly 47 years — longer than any of his brothers had lived. 

He was eulogized as one of the most important legislators in American history, an assessment reflecting not only the affection he enjoyed on both sides of the aisle, but also genuine awe at his achievements. 

“In this sweeping biography,  Gabler tells a story that is Shakespearean in its dimensions: The story of a star-crossed figure who rises above his seeming limitations and the tragedy that envelopes him to change the face of America,” said a review in goodreads.com.


What We Are Reading Today: The Political Power of Economic Ideas by Peter A. Hall

Updated 24 November 2020

What We Are Reading Today: The Political Power of Economic Ideas by Peter A. Hall

John Maynard Keynes once observed that the “ideas of economists and political philosophers, both when they are right and when they are wrong, are more powerful than is commonly understood.” 

The contributors to this volume take that assertion seriously. In a full-scale study of the impact of Keynesian doctrines across nations, their essays trace the reception accorded Keynesian ideas, initially during the 1930s and then in the years after World War II, in a wide range of nations, including Britain, the US, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and Scandinavia. 

The contributors review the latest historical evidence to explain why some nations embraced Keynesian policies while others did not. At a time of growing interest in comparative public policy-making, they examine the central issue of how and why particular ideas acquire influence over policy and politics.

Based on three years of collaborative research for the Social Science Research Council, the volume takes up central themes in contemporary economics, political science, and history. The contributors are Christopher S. Allen, Marcello de Cecco, Peter Alexis Gourevitch, Eleanor M. Hadley, Peter A. Hall, Albert O. Hirschman, Harold James, Bradford A. Lee, Jukka Pekkarinen, Pierre Rosanvallon, Walter S. Salant, Margaret Weir, and Donald Winch.