He’s baaaaaaaack !

Well, you probably thought I've entered the Witness Protection Program or something. Sorry about the lack of posts. Fortunately, while I haven't been posting, at least I've been doing some reading. So without further ado, here's what I've been reading.
    Ever since reading about NEST in the Christian Science Monitor newspaper a few years back I've wanted to read more about it. NEST, for those who don't know, stands for Nuclear Emergency Search (now Support) Team. This high level government team is entrusted with preventing terrorists or similar groups from detonating a nuclear or radiological bomb on US soil. So, when I came across Jeffrey T. Richeleson's recent book in the new books section of my public library I grabbed it so I can learn more about this vital anti-terrorist organization. Defusing Armageddon: Inside NEST, America's Secret Nuclear Bomb Squad

tells the story of this team, from its origins in 1974 to the present. I found the book pretty straightforward in its handling of the team's history. Richelson's book is readable and interesting, but nothing fancy.
    Joshua Kurlantzick's 2007 book Charm Offensive: How China's Soft Power Is Transforming the World was yet another one of those books I've seen in bookstore display windows that caught my eye. And of course, like the cheap bastard I am, instead of buying this book at the local bookstore I borrowed it from my public library. No wonder independent bookstores are suffering these days.
    While some of the reviewers writing on Amazon are a little hard on Kurlantzick, I liked his book. I thought Charm Offensive was a very readable and informative look at China's concerted effort to gain political and economic influence, especially within the developing world. I would recommend this book to any readers interested in international relations and/or the global economy. 

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