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Thursday, 28 January 2010

Top 5 Books of 2009

We have begun another great season of book reviews. A lot of wonderful books in store this year. But before we publish the new reviews, I thought its worth sharing my top  five books of 2009 (one or two published in 2008), if only to give a glimpse of what I read. I welcome any suggestions for titles of books to review (preferably published in 2010).

(5) Levy Patrick Mwanawasa : An Incentive for Posterity  by Amos Mapulenga (NISC) :

Book CoverExtremely grateful to a friend who managed to get this book for me. I partly regret not formally reviewing the book. Indeed, it will certainly surprise my friend that I have listed in my top five books. Let us be honest : the quality of the writing was poor and at times selective in acquiring evidence. But I do appreciate the effort that went into the book and occassionally I do find myself going back to check one or two things. For that reason, I think it deserves to be in every library collection. For a more sympathetic review of Malupenga's efforts see this review.

(4) The Lost World of Genesis One : Ancient Cosmology and the Origins Debate  by John H Walton (IVP Academic) :
LostGen1This is a remarkable book on the origins debate. When I first picked it up, I had no idea it was going to be as deep and refreshing as it turned out to be. Once I opened the few pages, I could not put it down. John Walton is a brilliant theologian but also a wonderful writer. I particularly liked his "propositional" approach to argumentation.

(3) One Zambia, Many Histories  : Towards a History of Post-colonial Zambia, Edited by Jan-Bert Gewald, Marja Hinfelaar and Giocomo Macola (Brill):
A wonderful departure from the "ego-documents" and "de-humanised and monolithic commemorative monuments" that are penned by Zambian politicians in their quest to shape our view of post independence history. This is as scholarly as it comes. I would encourage every student of Zambian history to pick up a copy. In these pages, you will delve in the mind of Harry Mwaanga Nkumbula, reflect on the Lumpa massacre, assess the public role of religion, and wonder  at the new and old forms of politics in the early days of the third republic.

(2) Bad Samaritans  : The Guilty Secrets of Rich Nations and The Threat to Global Prosperity, by Ha-Joon Chang (Rbooks):
The only book in the top five we formally reviewed. Its fair to say that Chang has helped shape my own view about how best to strike a balance between markets and state intervention. I never managed to get every Parliamentarian a copy but I did send it at least to one MP. A master piece!
(1)  Justice : Rights and Wrongs, by Nicholas Wolterstorff (Princeton) :
Justice Rights and Wrongs
400 pages of mind blowing philosophical reflections on the question of "what is justice?". It took two months to read the whole book. I would read, stop, pause and reflect (and sometimes tweet quotes). Without doubt Wolterstorff is the leading moral philosopher of our time.  I keep checking Amazon for his next project on Love and Justice. What more can I say,  except to admit that I am Wolterstorffian!

1 comment:

  1. I thought Michella Wrong's "Our Turn to Eat" was incredible


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