Kantorowicz, Drugs, David Gelernter, PPE, Vikings


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Ernst Kantorowicz: Man Of Two Bodies

Robert Norton | Times Literary Supplement | 22nd February 2017

The Prussian-born Kantorowicz wrote “two monumental books at opposite ends of the ideological and historiographic spectrums”. His first, a life of Emperor Frederick II, was a great favourite with Hitler, who read it twice for its “enthralling glorification of absolute power and ruthless ambition”. Exiled from Germany as a Jew, Kantorowicz wrote his second masterpiece, The King’s Two Bodies, in Princeton. Of his first he would say only that “the man who wrote that book died many years ago” (3,400 words)

The Very Drugged Nazis

Anthony Beevor | New York Review Of Books | 22nd February 2017

Review of Blitzed, by Norman Ohler, about the Nazis’ extravagant use of drugs. The German army and much of the German nation marched on amphetamine throughout the war. Hitler was kept almost permanently high by his doctor, Theodor Morell, whose addictive cocktails of hormones and psychoactive drugs, including opium and cocaine, “certainly contributed to Hitler’s fantasies about maps showing German progress as he lost all touch with the reality on the battlefield” (3,060 words)

Twenty Ideas From David Gelernter

Conor Friedersdorf | Atlantic | 23rd February 2017

The ideas here range almost excessively widely, from a new model for online shopping to the need for a universal ethical code, by way of church architecture and abstract impressionism. But all worth reading, and preceded by a Q&A in which Gelernter, professor of computer science at Yale, bewails the loneliness of the conservative in academia. “It’s a pleasure and a high honour to be part of America’s conservative culture. But the Left hears nothing we say: nothing” (8,200 words)

PPE: The Oxford Degree That Runs Britain

Andy Beckett | Guardian | 23rd February 2017

The British political and media elite have one dominant characteristic: They studied “PPE” — politics, philosophy and economics— at Oxford University. “Oxford PPE is more than a factory for politicians and the people who judge them. It also gives them a shared outlook: confident, internationalist, intellectually flexible, and above all sure that small groups of supposedly well-educated, rational people, such as themselves, can and should improve Britain and the wider world” (5,800 words)

Eleanor Rosamund Barraclough: Books About Vikings

Sophie Roell | Five Books | 20th February 2017

Historian Eleanor Barraclough recommends books for understanding the Vikings. Anybody in the medieval Nordic world could be a Viking: It was not an ethnic group, but a way of life, like being a pirate. “If you go off, over the summer, and raid coastlines and pillage monasteries, you’re a Viking. You’re also ‘going on a Viking’ because there are two forms of the word: a noun — the person who does it — and the verb — the thing they’re doing. It’s being a pirate or a raider or a pillager” (9,300 words)

Video of the day: The Map Of Physics

What to expect:

What we know and don’t know in physics, arranged visually by physicist Dominic Walliman (8’19”)

Thought for the day

The greatest blunders, like the thickest ropes, are compounded of a multitude of strands
Victor Hugo

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