Meeting Season Reading List
May 5, 2015In the spring, a young (poetic license, please) man's fancy lightly turns to thoughts of…business travel and reading. My Kindle and I have been logging quite a few miles this spring, traveling to industry conferences, member board meetings, and Alliance Mid-Year Meetings (most of which still lie ahead). And that means many hours in airport lounges and airplane seats. When I grow weary of sending or responding to emails, here are the books that have been keeping me occupied. Not exactly light summer reading material, but worthwhile nonetheless… • Fall of the Ottomans (Eugene Rogan) – My fascination with World War I history continues, and this book explores it from a perspective I had never considered: the rulers of the Ottoman Empire, a centuries-old imperial dynasty that once ruled from North Africa to Iraq from its capital, Istanbul. The empire was on shaky ground before WWI broke out – which made it a tempting target for the Entente Powers (Great Britain, France, and Russia) to expand their own colonies. There’s an enormous amount of material to cover here, from the Armenian genocide to the T.E. Lawrence-fueled Arab Revolt, and Rogan explores it in detail. If you want to understand more about the birth, boundaries, and ongoing conflicts that permeate the modern Middle East, this book is a must read. • Deep Down Dark (Héctor Tobar) – The true story of the 33 trapped miners in Chile and the heroic effort to rescue them. Tobar profiles the strengths, weaknesses, egos and humility of the various miners and their families – including more than a few mistresses. The most interesting aspect of the story to me was the miners’ transition from prayer to capitalism once it became clear that they would be saved. • All the Light We Cannot See (Anthony Doerr) – As most of you know, I don't read many novels, but this one was one of the best I’ve read in recent memory. Set in WWII France, it weaves the stories of two seemingly unconnected individuals into a beautiful tapestry. Looking for a little inspiration while on the beach this summer? This is it. • Hellhound on His Trail (Hampton Sides) – Sides is one of my favorite writers and this is one of his better efforts. It’s the story of the search for James Earl Ray following the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King. Sides is from Memphis, where the killing took place, and his personal connection to the place and its people comes through in his depiction of King and the supporters who were with him on that fateful visit, as well as Ray, J. Edgar Hoover, and the Scotland Yard investigators who were instrumental in his arrest. Happy reading. See you at the Fraternal Communications Mid-Year Meeting this week in San Antonio, and the Canadian Fraternal Alliance Meeting next week in Ottawa!