What two books would you recommend for summer reading -- the first, to learn, and the second, to escape?

Posted by David Ignatius on July 23, 2007 10:21 AM


Michael Young is the Opinion Editor and a columnist for Lebanon’s The Daily Star newspaper. He is also a contributing editor and contributor at Reason magazine, where he writes bi-weely articles.

A Morbidly Entertaining Stalin

I'm not sure learning and escaping are so contradictory. Some might object to one of my suggestions, Simon Sebag Montefiore's remarkable "Stalin: The Court of the Red Tsar," as a summer tome, but you'll learn a lot and, somehow, it's morbidly quite entertaining.

Michael Young Beirut, Lebanon | 5 COMMENTS
Jul 26, 2007 at 4:27 PM
Lamis Andoni is a Middle East consultant for Al Jazeera, the Qatar-based news station. She has been covering the Middle East for 20 years. She has reported for the Christian Science Monitor, the Financial Times and the main newspapers in Jordan. She was a professor at the Graduate School in UC Berkeley.

Female Arab Novelists Defy Repression

Lamis Andoni Doha, Qatar | 27 COMMENTS
Ignacio Gil Vázquez is the managing editor of Spain’s second largest circulation newspaper, El Mundo. He previously served as foreign correspondent in France and as Culture section editor. He has covered wide-ranging events throughout his career, including the Basque conflict, Catalan politics, Francois Mitterrand’s final years as president of France, his successor Jacques Chirac’s election, and the death of Princess Diana.

Relive Past Glory, Escape Present Mediocrity

Ignacio Gil Vázquez Madrid, Spain | 9 COMMENTS
Mubashar Jawed Akbar is a leading Indian journalist and author. He's the founder and editor-in-chief of The Asian Age, a daily multi-edition Indian newspaper with a global perspective and editor-in-chief of The Deccan Chronicle, a news daily based in Hyderabad. He has written books including Blood Brothers, Nehru: The Making of India, Kashmir: Behind the Vale, Riot After Riot, The Shade of Swords, and India: The Siege Within.

After Tamerlane: Two-In-One

M.J. Akbar India | 3 COMMENTS
James Fallows   |   Kin-ming Liu   |   Kimani Njogu


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