Saturday, September 15, 2007

Nicholas Thompson

Nicholas Thompson is currently a senior editor at Wired Magazine. He has also worked for Legal Affairs, the New America Foundation, and The Washington Monthly.

I recently asked him what he was reading. His reply:
I just finished, a few moments ago, Richard Rhodes's Arsenals of Folly, the third part in his epic cycle about the Cold War. It covers a lot of the same ground that I'm covering in my book on Paul Nitze and George Kennan -- and it covers it quite well. The structure is a little jarring: he opens with a chapter on Chernobyl, takes one through the life of Gorbachev, and then begins a narrative about US policy from Truman through the end of the conflict. It's very good. If it's not as strong as The Making of the Atomic Bomb, that's setting a rather high standard.

Last week, I read The Picture of Dorian Gray for the first time. I'm not sure how I missed it in high school, but it was important to one of the characters I'm writing about, so I figured I'd give it a read. Whoah. Great plot, some wonderful imagery. But, yikes. That book is overwritten!

Since I can't figure out a way to use artwork to prevent aging, I've been running a lot and reading Timothy Noakes's The Lore of Running. It's ridiculously long, complicated, and involved. But it's also brilliant and takes one inside the mind of a true obsessive. It's 950 pages, just about running -- though I suppose one ages quite a bit reading the darn thing.

Speaking of obsessives, another great book I've read recently is Christopher Andrew and Vasili Mitrokhin's The World Was Going our Way, a recounting of Soviet actions in the third world during the Cold War. Mitrokhin smuggled decades worth of KGB documents out of the Soviet Union and turned them into this mind-breaking follow-up to The Sword and The Shield.
Thompson's book on George Kennan, Paul Nitze, and the Cold War is scheduled to come out in 2009, published by Henry Holt. Among the articles he's written based on it: "Mirror Image: Could Iraq Be Vietnam in Reverse? What George F. Kennan's 1966 Senate Testimony Can Tell Us About Iraq in 2006."

Visit Nick Thompson's website.

--Marshal Zeringue