Thursday, June 24, 2010

Who Knew...I Love Mincemeat!!

Operation Mincemeat: How a Dead Man and a Bizarre Plan Fooled the Nazis and Assured an Allied Victory
By Ben Macintyre

Major William Martin’s body was found on a Spanish coastline. He appeared to have died in a plane crash while delivering extremely sensitive document about an upcoming Allied invasion. Though Spain was officially neutral in the conflict, the documents were leaked to German intelligence before being returned to British officials. These important plans were relayed all the way to Hitler himself, who used the information to redeploy German troops to the areas of the impending attacks. Fortunately for the Allied Forces, all the documents found on Major Martin’s corpse were forgeries planted by British Intelligence to dupe the Germans, and Major Martin himself never actually existed.

This is the best spy literature I have read in ages, fiction or nonfiction. Macintyre is an engaging story teller and this is a story well worth telling. The individuals involved are fascinating and the plot is filled with lucky breaks and daring deeds. I can highly recommend this to anyone interested in World War II histories, espionage stories, or students of both human folly and courage.

By David Shenk
In The Genius in All of Us, David Shenk presents new scientific discoveries uncovering a new way to think about IQ and talent. First, he argues for a new way to think about genes and genetics. Where we once thought our genes decided who we are and what we can become, science is now finding that our environment plays an extremely large role in activating those genes and changing how they in turn alter us and our potential. Once the science has been explained, Shenk gives on overview of what this means for us and our children.

Almost half of this book’s 300 pages contain “The Evidence” which includes sources, notes, clarifications, and amplifications. The author’s presentation is convincing and fascinating. What we learn is that while not everyone can become an expert at anything, we are all hardwired to be adaptive to our environment. The right circumstances, drive, and opportunities can create amazing abilities in peoples. It would almost appear that we have more control over our genes than we do over our environment which is a dramatic paradigm shift. This book’s topic reminds me of Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers, but relies more on science to make its arguments.

1 comment:

Stacey said...

So this isn't really a comment about the books you read, but your other two blogs. I feel like I am at my worst behavior when starved. That's why I carry around bags of nuts with me everywhere I go. Being extremely cold or hot call for orneriness too.