The Day Democracy Died by Anselm Audley. Short book (74 page Kindle Single) going into detail about an incident in the history of Ancient Athens. Eight commanders inflicted a major but incomplete naval victory against Sparta in the Peloponnesian War, failing to rescue their own drowning men and pursue the Spartan fleet. In one of its rages the Athenian Assembly had them tried and executed, leaving Athens short of commanders in the rest of the war.
It's a gripping account and well told. Historically it seems accurate as far as I can tell. (Though it implies Athens was unusual and that later Mediterranean civilisations used slaves to row war galleys; I read somewhere else this was never done as the rowers needed to be armed to fight ship to ship).
However I'm a bit skeptical that this incident was as critical as was claimed in depriving the democracy of the great men it needed. It was far from the only time the Athenian democracy turned on its own. The Peloponnesian War was a 27-year war of attrition. In long wars of attrition manpower and economic power tend to be the determining factors, you can look for "decisive battles" or "turning points" but it's the side with more money and men that forces things to the turning point; and running out of men or money the thing that makes one battle the decisive one.
Overall though an interesting read.
What I'm Reading 2
The Little Book of Prison by Frankie Owens. Short book that's half an account of life in prison, and half a guide on how to survive it. Reasonably funny and reasonably informative, but the author only had a few months of prison time in one prison so I'm not sure how
My father's funeral is on Wednesday. Work gives me 4 days compassionate leave so I'm going down on Tuesday and returning Saturday. My mother's one of those people who likes to be busy, so I think after the funeral when there's no more arranging to do is when it's going to be worst.
I've been trying out decentralised Twitter-ish network Mastodon as @TheoEsc@mastodon.social and like it so far. I'm posting more to there than Twitter at the moment, though I'm keeping my Twitter account open in case it dries up. Socially and technologically it just feels far friendlier. People are nicer, and the UI actually has you in control: you see the content from people you chose in chronological order. Join Mastodon. Find Twitter contacts.
Socioeconomics. Nationalised pubs in Carslisle in WW1. Did Female homicide rate dropped after Craigslist launched its erotic services platform? (Paper).
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