Train to Istanbul is the story of the daughters of Fazıl Reşat Paşa, Selva and Sabiha; members of a prominent Muslim Turkish aristocracy. Set in the Second World War, it simultaneously explores the transformation of the Turkish society to a modern one and the descent of humanity to its very basic animalistic else where. Here selva is the rebel, marrying a Jew, Sabina the conformist living the high socialite life, Paşa the father caught between his prejudices and his modern preaching, and as in all stories of the Second World War, Nazi’s are the villains.
The book starts off with a brisk pace, setting stages, characters and their motivations; in short there is so much promise and potential in the first several chapters, it’s almost reminiscent of the great classics. But unfortunately the author shies away at the first sign of a conflict, almost glossing over the very core principles that motivates it’s characters. This pretty much deflates the story, either the author deliberately chose to restrict herself or an editor got it out with a chain saw .
What I found most disappointing in the book is not the story, but the authors unwillingness to delve deeper into the emotions and motivations of her characters; ofter rendering them to be flat, delusional and plain unreasonable at times. It is quite clear that the author was in some sense in a hurry, especially in the later chapters she rams through the story, wrecking its very basic elements, even to the extend of causing a dramatic escape from the nazi occupied France to feel like like a fun joy ride.
In short, its a good read, light and hearty, but its not the best of Turkish literature, Ayşe Kulin has much promise but the Last Train to Istanbul is not her seminal work by any measure. In Verdict; I give Last Train to Istanbul by Ayşe Kulin a 2 out 5, there are better books out there to spend you time with.
“The higher loyalty is to lasting values, most important the truth.” – James Comey
These words by James Comey, which comes half way through the book are what the essence of the book is supposed to be. The tell-all expose of the controversial, former Director of the FBI, is the detailed narration of various ethical dilemmas; he addressed during his life-time and his process of resolving them. The content of the book can be quite simple be summarized as a footnote to the absolutely crazy election of Donald trump and the antics of his administration there-after. Lets be honest there is no need for an exposé on the current administration, they do that aplenty themselves.
James Comey has done irreparable damage to the institution he headed, being called a hack to a tool to being absolutely clueless at times, intervening inadvertently in the 2016 Presidential Election (if the book is to be believed) and leaving the reputation of the FBI in tatters. His one saving grace turned out to be the president himself; who managed to make mismanagement so commonplace that Comey’s charades were but on in a parade of many exuberant ones. His handling of some of the most critical investigations were questionable at the most generous, including Clinton’s emails, Wiener’s wiener and of-course the beloved pee-pee tapes and dossiers.
Keeping this in mind, it is quiet easy to spot the real purpose of this book, rather than an overwhelming urge to expose the truths behind the curtains of power, the book’s purpose is the redemption of its authors reputation and credibility. The contents are a series of apologies and explanations mashed together incoherently to form a semblance of integrity. There is no higher loyalty here, the book is no leadership manual, there is hardly any situation put forward were the founding principles laid forth in the initial pages are deliberated, nor of labored nuanced decisions made. May be its the bits lost due to series of edits and cut courtesy of the intelligence agencies or it is the authors own constraints that leaves this book devoid of content and render it as mere hogwash.
In conclusion; If you have been exposed to the torrent of news, you are already well informed of everything that Comey talks about, all you are missing is him trying an angle on it. I give A Higher Loyalty by James Comey a 2 out of 5.
This book by the renowned physicist and science aficionado Dr Michio Kaku is a anthology of all that is latest and greatest in science right now. He explores the future of humanity in the decades and centuries to come, He explains how the current technology will evolve and how that evolution will transform our species from a single planetary civilization to a multi planetary one and then onto being a true galactic civilization; living and thriving among the stars.
His book starts with the revival of space race in modern times, The race to colonize mars and how far humanity is from achieving that objective. He proceeds to explain in scientific terms where humanity is as a civilization and what it should become to avoid the fate of the dinosaurs; an insurance policy of sorts. From there on he moves deeper into the physics of inter planetary travel; slowly increasing the complexity of topics being tackled. He proceeds to the colonization of our solar system and later to the star systems nearby; going over the progression of humanity in great detail.
Eventually reaching the realm of the abstract and science fiction. He starts speaking about the Unified field theory aka the The theory of everything, Time travel, wormholes, structure and existence of multiverses and so on.
To a nerd, this books offers little; at-most it is a reminder of that is great and wonderful in the world. Who the book really serves is the uninitiated, the many sophomore dork who can gain insight and be inspired by the world carefully laid out by Michio Kaku. This book like its author is a great advert for the future of humanity.