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Palo Alto, CA
November 22nd, 2018
Dear Friend and Reader:

This past month, I devoured the most delicious Texas BBQ, hiked through smoky NorCal forests, pondered ancient Egypt at the NY Met, and enjoyed a sunset wedding in Cape May, NJ. All that travel meant loads of time to hit the books, both old and new, on a wide range of topics. From the fossil fuel industry and Jungian archetypes to English rabbits, African Elephants and Cleopatra. Below you'll find here some of my favorites. Whether you pick up all or one or none, I'd love to hear where you land.  

Happy Thanksgiving/Black Friday/Cyber Monday, 

In South Africa, rogue elephants are shot. So when Lawrence Anthony, "the Indiana Jones of conservation," was asked to take in a whole herd in 1999—a herd who had tried to escape from their owners many times and seen their leader killed by humans, he knew his answer was the animals' life or death sentence.

Fighting off desperate poachers, building electric fences from scratch, protecting other creatures on the reserve, treating various sicknesses—Anthony's obstacles were endless. And perhaps most difficult of all was achieving what few humans ever have with damaged elephants: heal their trust in humans.

The Elephant Whisperer was a terrific afternoon adventure! 🐘


Yale Professor and Cold War expert John Lewis Gaddis' On Grand Strategy is a masterclass in leadership. Organized into ten self-contained, tightly-bound chapters, the book serves as a primer on grand strategy with historical examples from ancient China, Greece, Persia, and Rome, up through medieval Europe, Elizabethan England, Napoleon's Europe, Lincoln's Union, and leaders of the 20th Century. With spectacular flourishes, Gaddis weaves together the war meditations of Clausewitz and Sun Tzu with Machiavelli's discourses on statecraft, FDR's geo-political maneuvering, and Tolstoy's employment of interconnected narratives, mapping the mindset needed to achieve great ends. 

Read More... 

I devoured this dystopia. Set in 1961 in Australia, the world is mostly dead from radiation poisoning. WWIII saw to that in under a month, but amidst the wreckage, we meet a small group of survivors trying to salvage their last days in the land down under.  I read On The Beach at Laguna Beach. It was dark and depressing, unlike the weather, but also unexpectedly moving and sincerely sentimental. By exploding the situation with doom and gloom, Shute spotlights within his characters the profound meaning of everyday encounters shared between people, and celebrates this vernacular of quiet, everyday heroism. 


Reading V's legend written by  Alan Moore (Watchmen, Miracle Man, The Swamp Thing) and brought to life with the gritty, stylized visuals of David Lloyd was surprisingly philosophical; much more so than the movie adaptation made it out to be.

The dystopian world V is plotting to bring down—a fascist England that has criminalized various "deviant" behavior and watches everyone via its network of cameras, bugged phones, and patrolling finger-men—was probably my favorite aspect. The villain was embodied via the Supreme Leader and his henchmen, but the power of the system was oozing from every page, on every dimly-lit street corner and in every home's telephone and TV.

The sense of dread, not knowing who to trust, if you're being watched, how you'll ever have a private moment or conversation or differing opinion, and the feeling that it was all inescapable—or worse, that people stopped seeing it after a while—was fantastic characterization of the landscape. By building up the system, V's mask shines that much brighter, promising to get the last smile. 


Orpheus vs. the Sirens

A 46-year-old New York City firefighter projects streetwise narratives from his youth through the lens of Greek mythology.  


A Most Violent Year
Directed by J. C. Chandor

An alterna-Godfather tale starring Oscar Isaac, Jessica Chastain, and David Oyelowa.


Ep. 98: Jordan Peterson
Jocko Podcast

A three-hour conversation between a U.S. Navy Seal and clinical psychologist on the nature of evil in the world and ourselves. 

If you get something out of these monthly emails and my blog, it would mean the world to me if you would share this email with a friend and consider using the Amazon links to grab your next reads. This helps offset the cost of building and growing the community. It's been a fun side project so far. I'd love to one day do it full time.
Past Issues
"As often as I have seen beds of mud, sand, and shingle, accumulated to the thickness of many thousand feet, I have felt inclined to exclaim that causes, such as the present rivers and the present beaches, could never have ground down and produced such masses. But, on the other hand, when listening to the rattling noise of these torrents, and calling to mind that whole races of animals have passed away from the face of the earth, and that during this whole period, night and day, these stone have gone rattling onwards in their course, I have thought to myself, can any mountains, any continent, withstand such waste?" 

— Charles Darwin

📍Reading about mass extinctions in forest-fire-laden NorCal
Copyright © 2018. Jon Glatfelter. All rights reserved.

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Jon Glat · 57 Bombay · Irvine, CA 92620 · USA

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