What we're about

We read history and/or non-fiction books each month. We meet on the 3rd Saturday of each month at 4pm PT in a Google Meet online meeting to discuss the books. New members are always welcome, even if you haven't read the book! The discussions are always interesting and lively, and sometimes range far beyond the book itself. Our group has been meeting and discussing books for over 10 years now. Anyone can suggest a book, and we vote on what we'll read. If you're interested in history and non-fiction topics, you'll love this group!

3rd Saturday of each month at 4pm PT (GMT -07:00)

Upcoming events (2)

[Online] How Civil Wars Start: And How to Stop Them

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ONLINE MEETING - We will discuss:

"How Civil Wars Start: And How to Stop Them" by Barbara F. Walter - 320pp

Note: You don't need to have read the book, but you'll enjoy it more if you've read it.

Political violence rips apart several towns in southwest Texas. A far-right militia plots to kidnap the governor of Michigan and try her for treason. An armed mob of Trump supporters and conspiracy theorists storms the U.S. Capitol. Are these isolated incidents? Or is this the start of something bigger? Barbara F. Walter has spent her career studying civil conflict in places like Iraq, Ukraine, and Sri Lanka, but now she has become increasingly worried about her own country.

Perhaps surprisingly, both autocracies and healthy democracies are largely immune from civil war; it’s the countries in the middle ground that are most vulnerable. And this is where more and more countries, including the United States, are finding themselves today.

Over the last two decades, the number of active civil wars around the world has almost doubled. Walter reveals the warning signs—where wars tend to start, who initiates them, what triggers them—and why some countries tip over into conflict while others remain stable. Drawing on the latest international research and lessons from over twenty countries, Walter identifies the crucial risk factors, from democratic backsliding to factionalization and the politics of resentment. A civil war today won’t look like America in the 1860s, Russia in the 1920s, or Spain in the 1930s. It will begin with sporadic acts of violence and terror, accelerated by social media. It will sneak up on us and leave us wondering how we could have been so blind.

In this urgent and insightful book, Walter redefines civil war for a new age, providing the framework we need to confront the danger we now face—and the knowledge to stop it before it’s too late.

“It turns out that there is a discipline that you might call ‘civilwarology’—the study of the factors that lead to civil war. . . . Barbara F. Walter became a civilwarologist nearly a quarter of a century ago and her entry is evidently well-thumbed in the Rolodexes of the CIA and the U.S. State Department. In other words, she knows what she’s talking about—which makes this book rather scary.”—The Times (U.K.)

[Online] How the Hippies Saved Physics

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ONLINE MEETING - https://meet.google.com/uov-tvft-yuf

"How the Hippies Saved Physics: Science, Counterculture, and the Quantum Revival" by David Kaiser - 401pp

Note: You don't need to have read the book, but you'll enjoy it more if you've read it.

"Meticulously researched and unapologetically romantic, How the Hippies Saved Physics makes the history of science fun again." —Science

In the 1970s, an eccentric group of physicists in Berkeley, California, banded together to explore the wilder side of science. Dubbing themselves the "Fundamental Fysiks Group," they pursued an audacious, speculative approach to physics, studying quantum entanglement in terms of Eastern mysticism and psychic mind reading. As David Kaiser reveals, these unlikely heroes spun modern physics in a new direction, forcing mainstream physicists to pay attention to the strange but exciting underpinnings of quantum theory.

Past events (100)

[Online] The Lies That Bind: Rethinking Identity

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