I want to take the liberty of drawing attention to weekend reading of special interest without commentary from me. I recommend:
• Douglas Murray, “The Russian Revolution, 100 years on.” Murray looks back at what Communism wrought and decries its continuing appeal. NRO has posted Murray’s recent cover story along with sidebars by Anne Applebaum, David Pryce-Jones, Noah Rothman, Roger Scruton, and Radoslaw Sikorski assigning notable books for extra credit reading.
• Clifford May (Foundation for the Defense of Democracy), “Came the revolution.” The New York Times has more or less celebrated the centenary of the Russian Revolution this year. The celebration expresses a nostalgia for Communism. Former Timesman Cliff May is not amused.
• Seth Barron (City Journal), “Autonomy in the UK.” A salute to Nick Cave for tebelling against the BDS crowd, with cameos by Eric Clapton and Ringo Starr.
• Victor Davis Hanson (Defining Ideas), “A Thanksgiving toast to the Old Breed.” Dr. Hanson draws on his family background and his scholarly work to raise a toast to those who are gone.
• Ben Cohen (Wall Street Journal), “A chess novice challenged Magnus Carlsen. He had one month to train.” Max Deutsch is a self-described “extreme learner.” In the words of the song, there are such things:
Max [Deutsch] was not very good at chess himself. He’s a 24-year-old entrepreneur who lives in San Francisco and plays the sport occasionally to amuse himself. He was a prototypical amateur. Now he was preparing himself for a match against chess royalty. And he believed he could win.
The unlikely series of events that brought him to this stage began last year, when Max challenged himself to a series of monthly tasks that were ambitious bordering on absurd. He memorized the order of a shuffled deck of cards. He sketched an eerily accurate self-portrait. He solved a Rubik’s Cube in 17 seconds. He developed perfect musical pitch and landed a standing back-flip. He studied enough Hebrew to discuss the future of technology for a half-hour.
Max, a self-diagnosed obsessive learner, wanted his goals to be so lofty that he would fail to reach some. At that, he failed. Max was 11-for-11.
He knew from the beginning of his peculiar year that the hardest challenge would come in October: defeating Magnus Carlsen in a game of chess.
The article is behind the Journal’s paywall. The companion video, however, gives the short version of this compelling and — educational? inspirational? — story (below).