Really interesting post about Colbert and Academic Spies by the Wonders & Marvels folks:
Jean-Baptiste Colbert (1619-1683) knew that well-paid scholars potentially make effective and sometimes brutal intelligence agents.
He also knew they had the requisite skills to make state surveillance systems. With their knowledge of law, feudal history and archival practices, Colbert trained a number of top ecclesiastical scholars such as Étienne Baluze and Joseph-Nicolas Foucault, and the d’Hozier family to help him make and manage police and tax files on French parliamentarians and nobles.
Just because the tool is there and I think we should always use useful tools, I bashed out a tagmash on LibraryThing for France, 17th Century, some interesting results. I’d like to see this being deeper and maybe a little more non-fiction focused but ut sure makes for an great jump off point.
Weidenfeld & Nicolson have acquired a one-volume history of World War II by Anthony Beavor. This is almost assured of being a massive seller from The Bookseller:
The new book, which is likely to be at least 700 pages long and titled simply The Second World War, is provisionally set for publication in 2012. Little, Brown and Company will publish the book in the United States.
Beevor’s Stalingrad has sold well over 400,000 copies in all editions through Nielsen BookScan, and Berlin close to 200,000, while D-Day has sold over 100,000 copies since publication in hardback in May. The Battle for Spain has sold close to 70,000 copies through Nielsen BookScan.
If the book is anyway as good as Norman Stone’s book, World War One: A Short History, (which by the by didn’t require 700 pages to deliver a great text) it will be a very welcome volume.
A rather excellent infographic on the history of US Government bailouts since the 1970s.
And, for the date that is in it, read a little something on The Battle of Pharsalus, Ceaser’s victory over the forces of Pompey.