December 18—Recommended Sunday Reading

The best Sunday reads

Photo by Sanjeev Verma/Hindustan Times via Getty Images
Photo by Sanjeev Verma/Hindustan Times via Getty Images

NH National Bureau

‘Sound of Music’ unplugged

Historically, the Nazis marched into Austria a good three years after the real von Trapp family left Salzburg. And they, the von Trapps, did so by catching a train to Italy from Salzburg Railway Station. But lo! There’s utter lack of drama in that. On the other hand, crossing the Alps, even if it’s the wrong mountain to climb, is so romantic. The Untersberg mountain peak, which is shown to be climbed — both from the lake-front patio and at those tense moments from the church graveyard, just before the escape — stands on the German side of Salzburg, and crossing that would factually have taken the von Trapps right into the den of the Nazis. In Deccan Herald.

The Trump Tower Circus

“They think it’s going to be like yesterday,” Tamara Gitt, a Fox News producer, said. The previous day, the guest list had included Bill Gates, who talked to Trump about “innovation”; two retired football players, Jim Brown and Ray Lewis, who talked to Trump about “urban development”; and Kanye West, who talked to Trump about “life” and “multicultural issues.” After West’s meeting, Trump had come down to the lobby with him and addressed the reporters. Gitt said, “I’m here every day, and, trust me, most days are not like yesterday. I think people are gonna be disappointed.” In New Yorker.

Sleepwalking to surrender

“It might be argued that the economic system over which this elite presides, which generates greater and greater wealth for the few at the expense of the many, has some part to play in generating the feelings of frustration and despondency that make the anti-systemic message of radical Islam so appealing to so many people.” In Dawn.

Russians agonise over 1917 Revolutions

On the one hand, the Soviet state that came from the revolution was the one that won the war and whose military and scientific achievements Putin thinks should be venerated. But on the other hand Putin has elevated “stability” to being one of the key tenets of his rule, and as such celebrating a revolution goes against the very grain of his political philosophy. “There’s no official line from the Kremlin – they can’t identify themselves with Lenin, because he was a revolutionary, and they can’t identify with Nicholas II because he was a weak leader,” said Zygar. In The Guardian.

When a C-section cost four sacks of peanuts

The barter system resurfaces whenever there is an economic crisis. After the fall of the Roman Empire in the third century AD, in the 1930s during the Great Depression in the US and more recently in Zimbabwe. In 2009, when inflation peaked to an astonishing 500 billion per cent, the Zimbabwean dollar crashed.The highest denomination printed, a $100 trillion bill, could barely buy a loaf of bread. Some people started using currency as toilet paper. And that is when, courtesy the economic mess created by the 90-year-old authoritarian President Robert Mugabe, the man on the street turned to barter. Hospitals allowed people to barter goods for healthcare services. A C-section cost four sacks of peanuts. In The Telegraph.

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