Monday, September 24, 2012

Books I've Been Reading

bookjacket Daniel P. Carpenter, The Forging of Bureaucratic Autonomy: Regulations, Networks, and Policy Innovation in Executive Agencies, 1862-1968 (Princeton 2001). An important contribution to the literature on how administrative agencies built coalitions to further their missions (mainly as mid-level managers perceived them) and to sustain political legitimacy. Of particular interest to me are Carpenter's respective descriptions of the historical evolution of the Agriculture and Interior Departments. While the former gained substantial political autonomy during the Progressive Era, the later did not. And the effects of that distinction are felt to the present day in respective agency policies and cultures. It's not the most exciting book I've ever read, but it's very rich in substance.

Herman Hesse, The Glass Bead Game (Magister Ludi) (Holt, Reinhart & Winston 1969). I haven't read Hesse's masterpiece since 1985. What a great pleasure to read it again after so many years. I only wish I could read it in the original German. After Thomas Mann (who is portrayed in the book as the former Magister Ludi Thomas van der Trave), Hesse is probably my favorite German fiction author (although he gets a good run for his money from Heinrich Boll, Theodor Fontane, and, of course, Goethe). 

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