world’s shortest books

  1. Let Us Honor Great Italian War Heroes;
  2. Two Millennia of German Humanism;
  3. A Manual of French Hygiene;
  4. Recognizing British Heterosexuality;
  5. A Field Guide to Great American Lovers;
  6. Mastering Russian Table Manners;
  7. A Treasury of Polish Wit and Wisdom;
  8. The Secrets of Iranian Diplomacy;
  9. Iron Rules of Chinese Business Ethics;
  10. Side-Splitting Japanese Jokes;
  11. Loving Your Neighbors the Greek Way;
  12. Jewish Ways of Happiness; and
  13. Negroes I Have Met While Yachting.

19 thoughts on “world’s shortest books”

  1. Cannot speak for some on the list…

    … but have to disagree on Germans (Heine, Kant, and, yes, Nietsche), Italians (from condotieri to Garibaldi to Teseo Tesei), Poles (Mickiewicz, Milocz).

    Maybe add to the list of shortest books, Jokes that I (zapiens) Understand?

    1. Re: Cannot speak for some on the list…

      Heine died in Paris 77 years before his erstwhile compatriots denounced him as an Untermensch and burned his books in Berlin’s Opernplatz. Kant was not far from them in spirit:

      The Palestinians living among us have, for the most part, earned a not unfounded reputation for being cheaters, because of their spirit of usury since their exile. Certainly, it seems strange to conceive of a nation of cheaters; but it is just as odd to think of a nation of merchants, the great majority of whom, bound by an ancient superstition that is recognized by the State they live in, seek no civil dignity and try to make up for this loss by the advantage of duping the people among whom they find refuge, and even one another. The situation could not be otherwise, given a whole nation of merchants, as non-productive members of society (for example, the Jews in Poland). So their constitution, which is sanctioned by ancient precepts and even by the people among whom they live (since we have certain sacred writings in common with them), cannot consistently be abolished — even though the supreme principle of their morality in trading with us is “Let the buyer beware.” I shall not engage in the futile undertaking of lecturing to these people, in terms of morality, about cheating and honesty. Instead, I shall present my conjectures about the origin of this peculiar constitution (the constitution, namely, of a nation of merchants).
      —Immanuel Kant, Anthropology from a Pragmatic Point of View, translated by Mary J. Gregor, The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff, 1974, p. 77

      Nietzsche may have been many things, but scarcely a humanist. For Italian war heroes, I’ll give you Garibaldi and Teseo Tesei, and Fabrizio Quattrocchi in recent memory; also KotarbiĹ„ski and Lesniewski for Polish wisdom. I would add KoĹ‚akowski and MiĹ‚osz, but as expatriates they get us back to square one. But even the shortest books must have some pages in them.

      1. Re: Cannot speak for some on the list…

        As far as German Humanism is concerned… I was thinking more along the lines of Reuchlin, Goethe, Momsen, Williamowitz-Moellendorf…

  2. Let Us Honor Great Italian War Heroes;
    ********
    Didn’t Italians rule most of Europe, Middle East and Northern Africa for, like, 300 years?

          1. Just because an evil person derived an idea (that Italian heroism is linked to roman glory), it doesn’t automatically mean that the idea is evil. I am sure Mussolini would agree that the sky is blue, for example…

            Now, what caused it not to go so well is that he used the idea as an excuse to commit crimes. Which doesn’t mean that the idea is criminal itself.

            1. Just because an evil person derived an idea (that Italian heroism is linked to roman glory), it doesn’t automatically mean that the idea is evil.

              No shit, Sherlock. However, a political idea that fails on worldwide scale is a strong candidate for qualifying as stupid.

              Now, what caused it not to go so well is that he used the idea as an excuse to commit crimes.

              Genocide is a crime that goes well realizes the malice of its perpetrators on a worldwide scale. So much for your idea of criminal causality.

              1. However, a political idea that fails on worldwide scale is a strong candidate for qualifying as stupid.
                *********
                The idea that Italian heritage (including “military heroism”) derives from antique roman history has failed on worldwide scale? Care to substantiate?

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