Today’s Reads: Riches in Australia, memory in Iraq

March 19, 2013

Baghdad at sunset. (Karim Sahib -- AFP/Getty Images)

1) New Yorker: The Miner's Daughter

A fascinating profile of Gina Rinehart, an Australian iron mining magnate who is one of the world's wealthiest people and could soon become, if her latest venture is a success, the absolute richest. It's partly about Rinehart the personality – toxic and oddball, with lots of family feuds and political influence – but also about Australia's future. The country has enjoyed an astounding 21 years of growth, partly due to its vast mineral deposits, but Rinehart wants to, in the parlance of her critics, "Americanize" their society.

2) Pacific Standard: Has the U.S. lost its nuclear taboo?

Some new research finds that, among Americans, the long-held taboo against the use of nuclear weapons may be fading. That's more than just an ethical issue: the nuclear taboo is part of how the world keeps from using the nuclear weapons it's assembled. In that thinking, human decision makers work hard to avoid using nuclear weapons, even when their use might make tactical military sense. If that taboo goes away, is nuclear conflict just a tiny bit more plausible?

3) The Washington Post: Anthony Shadid's Pulitzer-winning reporting from Iraq

In 2010, Shadid won the Pulitzer Prize for his work the previous year in Iraq. His nuanced, heartfelt coverage gave people like me, who have never visited the country, a remarkably intimate feel for the Iraqi experience in wartime. Revisiting some of these stories is a great way to contemplate the war's legacy.

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