Category: Past Activites (page 1 of 6)

April 2, 2017
Book Discussion:
A Hero of France
Alan Furst

Alan Furst goeherofrances to war: Occupied Paris for the first time since Red Gold (1999 pub), Furst has set this novel during the war itself, instead of on the eve of the war. Members of the French Resistance network young and old, aristocrats and schoolteachers, defiant heroes and ordinary people all engaged in clandestine actions in the cause of freedom. From the secret hotels and Nazi-infested nightclubs of Paris to the villages of Rouen and Orleans. An action-packed story of romance, intrigue, spies, bravery, and air battles.

Discussion leader: Bert von Stuelpnagle

Current Affairs

If you enjoy researching and discussing current affairs then you should join the DMA Current Affairs Discussion Group.

The Current Affairs group meets on the third Thursday of each month (Sep-Jun) at 8AM in the Lillian Gate Room on the second floor of the DCA.

The structure is as follows: With input from the group, the Current Affairs Coordinator will maintain a list of potential discussion topics. At the end of each meeting, a topic and discussion leader is chosen for the next meeting. The discussion leader will (i) define and articulate the topic; (ii) assemble and circulate background materials; (iii) lead the discussion. All members are encouraged to share information they find informative and relevant. The topic will be posted on this website.

We are not debating so the focus is on being better informed. The discussion leader will maintain this focus and allow everyone the opportunity to summarize what they have learned from the articles and what struck them as meaningful.

We hope to see you there.

email hidden; JavaScript is required.

Blood and Sand
Alex von Tunzelmann

bloodsandOver sixteen extraordinary days in October and November 1956, the twin crises of Suez and Hungary pushed the world to the brink of a nuclear conflict and what many at the time were calling World War III. Blood and Sand is a revelatory new history of these dramatic events, for the first time setting both crises in the context of the Arab–Israeli conflict, and the treacherous power politics of imperialism and oil.
Blood and Sand tells this story hour by hour, with a fascinating cast of characters including Gamal Abdel Nasser, Anthony Eden, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Nikita Khrushchev, Christian Pineau, Imre Nagy and David Ben-Gurion. It is a tale of conspiracy and revolutions, spies and terrorists, kidnappings and assassination plots, the fall of the British Empire and the rise of American hegemony. Blood and Sand is essential to our understanding of the modern Middle East and resonates powerfully with the problems of oil control, religious fundamentalism and international unity that face the world today.

Recommended by Tom Reifenheiser

Hiking Greenwich Point Park
Thursday, December 1, 2016, 10:30 AM

“Hiking” Greenwich Point Park,
6 Tod’s Driftway, Greenwich
Thursday, December 1, 2016

greenwichpointparkWe will be walking Greenwich Point Park on Thursday, December1 at 10.30 am. Note that this is an hour later than our usual start time of 9.30 am.

Greenwich Point is a beautiful peninsula surrounded on three sides by Long Island Sound. The walking trail is completely flat and does not require any special skills other than a desire to walk amid some pretty spectacular scenery. We will be doing the full circuit of about 3 miles in about 1 ½ hours.

Following the walk we will have lunch at the highly recommended Italian Restaurant Applausi Osteria Toscana,199 Sound Beach Avenue, Old Greenwich, Conn. Take a look at the menu here.

Directions: Google Greenwich Point for the best directions.

Take Exit 5 off the South bound I-95. At the end of the exit ramp make a sharp right onto Rt 1 and then at the first traffic light make a right onto Sound Beach Road. Continue on Sound Beach for 1.8 miles, then at the T junction make right on Shore Road which becomes Tods Driftway after 1.3 miles. You enter Greenwich Point Park through a stone gateway and park in the first parking lot on the right where we will meet.

This park is open only for Greenwich Residents during the season, but this being off-season anyone can enter. However incoming cars are checked to make sure there are no dogs as they are not allowed in the park.

Clothing: It is usually quite windy at Greenwich Point and will probably be chilly as well. Be appropriately clad. Walking will warm you up and it should be invigorating and fun. All are welcome.

( Rain date: Friday December 2 at 10.30am)

Contact: Sunil Saksena 203-561-8601

Ike’s Bluff
President Eisenhower’s Secret Battle to Save the World

Evan Thomas

ikesbluffEvan Thomas’s startling account of how the underrated Dwight Eisenhower saved the world from nuclear holocaust. Upon assuming the presidency in 1953, Dwight Eisenhower set about to make good on his campaign promise to end the Korean War. Yet while Eisenhower was quickly viewed by many as a doddering lightweight, behind the bland smile and simple speech was a master tactician. To end the hostilities, Eisenhower would take a colossal risk by bluffing that he might use nuclear weapons against the Communist Chinese, while at the same time restraining his generals and advisors who favored the strikes. Ike’s gamble was of such magnitude that there could be but two outcomes: thousands of lives saved, or millions of lives lost. A tense, vivid and revisionist account of a president who was then, and still is today, underestimated, IKE’S BLUFF is history at its most provocative and thrilling.

Recommended by Tom Reifenheiser.

An Officer and a Spy
Robert Harris

officerspyRobert Harris returns to the thrilling historical fiction he has so brilliantly made his own. This is the story of the infamous Dreyfus affair told as a chillingly dark, hard-edged novel of conspiracy and espionage. Paris in 1895. Alfred Dreyfus, a young Jewish officer, has just been convicted of treason, sentenced to life imprisonment at Devil’s Island, and stripped of his rank in front of a baying crowd of twenty-thousand. Among the witnesses to his humiliation is Georges Picquart, the ambitious, intellectual, recently promoted head of the counterespionage agency that “proved” Dreyfus had passed secrets to the Germans. At first, Picquart firmly believes in Dreyfus’s guilt. But it is not long after Dreyfus is delivered to his desolate prison that Picquart stumbles on information that leads him to suspect that there is still a spy at large in the French military. As evidence of the most malignant deceit mounts and spirals inexorably toward the uppermost levels of government, Picquart is compelled to question not only the case against Dreyfus but also his most deeply held beliefs about his country, and about himself. Bringing to life the scandal that mesmerized the world at the turn of the twentieth century, Robert Harris tells a tale of uncanny timeliness––a witch hunt, secret tribunals, out-of-control intelligence agencies, the fate of a whistle-blower–richly dramatized with the singular storytelling mastery that has marked all of his internationally best-selling novels

Recommended by Joe Spain

2016 Silvermine Challenge
June 24, 2016

The 2016 Silvermine Challenge DMA vs. Senior Men’s Club of New Canaan (SMCNC) was held at the Silvermine Golf Club on June 24th. This was the fifth consecutive year that this friendly yet spirited competition has been held. This year’s competition ended up in a 15 – 15 tie. DMA leads the series 3 – 1 with 1 tie.

The DMA Golf Team comprised the following members:

  • Dave McCollum
  • Tom Haack
  • Jim Crane
  • Jim Kelly
  • Woody Woodworth
  • Bud Bain
  • Tom Reifenheiser
  • Fred Conze
  • Michael Poler
  • Gunnar Edelstein
  • Kevin Davidson
  • Kevin Monahan
  • Mike Brennan
  • Austin Schraff
  • Spike Reed
  • Joe Holmes
  • Alex Garnett
  • George Gilliam
  • David Mace
  • Peter Carnes

Dave McCollum won the Closest to the Pin Award.

Denny Devere (Captain)

img_3449_edited-1 img_3451 img_3452_edited-1 img_3454_edited-1 img_3457_edited-1 img_3459_edited-2 img_3460_edited-1 img_3461_edited-1 img_3462_edited-1 img_3463_edited-1 img_3464_edited-1 img_3470 img_9611_edited-2 img_9618_edited-1 img_9620_edited-1 img_9623_edited-1 img_9633_edited-1 img_9658_edited-1 img_9675_edited-1 img_9706_edited-1 img_9739_edited-1 mg_9671_edited-1

Hiking the Zofnass Family Preserve
Westchester Wilderness Walk Thursday
November 3, 2016, 9:30 AM

Join us Thursday October 27 November 3 as we hike a portion of the Westchester Wilderness Walk at the 150-acre Zofnass Family Preserve in Pound Ridge, NY  ―  near the North Stamford border. We’ll be at Zofnass during height of the changing leaves in an undeveloped area noted for its beautiful rock outcroppings, upland forests, wetlands and ancient stone walls. We’ll hike about 3 ½ miles of the preserve’s 8 miles of trails.

And after the hike we’ll reward ourselves with lunch at the nearby Long Ridge Tavern on Long Ridge Road in North Stamford.

Invite your wife or significant other to join us both for this special hike ― and for lunch.

Because parking is extremely limited at the Zofnass Preserve we’ll meet at the Long Ridge Tavern at 9:30 a.m. and car pool the five minute drive to trail head.

Directions to Long Ridge Tavern, 2635 Long Ridge Road, Stamford, CT  06903.

― Merritt Parkway, exit 34, Long Ridge Road (CT 104)

― Drive north on Long Ridge Road (CT 104) 3.8 miles to Long Ridge Tavern

― Long Ridge Tavern will be on the right

― Meet in the parking lot

Cell service in Zofnass is limited, so if you need to contact hike leader Rich Sabreen the day of the hike try 917-951-8267 before we leave the Tavern about 9:30 a.m.

January 11, 2017
Hillbilly Elegy
J.D.Vance

hillbillyFrom a former marine and Yale Law School graduate, a powerful account of growing up in a poor Rust Belt town that offers a broader, probing look at the struggles of America’s white working class Hillbilly Elegy is a passionate and personal analysis of a culture in crisis—that of white working-class Americans. The decline of this group, a demographic of our country that has been slowly disintegrating over forty years, has been reported on with growing frequency and alarm, but has never before been written about as searingly from the inside. J. D. Vance tells the true story of what a social, regional, and class decline feels like when you were born with it hung around your neck. The Vance family story begins hopefully in postwar America. J. D.’s grandparents were “dirt poor and in love,” and moved north from Kentucky’s Appalachia region to Ohio in the hopes of escaping the dreadful poverty around them. They raised a middle-class family, and eventually their grandchild (the author) would graduate from Yale Law School, a conventional marker of their success in achieving generational upward mobility. But as the family saga of Hillbilly Elegy plays out, we learn that this is only the short, superficial version. Vance’s grandparents, aunt, uncle, sister, and, most of all, his mother, struggled profoundly with the demands of their new middle-class life, and were never able to fully escape the legacy of abuse, alcoholism, poverty, and trauma so characteristic of their part of America. Vance piercingly shows how he himself still carries around the demons of their chaotic family history. A deeply moving memoir with its share of humor and vividly colorful figures, Hillbilly Elegy is the story of how upward mobility really feels. And it is an urgent and troubling meditation on the loss of the American dream for a large segment of this country.

Discussion leader: John Wolcott

Gentlemen–Hillbilly Elegy is an extremely important book, perhaps more because so many pundits are liberally quoting it than might truly be the case–and therein lies an intriguing paradox. However, Elegy is extraordinarily well-written (the pages fly by) and relates an absorbing, disturbing, yet at times uplifting story set in Appalachia, referred to by politicians, some sympathetically, others, condescendingly, as the Rust Belt. Our discussion will be both lively and provocative.

Once you’ve put the book down (but not before), please read the attached book review from The New Yorker. I’ve read a number of others, and none comes close. It’s so good that you could almost skip the book, but again, the book is so well crafted that you shouldn’t miss it. The article also refers to several other sources that might be worth a look.

New Yorker – Hillbilly Elegy

See you all January 11. In the meantime, Happy Holidays and a Wonderful New Year, speaking of which, make reading Hillbilly Elegy your first New Year’s Resolution!

–John

December 14, 2016 –
Book Discussion
The Last Hurrah
Edwin O’Connor

last-hurrah“We’re living in a sensitive age, Cuke, and I’m not altogether sure you’re fully attuned to it.” So says Irish-American politician Frank Skeffington—a cynical, corrupt 1950s mayor, and also an old-school gentleman who looks after the constituents of his New England city and enjoys their unwavering loyalty in return. But in our age of dynasties, mercurial social sensitivities, and politicians making love to the camera, Skeffington might as well be talking to us.

Not quite a roman á clef of notorious Boston mayor James Michael Curley, The Last Hurrahtells the story of Skeffington’s final campaign as witnessed through the eyes of his nephew, who learns a great deal about politics as he follows his uncle to fundraisers, wakes, and into smoke-filled rooms, ultimately coming—almost against his will—to admire the man. Adapted into a 1958 film starring Spencer Tracy and directed by John Ford (and which Curley tried to keep from being made), Edwin O’Connor’s opus reveals politics as it really is, and big cities as they really were. An expansive, humorous novel offering deep insight into the Irish-American experience and the ever-changing nature of the political machine, The Last Hurrah reveals political truths still true today: what the cameras capture is just the smiling face of the sometimes sordid business of giving the people what they want.

Discussion Leader: David Mace

November 9, 2016 –
Book Discussion
Destiny of the Republic
Madness, Medicine & the Murder of a President

Candice Millard

destinyoftherepublicThe extraordinary New York Times bestselling account of James Garfield’s rise from poverty to the American presidency, and the dramatic history of his assassination and legacy, from bestselling author of The River of Doubt, Candice Millard.

James Abram Garfield was one of the most extraordinary men ever elected president. Born into abject poverty, he rose to become a wunderkind scholar, a Civil War hero, a renowned congressman, and a reluctant presidential candidate who took on the nation’s corrupt political establishment. But four months after Garfield’s inauguration in 1881, he was shot in the back by a deranged office-seeker named Charles Guiteau. Garfield survived the attack, but become the object of bitter, behind-the-scenes struggles for power—over his administration, over the nation’s future, and, hauntingly, over his medical care. Meticulously researched, epic in scope, and pulsating with an intimate human focus and high-velocity narrative drive, The Destiny of the Republic brings alive a forgotten chapter of U.S. history.

Discussion leader: Joe Spain

October 12, 2016 –
Book Discussion
Alibaba
The House That Jack Ma Built

Duncan Clark

alibaba-coverAn engrossing, insider’s account of how a teacher built one of the world’s most valuable companies—rivaling Walmart & Amazon—and forever reshaped the global economy.
In just a decade and half Jack Ma, a man from modest beginnings who started out as an English teacher, founded and built Alibaba into one of the world’s largest companies, an e-commerce empire on which hundreds of millions of Chinese consumers depend. Alibaba’s $25 billion IPO in 2014 was the largest global IPO ever. A Rockefeller of his age who is courted by CEOs and Presidents around the world, Jack is an icon for China’s booming private sector and the gatekeeper to hundreds of millions of middle class consumers.
Duncan Clark first met Jack in 1999 in the small apartment where Jack founded Alibaba. Granted unprecedented access to a wealth of new material including exclusive interviews, Clark draws on his own experience as an early advisor to Alibaba and two decades in China chronicling the Internet’s impact on the country to create an authoritative, compelling narrative account of Alibaba’s rise.
How did Jack overcome his humble origins and early failures to achieve massive success with Alibaba? How did he outsmart rival entrepreneurs from China and Silicon Valley? Can Alibaba maintain its 80% market share? As it forges ahead into finance and entertainment, are there limits to Alibaba’s ambitions? How does the Chinese government view its rise? Will Alibaba expand further overseas, including in the U.S.?
Clark tells Alibaba’s tale in the context of China’s momentous economic and social changes, illuminating an unlikely corporate titan as never before.

Older posts