Sunday book notices: A courageous German Bishop and a balanced assessment of algorithms

The Caxton Celebration - William Caxton showing specimens of his printing to King Edward IV and his Queen

The Lion of Münster: The Bishop Who Roared Against the Nazis by Daniel Utrecht
Fr Daniel Utrecht, a priest of the Toronto Oratory, has put together an inspiring account of the great bishop of Münster, Count Clemens August von Galen, who courageously spoke out against National Socialist pagan ideology during the second world war. The Nazis knew that his influence with the people was great, and they planned to execute him after they had won the war. After the war, Von Galen also stood up to the allied authorities, and campaigned for reasonable treatment for the Germans. Fr Utrecht conveys the emotion of the return of the Bishop after having been created Cardinal by Pope Pius XII, and his death just six days later.

Hello World: How to be Human in the Age of the Machine by Hannah Fry
An expert in applied mathematics, Hannah Fry is well-placed to examine the risks and benefits of the use of algorithms and their increased influence in everyday life. Covering such areas as diagnosis in medicine, autonomous vehicles and the detection of crime, she offers a deeper analysis than shock "end of the world" headlines, or misty-eyed utopianism. Fry concludes that algorithms will work to the greatest benefit if we, as humans, are treating them rationally, questioning their decisions, and correcting their mistakes. As she says: "In the age of the algorithm, humans have never been more important."

(Links go to the Amazon UK page for each book. I link to the Kindle edition because that is how I read most new books these days, but you can easily click around if you want the paper and glue version.)

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