Posts Tagged ‘History’

Just a quick update on my “no buying books until I’ve read ten I already have” Long March, last updated here. Since then I’ve finished White Guilt, Betrayal: France, the Arabs and the Jews, and, just today, Ferling’s Adams vs. Jefferson: The Tumultuous Election of 1800. All of them I highly recommend, especially Ferling’s book, and I hope to post reviews of them soon.

Regarding Roberts’ A History of the English-Speaking Peoples Since 1900 … we’re still working on that. It’s entertaining, provocative, and easy reading (though I have found one disturbing gaffe in it so far), but it’s a big book, which means only reading it at home when I have the time. Likely this will the the tenth and final book.

What’s next? I’m not sure. I read mostly non-fiction, as you can see: History and Politics are often much more interesting to me than fiction, but perhaps it’s time for a change of pace. Yet there’s very little fiction on my shelves that I haven’t already read and, to fulfill the quest, I should really read something I haven’t yet gotten round to. But what?

Decisions, decisions.

Meanwhile, I should start thinking about what I want to buy as my reward…. 🙂

Read Full Post »

Just to update my “No buying books from Amazon until I’ve read 10 I already have” pledge, I’ve finished Don Cook’s The Long Fuse: how England lost the American colonies, 1760-1785. As one would expect from an experienced and highly regarded journalist, the late Mr. Cook tells his tale well, laying most of the blame for the loss of America on King George’s stubbornness. (Mediocre English generalship and poor direction from Whitehall didn’t help, either.) The book is replete with vivid portraits of the key players in England, including Benjamin Franklin, who was the agent for Pennsylvania and other colonies in London before the war and one of our chief negotiators at its end. One gets the sense from Mr. Cook that the war did not have to happen, and perhaps some regret that it did.

My one complaint is that the book did not cover developments in social history and political theory in England at the time nearly as much as I would have liked, but that wasn’t Cook’s intent, in any case; this book is clearly in Carlyle’s “great man” school of History. For more on the political, strategic, and demographic trends that lead to the crisis, one book I recommend is Draper’s A Struggle for Power.

So, what’s next? I had originally picked Roberts’ A History of the English-Speaking Peoples Since 1900, but that’s too big to lug back and forth to and from work. That shall be reading for the home. For enlightenment on the bus and at lunch, a copy of Shelby Steele’s White Guilt fits much better in the shoulder bag.

Two books at once! I know, I’m impressed with my daring, too.

Read Full Post »

Two down, eight to go

Just finished Lauro Martines’ April Blood: Florence and the plot against the Medici, and I highly recommend it. That’s the second book of my pledge to read ten books before buying any more. Now I’ve started Goldberg’s Liberal Fascism, which also looks like a fascinating read and, sadly, perhaps timely.

Read Full Post »

I have to give in to my Inner Little Kid for a moment and share what I got for Christmas. This is some neat stuff:


Doris Kearns-Goodwin’s A Team of Rivals. Abe Lincoln is a deeply-felt hero to me, so I’m looking forward to reading this.

Rick Atkinson’s The Day of Battle. Part two of his Liberation Trilogy, this one covers the Allied campaign in Italy from 1943-44. His first book, An Army at Dawn, was brilliant; I have high expectations for this.

Jon Meacham’s American Lion, a biography of Andrew Jackson. I have ambivalent feelings about President Jackson: On the one hand, he was unstinting in his pursuit of a strong American nation and faced down early moves toward secession. On the other, he was a prime mover behind the Cherokee removal from Georgia, which can only be described as a crime of ethnic cleansing. I’ll be interested to see how Meacham weighs all these and other factors.


Seasons three and eight of Stargate SG-1. One of my favorite shows, it’s a model for what an adventure series should be, science-fiction or not.

Star Wars Episode Four: A New Hope, containing both the wonderful original version and the bowdlerized revision. Han shot first!

The Alvin and the Chipmunks movie. A deep-inside joke from my sister, I had to laugh when I opened the package. I will have revenge.


A new and very needed wallet, a pen so heavy I could hurt someone with it, magnetic bookmarks, cards from friends and family, a Borders gift card, and some always welcome cash.

A nice haul indeed.

Technorati tags: ,

Read Full Post »