Saturday, January 1, 2022

That time again ...


How the South Won the Civil War: Oligarchy, Democracy, and the Continuing Fight for the Soul of America, Heather Cox Richardson

Why Does The World Exist?: An Existential Detective Story, Jim Holt

Jesus: An Historian's Review of the Gospels, Michael Grant

Oscar Charleston: The Life and Legend of Baseball's Greatest Forgotten Player
Jeremy Beer

Iron Curtain: The Crushing of Eastern Europe, 1944-1956, Anne Applebaum

Hitler: 1889-1936: Hubris, Ian Kershaw

Hitler: 1936-1945: Nemesis, Ian Kershaw

Dynastic, Bombastic, Fantastic: Reggie, Rollie, Catfish and Charlie Finley's Swingin' A's
Jason Turbow

Thursday, December 31, 2020

The Year In Books

 I read 22 this year.  The Covid thing helped, I guess

The Powers That Be:
Within the Kingdom of the Media: How Luce's
Paley's CBS; the Graham's Washington Post
and the Chandler's Los Angeles Times
Became Rich and Powerful and Changed Forever
the Shape of American Politics and Society
David Halberstam

12 Years A Slave, Solomon Northup

The Magician, Sol Stein

The True Flag: Theodore Roosevelt, Mark Twain, and the Birth of American Empire, Stephen Kinzer

Heaven and Hell: A History of the Afterlife,
Bart D. Ehrman

Mickey and Willie: Mantle and Mays, the Parallel Lives of Baseball's Golden Age, Allen Barra

Summer of '68: The Season That changed Baseball-And America-Forever
Tim Wendel

Leadership In Turbulent Times, Doris Kearns Goodwin

The Summer of Beer and Whiskey: How Brewers, Barkeeps, Rowdies, Immigrants, and a Wild Pennant Fight Made Baseball America's Game,
Edward Achorn

Gulag: A History, Anne Applebaum

Swinging '73: Baseball's Wildest Season, Matthew Silverman

21 Lessons for the 21st Century, Yuval Noah Harari

The Final Season: Fathers, Sons an d One Last Season In A Classic American Ballpark
, Tom Stanton

Red Famine: Stalin's War On Ukraine, Anne Applebaum

Working: Researching, Interviewing, Writing, Robert A. Caro

Fantasyland: How America Went Haywire: A 500 Year History,
Kurt Andersen

Evil Geniuses: The Unmaking of America, A Recent History
Kurt Andersen

Alice In Chains: The Untold Story, David de Sola

Lawrence In Arabia: War, Deceit, Imperial Folly and the Making of the Modern Middle East, Scott Anderson

Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture In Crisis
J.D. Vance

Vision or Mirage: Saudi Arabia at the Crossroads, David Rundell

Highest Duty: My Search For What Really Matters
Capt. Chesley 'Sully' Sullenberger with Jeffrey Zaslow

Bushville Wins: The Wild Saga of the 1957 Milwaukee Braves and the Screwballs, Sluggers, and Beer Swiggers Who Canned The New York Yankees and Changed Baseball, John Klima

Friday, January 3, 2020

The Previous Year In Books

Here is the list of books I read in 2019.  Doesn't count any of the ones that I started but didn't finish.  Weren't quite so many of those this year ...

Out Of Their League, Dave Meggyesy
The Cold War's Killing Fields: Rethinking The Long Peace
Paul Thomas Chamberlin

Things Fall Apart, C
hinua Achebe
All That You Leave Behind: A Memoir
Erin Lee Carr

Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow

Yuval Noah Harari
Frankenstein or The Modern Prometheus
Mary Shelley
The Night Of The Gun: A Reporter investigates The Darkest Story Of His Life.
His Own
, David Carr

These Truths: A History of the United States
, Jill Lepore

The Road Not Taken: Edward Lansdale and the American Tragedy
in Vietnam
, Max Boot

Sunday, February 17, 2019

The Cold War

Just finished Paul Thomas Chamberlin's The Cold War's Killing Fields: Rethinking the Long Peace.  His central premise is that the time period of 1945 to 1990, known as the Cold War, is typically and falsely thought of as a time of 'peace' between the two superpowers, the U.S. and the U.S.S.R.  While it's true that the two never went directly to war the desire of each to influence events and shape the destinies of other countries led to a great deal of conflict which was then exacerbated by the two of them seeing every regional or civil war as being absolutely critical in the 'grand scheme' of things.

The narrative is in three parts.  In the first part, Third World revolutions occur in areas recently freed from colonial domination.  He looks especially at China, where a Communist Revolution succeeded under the leadership of Mao Zedong (and others), at Korea, where the two forces first opposed each other in a proxy war, at Vietnam where determined resistance to foreign interference proved decisive and also briefly at Indonesia and Pakistan/Bangla Desh.  Part one saw revolutions sparked by Marxism and nationalism triumph (for the most part).

In part two he examines the splintering of any international communist momentum as regional/national interests caused various otherwise aligned parties to fight each other, highlighted by the 'Sino-Soviet split.'

Part three takes us to the Middle East where revolutions erupted based not on the Capitalism vs. Communism clash but with millions of people rallying around ethnic and religious ties.  As before though, the two superpowers picked sides and vied for influence creating uneasy alliances, sometimes with recent adversaries.

At the end of the 80's the collapse of the Soviet Union left the United States as the winner of the Cold War.  But what had they won? 

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

The Year In Books, 2018

The Impossible Presidency: The Rise and Fall of America's Highest Office
Jeremi Suri

God: A Human History, Reza Aslan

JFK's Last Hundred Days: The Transformation Of A Man and The Emergence Of A Great President, Thurston Clarke

Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World, Jack Weatherford

Genghis Khan and the Quest For God: How the World's Greatest Conqueror Gave Us Religious Freedom, Jack Weatherford

Collision of Wills: Johnny Unitas, Don Shula, and the Rise of the Modern NFL
Jack Gilden

The War Before The War: Fugitive Slaves and the Struggle For America's Soul From the Revolution to the Civil War,
Andrew Delbanco

Monday, October 29, 2018

Genghis Khan

I finished Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World recently.  (Author Jack Weatherford.)  Some thoughts follow ...

From the dust jacket:

"The Mongol Army led by Genghis Khan subjugated more lands and people in twenty-five years than the Romans did in four hundred.  In nearly every country the Mongols conquered they brought an unprecedented rise in cultural communication, expanded trade, and a blossoming of civilization.  Vastly more progressive than his European or Asian counterparts, Genghis Khan abolished torture, granted universal religious freedom, and smashed feudal systems of aristocratic privilege.  From the story of his rise through the tribal culture to the explosion of civilization that the Mongol Empire unleashed this brilliant work of revisionist history is nothing less than the epic story of how the modern world was made."

First off, that's the first time I've ever seen 'revisionist history' used proudly  ;  )

In the comments I'm going to lay out some of the themes Weatherford's narrative evokes.  Starting tonight yet  ;  )