BEST GIFTS FOR THE HISTORY LOVER
Looking for that special literary item for the man who has loves reading? This year has a lot of choices, particularly if you like biographies of great leaders.
1 – Topping the charts this year is No Easy Day, the enthralling tell-all by U.S. Navy Seal Mark Owens involved in the successful effort to kill Osama Bin Laden. While Bin Laden’s assassination is the hook to draw you in, many reviewers find Owens’ recounting of what it took to become a Seal to be the best part of the book. A great choice for anyone into either military history or a rousing, true adventure story.
2 – Close behind is a second assassination history from political pundit Bill O’Reilly, Killing Kennedy. O’Reilly has managed to adapt, with the help of historian and co-author Martin Dugard, his straightforward forward style to create an excellent introductory narrative to the tragedy in Dallas. This is just the foremost of a slew of Kennedy themed titles this year. O’Reilly’s book is the most popular, but if you’re a Kennedy fanatic don’t miss David Nasaw’s stupendous The Patriarch chronicling the tumultuous life of JFK’s father Joseph Kennedy, or Kitty Kelley’s Capturing Camelot featuring Stanley Tretick’s famous photographs of the Kennedys.
4 – Year of the Presidential Biography – Besides Jon Meacham’s Thomas Jefferson, 2012 has been a tremendous year for presidential biographies. Foremost of all of them is Robert Caro’s fourth volume in his series on Lyndon Johnson, The Passage of Power. Following the years 1959 to the summer of 1965, Caro expertly details Johnson’s clashes with the Kennedy brothers and his seeming defeat by them until the crack of rifle changes the course of history. Many reviewers have described the Caro’s narrative as Shakespearean, with just cause.
Also of note, H. W. Brands has published The Man Who Saved the Union: Ulysses Grant in War and Peace demonstrating how the Civil War general and President saved the Union multiple times in his career of public service. Finally, 2 biographies of Eisenhower – Jean Edward Smith’s Eisenhower in War and Peace and Evan Thomas’ Ike’s Bluff – are fascinating looks at another famed warrior-president.
Please send any questions or comments to James R White.