Monday, June 29, 2015

Summer Reads: History

Summer is a great time for reading and every year blogs like this one post a summer reading list. I have already written a post recommending 9 books that pastors should read this summer. Now I want to offer a collection of good history books to read this summer. I have read all of them but have not written a review of each. You will find the links below.

Manhunt: The 12-Day Chase for Lincoln's Killer by James Swanson- (my review) - The mark of good history writing is that the story is better than fiction. That certainly describes the first two books on this list both of which share the same title. Swanson's book is a must read for history and Lincoln buffs. The hunt for John Wilkes Booth is an intriguing one.

Manhunt: The Ten-Year Search for Bin Laden--from 9/11 to Abbottabad by Peter Bergen (my review) - The hunt for and assassination of Osama bin Laden is a major event in American history. Bin Laden had a lot of blood on his hands. What makes this story so fascinating is that bin Laden managed to live a decade after 9/11 as the most wanted man in the world in spite modern technology and endless resources. Of course it required him to live as a sort of hermit with little technology seriously hampering his leadership of Al Qaeda. Nevertheless, it is a great story and Bergen writes it better than anyone.

Killing Lincoln: The Shocking Assassination that Changed America Forever by Bill O'Reilly and Martin Dugard -Bill O'Reilly has made name for himself and gained even greater wealth from this best-selling series. Killing Lincoln was the first published and the first one I read. The series is written in a unique way that is riveting. Though each book has its weaknesses (nothing is cited), no doubt O'Reily and Dugard have produced a book that brings history to life.

God's Secretaries: The making of the King James Bible by Adam Nicolson (review forthcoming) - The King James Version has shaped modern English more than anything else including Shakespeare and Twitter. The story behind its translation include theology, politics, and even terrorism. Nicolson tells the story well and introduces us to each translator.

The Greatest Comeback: How Richard Nixon Rose from Defeat to Create the New Majority by Pat Buchanan (my review) -I love to read about the Presidents even the most corrupt ones. No doubt to the modern ear, Richard Nixon is the epitome of a corrupt politician. One of his aides, Pat Buchanan, tells the story before Watergate that is rarely told or appreciated. Nixon went from being politically dead to quickly rise to become the President of the United States. How he did it and the story behind it is told here by one who was there the entire way.

My summer history reads:

Here is a foretaste of my personal reading list in regards to history. Not surprisingly, the Presidents dominate it.
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