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  • Jeff Somers 4:00 pm on 2019/03/11 Permalink
    Tags: an irish country doctor, anne enright, armchair travel, , , chestnut street, , , frank delaney, galway bay, history, , , , , , mary pat kelly, , , patricia falvey, patrick taylor, , smile roddy doyle, the daighters of ireland, the green road, , , the yellow house, , unraveling oliver: a novel   

    A Literary Tour of Ireland for St. Patrick’s Day 

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    As with every cultural holiday, St. Patrick’s Day often gets diluted and boiled down to its trappings—the green beer, the folk songs, the parades. And while everyone loves a good green beer, there’s so much more to Ireland in terms of history, culture—and literature. Some of the greatest writers, living and otherwise, are Irish, so this year let’s make a pledge to prep for March 17th by taking a deep dive into books coming out of the Emerald Isle. We’ll kick things off with this list of 12 must-read books by Irish authors, running the gamut from literary fiction to thrillers with a few stops in-between.

    Chestnut Street, by Maeve Binchy
    Published after the author’s death in 2012, this collection of short stories collects work Binchy produced over the course of her career, and thus offers not just a ground-level glimpse of Irish life and culture but an overview of Binchy’s writing style itself. The stories focus on ordinary people dealing with the ordinary, epic problems that everyone has. Husbands leave their wives and discover they’re still not happy. People struggle with jealousy, with heartbreak, with professional and personal failure. These stories—set in a single Dublin neighborhood, by and large—offer a fascinating glimpse into the lives of its residents.

    Ireland, by Frank Delaney
    Delaney, a celebrated broadcaster and writer, offers up the history of Ireland framed as a series of fascinating stories told by a traveling Storyteller who visits nine-year old Ronan O’Mara in 1951. Trading stories for a bed and a meal, the Storyteller captivates Ronan—and the reader—with his tales of Irish Kings and warriors, until a story Ronan’s mother deems blasphemous sees him expelled from the house. Ronan goes in search of the Storyteller, and slowly evolves into a Storyteller himself, traveling Ireland and passing the stories on to a new generation. It’s a delightful book that acts as a stealth education on Ireland and its people.

    Smile, by Roddy Doyle
    Irish authors know how to spin a story like no one else. Booker Prize-winner Doyle returns with a fascinating character study that follows Victor Forde, a past-his-prime radio commentator who returns to his dingy hometown after separating from his celebrity chef wife. Abandoning his determination to make friends and do some writing, Forde drinks his sorrows away at Donnelly’s pub, spending time with the locals and then tottering off to work on a project he never quite gets started. One night at Donnelly’s, Forde encounters an old schoolmate, Fitzpatrick, a man he doesn’t remember from his violent years at St. Martin’s Christian Brothers School. Fitzpatrick forces Forde to revisit those dark childhood years, unraveling a decades-old mystery and memories of sexual abuse, and slowly becomes the man’s unlikely best friend, as Doyle builds to an ending both unexpected and inevitable.

    The Green Road, by Anne Enright
    Booker Prize-winning Enright was also the first Laureate for Irish Fiction, and this book tells the story of siblings dominated—and driven away—by their dramatic, excitable mother. Enright’s story is Irish, but she smartly sends the four Madigan children out into the world, where the language subtly loses its brogue and Enright can explore what it means to be Irish in the same larger context that people deal with in real life. The result is a marvelous story about family, about culture, and about those who choose to head out into the world and those who choose to stay close to home, and what those decisions cost each of them.

    The Yellow House, by Patricia Falvey
    Falvey, who was born in Northern Ireland but moved to America when she was twenty, left a high-powered job at PricewaterhouseCoopers to write her first novel—and you’ll be glad she did. The violence that plagued Northern Ireland throughout the 20th century is a vital part of Irish history, and Falvey frames it with a story about a determined young woman struggling to hold onto what’s hers in the midst of war both local and global, ultimately finding herself torn between two very different men. It’s as fiery and romantic as you want your Irish stories to be, and offers a perspective on the bloody sectarian violence that has defined much of recent history in the area, making this a moving and powerful read.

    The Irish Princess, by Karen Harper
    Harper offers up a gorgeous, lush story set in the 16th century. If you love historical narratives from outside perspectives, you will love the story of Elizabeth Fitzgerald, a girl born to Irish royalty…and a girl who knew the wrath of Henry VIII almost as much as his wives. The King imprisons her father, destroying her family, and she must seek allegiances and avoid enemies in the perilous English court of the aging king, seeing firsthand the fate of his wives and the intelligence and spirit of the young princesses, Mary and (future queen) Elizabeth.

    Galway Bay, by Mary Pat Kelly
    While the Great Irish Starvation might not seem like a particularly lush historical period for fiction, Kelly tells the story of her own family through that lens to spectacular effect. Beginning with Honora Keeley in 1839, who meets her future husband Michael Kelly swimming in Galway Bay, the story takes them through years of failed crops and bare survival before the momentous decision to take the trip to America to make a new life. Kelly’s chronicle of her own ancestors’ struggles and triumphs paints a masterful picture of a culture, a family, and an America in constant transition.

    The Daughters of Ireland, by Santa Montefiore
    A sequel to Montefiore’s The Girl in the Castle, this novel stands on its own and tells the story of Celia Deverill, who takes possession of the ruined Deverill Castle in 1925. She spends years lovingly refurbishing and repairing the place, only to see her family’s fortune destroyed in the crash of 1929—and her father and brother lost as well. Worse, she’s set upon by a blackmailer who tells her that her father’s fortune wasn’t exactly on the up-and-up, and Celia decides that she must clear her father’s name and rebuild her life using only her own energies. An ancient castle? A determined woman? This is the stuff of great stories, and Montefiore earns her bestselling status with a story of Ireland that will make you want a tour of the castles immediately.

    Unraveling Oliver: A Novel, by Liz Nugent
    Just in case you thought Ireland was all about gorgeous landscapes, romance, and the local pub, Nugent offers up this sprawling puzzle of a book. This is the story of Oliver Ryan, a successful children’s author in Dublin with a seemingly happy home life who one evening assaults his wife Alice, nearly killing her. But it’s also the story of everyone in Oliver’s life, past and present, who offer their stories about the man, weaving in and out of his own recollections. Bit by bit Oliver is exposed and the cause of his moment of violence is pieced together. Nugent brilliantly offers up stories that at first seem entertaining but unnecessary, then slowly links them more and more deeply until they click into place as essential clues. Dark and twisty, Nugent’s debut novel is urgent and violent and reminds us that we can walk away from our traumas, but we can never escape them.

    The Princes of Ireland, by Edward Rutherfurd
    An epic historical saga of the entirety of Irish history from Ireland in A.D. pre-Christian society through the founding of the Free Irish State, this novel follows fictional families through eras of Irish triumph and travails, starting with a romance in the 5th century that leads to tragedy and twisting and winding its way through time, stopping to note the arrival of Saint Patrick, the Viking attacks, the conquest by England, and the hanging of Silken Thomas in 1537. Threading history through the personal stories of people real and imagined, Rutherford paints a memorable picture of what Ireland was, is, and could be, making this an absolute joy to read, whether it’s St. Patrick’s Day or not.

    An Irish Country Doctor, by Patrick Taylor
    Taylor based this (and other books in his Irish Country series) on his own journals and notes from his youth, and the end result is a delight. Set in the 1960s in rural Ireland, freshly graduated Barry Laverty takes an apprenticeship with a small-town doctor (‛tiny’ is probably a better word than ‛small,’ actually) whose methods seem odd, but who slowly impresses Barry with his wisdom and dedication even as Barry gets sucked into the myriad local dramas and gossips that make small towns everywhere—but perhaps especially in Ireland—so interesting. This is the sort of book you sink into and get lost in, the sort of book that makes you want to book a trip to the Irish countryside immediately, and thus the ideal book to read in the month of March.

    Brooklyn, by Colm Tóibín
    Since the film adaptation of Brooklyn was nominated for an Oscar, more people than ever before know Tóibín’s name—and that is a very good thing. His status as a living link to Irish history is unparalleled: his grandfather was arrested during the 1916 Easter Rising, and his father was a member of the IRA. Tóibín’s work often explores Irish characters moving into unfamiliar cultures, which allows him to explore both with a deep intelligence and perceptive style that elevates his works above what are often fairly simple plots. He has commented that he grew up in a house with a “great deal of silence” and that his work “comes out of silence.” Ponder those statements while you’re reading some of the best writing of the modern age this St. Patrick’s Day.

    The post A Literary Tour of Ireland for St. Patrick’s Day appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

  • Jeff Somers 5:00 pm on 2019/03/04 Permalink
    Tags: , , history,   

    March’s Best History & Current Events Books 

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    Kushner, Inc.: Greed. Ambition. Corruption. The Extraordinary Story of Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump, by Vicky Ward
    Vicky Ward delves into an oft overlooked aspect of the Trump presidency: the influence and, some would argue, unchecked power of Ivanka Trump and her husband, Jared Kushner. While the couple go to great pains to paint themselves as the voices of reason and moderation in the White House, Ward painstakingly charts what she views as their arrogance, ignorance, and lack of respect for procedural norms and the rule of law. Every decision that the Kushners make, Ward argues, is based on how it will increase their personal wealth and power, and is influenced by their elite upbringings and the wealth-insulated lives they’ve led. In the scrum of shocking books about American politics, this one is a must-read.

    Doing Justice: A Prosecutor’s Thoughts on Crime, Punishment, and the Rule of Law, by Preet Bharara
    If you’re expecting a book about the 45th president written by a federal prosecutor appointed by Barack Obama and fire ignominiously by Donald Trump eight years later to be a hit job, think again. Bharara instead offers a thoughtful exploration of the modern role of the criminal justice system and the prosecutors working within it. Through a series of in-depth reviews of his own cases—including high-profile prosecutions like Faisal Shahzad, the Times Square bomber—Bharara underlines the complexities of investigating crimes in the modern age. He’s refreshingly honest about his own uncertainties and regrets. It’s rare to see a high-level public official admit to mistakes, and Bharara’s honesty lends weight to his insights into our criminal justice system and to the conclusions he draws about the specific cases he worked on.

    Topgun: An American Story, by Dan Pedersen
    Pederson, who co-founded the U.S. Navy Fighter Weapons School (better known to most as the Topgun program), offers a fascinating analysis of both the school’s impact on the tactics and techniques of the U.S. Air Force’s fighter planes and the handling of the Vietnam War, the conflict in which these new ideas were first put into practice. Pederson is understandably proud of both the program and the people who made it legendary, yet also critical of the Johnson administration’s decisions, especially when it comes to the rules of engagement handed down to pilots. As he devoted himself to his career, Pederson suffered two failed marriages and missed out on time with his children, and his frank talk of his regrets adds a layer of reliability to the story of a transformative military hero and the elite program that is his legacy.

    Soldier, Sailor, Frogman, Spy, Airman, Gangster, Kill or Die: How the Allies Won on D-Day, by Giles Milton
    Milton meticulously outlines the awe-inspiring level of planning, detail, and cooperation that D-Day’s Operation Overlord required to pull off the largest sea invasion ever staged. From the harried officers struggling to get the official green light from disparate commanders, to the German intelligence agent who made an astoundingly accurate prediction of what was about to happen, only to have his report ignored, the machine of D-Day only becomes more impressive as you learn the details. Interspersed with the high-altitude view are gritty stories of individuals—the soldiers and the members of the French Resistance—whose acts of personal bravery and sacrifice triumphed over insurmountable odds.

    Bending Toward Justice: The Birmingham Church Bombing that Changed the Course of Civil Rights, by Doug Jones
    Jones, the first Democratic Senator from Alabama in a quarter century, writes a personal account of Alabama’s racial history and his own political evolution. From his childhood in the suburbs, where race never once entered his mind, to his horror and social awakening after a horrific 1963 church bombing that left four young girls dead, Jones details the travesty of the obstructed investigation into the bombing that saw the three men responsible—Bob Chambliss, Tommy Blanton, and Bobby Frank Cherry—walk free. When Alabama Attorney General Bill Baxley managed to reopen the case and convict Chambliss in 1977, Jones was inspired; years later, as U.S. Attorney, he managed to convict the last surviving suspects. Jones uses Martin Luther King, Jr.’s famous quote”the moral arc of the universe is long, but it bends toward justice—as a guiding light, and readers will be surprised at the depth this senator brings to his story.

    The post March’s Best History & Current Events Books appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

  • Ross Johnson 6:00 pm on 2019/02/27 Permalink
    Tags: , , , history   

    Expand Your Mind with Great History & Biography Book Haul Picks 

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    Like Faulkner said, “The past is never dead. It’s not even past.” It’s impossible to fully understand our world without revisiting our history from time to time, and there are some brilliant recent works that allow for just that. Whether it’s for the thrill of knowledge or for the pleasure of diving into our human story, these books open a window on the past—and you can nab them for 50 percent off during Barnes & Noble’s Book Haul Blowout, from February 27 to March 4.

    Indianapolis: The True Story of the Worst Sea Disaster in U.S. Naval History and the Fifty-Year Fight to Exonerate an Innocent Man, by Lynn Vincent and Sara Vladic
    There were two disasters involved in the sinking of the USS Indianapolis in 1945. The first was the attack on the ship itself; it was fired upon and sunk by a Japanese submarine, ending the lives of many of the crew. The second was in the Navy’s response: a flawed and nearly incompetent recovery operation that saw 600 surviving sailors lost as they drifted, waiting for rescue, for four days. Looking for a scapegoat, the Navy court-martialed the ship’s captain. Though Captain Charles McVay III was eventually exonerated, he’d already taken his own life. This new book finally sets the record straight, telling the whole grim story of the Indianapolis and her crew.

    Killing the SS: The Hunt for the Worst War Criminals in Historyby Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard
    No war is ever really over just because the fighting stops, and that’s especially true for World War II, whose horrors reached beyond any armistice. Many of those responsible for genocide fled, some evading capture with the help of sophisticated global networks of supporters who protected them. In the latest installment of the popular Killing series, O’Reilly and Dugard tell the story of the individuals and organizations who dedicated their lives to hunting down some of the most notorious criminals of the twentieth century—and bringing them to justice.

    Napoleon: A Life, by Adam Zamoysk
    The legendarily (if not actually) short-statured man cast a very long shadow over European history, and over the field of written biography itself: his story has been told many times, from many different points of view. Adam Zamoski’s new book charts a middle path, neither lionizing the great military commander nor demonizing the conqueror. Placing Napoleon in the context of his time, Zamoski opens a window on a very human figure—sometimes brave and brilliant, sometimes cruel and callow.

    When Women Ruled the World: Six Queens of Egypt, by Kara Cooney
    The ancient world wasn’t always particularly hospitable to the idea of female leadership (imagine that?), but Egypt had a much better track record than our friends in Greece or Rome. Even if women rulers were still relatively rare, the ones that did hold the powers of pharaoh were among the most successful in the empire’s long history. Hatshepsut, Nefertiti, and Cleopatra were especially consequential figures, but they weren’t alone. Cooney explores the dynamics that allowed for these women’s ascendance, and considers the individual qualities that caused them to push through a male power structure to command from the top.

    Lincoln’s Last Trial: The Murder Case That Propelled Him to the Presidencyby Dan Abrams and David Fisher
    Lincoln’s life didn’t begin when he stepped into the White House, though you might be forgiven for thinking so, given that there’s so little discussion in popular culture of his life prior to the presidency. Enter this new work exploring a very consequential period in Honest Abe’s pre-political career. In 1859, a man named “Peachy” Quinn Harrison stabbed Greek Crafton to death following an assault. Using all of his skills, lawyer Lincoln mounted a stirring and legally sound defense of Harrison that lead to an acquittal. To Abrams’ mind, this was the event that provided the final momentum that lead Lincoln to a grand destiny.

    Vietnam: An Epic Tragedy, 1945-1975, by Max Hastings
    British writer Hastings turns an objective outsider’s eye on America’s most divisive war, tracing the events of the conflict in Vietnam from its beginnings in the 1950s to its ignominious end two decades later. Along the way he explodes some persistent myths about the war and offers clear-eyed assessments of both the mistakes that allowed it to drag on, and the men who made them—including president Richard Nixon and his national security advisor (and future secretary of state) Henry Kissinger. Where many studies of the War in Vietnam are necessarily narrow in scope, Hastings looks from a broader perspective, without sacrificing context..

    Eliza Hamilton: The Extraordinary Life and Times of the Wife of Alexander Hamilton, by Tilar J. Mazzeo
    We always talk about founding fathers, but it’s important to remember the important behind-the-scenes roles played by Revolutionary-era women, as partners and as individuals. Though their names weren’t on the noteworthy documents of the day, the lives of many women who lived during these turbulent times are just as interesting as those of their more famous husbands. Eliza Hamilton’s name has become widely known thanks to her prominent role in Lin-Manuel Miranda’s musical Hamilton, but the show doesn’t tell her full story: born into a pioneer family, she became a mother and then a widow before remaking herself as one of the nation’s most prominent early philanthropists.

    The Fabulous Bouvier Sisters: The Tragic and Glamorous Lives of Jackie and Lee, by Sam Kashner, Nancy Schoenberger
    Decades after her death, Jackie Bouvier Kennedy Onassis continues to fascinate, but the story of the Bouvier family as a whole is as interesting as that of the more storied Kennedys. Drawing on new interviews with Jackie’s sister Lee Radziwill, Kashner and Schoenberger chronicle the close, complicated, and sometimes rocky legacy of the glamorous socialite siblings. There’s added poignance to the story, given Radziwill’s recent passing, but it’s wonderful that she was able to tell her version of the Bouvier story before she left us.

    Born to Be Posthumous: The Eccentric Life and Mysterious Genius of Edward Gorey, by Mark Dery
    Edward Gorey’s art—works like “The Gashlycrumb Tinies” and “The Doubtful Guest”—has influenced our culture in any number of ways; Tim Burton, Neil Gaiman, and Lemony Snicket have certainly all benefitted from his aesthetic. Yet the creator himself has remained something of a mystery. He produced over a hundred books in his own name, illustrating many more, but was reclusive, preferring the company of his enormous book collection (and several cats). Newly uncovered correspondence and interviews with Gorey’s friends and associates have allowed Very to, for the first time, draw back the curtain on this artistic powerhouse.

    The Butchering Art: Joseph Lister’s Quest to Transform the Grisly World of Victorian Medicine, by Lindsey Fitzharris
    In the early 19th century, medicine had advanced in innumerable ways, but a key piece was still missing. Surgeries and treatments of all kinds could solve all manner of ailments and maladies, but patients were still just as likely to die in the aftermath of a successful surgery as they were in a failed one. Here, Fitzharris revisits the grimy and dangerous world of Victorian medicine, and introduces the Quaker surgeon who developed the idea that fighting germs was the true key to saving lives, post-op. This is the story of his battle against remarkable skepticism to spread his strangely revolutionary notion.

    Find out more about the B&N Book Haul, now through March 4.

    The post Expand Your Mind with Great History & Biography Book Haul Picks appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

  • Jeff Somers 3:00 pm on 2019/01/31 Permalink
    Tags: , , Current Events, dave cullen, history, i'll be gone in the dark, michelle mcnamara, parkland: birth of a movement,   

    February’s Best New History & Current Events Books 

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    If you’re reading this, congrats, you made it through the first month of 2019. Considering the state of the world, you deserve a reward for this feat of survival—and nothing’s better than a book. This month offers an insightful work of history about Wild Bill Hickock, the late Michelle McNamara’s powerful investigation into the Golden State Killer case, a ripped-from-the-headlines examination of the Parkland shooting, a considerations of the current state of journalism, and a look at the FBI under the Trump administration.

    Parkland: Birth of a Movement, by Dave Cullen
    In some ways the February 2018 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School was all too typical: innocent victims, a deranged killer, a media frenzy, thoughts and prayers. But something unusual happened in its aftermath: the kids who survived didn’t just go back to their lives and let the murders fade into our collective memory alongside so many earlier such tragedies. They made noise. They started a movement. Cullen, who as a journalist covered the 1999 Columbine shootings and in 2009 published an exhaustive account of what was, up to that point, the deadliest school shooting in history, was drawn to these kids and their courage, and inspired to tell their story. Here, he details not just the grim facts of the killings, but the reaction of the extraordinary youths who lived through it, and decided to fight back against a culture they felt seemed to have long ago resigned itself to mass violence as a part of life in the modern United States.

    I’ll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman’s Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer, by Michelle McNamara
    Michelle McNamara passed away in 2016 at the age of 46, but left behind a powerful legacy in the form of this book, now available in paperback. It’s the result of her years-long investigation into the serial rapist and murderer she dubbed the Golden State Killer, who, thanks in part to McNamara’s efforts o draw additional attention to the cold case, was finally captured in 2018. When she began tracing the crimes in 2011, DNA testing had already linked more than 50 sexual assaults and murders dating back to the mid-1970s to a single man.. The attacks stopped after a decade, and the killer disappeared—but McNamara, with the help of others who gathered at her website, tracked him tirelessly through the available evidence. After her unexpected passing, her team continued the work, finishing this remarkable book, which skillfully combines true-crime details with a novelist’s flare for storytelling.

    Wild Bill: The True Story of the American Frontier’s First Gunfighter, by Tom Clavin
    Wild Bill Hickok is a curious historical figure: both incredibly famous and yet largely mysterious. Clavin employs a wide net in terms of source material to track Hickock’s life from his birth in 1837, to his first jobs in law enforcement, to the development of the quick-draw gunfighting style that made him famous—and made him a target for anyone seeking to make their name as a gunslinger. The portrait that emerges is of a man who shot first and worried later, resulting in occasional collateral damage—and yet he was ultimately killed after being shot in the back, because he didn’t regard his murderer as a threat. It’s sometimes hard to believe the Old West actually existed and wasn’t just the stuff of Hollywood films, but Clavin brings it all to vivid life in this gripping account of one of its most famous inhabitants.

    Merchants of Truth: The Business of News and the Fight for Facts, by Jill Abramson
    Former New York Times Executive Editor Jill Abramson examines the rise, fall, and rise of journalism in the modern age in a book made suddenly very timely by the recently announcement of layoffs across several major media outlets, including Buzzfeed. That company is one of four Abramson follows as she traces the impact of the internet on the news, alongside with the Times, The Washington Post, and Vice. The initial assumption—that the old-school newspapers would fail while the disruptive upstarts would triumph with clickbait—didn’t quite pan out; the former managed to pivot to online subscriptions while the latter upped their game in terms of journalistic quality. Yet the price of this transformation may have been paid by us, the audience, who now have to pore over news that blurs the lines between advertising, reporting, and mere spectacle.

    The Threat: How the FBI Protects America in the Age of Terror and Trump, by Andrew G. McCabe
    When Andrew McCabe was fired by President Donald Trump a little over a day before his scheduled retirement, it seemed to many to be a petty and unnecessary action against a man who had served his country and the FBI with distinction. In this memoir, McCabe offers a thoughtful and powerful defense of his career, and concludes that the biggest threat to the FBI and the United States isn’t an external one—it’s the president and the administration that views the nation’s top law enforcement organization as alternately a threat and a private police force. McCabe served in the FBI for decades at all levels, and brings that experience to bear in his argument.

    The post February’s Best New History & Current Events Books appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

  • Jeff Somers 7:00 pm on 2019/01/02 Permalink
    Tags: history,   

    January’s Best History & Current Events Books 

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    The First Conspiracy: The Secret Plot to Kill George Washington, by Brad Meltzer and Josh Mensch
    Uncovering a little-known subplot of American history, thriller author and TV host Meltzer and TV producer and historian Mensch explore the group of hand-picked bodyguards selected in 1776 to protect General George Washington at the beginning of the Revolutionary War. Unbeknownst to Washington, several of those soldiers were involved in a treasonous plot to assassinate him—thus ending the war before it began in earnest, and changing the course of history. Meltzer and Mensch draw on impressively exhaustive research to introduce a rogue’s gallery of would-be traitors, telling the story of how Washington unmasked the conspiracy and defeated the plot—all while conducting the masterful direction of the war for American independence. This is truth as riveting as any piece of historical fiction.

    Mar-a-Lago: Inside the Gates of Power at Donald Trump’s Presidential Palace, by Laurence Leamer
    Leamer links the story of Donald Trump’s transformation from New York real estate scion to president of the United States to the so-called “Winter White House” in Palm Beach, Florida, detailing battles with snobby residents and his creation of a property that doubles as a private fiefdom. Arguing that understanding Trump, the president, requires understanding Trump, the King of Palm Beach, Leamer follows the man from the time he managed to buy a property currently valued at half a billion dollars using just $3,000 of his own money, through his struggles against the old money residents that blackballed him, and reveals how Trump spearheaded an unlikely integration of the country club circuit for his own selfish reasons. As Trump continues to be the only president to have openly sold access to his office through a property, this is essential reading.

    The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee: Native America from 1890 to the Present, by David Treuer
    While Dee Brown’s classic Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee was powerfully transformative in how we view our tangled, bloody history with Native Americans, Treuer argues that the book pushed a false narrative that suggested Indian culture ended with the infamous massacre. Instead, Treuer details how Native American cultures and the people who live them has continued, albeit in new and often creative ways, as tribes adjusted and reacted to the prejudicial and often radically unfair policies inflicted on them. Instead of simply ending at Wounded Knee, Treuer argues that Native American culture went underground, but continued to be celebrated, passed on, and very much alive. If you are Native, of course, this is all known—but for many, it will be a book that will change how you view American history.

    Team of Vipers: My 500 Extraordinary Days in the Trump White House, by Cliff Sims
    Sims was a close adviser to President Trump, both before the election and in the White House in his official role as Special Assistant to the President—and he took notes. A lot of notes. Here, he offers a rare insider glimpse behind the scenes of the Trump White House, detailing what he sees as their triumphs and their disasters. It’s a fascinating peek into the modern mechanisms of power and politics, as Sims describes the famous and infamous personalities of the administration, including Steve Bannon, John Kelley, and Kellyanne Conway. With a refreshing ability to admit his own mistakes, Sims offers a frank account of what it’s actually like to work for and with President Donald Trump.

    Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House, by Michael Wolff
    Now in paperback: the political must-read of 2018 offers an incendiary insider’s look at the Trump White House, and anyone who wants in on the national conversation has to put it on their TBR. Wolff, who was given unprecedented access to the West Wing and Trump’s administration, spills all the tea in the world as he details administrative dysfunction, political backbiting, and, of course, the larger-than-life personality of our 45th President. Controversial in both its content and Wolff’s methods, the book is packed with juicy gossip and eye-popping quotes—including the now-infamous utterances that saw Steve Bannon fall out of favor with Trump and the Alt-Right. Even a year later, it’s all solid gold for political junkies.

    The post January’s Best History & Current Events Books appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

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