An American Editor

March 14, 2016

On Today’s Bookshelf XXIV

Books are not only my working life, they are my relaxation life, too. The beauty of books is that they can increase your knowledge as well as transport you to places and times of interest. For me that means my acquisition of new (to me) titles to read never ends. Here is a list of some of the hardcovers and ebooks that I have acquired and added to my to-be-read pile (other books can be found in earlier On Today’s Bookshelf posts):

Nonfiction –

  • Grand Pursuit: The Story of Economic Genius by Sylvia Nasar
  • Shooting Victoria: Madness, Mayhem, and the Modernisation of the Monarchy by Paul Thomas Murphy
  • George Washington’s Surprise Attack: A New Look at the Battle That Decided the Fate of America by Phillip Thomas Tucker
  • Ike’s Bluff: President Eisenhower’s Secret Battle to Save the World by Evan Thomas
  • Conscience: Two Soldiers, Two Pacifists, One Family — A Test of Will and Faith in World War I by Louisa Thomas
  • The Churchills in Love and War by Mary S. Lovell
  • A Merciless Place: The Fate of Britain’s Convicts After the American Revolution by Emma Christopher
  • The Holocaust Encyclopedia edited by Walter Laqueur & Judith Taylor Baumel
  • Global Crisis: War, Climate Change & Catastrophe in the Seventeenth Century by Geoffrey Parker
  • Army of Evil: A History of the SS by Adrian Weale
  • Born to Battle: Grant and Forrest—Shiloh, Vicksburg, and Chattanooga: The Campaigns that Doomed the Confederacy  by Jack Hurst
  • The Last Slave Market: Dr John Kirk and the Struggle to End the African Slave Trade by Alastair Hazell
  • Bette and Joan: The Divine Feud by Shaun Considine
  • The Quartet: Orchestrating the Second American Revolution, 1783-1789 by Joseph J. Ellis
  • The Plot to Seize the White House: The Shocking True Story of the Conspiracy to Overthrow FDR by Jules Archer
  • Operation Paperclip: The Secret Intelligence Program that Brought Nazi Scientists to America by Annie Jacobson
  • The Billion Dollar Spy: A True Story of Cold War Espionage and Betrayal by David E. Hoffman
  • A Higher Form of Killing: Six Weeks in World War I That Forever Changed the Nature of Warfare by Diana Preston
  • The Mystery of Olga Chekhova by Antony Beevor
  • Stalin’s Daughter: The Extraordinary and Tumultuous Life of Svetlana Alliluyeva by Rosemary Sullivan

Fiction –

  • You’re Next by Greg Hurwitz
  • The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman
  • The Man From Berlin by Luke McCallin
  • Life for a Life by T. Frank Muir
  • The Great Betrayal by Pamela Oldfield
  • Traitor’s Blood by Michael Arnold
  • The New Neighbor: A Novel by Leah Stewart
  • The Dead Will Tell by Linda Castillo
  • The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin
  • The Risen Empire and The Killing of Worlds by Scott Westerfield (2 books)
  • The Just City by Jo Walton

What are you reading? Are there new acquisitions that you would recommend to colleagues? Is there a newly found author who excites you?

Richard Adin, An American Editor


  1. Hi Rich—I always enjoy reading your bookshelf posts and seeing the variety of reading material you have gathered. Some of the titles you list today are ones I’ve been drawn to on our local bookstore’s shelves. Since reading his novel The Radetsky March some years ago, lately I’ve been buying nonfiction titles by Joseph Roth, an Austrian Jewish journalist who wrote especially about the interwar years in Europe. The recent translator of Roth’s works, Michael Hofmann, is excellent. In my Roth stack: The Hotel Years, What I Saw: Reports from Berlin, The Wandering Jews, Report from a Parisian Paradise; and on its way to me this week: Letters of Joseph Roth. Do you find yourself stockpiling specific authors at times? Best wishes and hope to see you again sometime, Marian


    Comment by Marian Rogers, Ithaca, NY — March 14, 2016 @ 12:00 pm | Reply

    • I am glad you find the lists interesting, Marian. I have certain fiction authors I like, namely, David Weber, L.E. Modesitt, Jr., and Robin Hobb. I buy any book that they publish but I tend to read them immediately. There are several nonfiction authors I specifically look for, including Susan Wise Bauer, James Holland, Doris Kearns Goodwin, and Peter Adamson, but nonfiction books tend to come out much more slowly than fiction. I am still waiting for volume 3 of Eleanor Roosevelt’s biography by Blanche Wiesen Cook; it is probably 15 years since volume 2 appeared. One other author whose books I buy are Brad Meltzer’s “I am . . .” children’s series. My grandchildren are still too young for the books, but they are wonderful books that they will enjoy when old enough.

      I tend to stockpile by topic rather than by author when it comes to nonfiction. I have a half-dozen books waiting to be read on eugenics, several on concentration camps, several on slavery, and several on philosophy (and some other topics, too). I assure you I have more books to be read than I have years left to read them.


      Comment by americaneditor — March 14, 2016 @ 1:11 pm | Reply

  2. I like to choose books by their covers, especially if the cover is a glamorous portrait of a 19th-century beauty. This highly superficial method for choosing books has led me to read “House of Mirth” by Edith Wharton, “Anna Karenina” by Tolstoy of course, and most recently, “Sister Carrie” by Theodore Dreiser. I had expected to be bored by Dreiser, but instead I was so absorbed by the story that I read the book in just a few days (I could have read it faster but I do work full time). I followed up by watching the film versions of the first two. Gillian Anderson starred in a recent version of “The House of Mirth,” with amazing costuming. “Anna Karenina” has been filmed many times; I like the Greta Garbo version. (It’s a tragedy that Elizabeth Taylor never made her own version.)

    Thanks, Rich, for sharing your reading list. I always enjoy seeing what you’ve found!


    Comment by Christina — March 14, 2016 @ 1:04 pm | Reply

    • Here’s a book that might interest you, although of a more modern take, if you are interested in “predictive” books: “It Can’t Happen Here” by Sinclair Lewis. It was written in the 1930s and when I first read it in the early 1960s, I thought it was a prediction of Richard Nixon’s ascendancy. In fact, I think it is much closer to predicting the rise of Donald Trump. Anyway, it is worth reading and thinking about.


      Comment by americaneditor — March 14, 2016 @ 1:14 pm | Reply

  3. You mention Rosemary Sullivan’s newest book about Svetlana Alliluyeva. Last August, TV Ontario interviewed Sullivan about her book. Here are the two segments on YouTube: Part 1 and Part 2

    You and your colleagues write great columns. Keep up the good work!


    Comment by R. Franklin Carter — May 25, 2016 @ 9:12 am | Reply

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