An American Editor

November 20, 2013

The Holidays Gift List of Books II

Filed under: Books & eBooks,To Be Read — americaneditor @ 4:00 am
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The holiday season is fast arriving. In another week, Americans celebrate Thanksgiving. Chanukah comes early this year, coinciding with Thanksgiving. And Christmas is a little more than a month away.

The real excitement in my household is spending the holidays with the grandchildren. One grandchild is still too young to really appreciate the season; the other is just getting to the age when she can at least appreciate gifts. But Thanksgiving should be great. Carolyn and I are hosting this year and expect about 20 people, maybe a few more. I’ve decided to be adventurous with the turkey so, I’ll be making it differently than in the past. The one thing I will be sure to do, however, is brine it in Coca-Cola (regular, not diet).

Which brings me to list making. I have to do the one thing I really hate doing at holiday time: make a list of possible gifts for me. I keep saying no gift is needed, just show up and let’s have fun, but that goes over as well as a lead balloon flies. So several years ago I started putting together a list of hardcover books I would like. Last year I published my list on An American Editor in “The Holidays Gift List of Books“; I thought I would do the same this year and see if you have any suggestions for hardcover books that I should add to my list. Here goes:

  • The War that Ended the Peace: The Road to 1914 by Margaret MacMillan
  • Making Freedom by R.J.M. Blackett
  • Redefining Rape: Sexual Violence in the Era of Suffrage and Segregation by Estelle B. Freedman
  • Hitler’s Furies: German Women in the Nazi Killing Fields by Wendy Lauer
  • Fear Itself: The New Deal & the Origins of Our Time by Ira Katznelson
  • The Tie that Bound Us by Bonnie Laughlin-Schultz
  • The Chosen Few: How Education Shaped Jewish History 70-1492 by Maistella Botticin & Zvi Eckstein
  • Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth by Reza Aslan
  • The Strange Career of Porgy & Bess by Ellen Noonan
  • Thomas Nast by Fiona Deans Halloran
  • FDR and the Jews by Richard Breitman and Allan Lichtman
  • A Small Town Near Auschwitz: Ordinary Nazis and the Holocaust by Mary Fulbrook
  • How to Create the Perfect Wife: Britain’s Most Ineligible Bachelor and his Enlightened Quest to Train the Ideal Mate by Wendy Moore
  • The Original Compromise by David Brian Robertson
  • Freedom National: The Destruction of Slavery in the United States, 1861-1865 by James Oakes
  • The Sleepwalkers: How Europe Went to War in 1914 by Christopher Clark
  • The Creation of Inequality by Kent Flannery and Joyce Marcus
  • Remembering Survival by Christopher Browning
  • Angel of Vengeance by Ann Siljak

There are some others I am thinking about, but the truth is I already have a large number of books — both fiction and nonfiction — to read. I don’t really need more books to add to my to-be-read pile, especially as I am constantly adding books throughout the year.

If you are looking for a good book to give as a gift, I highly recommend The History of the Renaissance World: From the Rediscovery of Aristotle to the Conquest of Constantinople by Susan Wise Bauer. This is the third book in Bauer’s survey of world history. Her first book, The History of the Ancient World: From the Earliest Accounts to the Fall of Rome, and her second book, The History of the Medieval World: From the Conversion of Constantine to the First Crusade, are excellent.

Also excellent is the biography of Eleanor Roosevelt, who was the most remarkable woman, I think, of the twentieth century, by Blanche Wiesen Cooke. Only two volumes have been published so far: Eleanor Roosevelt, 1884-1933: A Life: Mysteries of the Heart and Eleanor Roosevelt, 1933-1938. Both volumes are available in the used book marketplace.

Some other nonfiction books I can recommend are these:

  • The Myths and Legends of Ancient Greece and Rome by E. M. Berens
  • Wilson by Scott A. Berg
  • Flight of the Eagle: The Grand Strategies That Brought America from Colonial Dependence to World Leadership by Conrad Black
  • One Summer by Bill Bryson
  •  One Thousand White Women: The Journals of May Dodd by Jim Fergus
  • The Girl Who Loved Camellias: The Life and Legend of Marie Duplessis by Julie Kavanagh
  • The Fourth Part of the World by Toby Lester
  • The Inheritance of Rome: A History of Europe from 400 to 1000 by Chris Wickham

Now it’s time for your suggestions.

November 5, 2012

The Holidays Gift List of Books

Filed under: Books & eBooks — americaneditor @ 4:00 am
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The holiday season will soon be upon us. I don’t look forward to the holiday season like I did when I was a child because now I have to bear the expense and not just be a recipient. It was so much easier when I was a child!

But aside from the expense, the thing I hate/fear most is the question my children and wife ask me every holiday season: “What would you like for the holidays?” At my age, I already have everything I need and really want, and if something comes along that I want, I don’t think “that would make a great holiday gift for the kids to get me” and set the idea aside; instead, I buy it myself. Telling my wife and children what holiday gifts I would like is difficult and frustrating. I have tried suggesting that they donate to a charity in my name, but that has had only limited success. They do make the donation, but still insist I come up with something that can be wrapped and opened and is just for me.

This year I have decided to ask you for help in making my list. I would like book recommendations. When you make your recommendation, please give a short synopsis of the book, including its genre and whether it is fiction or nonfiction, and indicate whether it is available as an ebook, a hardcover, and/or a paperback. Please do not recommend any Amazon-exclusive books.

Getting recommendations from colleagues is a great way to be introduced to books I (and you) might not otherwise know about or read. Hopefully, your responses will serve as a basis for gift lists for others in addition to me. To get things rolling, here are two suggestions:

  • When General Grant Expelled the Jews by Jonathan Sarna (nonfiction; history; ebook, hardcover). In 1862, in the midst of the American Civil War, General Grant ordered the expulsion of 150,000 Jews from the territory under his command. Grant’s order was rescinded by President Lincoln a few weeks later, but the incident remains both little known and little discussed in American history.
  • The Emperor’s Edge by Lindsay Buroker (fiction; steampunk fantasy; ebook) is the story of Imperial law enforcer Amaranthe Lokdon and Sicarius, the empire’s most notorious assassin, and how they join together to prevent a plot to kill the emperor. Their reward is to become wanted themselves, although the emperor seems to have become smitten with Amaranthe.

I’m already putting together a list of nonfiction hardcover books that I’m interested in reading. On my list are these titles:

  • The Story of Ain’t by David Skinner
  • Heaven on Earth by Sadakat Kadri
  • The Second World War by Anthony Beevor
  • Henry Ford’s War on Jews by Victoria Saker Woeste
  • The Message and the Book by John Bowker
  • The Atheist’s Bible by George Minois
  • The Comprehensive History of the Jews of Iran by Habib Levi
  • On Politics: A History of Political Thought by Alan Ryan

I am also interested in a subscription to Lapham’s Quarterly, which looks like a very interesting “magazine” edited by Lewis Lapham, longtime editor of Harper’s.

What books do you suggest?

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