Thursday, April 10, 2014

Future book reviews

Recently, through visits to a variety of bookstores (and maybe an Amazon order), I have come into possession of a number of books that look fascinating. Some of these I've been wanting to read for some time, others were impulse or exploratory acquisitions. I hope to be able over the next few months (or maybe years) to review each of these here. But in the meantime, here's the list.

Embracing Defeat: Japan in the Wake of World War II. How does a nation surrender, submit to foreign occupation, and then become an economic powerhouse and close ally of the occupying nation? I hope to find out.

Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln. I've been wanting to read this one since even before Lincoln (which is based on this book) came out. Needless to say, the movie only strengthened my desire to read the book. Sometimes a diversity of opinion can lead to misdirection and stalemate. It takes a particular type of leader to reap the benefits of a divisive cabinet while not falling into the pitfalls associated with one. I'm hoping to learn from Lincoln how that might be done.

American Caesar: Douglas MacArthur 1880 - 1964. To be honest, it's largely that title that attracted me to this book. Some may think that there are no more great men with Caesar's ambition. But that may not be the case. What if there are, but they are kept out of politics? MacArthur might be one such example.

Mao: The Unknown Story. By the author of the excellent Wild Swans, which tells the story of Jung Chang's family living through the communist revolution, from her grandmother (concubine to Chinese warlord), mother and father (loyal revolutionaries), and finally herself (Red Guard). She tells of a nation mislead from the perspective of a former Mao worshiper who only fully realized what had happened after she left. So when I saw that she had written a biography of Mao, it was a must read. And yes, this week's quiz came from this book.

Nixon and Kissinger: Partners in Power. Impulse buy at a used bookstore. Should nicely follow my books on Vietnam (review coming next week), Japan, MacArthur, and the biography of Mao.

Scorpions: The Battles and Triumphs of FDR's Great Supreme Court Justices. Another impulse buy, and somewhat unrelated to the others in this list. It promises to give insight into how these justices interpreted law and the Constitution, and how their views transformed our legal system. The first few chapters have already made me feel like an underachiever.

Combined these make up 11 inches of reading material. I've dipped into each, but haven't committed to any single one quite yet. So, which one do you want to see reviewed most?

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